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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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Becoming Bishop Simpson

Becoming Bishop Simpson

The Early Life and Ministry of Matthew Simpson

(p.58) 2 Becoming Bishop Simpson
Old or New School Methodism?

Kevin M. Watson

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the early life and ministry of Matthew Simpson. The chapter discusses Simpson’s rise from obscurity to being elected a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The chapter focuses on Simpson’s account of his own spiritual life, particularly noting his struggle to receive the witness of the Spirit and assurance, which were key Methodist doctrines and experiences. The chapter also discusses Simpson’s time as a professor, college president, and editor of an influential Methodist periodical before being elected to the episcopacy. The chapter also highlights the importance of Simpson’s uncle in his life and the disagreement that they had over slavery, due to his uncle’s passionate commitment to abolition. The chapter places Simpson in his ecclesial context and shows his commitment to growing the Methodist Episcopal Church by appealing to as broad a group of people as possible in order to get more people and build nicer buildings (churches, parsonages, colleges, and seminaries).

Keywords:   Matthew Simpson, Methodist Episcopal Church, assurance, abolition, institution building

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