The Quest for Holiness

Elaine A. Heath

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

 The Quest for Holiness

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This article focuses on Phoebe Worrall Palmer (1807–74), one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the nineeteenth century, and in the entire history of Methodism. Palmer's quest for holiness began early in childhood, when she gave herself to Jesus at the age of 4. Throughout her life the central question that drove her teaching, preaching, writing, and humanitarian work was the issue of holiness, that is, of belonging unreservedly to God. Palmer's altar theology was based upon her careful and thorough reading of the Bible, much of which she had memorised, and her Wesleyan vision for mission. Her theology of the ‘Shorter Way’ arose from her own apophatic journey of kenosis. Out of that journey, Palmer articulated, for Methodists in her own day and into the future, a distinctly Wesleyan form of apophatic spirituality, one that calls the church back to its missional vocation.

Keywords: Phoebe Palmer; spiritual leaders; Methodists; Methodism; apophatic spirituality

Article.  6811 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity

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