- a religious movement founded by John and Charles WESLEY and a GROUP of their friends in the eighteenth century which grew to be a major CHRISTIAN REVITALIZATION MOVEMENT that made a significant impact on the nineteenth century MISSIONARY movement and Christian enterprise throughout the world. The original movement is today a family of Churches loosely connected to the World Methodist Council and claims a membership of over 18 million and a community of 40 million. In 1839 John Wesley started a society in London to promote EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY in England. In 1841 he began the training of Lay-ministers and in 1769 sent his first missionaries to serve in America. Wesley and his followers finally broke away from ANGLICANISM in 1784 to establish their own CHURCH. With a few notable exceptions, such as Welsh METHODISM, the movement is strongly ARMINIAN in theology with a strong social concern. In the twentieth century Methodism has tended to encourage LIBERAL THEOLOGY and has moved away from its revivalist roots.
Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.
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