Wesley and the Wesleyans

Wesley and the Wesleyans

Wesley and the Wesleyans

Wesley and the Wesleyans

Synopsis

A critical contribution to the history of Britain and the U.S., this book demonstrates how the search for personal supernatural power lay at the heart of the so-called eighteenth-century English evangelical revival. John Kent rejects the view that the Wesleys rescued the British from moral and spiritual decay by reviving primitive Christianity. The study is of interest to everyone concerned with the history of Methodism and the Church of England, the Evangelical tradition, and eighteenth-century religious thought and experience.

Excerpt

One of the persistent myths of modern British history is the myth of the so-called evangelical revival. From about 1730 (it is said) a dramatic, divinely inspired return to true Christianity balanced the moral budget of the British people. Lives were changed, society was reformed, and in the longer run the nation was saved from the tempting freedoms of the French Revolution. a Protestant nationalism became the hallmark of the British. the instruments of this divine intervention were John Wesley and his followers, the Wesleyans or Methodists.

In the full-grown version of the myth, the evangelical revival is referred to regularly, not just as an established historical event, but as evidence of the importance of religion in modern history, and even of the importance of a national return to orthodox Christianity in the present day.

What then was Wesleyanism, and what actually happened to give it this role at the centre of a myth, accepted by writers in the United States as well as Britain? Why did it take root in eighteenth-century British society? How did it leave the bitter legacy of the 'Religious Right' in the United States? the answer seems to be that in the 1730s the primary religious impulses of certain social groups, especially in the Church of England, were unsatisfied. the primary religious impulse is to seek some kind of extra-human power, either for personal protection, including the cure of diseases, or for the sake of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.