Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Methodists, the members of a number of religious bodies, which owe their name and, in most cases, much of their doctrine and practice to the society in the Church of England founded by John Wesley in 1729 at Oxford, joined by George Whitfield in 1735. From their rigorous attention to the duties enjoined on Christians in the New Testament, and their devotion to good works, the unawakened members of the English Church called them Methodists, which title they adopted. Not being allowed to set forth their views in the pulpits of the English Church, the leaders took to open-air preaching, and then soon organised a Church on the plan of that of the Moravian Brothers, by whom Wesley had been much impressed in Georgia and Herrnhut between 1735-and 1737. At the outset the Methodists exhibited a division into Wesleyans, who held Arminian views, and Whitfieldians, who were Calvinistic. The special feature of Methodism was the promotion of strong religious enthusiasm and great missionary zeal. Since 1766 Methodism has flourished in N. America, where are many sects, some being, unlike the British sects, episcopalian.