UMC50: Themes from our Past
Each of the two denominations brought a variety of gifts and traditions to the Merger. Here are a couple of key themes.
The Evangelical United Brethren Tradition
A Gospel which recognizes family across that which divides
Touched by Continental Pietism which emphasized New Life and Heart-felt actions over creeds, groups which were antagonistic toward each other in Europe often became sisters and brothers in the New World. Otterbein, Boehm and Albright each represent a distinct tradition that had been antagonistic to each other in Europe. Here they welcomed each other into a new tradition.
Wir sind Brüder
The Methodist Church Tradition
A Gospel for the heart, the head, and the body
For the Wesley’s, their understanding of grace meant the renewal of the person not only in their heart or soul, but also in their mind and as much as possible in the body or health. Toward this end the Methodist movement was characterized by the creation of tools to help or assist the person to grow in these graces. Hymnbooks, sermons, and biblical commentary allowed the Methodist to praise and worship. Methodists were also offered a special collection of spiritual classics in the Christian Library. And finally John Wesley also created Primitive Physik, a booklet of home remedies for various illnesses common in the 18th century. Along with chapels for worship, there were apothecaries and even ways to borrow money. For the Wesleys, and Francis Asbury in the United States, this was all involved in spreading Scriptural holiness across the continent.