Monday, October 22, 2007

Francis Asbury

Mark Tooley, at The American Spectator, on the first post-Revolutionary bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was an interesting and very dedicated preacher, evangelist and leader:
Across five decades in early America, Methodism's circuit riding bishop crisscrossed all the colonies and later nearly every state of the union, preaching the Gospel, and constructing what would become the nation's largest denomination. The statue portrays Asbury on his horse, enrobed in a cape and with a wide brim hat, Bible in hand. Asbury, who never owned a home, spent most of his 70 years on the preaching trail. He routinely forded engorged rivers, hoofed through blizzards, traversed the Alleghenies, risked Indian attacks, and stayed in tiny smelly cabins with dirt floors more often than in fine houses
Methodism, at least as represented by the United Methodists, has changed a bit since those times:
While the early Methodist Church mostly stayed out of politics, it created an ethos that deeply shaped early American life. Methodism encouraged thrift, hard work, entrepreneurship, private philanthropy, and civic righteousness. Even if the church itself did not become politically active, Methodist individuals became renowned for their reforming zeal. But their main focus was always on the Gospel. [more]
The American Spectator: Asbury, Itinerant Leader

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