Chapter

‘A Nail Fixed in a Sure Place’: The Lives of the ‘A Nail Fixed in a Sure Place’: The Lives of the Early Methodist Preachers

D. Bruce Hindmarsh

in The Evangelical Conversion Narrative

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199245758
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602436 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199245754.003.0008
‘A Nail Fixed in a Sure Place’: The Lives of the ‘A Nail Fixed in a Sure Place’: The Lives of the Early Methodist Preachers

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The spiritual autobiographies of the early Methodist lay preachers, penned in the last decades of the eighteenth century, were memoirs of a substantial portion of their lives, interpreted in terms of evangelical conversion. By the late 1770s, evangelicals were no longer feeling their way into a genre; they were writing within a tradition, and conversion had become not only a matter of Christian initiation but also of ongoing Christian experience and identity. As Arminians, these Methodist preachers believed that one might need to renew one’s conversion. And in their accounts of entering the ministry, their experiences of Christian perfection, even in their deathbed utterances recorded by others, their narratives imitated the structure of conversion itself as an agony of travail and relief. Closely allied to one another and supervised by John Wesley, their autobiographies also represented a development from oral to written to printed narrative.

Keywords: agony; Arminian; conversion; deathbed; John Wesley; Methodist; ministry; perfection; preacher; relief; travail

Chapter.  17295 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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