Who Was John Wesley?

Born in Epworth in 1703, John Wesley was the fifteenth of nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. As Church of England members, the Wesleys educated their nine surviving children in English, Latin, Greek and bible studies. John Wesley and his siblings had a strict upbringing that included regular prayer time and intensive spiritual instruction.

At the age of 11, in 1714, he was sent to study at London’s Charterhouse School and religious instruction was an important aspect of his education at this time. Wesley began studies at Christ Church Oxford in 1720 and graduated in 1724 as a Bachelor of Arts. He then studied for his Master of Arts and was ordained as a deacon in 1725. The following year he began reading literature that sparked an interest in uncovering religious truths.

During this time, he diligently performed religious duties and also studied the Scriptures. John Wesley became a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1726. Although he returned to Epworth in 1727 before being ordained as a priest in 1728, he returned to Lincoln college the following year to resume his position as a Fellow. In 1729, Wesley led the Holy Club; a group for those pursuing a devout Christian lifestyle that was founded by his brother. The group received negative reactions from many people livingintheOxford area who considered the group members as religious enthusiasts.

John Wesley then spent two years in ministry at Savannah in the Georgia Colony. However, this ministry was unsuccessful and he returned to London where he joined a religious society that was run by the Moravian Christians. On the 24th May, he left the Moravians to start his own ministry. This followed an experience that he described as strangely warming his heart.
Two important elements of his ministry were traveling and preaching outdoors. He also embraced the Arminian Doctrines of the Church of England. Wesley organized small religious groups during his travels across the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America. Unordained evangelists were appointed by Wesley to care for these groups and give them religious instruction. Led by Wesley, Methodists did not only concern themselves with religious matters, they also tackled social issues of the time, such as the abolition of slavery and prison reform.

Wesley’s evangelicalism was based on sacramental theology rather than systematic theology. He argued in favour of Christian perfectionism and was strongly against Calvanism and predestination. He maintained that the Methodist movement lay within the traditions of the Anglican church and continued to remain within the Anglican church. Although his interpretations of church policies sometimes stretched the boundaries, he became well respected both within the Methodist movement and the Anglican church as a whole.

The societies led by Wesley needed places to worship, so Wesley began to obtain various premises for Methodists to worship. The first of these was the ‘New Room’ in Bristol. This was followed by properties in other areas, including London. The most famous of these is The Foundry, located between Worship Street and Tabernacle Street.

In addition to his work preaching, Wesley also wrote many literary works. His ‘Notes on the New Testament’, 1755, are based on his sermons. These were simple, concise and enlightening. He also wrote prose. In his original collection of prose, there were 32 volumes. However, as these were later reprinted, the number of volumes often varied. The journals of Jon Wesley were also published in 20 parts between 1740 and 1789. At one time he was accused of plagiarism as he had used work written in an essay by Samuel Johnson. Although he initially denied this, he late officially apologised to Johnson for his actions.

In his personal life, he married at the age of 48. His wife, Mary Vazeille, was a widower and a mother of four children. The couple did not have any children together and the marriage is believed to have been very unhappy. After several temporary separations, Mary left him after 15 years of marriage.
Following his death on the 2nd March 1791 at the age of 87, Wesley continues to be one of the most important figures to the United Methodist Church. He remains one of the most theologically influential people to Methods across the world. There are many landmarks and educational establishments named in his honor, including Wesley’s Chapel in City Road, London, and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Is Suffering an Inherent Part of Religion?

Is suffering an inherent part of religion? The answer can be overly simple or vastly complex depending on how you look at it. If one were to wonder whether or not the typical member of religion suffered more or less than other folks, there would be no concise, yes-or-no answer. This post is rooted in a conversation with a fellow believer.  As an air conditioning and heating repairman in Trenton, he has trouble understanding why he has chronic pain in his chosen profession.  He attends church and is generally a good man to his friends and family.  Yet his pain makes him almost unable to do his job.  If one were merely to look at whether or not suffering is an inherent part of religion, whether or not religion makes up for said suffering through increasing one’s quality of life in another ways, the answer is a simple yes. Allow me to explain.

