As I noted earlier, there are many Methodists whose knowledge of Methodism is limited. I am not trying to be critical but if we do not have an understanding of what it is that we say we are, how can we tell (and show others) what it means to be a Methodist?
On September 15, 1790, John Wesley wrote a letter to Robert Carr Brackenbury where he discussed his declining health. Wesley wrote that his “body seems nearly to have done its work and to be almost worn out.” This acknowledgment of his own mortality seems to have led Wesley to reflect on his life and his involvement in Methodism. Wesley’s description of his sense of God’s purpose for “raising up” the “people called Methodists” is now fairly well known:
I am glad brother D — has more light with regard to full sanctification. This doctrine is the grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called Methodists; and for the sake of propagating this chiefly He appeared to have raised us up.
In other words, Wesley believed that there was a particular reason for Methodism. Methodists existed because God had given them a particular corporate calling – to spread the…
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