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Wesley and the Atlantic World


While Wesley’s views on the future governance of his connexion did not long survive his death, his thinking in other areas remained influential. In both British and American Methodism, his key doctrinal emphases long remained the standard, but his influence faded over time, and beyond Methodism Wesley had little theological impact. Wesley’s visual likeness was frequently reproduced, and he was a familiar historical figure. Three aspects of his thinking embedded themselves in the public consciousness in both Britain and the United States. One was his demonstrated concern to spread the gospel in the transatlantic world and beyond. Another was his emphasis on his followers doing practical good for the community, the lasting impact of which is evident in the social and political activism which has long characterized British and American Methodism. The ramifications of the latter have been extensively debated by historians. The third area where the ‘Wesleyan mind’ had a significant impact was on the abolition of enslavement, although this led to continuing tensions within American Methodism, and ultimately to its division. In the longer term, however, it was Wesley’s message of the need for and attainability of personal salvation which has left the longest-lasting legacy.


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hal-04208123 , version 1 (15-09-2023)



Jérôme Grosclaude. Wesley and the Atlantic World. Joseph W. Cunningham; Clive Murray Norris. The Routledge Companion to John Wesley, Routledge, pp.443-453, 2023, Routledge Religion Companions, 9780367471675. ⟨10.4324/9781003037972-44⟩. ⟨hal-04208123⟩
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