Many Religions Tell Us We’re All Sinners

As many individuals brought up in an Abrahamic religion will attest, “We were all born a sinner.” While many religions offer an out for such sin (such as through praying, committing good deeds or following a particular list of rules), those involved in such religions are told from birth that they were born with sin. After the sin is “cleansed” (such as a Christian getting baptized), we still find ourselves committing acts and thinking thoughts which, according to these religions, are sins. Those who would otherwise likely neither identify nor be classified as a sinner – such as he who overeats or experiences an angry thought, or the innocent baby who had done nothing wrong other than pass away before a time where she could be baptized – are now “sinners,” depending on the religion they and/or their peers belong to.

Some Religions Cause Indirect Suffering In Certain Demographics

No matter where one stands on the issue of homosexuality from a moral standpoint, the undue suffering caused to these individuals by certain folks belonging to certain religions can’t be denied. Once again, one who has not knowingly done something wrong is labeled a sinner. In this case; however, even the unbeliever who doesn’t themselves believe they are of sin may be hurt physically or emotionally by those subscribing to anti-homosexual beliefs found in some religions. The same can be said of non-believers who may be taunted by some religious folk and even killed by others. While the average Christian or Muslim may not subscribe to the theories in the bible that cause such harm, the theories are, in fact, found in many holy scriptures.

Religion Has All Of Life’s Answers

One might stop for a moment and wonder what drove one to believe in religion in the first place. The question in this context isn’t whether or not any given god exists. The question is why one finds themselves believing in one in the first place. What would happen if you took away religious beliefs from the religious? Here is a demographic who feels they know the origins of the universe, that everything will be okay as long as they’re behaved and that someone always has their back when they need them. If you take that away, will anyone’s quality of life go down because of it? Common sense says yes. Despite an apparent lack of evidence to support a belief system which offers hope and security to those who subscribe to it, some people fall into it while others do not. What can be said of the atheist’s quality of life in comparison to the born-again Christian before they were born again? Was it addiction, a lost spouse or just a general feeling of doom that drove them to miraculously believe in a brand new belief system? Clearly, suffering can make religion an ideal source of one’s answers.

Religion Instills the Fear of Punishment

It is likely that a gay man living in a country where homosexuality is not shunned does not fear for his life or mental state solely due to the possibility of being punished for his sexual preference. But what happens when you give the man a book that convinces him he will literally be set aflame for an infinite amount of time should he “refuse” to change his ways? Or the drug addict in a country where her drug of choice is legal and is not shunned? What happens when a book convinces her that the taking of drugs opens the door to her sole for a malicious being (the Devil) to literally steal her sole and, once again, set her aflame eternally. While the effects of drug addiction are well known, the hypothetical addict had no fear of being burned for an eternity until they were convinced of the possibly by a holy scripture. Such fear will no doubt cause suffering in a portion of the population, especially for the gay man and the drug addict who find themselves unable to change their ways before their apparent time of judgment comes to be.

The Separation of Methodists from the Anglican Church

The Methodist Church really began as a denomination in the 1700’s in England. John and Charles Wesley founded it as a part of the Anglican Church. As students at Oxford, John and his brother, Charles, had started a prayer and Bible study group called the Holy Club that was devoted to helping the poor and needy. The Holy Club was very committed to the pursuit of a devout Christian life. They would spend three hours each day in prayer and Bible reading, and fasted twice a week. As a part of their Christian actions, they visited the jails and cared for the sick.

The Holy Club was considered by other students at Oxford to be a group of religious fanatics. Some of the other students began calling them “Methodist” as a joke to make fun of them, because of their strict adherence to rule and method to conduct their religious affairs.

The Seeds of Separation

Both John and Charles became ordained ministers in the Anglican Church. John Wesley was a firebrand evangelist who himself had a genuine conversion experience. He preached that Christianity begins as a true conversion in the heart, and that it could be experienced by everyone. He also believed that conversion brought assurance of salvation, and that the Christian life should be marked by holiness.
John Wesley wanted to bring revival and reform to the Church of England, because he felt they were not paying enough attention to the needs of the people in England. He was considered by the Church of England to be controversial and even a threat to organized religion, because he did not follow the established church rules about parish boundaries, and he would send out unordained ministers to preach and lead his church groups. Other clergy would denounce him at the pulpit, saying that he was leading people astray with strange religious doctrines. His group was even attacked by mobs.

