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Old or New School Methodism?The Fragmentation of a Theological Tradition$
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Kevin M. Watson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190844516

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190844516.001.0001

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An Essential in Early American Methodist Doctrine and Discipline

(p.18) 1 Holiness
Old or New School Methodism?

Kevin M. Watson

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that holiness was an essential mark of American Methodist theology from the beginnings of American Methodism through the first half of the nineteenth century. The chapter summarizes the initial commitment to holiness in John Wesley and early British Methodism. The commitment to holiness and entire sanctification of early American Methodism is then discussed. The chapter points to the importance of holiness as marking a theological tradition that was consistent across varieties of American Methodism as well as in popular Methodist experience. The chapter concludes by pointing to signs of coming tension, especially the rise of Phoebe Palmer and the Holiness Movement, the division that created the Wesleyan Methodist Connection, and the croakers, who initially complained about changes and compromise they saw in Methodism. The core argument of the chapter is that from 1784 through the 1840s there was a coherent theological tradition in American Methodism.

Keywords:   American Methodist theology, holiness, entire sanctification, popular Methodism, John Wesley, Phoebe Palmer, Holiness movement, Wesleyan Methodist Connection

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