Experience of God

Thomas R. Albin

in The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199696116
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Experience of God


This article discusses the experience of God in Methodism. The Methodist understanding and experience of God is grounded in the Judaeo-Christian Scripture and developed in the context of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Through the leadership of John and Charles Wesley, Methodism was able to bring together a dynamic understanding of reason and revelation based on the biblical teaching that humankind is created in the image and likeness of God. All experience of God, for the Wesleys, was a gift of grace, to be received by faith. The only adequate response was faith, love, and obedience. The wide diversity of Christian experiences within the Methodist movement were nurtured to maturity through a complex system of spiritual guidance involving: (1) a spiritual mentor or sponsor; (2) a small-group leader of the class or band; (3) a variety of larger settings for spiritual instruction and practice, e.g., the meeting of the united society, the watch-night, the love feast, and the covenant renewal service; (4) literature for the spiritual instruction of those who could read; and (5) leadership training, and opportunities for service that included both laymen and laywomen.

Keywords: Methodism; Methodists; God; faith; spiritual guidance

Article.  7474 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity

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