Along with his brother Charles, the great hymnist whose music was a key attraction for many to the movement, Wesley did much to save England from the social convulsions that came later in France. Tens of thousands of persons became connected with the Methodist societies before John Wesley died. In America, they began to grow rapidly from the time Methodism started. Methodism was revolutionary in its conception of religious principles. In the Church of England, salvation was theoretically a spiritual process to be secured through worship and the sacraments of the Church. The evangelical preaching of Wesley called for definite repentance of sin, wrestling with God for forgiveness, and an experience of peace and assurance. Feeling and volition were stressed more than intellectual assent and conformity to ecclesiastical custom. Directly and indirectly, the Methodists contributed to the missionary and humanitarian enterprises of the nineteenth century.
John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism, attended Oxford University in 1720 and was ordained deacon in 1725. He returned to Oxford in 1729 and became the leader of the “holy club” or Methodists, which had been organized during his absence by his brother, Charles.
Charles Wesley (1708-1788) has been called “the poet of Methodism.” Born in Epworth, England in 1707 he was educated at Westminster School and Oxford University, where he took his degree in 1728.
Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was the first Methodist bishop ordained in America. Asbury was born near Birmingham, England.
William and Catherine Booth (1829-1912 & 1829-1890) were the founders of the Salvation Army.