A system of aggression: motives, methods and margins of Methodist growth with special reference to the growth of Methodism on Cannock Chase 1776-1893
AbstractA System of Aggression; Motives, Methods and Abrgins ofMethodist Growth with special reference to the growth ofIVkthodism on Cannock- Chase 1777-1893. This study treats Methodism as a self-conscious religious phenomenon in its own right and not as the answer to some other related historical problem The aim of the study is to examine the influence of concepts of ministry and church growth formulated by John Wesley upon the ways in which Methodism approached the task of promoting its own growth. The analysis of Wesley's concepts of ministry and church growth reveals an unresolved dilemma between the evangelical task of making converts and the pastoral task of providing spiritual nurture for them. Tracing the development of Methodist revivalism shows how the pastoral task prevailed over the evangelical one to the extent that revivalism became the province of specialised, revivalists. The study of the growth of Methodism on Cannock Chase shows how the trend towards professional revivalists led to the decline of lay participation in promoting the growth and vitality of Methodism. The evangelistic fervour of revival prayer meetings gave way to the excitement of fund raising activities designed to maintain the connexional system. The religious experience of Methodist converts also changed as the God of Wrath of the early revivalists preying on the residue of the superstitious Roman Catholic religious consciousness gave way to a benevolent God with a liberal attitude towards human shortcomings. This change reflected the change of Methodism from being a revival movement to a national church.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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