John Wesley and the Methodist Church- Analysis of “Methodism and the Christian Heritage in England”

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I have been a firm believer that if one does not understand where you come from you can have little understanding of where your heading. The first thirty-two pages of the book on “Methodism and the Christian Heritage in England” gave a background as to Wesley’s foundation that so many authors overlook. The first page summed it up best in: “The long course of English ecclesiastical history met the force of a new concern for renewal, both individual and institutional. A long tradition of propositional certainty of faith met the power of a personal experience of faith. An institution built by and for the establishment met a concern for the souls and bodies of the disenfranchised” (p.1, Heitzenrater). This explained the transformation of both individuals and the Church at this moment in history. Of how a small congregation in Stanton Harcourt would be the starting point for a “guest preacher, would shortly become the leader of an evangelical revival that would, during his lifetime, spread across the lands and become a trans-Atlantic movement” (p. 1, Heitzenrater). How many present at St. Michael’s on that June 11 Sunday morning in 1738 realized just how important this day would be in the history of the Church in the British Isle, America and throughout the world.

How the step taken by the monarch’s of England influenced the Church in England to be transformed into the Church of England. The struggle in the theology of Lutheran, Calvinist, Catholicism, and Moravianism, to name just a few, would all have an influence in the foundation of the Methodist movement. Of how “John Wesley, paternal grandfather was brought before the Bishop of Bristol, Gilbert Ironside, to answer charges of nonconforming to the Thirty-Nine Articles” (p. 1...

... middle of paper ... how do we make the church relevant to a society that see’s it was being a product of a long past believe system. How do we allow people to explore their faith question and at the same time provide a firm foundation? The influence of Calvinist, Mystics, New Age, Atheisms, and other religious faith has caused confusion among our cognation as to what they believe in. By studying this text with our congregations we can provide them with an understanding of where Methodism came from and where we are heading.

I am looking forward in gaining a better understanding of where we came from to become Methodist so that I can better chart a course of where we are heading as a congregation, denomination and a people of faith. Let the journey begin.

Works Cited

1. Heitzenrater, Richard P. 1995, Wesley and the People Called Methodist. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN.
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