Presentation on theme: "The Story of American Methodism: Part Two The American Revolution and Methodism."— Presentation transcript:
The Story of American Methodism: Part Two The American Revolution and Methodism
Religious Freedom as a Principle The political landscape of Colonial American had to accommodate Pietism, rational philosophy, native born believers, European seekers and numerous religious expressions. Religious freedom emerges with the concept of denominationalism, groups that exists freely in society.
Methodist Movements and the Revolution Most lay preachers, Anglican clergy and missionary pastors interested in spreading scriptural holiness rather than political rhetoric. Revolution affects Methodist Societies in specific regions Wesley’s “A Calm Address to our American Colonies” demanded a royalist response.
American Response to Wesley Wesley characterized in “Wolf in Sheep’s clothing, or the old Jesuit Unmasked” as one who should wear a “hempen neckcloth” (slang for hangman’s noose) Wesley later agrees that America should “enjoy its own persuasion” and perhaps God’s providence was at work.
Colonial Methodist’s Problem Perceived by most persons as Tory (thanks to Rodda) Most missionary pastors were Tory Royalists and leave during the revolution How to support the Anglican Church while supporting the Revolution? 1778: Only Asbury and a few native pastors left
Colonial Methodist’s Problem 1778, Judge Thomas White arrested for being a Methodist who had connections with Asbury (who had refused to take an oath of allegiance to Great Britain). Asbury maintains a low profile throughout the Revolution American born preachers take the reins of leadership
Freeborn Garrettson Conscientious objector to the Revolution Accused of being a Tory spy Refuse to take an oath Beaten Imprisoned Patriotism vs. pacifism
The Crisis of 1779 Asbury force into retirement Ties with England had been (and must be perceived to be) broken Where would the ordained pastors come from? Wesley? Home- grown? What was to be the role and authority of Asbury?
The Crisis of 1779 At the Annual Conference of Fluvanna County, Virginia it was decided that a presbytery of four ministers would be established. These four members would ordain one another and then ordain others Asbury and many Northern societies opposed Division of North and South
The Crisis of 1779 1781: Wesley supports Asbury and the North Asbury engages in placating the Southern churches But slavery (Conference of 1780) emerging as major source of tension
1784 Treaty of Paris signed, officially ending the Revolutionary War and recognizing the Articles of Confederation (September, 1783) Wesley declares himself “Superintendent”, a presbyter of apostolic succession
1784 Wesley ordains Whatcoat and Vesey Wesley “sets apart” (apostolos) Dr. Coke as a General Superintendent Brother Charles appalled! But Coke had already been ordained; can one be ordained twice?
Christmas Conference December 24 in Baltimore Lovely Lane Meeting House Lasts ten days Sixty pastor of a total of 81 attend Asbury affirmed as General Superintendent (after being ordained deacon then elder)
Christmas Conference The Methodist Episcopal Church officially formed Establishment of Cokesbury College in Abingdon, Maryland (named after Dr. Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury, the two General Superintendents) But the Methodist Societies had yet to become a Church
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