John Wesley (1703–91)
This chapter discusses the significance, the life, and the contributions of John Wesley. No other Christian denomination honours the name of its founder more than the Methodist Church honours John Wesley. When the denomination's new historical society was formed in 1893, it was called the Wesley Historical Society. A devoted son of the Church of England, he fathered a breakaway church. An Oxford don, he became a preacher to the illiterate masses. An unbending Tory, he was a friend of the poor and enemy of slavery. Renowned as an evangelist, Wesley also fulfilled the role of a pastor-theologian. In these capacities, he not only proclaimed the gospel; he insisted equally that those who believed it should live consistently with its precepts. The raison d-être of his mission was the doctrine of universal redemption.
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