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Religion Library: Methodist

Founders

Written by: Ted Vial

Throughout his career John worked closely with his brother Charles.Charles's chief contribution to Methodism has been his hymns.He wrote over 5,000, many of which have become the most popular hymns sung by Methodists and other Protestants.Their popularity makes plausible the claim that more people have learned Methodist belief and practice from Charles Wesley than from John.

In the wake of the American Revolution many American Methodists desired to cut ties with the Anglican Church. The rapid growth of Methodism in America and its distance from England led Wesley to decide to do something he would never accept for his movement in England: he allowed American Methodists to form a separate denomination.In 1784 Wesley named Thomas Coke (1747-1814) superintendent (later the title became bishop) of Methodism in North America.Together with Francis Asbury (1745-1816) Wesley charged him to establish the Methodist Episcopal Church, and to ordain clergy who could administer the sacraments as well as preach (his lay preachers had not been able to perform sacramental functions).Asbury became the dominant force in the American Methodist church.He travelled an average of 6,000 miles a year preaching and organizing.Under his leadership church membership grew from 5,000 in 1776 to 214,000 at his death.


Study Questions:
     1.    Who is the founder of Methodism? Provide a brief biography.
     2.    What happened on Aldersgate Street that moved Wesley?
     3.    How did Charles Wesley help educate society on Methodism?
     4.    Who headed Methodism within Colonial America? What did they contribute?

 

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