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I was going to ask, "Why are Methodists called Methodists", but that's pretty easily googleable. Apparently it's the same reason the Sioux aren't called Lakota.

But, in the days since the "Holy Club" became known as the "Methodists" has there been any attempt to define what "The Method" actually is?

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1 Answer 1

The Oxford Holy Club, founded by John Wesley, was the first of many Methodist societies that followed a set of general rules developed by Wesley himself:

It is therefore expected of all who continue therein that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation,

  1. By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, especially that which is most generally practiced

  2. By doing good; by being in every kind merciful after their power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all men

  3. By attending upon all the ordinances of God; such are:

    • The public worship of God.
    • The ministry of the Word, either read or expounded.
    • The Supper of the Lord.
    • Family and private prayer.
    • Searching the Scriptures.
    • Fasting or abstinence.

The idea was to help Christians draw closer to God and attain Christian perfection through the process of sanctification*. Basically (my words here) you follow the rules and you build good habits and that helps you be a better Christian.

These three rules have been apart of Methodism since the very beginning and they're still prominent in many Methodist organizations today. There's actually a book based on the Wesley method called The John Wesley Great Experiment. In the 60s, John Wesley UMC in Tallahassee, FL started a study group based on the book called "Wanted: Ten Brave Christians" that still gets used today (I know because I did it last month).

*I can't begin to explain this well enough to do it justice so I suggest you visit the source. CCEL has an amazing collection of John Wesley's writings (among so many others) that are free and in the public domain.

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