As a result, his evangelistic methods were not appreciated by the Church of England. He and Charles were barred from speaking in most of their pulpits. The relationship with the Anglican Church became more and more strained.

In spite of this, John Wesley never wanted to separate from the Anglican Church. He preached wherever he could, in farm houses, barns and other unconventional places. He began several groups within the Anglican Church designed to restore people to their faith, called the “United Societies”. He felt that the Anglican Church was still closer to the foundations of the Bible than any other church, even though it had rejected him.

In 1784, after the American Revolution, there was a shortage of ordained ministers in America. They were greatly needed, because more and more Methodists were beginning to settle in America. The Bishop of London was unwilling to ordain a Methodist as a minister to go to the United States.

Wesley felt he had to do something about this. He ordained Thomas Coke and sent him to America with two presbyters, to lead his groups in America. Thomas Coke became the first Bishop of Methodism in America. Ironically, it was this same practice of sending out lay preachers that led to the growth of Methodism as a denomination.

The Final Break and Signs of Reunity

The Methodist Church finally broke away from the Anglican Church completely in 1795, four years after the death of John Wesley. It experienced several schisms and splits after that point, largely because of differences with some of its leaders. The various branches finally reunited in 1968, and are now known under the general name of the United Methodist Church. The Methodist denomination is the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

John Wesley’s influence in the Methodist Church has been greatly renowned since his death, and the Methodist practice of holiness has influenced many other denominations, such as the Church of the Nazarene, the Church of God, and Pentecostalism.

Interestingly enough, in the 20th Century several attempts were made to reunite the Methodist Church with the Church of England. These efforts were debunked by the General Synod of the Church of England in 1972. However, after several informal conversations continued, in 2003 a Covenant was signed between the two churches that affirms each of them as true Christian churches working together. The Methodist Church in America continues to attempt to unite with other churches here and around the world in its effort to pursue its Christian mission.

5 More Differences Between Methodists and Anglicans

1. The vestments of the clergy are more extravagant with the Church of England.

The Church of England places a great deal of emphasis on ceremony, even today. The vicars of the Church of England still wear grand robes. This is not the case for the clergy in the Methodist Church, who dress much more simply. This is owing to the reaction against the extravagance of the Anglican Church back in the eighteenth century.

2. The Methodist Church places more emphasis on forms of abstinence.

Abstinence is important in the Christian faith in general, but the Methodist Church emphasizes it more and has emphasized it more ever since the eighteenth century. While modern Methodist followers themselves may not take it as seriously, abstinence is still a very important part of the faith itself.

3. The terminology is different.

The Methodist Church as ministers. It does not have ‘priests.’ The Church of England refers to its priests as vicars, which is very specific and unique to its church as well. While this difference may seem to be fairly minor to a lot of the people who are outside of the church, it is a name change that had a great deal of important symbolism historically.

4. The hymns that are used in Methodist services are broader.

The Methodist church tends to use newer hymns than the Anglican Church, and the hymns have a tendency to express slightly different sentiments. This has been going on for a long time.

5. The worship is simpler in Methodism.
While both religions emphasize ritual, this is a bigger part of Anglicanism than it has ever been for its much newer competitor. The worship for the Methodist Church is much simpler, and this has been the case for hundreds of years now and shall continue to be the case.

4 Differences Between Methodists and Anglicans

When evaluating the differences Between Methodists and Anglicans, it is important to look back to the origin of both churches. The Methodist Church was partly created as a reaction to some of the policies of the Anglican church during the eighteenth century. Many of the people who were reacting against the Methodist Church said that they were focusing too much on what the aristocracy needed, while ignoring the needs of the working class citizens. This was the Enlightenment, when people all over the world were questioning traditional power structures and whether or not the nobility had too much power and control over their lives. The Methodist Church was partly born out of those sentiments, and the fingerprints of the Enlightenment movement are everywhere on the Methodist Church even today.

