Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Going off track (2)

The Primitive Methodist movement began to go off track with the adoption of Protestant liberal theology. The crisis developed in Adelaide in South Australia, 1889 onwards.

Arnold Hunt, in his history of Methodism in South Australia, provides more detail.

In 1889 Hugh Gilmore and his wife and family, came to South Australia to be the minister of the Primitive Methodist church in Wellington Square, North Adelaide. Gilmore was the first Methodist minister in the colony to be an overt advocate of Protestant liberal theology.

This movement stressed the need for a new understanding of the authority of the Bible. It subordinated doctrine to ethic, preached social reform as well as individual conversion, took an optimistic view of the possibility of human progress, rejected the infallibility of the Bible, and preferred the Gospels to the Epistles of Paul. Primitive Methodism had spawned by the 1880s a group of proponents of this new theology, two of whom, Gilmore and his successor, John Day Thompson, came to South Australia.

Gilmore’s Methodism had moved a long way from excessive concern with individual salvation. There was still a desire, of course, that people should find in Christ the power and the person to empower and enhance life. But the emphasis on the social witness of the Christian was strong. Social brotherhood and compassion for the poor were the highest manifestations of Christian spirituality.

See also "Going off track (1)"

This side of heaven, Arnold D Hunt, p134-136

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