Methodism did not originate as a response to a doctrinal dispute, although there was no lack of theological disputes. The first Methodists declared that they were preaching biblical teachings of the Anglican Church, as expressed in The Articles of Religion, the Homilies and The Book of Common Prayer. Their task was not to formulate the teaching anew, but to call people to experience God’s justifying and sanctifying grace, and to stimulate them to grow into knowledge of God and His love through personal and common following of Christ. Just as the Wesleyan church, so the United Brethren and the Evangelical Association wanted “to reform the nation, especially the church, and to spread biblical holiness over the land”.

The Wesleyan emphasis on Christian life – faith and love applied in practice – became the sign of authenticity for all traditions now connected in the United Methodist Church.