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Religion Library: Methodist

Schisms and Sects

Written by: Ted Vial

Finally, there have been other churches related to the Methodist Episcopal Church in America that were never formally a part of that church and did not split off from it.Philip William Otterbein was a German Reformed pastor who immigrated to America in 1752.In 1754 he had a profound experience of divine forgiveness and power.Together with Martin Boehm and Peter Kemp he formed the United Brethren in Christ in 1800, and modeled it on the Methodist organization.Similarly, Jacob Albright had a deep religious experience in 1791 and began preaching to fellow German immigrants in Pennsylvania in 1796.In 1803 they formed Die Evangelische Gemeinschaft (The Evangelical Association).

In 1939 the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South merged to form the Methodist Church.The Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist Church merged in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church.

Study Questions:
     1.    What were the three underlying issues that resulted in sects to break from Methodism?
     2.    How did Methodism's style of governance shift after John Wesley's death? What notable schisms did this create?
     3.    How did Wesley understand slavery? What schisms were formed when the Methodist Churches in America did not follow his stance?
     4.    What is Christian perfection? Where does the motivation come from, and why was this a controversial idea?


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