Taking Heaven by Storm : Methodism and the Popularization of by John H. Wigger

By John H. Wigger

Following the progressive struggle, American Methodism grew at an mind-blowing expense, emerging from fewer than one thousand participants in 1770 to over 250,000 through 1820. In Taking Heaven via Storm, John H. Wigger seeks to give an explanation for this extraordinary growth, delivering a provocative reassessment of the function of renowned faith in American existence.

Early Methodism used to be neither bland nor predictable; relatively, it used to be a risky and leading edge circulation, either pushed and limited by way of the hopes and fears of the standard americans who constituted its center. Methodism's variety, tone, and schedule labored their method deep into the cloth of yank lifestyles, Wigger argues, influencing all different mass non secular pursuits that may stick with, in addition to many features of yank lifestyles in a roundabout way attached to the church.

Wigger examines American Methodism from numerous angles, focusing in activate the circuit riders who relentlessly driven the Methodist circulation ahead, the severe function of ladies and African american citizens in the move, the enthusiastic nature of Methodist worship, and the original group constitution of early American Methodism. below Methodism's impact, American evangelism turned way more enthusiastic, egalitarian, entrepreneurial, and lay oriented--characteristics that proceed to form and outline well known faith at the present time.

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The vast majority of the remaining 600 itinerants had married and located at some point in their career. Furthermore, Lee estimated that during this same period 251 would-be preachers were admitted on trial but quit traveling before ever joining into full connection. 54 The Methodist itinerancy was a demanding system, but one that could yield enormous dividends for both preacher and church. "55 Thomas Ware spoke for many when he wrote, "I thought our [itinerant] system too severe. "56 But few doubted the system's effectiveness.

53 As in America, it was not the "defeated" and "hopeless" elements of English society who turned most enthusiastically to this new model of faith. "54 The primary difference between English and American Methodism was that Methodism in England was hemmed in by the more firmly hierarchical structure of English society, whereas in America it was freer to explore the limits of the separation of church and state. In both England and America, Methodist theology and doctrine added impetus to the movement's social and cultural appeal.

Ezekiel Cooper's circuit notebooks reveal that he never made exactly the same circuit twice. 19 The New York local preacher James P. Horton once declined the offer of a horse to use in meeting his appointments. Though Horton was often gone for weeks at a time and sometimes walked up to 40 miles a day, he feared that a horse would cramp his style. "20 In 1785 Thomas Ware met a colleague in New Jersey whose method of arranging preaching appointments was no less freewheeling and given over to the leading of the Spirit.

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