Letter from John Wesley to Francis Asbury, October 31, 1784.

Letter from John Wesley to Francis Asbury, October 31, 1784.

In this letter John Wesley encouraged Francis Asbury to work with Dr. Thomas Coke (1747–1814) in organizing the Methodist movement in North America. In particular, Wesley was concerned about two prospects that were likely to:

"overturn Methodism from the [foun]dation: either our travelling preachers turning Independents and gathering congregations each for himself or procuring ordination in a regular way [through the Church of England] and accepting parochial cures. If you can find means of guarding against both evils, the work of God will prosper more than ever."

At Coke’s departure from England, Wesley had consecrated him Superintendent and had issued instructions to ordain Asbury to the same office. Asbury’s deep respect for the democratic spirit of the recently formed United States caused him to refuse the honor until he could be elected Superintendent by the American Methodist preachers. That action took place during the “Christmas Conference” of 1784.

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Letter from John Wesley to Francis Asbury, October 31, 1784.