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Pursuing Social HolinessThe Band Meeting in Wesley's Thought and Popular Methodist Practice$
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Kevin M. Watson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199336364

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199336364.001.0001

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Transition in the Popular Practice of the Bands

Transition in the Popular Practice of the Bands

(p.140) 5 Transition in the Popular Practice of the Bands
Pursuing Social Holiness

Kevin M. Watson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the popular Methodist experience of band meetings from the late eighteen and early nineteenth centuries. The popular practice of the bands from the 1760s to the 1780s and from the 1780s through the beginning of the nineteenth century is detailed. Each section discusses the organization and conduct of the band meeting, the extent to which Methodists searched for assurance and holiness in bands, and the degree to which bands reinforced the necessity of a disciplined practice of the means of grace. This chapter also considers the popular primary source material related to the select society, or select bands (groups focused on the pursuit of entire sanctification or Christian perfection). The chapter concludes by arguing that the shift from band meetings to prayer meetings in the nineteenth century evidences a departure from Wesley’s emphasis on “social holiness” involving intimate small group accountability toward larger scale revivalism.

Keywords:   assurance, band meeting, Christian perfection, holiness, means of grace, popular Methodism, popular practice, prayer meetings, select bands, select societies

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