Streiff, Patrick. Reluctant Saint? A Theological Biography of Fletcher of Madeley. Peterborough, U.K: Epworth Press, 2001. Reviewed by Vic Reasoner

The theme of Luke Tyerman’s 1882 biography was that Fletcher exemplified the highest ideals of Methodism. Yet history does not reveal how successful Fletcher would have been as leader of Methodism. Fletcher drew this comparison between himself and Wesley, “The snail does best in its shell: were it to aim at galloping like the race horse, it would be ridiculous indeed.”

In this more modern biography, John Fletcher comes across as self-deprecating, more mystical, and less assertive. While Wesley was chloric by temperament, Fletcher was melancholy. Wesley admired Fletcher’s piety, but Fletcher possessed none of Wesley’s organizational genius. Streiff reveals that while Fletcher strove earnestly for holiness, he was reluctant to be held up as the Methodist model of holiness. While Fletcher strove for perfection, he never claimed that he had obtained it.