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Table of contents

Who advised and exhorted them from time to time? Who prayed with them and for them as they had need? This, and this alone is Christian fellowship. But alas! Where is it to be found? And the fruits of it have been peace, joy, love, and zeal for every good word and work. And not only is Christian fellowship the necessary consequence of a holy life, but true Christian koinonia is also the means whereby the Spirit forms the mind of Christ in us. Wesley was fully aware the the life of the church is messy, and sometimes painful.

But even through the difficulties of church conflict, the Christian community remains the place where Christians are formed after the mind of Christ, and learn to walk as he walked. Therefore the mission of God requires the church as the people of God , as a living, embodied reality.

The church is not an afterthought to mission, and Christian community is not an obstacle to mission, but the vehicle through which mission takes place. Though Wesley felt he needed to create new structures and new forms of community to produce true Christian fellowship, he did not suggest as many, who are understandably disillusioned with the church do today that we can live out our faith in the world without being a part of the fellowship of believers.

Since we know that nobody is perfect in this sense , it seems ridiculous to say speak of Christian perfection. He did not teach that we should strive for absolute perfection, but for Christian perfection, a perfection which is fitting for a redeemed but flawed and frail human creature. This kind of perfection is not static, but dynamic, personal, relational, and made possible by divine grace alone. But what is perfection? The word has various senses: here it means perfect love.

It is love excluding sin; love filling the heart, taking up the whole capacity of the soul. In other words, Wesley believed it was really possible for Christians to love God with heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbours as ourselves.

Even someone whose life was characterized by Christian perfection would continue to sin, and would continue to need the atoning blood of Christ at every moment. These ideas are still controversial, and much more could be said. An idea which was so central for Wesley and which continues to be a central aspect of Wesleyan theology today must have missional implications.

I would like to highlight three. The first connects with my last post about the therapeutic nature of salvation. Salvation is not simply about gaining a ticket to heaven, but about the healing of the sickness which has corrupted us. Even if we disagree with Wesley on the degree to which this is possible in this life, we can still affirm that the Christian life ought to head in the direction of perfection.

Or perhaps it would be less of a stumbling block to say that the Christian life should head in the direction of maturity , or a kind of completeness that is fitting for sinners saved by grace. Secondly, the church ought therefore, to demonstrate the salvation of God, not only in word, but in the manner of its life together. The church is called to grow up into the fullness of Christ, personally and corporately. He established the church to be a living demonstration — a sign, instrument, and foretaste of the kingdom of God — so that the world might know him.


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Sadly, Christians often do a very poor job of this. Community life and mission should not be played off against one another. Wesley was able to draw on both of these traditions by integrating the Western concern with guilt into an Eastern-influenced therapeutic understanding of salvation.

Holiness Teaching: New Testament Times to Wesley: Volume 1 (Great Holiness Classics)

This meant that, overall, Wesley saw salvation as a dynamic, relational process of healing from all the sickness of sin, but included the classic protestant understanding of justification as an important aspect of this process. Justification is another word for pardon. It is the forgiveness of all our sins; and , what is necessarily implied therein, our acceptance with God. Hath he not then, seeing he alone is able, provided a remedy for all these evils? The most important chapel of department was built in , where there had been a Quaker community since the 18th century.

Methodism exists today in France under various names. It is an autonomous regional conference of the United Methodist Church and is the fruit of a fusion in between the "Methodist Church of France" and the "Union of Methodist Churches".

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As of [update] , the UEEM has around 1, members and 30 ministers. The German church had about 52, members in [update]. Methodism was also spread in Germany through the missionary work of the American Methodist Episcopal Church , which began in in Bremen , soon spreading to Saxony. Early opposition towards Methodism was partly rooted in theological differences—northern and eastern regions of Germany were predominantly Lutheran and Reformed, and Methodists were dismissed as fanatics. Methodism was also hindered by its unfamiliar church structure Connectionalism or Konnexionalismus , which was more centralised than the hierarchical polity in the Lutheran and Reformed churches.

After World War I , the Weimar Constitution allowed Methodists to worship freely and many new chapels were established. In , German Methodists elected their first bishop. In a Methodist mission was established also in Budapest. In , a group later known as the Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship seceded from the Hungarian Methodist Church over the question of interference by the communist state. It has eight full congregations and several mission groups, and runs a range of charitable organisations: hostels and soup kitchens for the homeless, a non-denominational theological college, [] a dozen schools of various kinds, and four old people's homes.

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The legislation has been strongly criticised by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe as discriminatory. The Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship does not belong to it and has its own publishing arm. The Methodist Church established several strongholds in Russia— Saint Petersburg in the west and the Vladivostok region in the east, with big Methodist centres right in the middle, in Moscow and Ekaterinburg former Sverdlovsk.

