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American Saint Francis Asbury and the Methodists$
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John Wigger

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387803.001.0001

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“Be not righteous over much”

“Be not righteous over much”

(p.185) 11 “Be not righteous over much”
American Saint Francis Asbury and the Methodists

John Wigger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

One measure of the church’s success was that it now had to deal with imposters who pretended to be Methodist preachers. Still, growth slowed in the 1790s and membership actually declined in the South. Despite nagging sickness Asbury traveled across the mountains to Kentucky in the spring of 1790. But he still faced sustained opposition to the council, particularly in southern Virginia where O’Kelly’s influence was greatest. In the midst of these troubles, Asbury’s piety remained little changed. The second (and last) meeting of the council in December 1790 accomplished little. Coke and O’Kelly demanded that a general conference be called for 1792. Meanwhile, Coke wrote a secret letter to Bishop William White of the Protestant Episcopal Church, proposing a reconciliation of the Methodist and Episcopal churches. John Wesley’s death in March 1791 threw all of Coke’s plans in disarray. As Coke returned to England, Asbury took a tour of New England, where there were yet few Methodists.

Keywords:   Thomas Coke, council, growth, imposters, membership, New England, James O’Kelly, Protestant Episcopal Church, John Wesley, William White

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