Chapter 44. Wesleyan Tradition

  1. Philip Goff Director Professor
  1. Christopher H. Evans

Published Online: 16 APR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324082.ch44

The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America

The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America

How to Cite

Evans, C. H. (2010) Wesleyan Tradition, in The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America (ed P. Goff), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324082.ch44

Editor Information

  1. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, USA

Author Information

  1. Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Rochester, New York, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 APR 2010
  2. Published Print: 23 APR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405169363

Online ISBN: 9781444324082



  • Wesleyan tradition, associated with religious movements and churches connected to American Methodism;
  • Wesleyan tradition, major role in history of American evangelicalism;
  • Wesleyanism's influence - movements ranging from theological liberalism, Social Gospel, and Pentecostalism;
  • divine providence to cultural dominance - nineteenth-century American Wesleyan historiographies;
  • Wesleyan theology, evangelical emphasis on “new birth” with concept of social holiness;
  • American Methodism, loosing ground to Southern Baptist Convention as largest Protestant church;
  • Frederick Norwood's The Story of American Methodism - pinnacle of denominational studies of American Methodism;
  • Timothy Smith's Revivalism and Social Reform and Donald Dayton's Rediscovering an Evangelical Heritage - pertaining to antebellum evangelicalism;
  • historical studies into post-Civil War American religion - ignoring role of American Wesleyanism;
  • American Wesleyan tradition - line between religious advocacy and scholarly objectivity, being easily crossed


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • British Origins

  • From Divine Providence to Cultural Dominance: Nineteenth-Century American Wesleyan Historiographies

  • Twentieth-Century Interpretations

  • Emerging Perspectives

  • Current Trends

  • Conclusion

  • Bibliography