Methodists began their work in the west among Swedish immigrants in and started their work in the east in During the s, Methodism experienced a powerful wave of revival in the nation. As of [update] , the United Methodist Church in Eurasia comprised congregations, each with a native pastor. There are currently 48 students enrolled in residential and extension degree programs at the United Methodist Seminary in Moscow.

The MCCA has about 62, members in over congregations, ministered by pastors. As a result of having read this book Gilbert, two years later, journeyed to England with three of his slaves and there in a drawing room meeting arranged in Wandsworth on 15 January , met the preacher John Wesley. He returned to the Caribbean that same year and on his subsequent return began to preach to his slaves in Antigua.

When Nathaniel Gilbert died in his work in Antigua was continued by his brother Francis Gilbert to approximately Methodists. However, within a year Francis took ill and had to return to Britain and the work was carried on by Sophia Campbell "a Negress" and Mary Alley "a Mulatto" , two devoted women who kept the flock together with class and prayer meetings as best as they could.

On 2 April , John Baxter, a local preacher and skilled shipwright from Chatham in Kent , England, landed at English harbour in Antigua now called Nelson's Dockyard where he was offered a post at the naval dockyard. Baxter was a Methodist and had heard of the work of the Gilberts and their need for a new preacher. He began preaching and meeting with the Methodist leaders, and within a year the Methodist community had grown to persons. By , the first Methodist chapel was built in Antigua, with John Baxter as the local preacher, its wooden structure seating some 2, people.

In , William Turton — a Barbadian son of a planter, met John Baxter in Antigua, and later, as layman, assisted in the Methodist work in the Swedish colony of St. Bartholomew from In the missionary endeavour in the Caribbean was officially recognised by the Conference in England, and that same year Thomas Coke , having been made Superintendent of the church two years previously in America by Wesley, was travelling to Nova Scotia , but weather forced his ship to Antigua.

In Edward Fraser — Aft. The Nova Scotia Methodist Minister noted young Fraser's sincerity and commitment to his congregation and encouraged him by appointing him as assistant. By Fraser assisted in building a new chapel. He was later freed and admitted to the Methodist Ministry to serve in Antigua and Jamaica.

Following William J. Shrewsbury's preaching in the s, Sarah Ann Gill — , a free-born black woman, used civil disobedience in an attempt to thwart magistrate rulings that prevented parishioners holding prayer meetings. In an attempt was made at autonomy with the formation of two West Indian Conferences, however by the venture had failed. It was not until the s that another attempt was made at autonomy. This second attempt resulted in the emergence of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas in May Francis Godson — , a Methodist minister, who having served briefly in several of the Caribbean islands, eventually immersed himself in helping those in hardship of the First World War in Barbados.

He was later appointed to the Legislative Council of Barbados , and fought for the rights of pensioners. He was later followed by renowned Barbadian Augustus Rawle Parkinson — , [] who also was the first principal of the Wesley Hall School, Bridgetown in Barbados which celebrated its th anniversary in September It was his research and published works that enlightened much of this information on Caribbean Methodism. Originally modelled on the British structure, since independence most of these churches have adopted an episcopal model. The Nigerian Methodist Church is one of the largest Methodist denominations in the world and one of the largest Christian churches in Nigeria, with around two million members in congregations.

Christianity was established in Nigeria with the arrival in of a Wesleyan Methodist missionary. From the mission stations established in Badagry and Abeokuta , the Methodist church spread to various parts of the country west of the River Niger and part of the north. In missionaries of the Primitive Methodist Church arrived from Fernando Po, an island off the southern coast of Nigeria. From there the Methodist Church spread to other parts of the country, east of the River Niger and also to parts of the north. The church west of the River Niger and part of the north was known as the Western Nigeria District and east of the Niger and another part of the north as the Eastern Nigeria District.

Both existed independently of each other until when they constituted the Conference of Methodist Church Nigeria. The conference is composed of seven districts. The church has continued to spread into new areas and has established a department for evangelism and appointed a director of evangelism. An episcopal system adopted in was not fully accepted by all sections of the church until the two sides came together and resolved to end the disagreement. A new constitution was ratified in The system is still episcopal but the points which caused discontent were amended to be acceptable to both sides.

Today, the Nigerian Methodist Church has a prelate, eight archbishops and 44 bishops.

HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY

Methodist Church Ghana is one of the largest Methodist denominations, with around , members in 2, congregations, ministered by pastors. Methodism in Ghana came into existence as a result of the missionary activities of the Wesleyan Methodist Church , inaugurated with the arrival of Joseph Rhodes Dunwell to the Gold Coast in Roman Catholic and Anglican missionaries came to the Gold Coast from the 15th century.

Those who came out of this school had Bible copies and study supplied by the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge. Not only were Bibles sent, but also a Methodist missionary.