John Wesley in America: Restoring Primitive Christianity

John Wesley in America: Restoring Primitive Christianity by Geordan Hammond

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Why did John Wesley leave the halls of academia at Oxford to become a Church of England missionary in the newly established colony of Georgia? Was his ministry in America a success or failure? These questions-which have engaged numerous biographers of Wesley-have often been approached from the vantage point of later developments in Methodism. Geordan Hammond presents the first book-length study of Wesleys experience in America, providing an innovative contributionto debates about the significance of a formative period of Wesleys life. John Wesley in America addresses Wesleys Georgia mission in fresh perspective by interpreting it in its immediate context. In order to re-evaluate this period of Wesleys life, Hammond carefully considers Wesleys writings and those of his contemporaries. The Georgia mission, for Wesley, was a laboratory for implementing his views of primitive Christianity. The ideal of restoring the doctrine, discipline, and practice of the early church in the pristine Georgia wilderness was theprime motivating factor in Wesleys decision to embark for Georgia and in his clerical practice in the colony. Understanding the centrality of primitive Christianity to Wesleys thinking and pastoral methods is essential to comprehending his experience in America. Wesleys conception of primitive Christianity wasrooted in his embrace of patristic scholarship at Oxford. The most direct influence, however, was the High Church ecclesiology of the Usager Nonjurors who inspired him with their commitment to the restoration of the primitive church.
Publication Date:
22 / 05 / 2014

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