Article

Methodist Episcopacy

James E. Kirby

in The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199696116
Published online January 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199696116.013.0013

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Methodist Episcopacy

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This article traces the development of Methodist Episcopacy in America. At the end of the American Revolution, it was clear to Wesley that the old plan of associating Methodists in America with the Church of England was impossible. Even if Asbury and those who followed him had desired to continue to receive the sacraments in the parishes of the Church of England, it was no longer possible. The Church of England in the former colonies was largely in disarray. By 1784, the reality of the situation had impressed itself on Wesley sufficiently for him to realise he had either to provide the means for the Americans to become an independent church or to lose them entirely. Since they already had two of the classic marks of the church – the preaching of the word and faithful disciples – the only thing lacking was the due and proper administration of the sacraments. Since Wesley considered himself ‘a high churchman, the son of a high churchman’, he favoured the creation of an episcopal organisation in America.

Keywords: Methodism; American Revolution; Methodists; Episcopal Church; episcopacy; John Wesley

Article.  8143 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity

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