Where is Methodism going? The writer does not really know where Methodism is bound. Like the mythical bird that flies backward, he only knows where he has been.

One might say that Methodism is going back to Wesley, for there are signs of renewed interest in its founder and increased emphasis upon doctrines that he taught. One might prophesy a great awakening among the Methodists, but so far evidences of such a development are slight. Many among us feel that our denomination may have gone so far along the road to liberalism that any movement now must be back to the fundamentals of our faith—or back to Christ. But others see Methodism beating a retreat from the evangelistic and theological renascence in favor of a new movement toward “liberalism.” It is probable that most Methodist ministers and laymen, like their counterparts in other denominations, look for nothing more than a continuance of the “status quo” which, in the words of a country preacher, “is the Latin for the fix we is in.”

With this disclaimer of superior insight and prophetic foresight, I shall say frankly what I think I see. But before we peer into the future, we must look at the past. I do not know for a certainty where Methodism is going, but I do know where she has been.


John Wesley had come into St. Paul’s Cathedral of London a broken and a defeated man. He had failed as a missionary in far-off Georgia where he had gone as chaplain to the colonizer, General Oglethorpe. Despite education at Oxford and holy orders as a priest in the Church of England, and despite the fact that under his leadership young men of Oxford had founded the Holy Club in attempt to bring back primitive Christianity to a dying organization and had succeeded in making ...

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