This period contains several interesting controversies that help define the shape of Methodism and the nature of its relationship to the Church of England. Differences of opinion over the questions of lay preaching, ordination, sacraments, and doctrinal standards arise within the Methodist societies and represent the issues at the heart of a maturing organization that is stretching the limits of its self-conscious role within the Established Church. The doctrine of Christian perfection also provides the focus of another challenge to unity within the people called Methodists and increases the strain upon their relationship with the Church. The nature and manner of John Wesley's authority and leadership within the movement continues to be a controversial issue as the annual conferences become an important feature within the movement.
Features footnotes to quotations, key themes, and background information.