1. The Methodist Church ordained female members of the clergy faster.

Even in the late eighteenth century, there were female Methodist clergy members. While this did not become more common until the 1950’s, it took up until the 1990’s for the Anglican church to ordain female vicars. During the 1990’s, there was a great deal of controversy as to whether or not women should be Anglican vicars or not, even though the Methodist Church had been doing that for centuries previously, and it should have been a non-issue by that point. Of course, the Catholic Church and many other faiths still do not have female members of the clergy, which makes both the Methodist Church and the Anglican Church stand out.

2. Sacramental worship receives more emphasis in the Anglican Church.

The Church of England is closer to Catholicism than the Methodist Church in many ways, largely owing to the evolution of the churches. The Anglican Church places a great deal of emphasis on sacraments like Holy Communion, which is also the case in the Catholic Church. For the Methodist Church, the Services of the World are much more important. This is a fairly broad category, and it tends to emphasize the more communal aspects of the church service, such as the singing of hymns, the reading of the sermons, the public prayers, and the reading of the Bible. The Anglican Church in general places a great deal of emphasis on ritual, at least compared to the Methodist Church, even though both of them do emphasis Services of the World and sacramental worship. This is one of the ways where the Methodist Church emphasizes its relative modernity.

3. The Communion process is different for the Methodist Church.

The Anglican church does First Holy Communion in a way that is very similar to the way that the Catholic Church does it, but which is different from the manner in which the Methodist Church performs the ceremony. For the Catholics and the members of the Church of England, it is important to drink from a communal cup. The wine is usually alcoholic wine as well. For the Methodist Church, the wine glasses are more individualized. The wine is usually free from alcohol.

The origin of this practice is complicated, but it once again seems to go back to the age and the historical context of both faiths. The Methodist Church is a more modern church, and the temperance movement was an important historical movement when this church was new. The consumption of alcohol was more widespread before the nineteenth century, and it had a very different function in society in a time period before sanitary running water. The germ theory of disease was also no well-known when people were sharing the common cup during Holy Communion. The sharing of the common cup symbolized that everyone was sharing in the experience together. Even today, this practice continues. However, the fact that the Methodists do not practice it is a consequence of the fact that their church is a more recent church.

4. The administration of the churches is very different.

The Church of England uses an administration system that is very similar to that of the Catholic Church. There are vicars who get promoted to bishops, for one thing. However, the Methodist Church has a network of churches that form a circuit, and there is a superintendent minister that oversees this circuit. Once again, this hierarchy manages to emphasize the comparatively modern aspects of the church.

Five Books That Will Help You Understand Methodism: Part 2

3. Worshiping with United Methodists Revised Edition

Clergy members and pastors have their own agenda within the Methodist church. After all, they are responsible for leading the church and this is no easy task. The book Worshiping with the United Methodists Revised Edition is designed to teach pastors and clergy leaders how to lead worship and to assist their congregation when they are in church.

Worshiping with United Methodists Revised Edition also outlines five primary principles that can be used to revitalize a believer’s life. The principles that are taught within this book includes using God’s word as the only source of inspiration, active participation within the church, the importance of spontaneity and order in worship, an all inclusive worship and the importance of communion. This book was written by Hoyt L. Hickman and it is an important piece of literature that helps Methodist clergy members to do their best for their followers.

4. Wesley and the People Called Methodists

Richard P. Heitzenrater’s published Wesley and the People Called Methodists in 2013 and this book highlights the history of the Methodist church and its role as a congregation in modern times. This book is great for people who want a deep understanding of the Methodist church and the impact that it has made on peoples lives over the years.

5. Meet the Methodists Revised: An Introduction to the United Methodist Church

Meet the Methodists Revised: An Introduction to the United Methodist Church is a simple book that outlines the history of the church and what it really means to be a Methodist believer. This book is great for exploring he different facets of the Methodist faith and it even has a study guide to help readers retain the information that is being presented. This book is for any person that is serious about studying the Methodist faith. These are just five of many books that will give people a solid understanding of Methodist belief system and the history of this congregation.

Five Books That Will Help You Understand Methodism: Part 1

Methodism is denomination of Christianity that has its roots in the Church of England. John and Charles Wesley were members of the Church of England. They took their love for God, Christ and scripture to another level. Their strict behaviors and emphasis on holiness created another segment of Christianity. The modern United Methodist Church (UMC) was established in1968. This congregation of believers earned their name by studying the scriptures and living out their faith through a strict process.

