Early American Methodism: Taking Heaven By Storm

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Taking Heaven by Storm by John H. Wigger tells the story about early American Methodism. This book argues that the Methodist changed America forever by giving the everyday American a sense of belonging, but Methodism also fit well with the existing culture, economic characteristics, and religious aspects of the early United States. Wigger focuses on Methodism between the years of 1770 to 1880, a time where this denomination spread rapidly. There are several factors to Methodism that contributed to this growth spurt. Wigger believes that the iterant preachers, treatment of African-Americans and women, and the overall Methodist attitude and way of life all helped this group develop a deep relationship with America, and Winger’s belief proves…show more content…
It is evident that he is highly knowable and credible in this field. His presentation, however, has one major pitfall; he spends so much time on the individual stories of Methodist people that his main point is often lost. The tales about Sarah Ennalls and Mary White demonstrate how unnecessary some of Wigger’s accounts can be. Both stories tell about a women who was a hostess, counselor, and confidante to early circuit riders, and both contain a similar message (Wigger 161). If one of these women had been cut from the book, she would not be missed because the other woman’s story essentially focuses on the same theme and point. Conciseness is not Wigger’s strongpoint. There are multiple occasions when the author diverges into multiple stories that pertain to the same point. Granted, he is making his case with these accounts, and some stories are necessary in an argument like this; however, tale after tale makes Taking Heaven by Storm confusing and tedious because his argument often loses its focus amongst a pile of narratives. In the first quarter of Taking Heaven by Storm, Wigger discusses the formation and operation of the Methodist’s church organization. His detailed explanation is highly informative, yet it does not add to the main argument. A brief background on the church’s organization could help readers better understand the thesis, but longwinded chapters about the love feast and class…show more content…
Taking Heaven by Storm discusses Methodism through the itinerant preachers, treatment of African-Americans and women, and the overall attitudes and way of life in the Methodist connection. Wigger concludes that the Methodist changed America forever by making people feel accepted despite their social class, gender, and race, but Methodism also had to adapt to the broader culture, economic characteristics, and religious aspects of the early United States. This book does an exemplary job of arguing and explaining Methodism between the years of 1770 to 1880. Wigger sometimes loses focus of the main argument by telling the minute details about the individuals in the movement, but his comprehensive outlook ultimately solidifies and strengthens his argument in the end. Taking Heaven by Storm is an unforgettable book that tells the story of people whose beliefs and actions helped change and shape an entire nation to become a place of true equality and
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