Denominational Resources

Statements of Belief
Detailed History
Book of Discipline (governing document)
The Free Methodist Way
Position Papers

Brief History

Redeemer is part of the Free Methodist Church. In short and in our own words, the Free Methodist Church is part of the larger Wesleyan tradition of Christianity that traces its roots back to the 18th Century Church of England priests John and Charles Wesley.

The Wesley brothers established a renewal movement within the Church of England that was called “Methodist,” originally a slang term directed at the brothers in derision of their strict set of guidelines established for a Christian club they started while attending college at Oxford.

The Methodist movement spread rapidly over a period of several decades both in England and America, and several contributing incidents resulting from the American Revolution inclined John Wesley to ordain ministers to serve the growing need in America not being met by priests in the Anglican Church. As a consequence, the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) was established.

Many different denominations would be born out of the MEC over the course of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The Free Methodist Church – much like the MEC itself – was started out of necessity as a result of outside actions beyond its control: Benjamin Titus (B.T.) Roberts, an ordained elder in the MEC, was dismissed from the denomination over his attempts at reform in objection to the Church renting the best seats in pews to those with the most money; the weakness of the Church’s stance against slavery; and the fact that the Church was decreasing its emphasis on the Wesleyan standards of holy living and evangelism (the MEC would posthumously reinstate Roberts and apologize to his family for its mistake in kicking him out).

Without a church home but still strongly committed to the Wesleyan vision of Christianity, Roberts and several other pastoral associates and friends created the Free Methodist Church in New York in 1860. The name “Free” is in reference to the emphasis on all people being equal and free from renting pews, free from slavery, and free to worship as they saw fit.

The Free Methodist Church today is a relatively small denomination compared to several other Wesleyan traditions, but it continues to faithfully seek to create disciples of Jesus that progress down the path of sanctification throughout their lives and serve the needs of the poor and vulnerable.

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