Methodism is not a complicated religious belief system. Once a person understands the central doctrine of this belief system they will have a clear idea about how they should live as a Methodist believer. One of the best ways that people can discover the tenants of this faith is by reading books. There are books that will teach them the tenants, history and requirements of Methodism. Here are 5 books that will help you understand Methodism and the various aspects of this faith.

1. Book of Discipline

The Book of Discipline is a standard publication that outlines the doctrine and laws of the United Methodist Church. It was first published in 1784 and since that time it has become an important tool for assisting clergy members and laymen with understanding their role in the church and as believers. This book is published every four years by the UMC. The latest publication for this book was in 2012 and it is scheduled to be updated in 2016 and again in 2020.

The Book of Discipline is broken down into various segments. The first part of the book highlights all of the Bishops of the church and the year they received their position. The next chapter outlines the history of the church and the third section provides vital information about the church’s constitution. Then the doctrine and theology of this faith is presented in the fourth section. The last part of this book goes into detail about the legislative aspect of the Methodists congregation.

Ultimately, this book is useful to believers because it gives a basic presentation about how the average Methodist church is to be run and its expectation for clergy and believers. It also helps people to understand their faith from a historical standpoint and the role that the Methodist church plays in the world.

2. United Methodists Women Handbook

Women have always played an integral part of the Christian faith and they are also important to the Methodist congregation. Women who join the Methodist church have their own unique issues and challenges that they must deal with. This is one reason why the UMC has created their own personalized handbook.

The United Methodists Women Handbook is designed to teach laywomen (and female clergy members) the tenants and expectations of their faith. The book emphasis the requirements of love, faith and hope on behalf of women, children and youth all over the world. This faith based book teaches women to develop a solid relationship with God and Jesus Christ and it also motivates women to be involved in ministries and to fellowship with other believers. The book gives women resources and information for carrying out this process. The UMC Women Handbook is often given to female members who are involved in membership within the church.

A Brief History of the Church of England: Recent Times

The role of the Monarch

The Monarch is called the Defender of the Faith, a title that was given to Henry by the Pope in 1521. The Monarch is considered the Supreme head of the Church. Therefore, he or she is expected to fulfill the following duties:

– He is supposed to follow the Prime Minister’s recommendations when appointing Archbishops, Bishops and Deans.

– He is expected to oversee each new session of the General Synod after every 5 years. The General Synod is considered the Church’s governing body.

– He is also expected to promise that he shall maintain the coronation oath of the Church.

Evangelicalism in the state of England

This movement was stirred by the fact that there was lack of spiritual fervor and enthusiasm among worshipers in the Church. As a result, this brought about a balancing effect in Anglicanism. Up to date, there is still a strong evangelical group existing within the Church of England. However, a large number of evangelicals have diverted from the traditional Anglican beliefs. A good example would be Methodism, a group that was spearheaded by John Wesley to break out of the Church of Anglican during the time.

Another important part of the Anglican history was marked by the Oxford Movement in 1833. In this movement (Catholic Revival), some people sought to restore the traditional Catholic beliefs, practices, sacraments and rituals to the Church of England. Because of the influence of this group, the mid-20s century saw some of these practices and rituals getting incorporated into the Church of England’s way of worship.

Recent changes

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Church of Anglican found room for the new German biblical criticism. As a result, the church of Anglican has had many Scholars giving their views and opinions over certain matters in the church.

These views and opinions have been radical while some being conservative, though these people have still been offered room to remain within the Anglican church fold.

The Church of Anglican spread alongside the advancement of the British Empire. This created a wide network of autonomous churches following and sharing the ways of the Anglican church.

In the period that followed after the American revolution, Anglican church followers labeled themselves the “Episcopalians”. They allegedly called themselves using that name as a way of identifying themselves separately from the British Crown and the Anglican Church. Today, many Anglican churches (Episcopalian Churches ) that were founded in former British colonies are part of the Wider network of the Church of England.

Generally, the 21st century has significantly marked the history of the Anglican Church. A lot of radical changes are taking center-stage, things that the earlier Anglican Church could not adapt.

