Church Hist. (Modern), Part 4: The Wesleys and American Pietism

It would be nearly impossible to overestimate the impact of John and Charles Wesley on contemporary American Protestantism.  From the hymns we sing, to the small groups we attend, to the empowerment of the laity to teach and preach, to the eventual ordination of women into professional ministry, the Wesleys – and the Methodist tradition which they formed – have profoundly shaped the way Christianity is understood and practiced.

In this episode we examine these unlikely leaders – the forces that shaped them and how they came to exert such a dramatic influence on the church.  We’ll look at their formative years under the tutelage of their mother, Susanna, their time at Oxford, the formation of “the Holy Club,” the impact of the Moravians, and how these experiences led them to create a system – a “method” – that could be easily replicated in nearly any context.  If you’ve ever attended a lay-led discipleship group or felt the need to cite the exact moment of your “conversion,” you have felt the influence of these two brothers.  

Also, in the podcast introduction, I make reference to a new movement coming out of the Church of England – a vision of ministry known as Fresh Expressions.  I just attended the first Fresh Expressions conference in N. America and was tremendously impressed!  More on that in future episodes, but if you’d like to know more, click here to visit the official Fresh Expressions website.  And I highly recommend reading the group’s report to the Church of England titled Mission-Shaped Church.  It’s available in print from your favorite bookstore.  But you can also download a PDF copy for free by clicking here.  (And unlike many reports, this one is actually an enjoyable and encouraging read!)




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