American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists

ISBN : 9780199948246

John H. Wigger
558 Pages
159 x 235 mm
Pub date
Nov 2012
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English-born Francis Asbury was one of the most important religious leaders in American history. Asbury single-handedly guided the creation of the American Methodist church, which became the largest Protestant denomination in nineteenth-century America, and laid the foundation of the Holiness and Pentecostal movements that flourish today. In American Saint, John Wigger has written the definitive biography of Asbury and, by extension, a revealing interpretation of the early years of the Methodist movement in America. Asbury emerges here as not merely an influential religious leader, but a fascinating character, who lived an extraordinary life. His cultural sensitivity was matched only by his ability to organize. His life of prayer and voluntary poverty were legendary, as was his generosity to the poor. He had a remarkable ability to connect with ordinary people, and he met with thousands of them as he crisscrossed the nation, riding more than one hundred and thirty thousand miles between his arrival in America in 1771 and his death in 1816. Indeed Wigger notes that Asbury was more recognized face-to-face than any other American of his day, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.


Chapter 1. The Apprentice
Chapter 2. The Young Preacher
Chapter 3. The Promise of Discipline
Chapter 4. Southern Persuasion
Chapter 5. One Revolution
Chapter 6. Leads to Another
Chapter 7. Looking Forward, Looking Backward
Chapter 8. A New Church in a New Nation
Chapter 9. "Such a time...was never seen before"
Chaper 10. "Alas for the rich! they are so soon offended"
Chapter 11. "Be not righteous over much"
Chapter 12. Schism
Chapter 13. Reconnecting
Chapter 14. "Weighed in the balances"
Chapter 15. "We were great too soon"
Chapter 16. "Down from a Joyless height"
Chapter 17. "Feel for the power"
Chapter 18. "The garden of God"
Chapter 19. "Like a moving fire"
Chapter 20. Limits
Chapter 21. "I see, I feel what is wrong in preachers and people, but I cannot make it right,"
Chapter 22. What God Allows
Chapter 23. End of the Road
Epilogue: Bending Frank

About the author: 

John Wigger is Professor of History at the University of Missouri.

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