Methodism has had a long and widing history and influence across the world. Most stories of Methodism begin with John Wesley, the Oxford don turned circuit rider, preacher, publisher, organizer, prayer house builder, and apponent of the African Slave trade, among many other activies. Wesley did not invent a new religion nor a new manner of religion. His writing and work and the fruit of that work emerged in a specific context and tradition of the Church.
Conversations about the future of Methodism around the world often eschew the history of the tradition. Our goal here is foreground the history in as broad and expansive a way as possible. We start with Martin Luther because we have to start somewhere. Luther was also centrally important to Wesley's Aldersgate experience as well the Pietist Spirituality that influenced him.
The goal is to take our time but not to waste our time. Thank you for your interest and support in this project.
I started this podcast in 2017 in a moment of frustration after the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. I didn't know what I could do. I enjoy history and enjoyed studying the history of the church with Richard Heitzenrater before his retirement. One of my favorite moments in Heitzenrater's class was a powerpoint slide on London in 1738. It was a large painting and he was able to tell the class what every building was in 1738 and what it had been ten years prior. A semester of Methodist History does not cover much of what happens before Wesley. The podcast genre has no time constraint. I was also influenced by great podcast History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. What would Methodist history without gaps look like? I can't claim gaplessness here, but there aren't very many.
This website would not be possible without our supporters on Patreon. I put up a patreon on a lark and quickly received support, and then I got some more. The point was to cover my hosting costs. Once I hit that threshold, I decided to put together a website to have all the transcripts, sources, and a timeline so that it would be easier for the audience to visually make the connection between the episodes.
Who am I?
My name is Wilson Pruitt and I am an Elder in the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. I am currently appointed to Covenant United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas.
Want to get in touch? Send me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible!
wilson dot pruitt at gmail dot com
Since this project began as a purely audio medium, my citations and sources were not as strong as they could have been. All of the primary sources for the history of Methodism up to the early 20th century are in the public domain and many of them can be found online in various places. Here are some of the most important ones.
The principle guide for a Wesleyan understanding of English history is John Wesley's four volume A Concise History of England, published in 1776. Here are all four volumes and the periods that they cover
The other principle source is the Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley, which originagted in Oxford but is currently being published by Abingdon Press. In the transcripts, I cite volumes in this serious Wesley's Works followed by the volume number and page number. The website, wesley-works.org is a great resource that links to all the published volumes, shows future volumes, and links to primary sources of John's that will not be included in the print publications.
The Wesley Center Online at Northern Nazarene University, has a number of public domain works digitized, especially from the Thomas Jackson edition of Wesley's works. Most helpfully, in includes Wesley's A Christian Library, which was the largest publication venture of Wesley's liftetime, as well as Wesley's Notes upon the Old and New Testaments.