(The founder of the Methodist movement John Wesley 1703-1791)
Methodism represents a branch of Protestant Christianity that traces its heritage back to John Wesley and his attempts to bring revival within the Church of England in the early 18th century C.E. Methodism holds many of the basic Protestant Christian beliefs, including the inspiration and authority of scripture for faith and practice, the doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, and the necessity of grace to save humans from the consequences of sin. The two sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are also practiced. Wesley taught that Christians should strive to obtain holiness of life (called “perfect love”) with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. He established a system of small group meetings that were designed to encourage and support fellow Christians in lives of faith. Methodism spread rapidly throughout the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries through itinerant preachers. Since then, Methodist missionaries, focusing on both evangelism and service, have taken Methodism throughout the world.