- T. Roberts’ Up-to-Date Vision of Earnest Christianity
© Howard A. Snyder [Used by Permission]
Author, Populist Saints: B. T. and Ellen Roberts and the First Free Methodists
Visiting Director, Manchester Wesley Research Centre
Roberts Wesleyan College – September 21, 2016Introduction
Benjamin Titus Roberts always insisted that the mission of the Free Methodist Church was “twofold—to maintain the Bible standard of Christianity, and to preach the Gospel to the poor.” He never lost sight of this throughout his many years of life and ministry.
I invite you this morning to consider the relevance of this mission for our lives personally and for the church today.
- B.T. Roberts and the Free Methodist Church were in a broad sense part of the Holiness Movement within American Methodism. This movement was committed to the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification as taught by John Wesley and as interpreted by leaders in the nineteenth-century Holiness Movement.
Roberts shared this concern with sanctification—that is, holy living in every dimension of life. Not everyone in the Holiness Movement however shared Roberts’ particular concern with the poor. In general, early Free Methodists embraced a more radical understanding of holiness as well as a more radical commitment to the poor. Sociologically speaking, the energy that powered early Free Methodism was somewhat separate and distinct from that of the broader Holiness Movement which in the 1860s,