The significance of the supernatural in the American Methodist circuit-rider ministry (c. 1770s–1830s)

Xhemajli, Adhurim (2019). The significance of the supernatural in the American Methodist circuit-rider ministry (c. 1770s–1830s). University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This study is the first to investigate the role and impact of the supernatural in the ministry of the early American Methodist preachers (c. 1770s–1830s). These preachers were known as circuit-riders and were appointed to evangelize the American frontier by presenting an experiential gospel: one that featured various supernatural phenomena that purportedly originated from God’s Spirit. In employing this evangelistic strategy of the gospel message fueled by supernatural displays, Methodism rapidly expanded; despite beginning with only ten official circuit-riders in the early 1770s, by the early 1830s, circuit-riders had multiplied and caused Methodism to become the largest American denomination of its day.

In investigating the significance of the supernatural in the circuit-rider ministry, this fresh study systematically constructs the theology of the supernatural according to the circuit-riders by discerning specific patterns in their use of the term. Further, the nature and reported impact of specific supernatural phenomena on both the individual circuit-rider and his audience is addressed. Finally, this investigation offers a new historical perspective through its demonstration of the correlation between the supernatural and the explosive membership growth of early American Methodism.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Other Funders: Self-funded
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
E History America > E11 America (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform


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