The Promise of Discipline
Asbury arrived in Philadelphia in October 1771. He soon concluded that Joseph Pilmore and Richard Boardman, preachers sent by John Wesley in 1769, had limited themselves too much to New York City and Philadelphia and had not consistently applied Wesley’s standards of discipline, particularly by allowing nonmembers to attend without joining a class meeting. Asbury’s views concerning discipline frequently put him at odds with Pilmore and lay leaders in the North. Asbury felt more comfortable among southern Methodists, most of whom lived in Maryland and whose zeal and commitment to discipline often seemed more genuine than in the North. Asbury initially welcomed the arrival of Thomas Rankin and George Shadford, preachers sent by Wesley in 1773. Rankin in particular was known as a firm disciplinarian.
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