The recent ordination of a gay Bishop is just an instance of a radical change within some parts of the Anglican community. Also, the disapproving reactions that the opposing part of the church is giving will certainly have great implications on the question of just how much variation the Church of England can tolerate today.

And since the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops and the Priests are the overall head of the Anglican church, they must prove themselves on how they shall react to liberal theology, biblical criticism and modern ethical values that are affecting the church.

A Brief History of the Church of England: New Tenets

Points to note

People have created a public perception, especially in the United States, arguing that Henry VIII went the way of Anglican church in anger because the Pope had refused to grant him divorce with his wife.

However, careful research into the matter shows that Henry spend most parts of his reign challenging the Roman church. The divorce issue was just an instance that was politicized, and it marked a major event at the time when the England church was splitting from the Roman authority. This happened in just the same way the Orthodox church separated from the Roman church nearly 500 years ago at the time.

The new Church

The new church had split from the authority of Rome, and because of this, it had to come up with a new structure of doing things. The changes happened during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Apparently, that structure isn’t anything like a management process or a governing administration. Rather, it’s the common tradition and belief shared among members of this new church that keeps them together.

The shared beliefs are highlighted in the Holy Bible and also in the articles of Religion. It is also partly embodied in the book of Common Prayer. The first series of this book was introduced in the year 1549.

In this book, the Latin language was translated into English and simplified for the followers to understand. It’s the first time a single ”use” was enforced in the state of England. This book has since been revised several times, with the very first revision taking place in the year 1552.

The 1662 version forms the historical basis of many Anglican liturgies around the world. Whereas most countries have their own versions of prayer books, most of them are pegged on Cranmer’s original work.

The rise of Protestantism

Queen Elizabeth I spearheaded this movement, and so the people who were championing for it became successful. It is during the reign of Queen Elizabeth that the distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism became apparent.

She appointed Bishops who were protestants, though she also re-introduced the use of crucifix in the chapels. She also tried insisting on traditional clerical vestments, while also making other efforts to try and satisfy her conservative opinion.

Instead of the 42 articles of Religion, these were reduced to 39 articles. This prompted another revision on the Book of Common Prayer.

The Book of Common Prayer was an expression of the faith and practices of the Anglican church. However, with time, the Catholic-Protestant spectrum saw them as sufficiently vague to allow the freedom of varied interpretations.

Between the 17th and 18th centuries, the church of England had evolved, and was now characterized by reason, moral living and devotional religion.

Finally in 1690, the commotion settled down, and this has continued up to this day.

A Brief History of the Church of England: Ties to Anglicanism

This Church traces its root back to the early church, specifically the Anglican church. Henry VIII begun the process of creating the church of England after he disagreed with the Pope, and this was back in the 1530s.

Before the split, Henry VIII had established strong ties with Rome. This was considered a political move, even though he counted it as a way of furthering his European foreign policy mission. However, the results of his union with Rome became immediate and devastating to the Church of England.

At the time, Henry VIII was at war with France. He needed funding to achieve his political goals, so he ordered all the Monasteries to be dissolved, also calling for the sale of all lands belonging to the Monasteries. As a result of this move, the monastic community was destroyed, and so the Monks and the Nuns found themselves out of their enclosed institution.

Further, repercussions ensued when abbeys, nunneries and monasteries were reduced to a desperate state. The building materials were recycled and used to erect secular structures. The rest of the material was used to build domestic dwellings. Finally, the remnants that could not be used were left to rot in ruins.

At the time, religious reformers pushed for reforms because they wanted to change the way people worshiped. Their plans gradually prevailed, and thus they changed a lot of things, including how the congregation and the priests interacted. All the lavish ornamentation that was considered an important feature of the pre-Reformation churches was destroyed.

At the time, Henry had married a woman, his first wife named Catherine of Aragon. This woman gave him a daughter, yet Henry had anticipated for a male heir instead. As a result of this, he wanted this marriage annulled so he could remarry.

In the 1530s, he made several attempts to pursue his course with the Pope which proved futile. Then afterwards, he passed the Act of Succession and finally the Act of Supremacy. What the two Acts did was to recognize that the King was the only head of the Church of England (which was also known as Anglicana Ecclesia).