By Jeffrey Williams
Early American Methodists mostly defined their non secular lives as nice wars with sin and claimed they wrestled with God and devil who assaulted them in bad methods. rigorously analyzing more than a few assets, together with sermons, letters, autobiographies, journals, and hymns, Jeffrey Williams explores this violent element of yankee spiritual existence and idea. Williams exposes Methodism's insistence that battle used to be an inevitable a part of Christian lifestyles and important for any individual who sought God's redemption. He finds a fancy dating among faith and violence, displaying how violent expression helped to supply context and aspiring to Methodist proposal and perform, at the same time Methodist non secular existence was once formed through either peaceable and violent social motion.
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Additional info for Religion and Violence in Early American Methodism: Taking the Kingdom by Force (Religion in North America)
In fact, the eighteenth century witnessed vigorous debates about the devil. 59 In 1737, Anglican clergyman Arthur Ashley Sykes (c. 1684–1756), motivated by his assumptions about the incredulity of demonic possession, sought to recast the interpretation of biblical passages normally associated with Satanic affliction. In An Inquiry Into the Meaning of the Demoniacks in the New Testament, Sykes sought to challenge the traditional interpretation of possession narratives on two fronts. First, Sykes asserted that ancient writers used the Greek word “daimon” as a literary device to describe wicked human beings rather than Satan’s fallen angels.
Wesley identified the foundation of this divine struggle in the enmity that characterized the preconverted relationship between humanity and the divine. Human sin awakened divine judgment, most commonly when people willingly interfered with the divine plan. 84 For Wesley, divine justice demanded the punishment of all evildoers, whether in this life or the next. Even the intimate relationship with God, which Methodists claimed was one of the fruits of the new birth, depended upon believers retaining obedience to God’s commands.
Wesley said that Coxen knew immediately what happened to him. God had “overtaken” him because of his disobedience. 85 Wesley made human rebellion and divine punishment common features of the divine-human interaction. He saw the conversion process as the most conflict-ridden aspect of the relation between God and humanity. 86 Wrestling God seems to derive from the biblical narrative of the patriarch Jacob wrestling the angel of the Lord in Genesis 32:22–32. In this passage, the angel accosted Jacob at the ford of Jabbok but could not overpower 34â•… Religion and Violence in Early American Methodism him.
Religion and Violence in Early American Methodism: Taking the Kingdom by Force (Religion in North America) by Jeffrey Williams