NEW

Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

Pride Flags Cause Conflict at Christian School Conflict has broken out in a Christian school in Oxfordshire over the display of “Pride” flags. The institution in question is Kingham Hill School.  The same Trust (Kingham Hill Trust) oversees Oak Hill College, an...

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

Samuel Wesley & the Crisis of Tory Piety

Samuel Wesley

& the Crisis of Tory Piety, 1685-1720

William Gibson

Oxford University Press, 2021 (ISBN: 978-0-19-887024-1, 216pp)

Gibson, author of The Church of England 1688-1832: Unity and Accord (2001) is a proven master of English ecclesiastical history relating to the ‘long eighteenth century’. This status is blisteringly apparent from his command of sources, texts, and arguments in this new exploration of Samuel Wesley, the ‘grandfather’ of Wesleyanism. Such is Gibson’s dominance within his period that, without irony or pretence, he is able frequently to refer to his own published works in sustaining lines of enquiry, while casually lacing his prose with figures reproduced from his own apparently extensive collection of original works.

This book, perhaps the fruit of labours during the first national lockdown, delivers handsomely. Though not merely a biography, it does benefit from following the drama of a chronology, from Wesley’s undergraduate studies at Exeter College Oxford, through his ordination, marriage, ministry at Epworth, and activities in Convocation. Allied to the thrust of narrative is Gibson’s penetrating interrogation of his subject’s written remains and thorough awareness of their context. 

Wesley is a colourful prism through whom to view the eponymous ‘crisis’ of Tory piety at the turn of the eighteenth century, being the scion not of landed royalists handsomely rewarded at the Restoration, but of impoverished Dissenters hounded from their livings at the Great Ejection. Gibson evidently delights in unravelling the fraught layers of historiography which have accrued around this counter-intuitive character, gently but thoroughly reassessing the conclusions of previous historians of Methodism such as Luke Tyerman and Henry Rack.

The English church owes an incalculable debt to the Reformation and church historians have traditionally crowded in to peer ponderously at the sixteenth century. The Restoration and Revolution settlements by contrast have been less popular topics, but writers like Gibson demonstrate splendidly the continuing relevance of debates from these eras. Questions such as the legitimacy of a de facto sovereign and the justifiable grounds for church separation remain as pertinent now as ever. 

Edward Keene, Little Shelford

Previous

Next