Author: John M. Otis

Retracing the Beautiful Steps is a vivid illustration of God’s faithfulness to all generations of those who love Him. Rev. William Audiss was a Primitive Methodist preacher in England and America, who for over sixty years kept a spiritual diary of his preaching ministry. Rev. John M. Otis is the maternal great, great grandson of William Audiss.

Primitive Methodism was known for its fervent evangelistic zeal. In his English ministry alone, William Audiss travelled 10,504 miles, taking the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to various villages in Lincolnshire, England. In 1871, he immigrated with his wife and ten children to Wisconsin where he ministered until his death in 1902.

In 2008, Pastor Otis was privileged to visit England and fulfill a dream of many years to retrace the preaching steps of his great, great grandfather. He was further privileged to preach in Little Hale Methodist Chapel where William Audiss was converted and ministered. Psalm 45:11 is most fitting – “I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise Thee forever and ever.”

Retracing the Beautiful Steps is a vivid account of what God can accomplish through one man sold out for the glory of God. William Audiss was a bold and faithful preacher who prayed for future generations. Those prayers have been answered in the lives of many of his posterity.

This book contains the actual spiritual diary of William Audiss, and the chapter on “Who Were and Are the Primitive Methodists?” is most insightful. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was converted in a Primitive Methodist Chapel. Pastor Otis delves into the history of the rise of Methodism in England.

Many don’t realize that the great evangelist George Whitefield was the original founder of the Methodist movement within the Church of England. Whitefield represented the branch known as Calvinist Methodists in distinction from Arminian Methodists headed by John Wesley. The quotes on the historical accounts of Whitefield’s preaching are inspiring.

While I am obviously Presbyterian, and my great, great grandfather was a Primitive Methodist, and while I am sure we would have differed on various theological issues, we both agree upon the necessity of preaching Christ alone to sinners. If I had been a contemporary with him, despite some of our differences, I am sure we would have had sweet Christian fellowship.

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