by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 1/30/16.
Many denominations trace their histories back to a “revival movement” sparked by John Wesley’s “METHOD” in 1700s England. These denominations include
- the Methodists of course,
- the Free Methodists,
- most Pentecostals/Charismatics,
- the Nazarenes,
- most of the Church of God denominations,
- Freewill Baptists
- some Baptist denominations (e.g. in parts of Texas)
- the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church,
- Evangelical Church of North America,
- African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
- the Salvation Army
- and of course the Wesleyan church.
But what is made this made Wesley’s “METHOD” so influential and so dramatic?
The secret was Wesley’s leadership and organizational “METHOD.”
So clear to his detractors that this “METHOD” was at the core of the movement’s emphasis upon conversion and discipleship that his detractors labeled his followers “Methodist.”
Methodist was a derogatory term. But the people following the “METHOD” knew that the “METHOD” worked and so they embraced the name. This would be analogous today to someone calling you a “program Christian,” meaning that you were just following some “program.”
But those who had been changed and now started caring for the poor because of this “METHOD” knew that the method was Biblically-based and divinely inspired. This they were proud to be called “Methodist” … attaching it to every church name.
Some Calvinistic churches and leaders may have disagreed with Wesley’s Arminian theology. But they don’t disagree with his “METHOD-ology.” Famous Baptist theologian and founder of the Liberty University School of Theology, Dr. Elmer Towns said:
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