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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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Embodying Methodist Theology

Embodying Methodist Theology

Diverging Conceptions of Holy Living in American Methodist Theology

(p.229) 5 Embodying Methodist Theology
Old or New School Methodism?

Kevin M. Watson

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the diverging conceptions of holy living in Simpson and Roberts in depth. The chapter argues that Simpson was most concerned with growing and expanding the Methodist Episcopal Church, often compromising on what had been core commitments of Methodism in the hope of gaining a broader audience and expanding the institution. Roberts, on the other hand, believed that these same compromises were leading to a sacrifice of Methodism’s mission to “spread scriptural holiness.” The chapter outlines disagreements about how holiness should be expressed in the lives of Methodists, focusing in particular on differences in church buildings, dress and personal wealth, secret societies, and slavery. The chapter concludes by discussing the different visions for the future of American Methodism that Simpson and Roberts had, as a result of these different understandings of the importance of holiness and how it should be expressed in the lives of Methodists.

Keywords:   holy living, practical holiness, B.T. Roberts, Matthew Simpson, scriptural holiness, secret societies, slavery, church buildings, Methodist Episcopal Church, American Methodism

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