Methodism Reborn provides a long-overdue analysis of British Methodism’s failing health in the South Pacific and its untimely death in Australia, concluding that the introduction of liberal theology was the catalyst for internal conflict within Methodism in the twentieth century. The conflict undermined organisational discipline, focus and purpose while driving many of the faithful away from the denomination. The introduction of American Methodism (of the holiness stream) in the South Pacific after WWII became necessary as many felt British Methodism had lost its way.
The modern Wesleyan Methodist Church, born out of John Wesley’s organisation and nurtured in American holiness teaching, commenced in 1946 in Melbourne. Today it extends across six states of Australia, into PNG, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand. As a consequence, in 2012, the South Pacific Regional Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church was established.
Nonetheless, this twentieth century revival movement has struggled to emulate early Methodism’s impact upon Australian society. Despite retaining much of John Wesley’s priorities, its progress cannot be compared to the vigour of nineteenth century Methodism. This comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of the Wesleyan Methodist Church points to renewed vision that harnesses John Wesley’s “doctrine, spirit and discipline”, avoids past failures and reclaims the power of evangelical faith and practice.
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