Global Christianity Methodism
Global Christianity

Renewal movement founded by John Wesley, originating within the Church of England; Protestant denomination.

Charles Wesley's hymns brought the Methodist movement into the wider church

The term "Methodism" may refer either to specific organizations such as the United Methodist Church, or to broad currents that flow across denominational lines. Methodist theology begins with human sin and the need for salvation; salvation is available to all through Christ the Savior; the Spirit works in believers, congregations, and society, to make them holy. John Wesley laid great stress on the sacraments; Methodist piety is also expressed in the great hymns of Charles Wesley, such as "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing." Methodism began as a movement to renew the Church of England. However, the goals and strategies of Methodism diverged to the point of separation from the Church of England in 1795, four years after Wesley's death. English Methodism was closely related to continental Pietism. Both movements pursued missions and evangelism. Both employed similar strategies of personal discipline, small group fellowship, and social compassion or activism. For example, Wesley and other early Methodists condemned the slave trade. Methodist organization was a key to its rapid growth: small groups were linked into larger "connections" served by traveling preachers called "circuit riders." On the American frontier Bishop Francis Asbury (1745-1816) relied on unlettered preachers who were willing to suffer hardships to spread the Gospel. Nineteenth-century evangelicalism, the Salvation Army, Pentecostalism, and African-American churches are among the many movements with Methodist roots. Before being overtaken by the Baptists, Methodists were the largest Protestant movement in the United States.

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