Witnesses of Perfect Love: Narratives of Christian Perfection in Early Methodism
Amy Caswell Bratton
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In Witnesses of Perfection Amy Caswell Bratton explores how the eighteenth-century doctrine of Christian Perfection spread in the early British Methodist communities. Alongside leaders such as John and Charles Wesley teaching about Christian Perfection, Methodist men and women told narratives of Christian Perfection which transmitted the doctrine. Using narrative to spread Christian Perfection was effective because it both communicated the content of the experience of Christian Perfection and also commended this experience to the listener.
This study is noteworthy for its detailed analysis of several first-hand narratives that testify to the experience, and which were made public for the edification of the Methodist community in the Arminian Magazine and other publications. The narratives of four Methodist people are examined at length: Sarah Crosby (1729-1804), George Clark (1710-1797), William Hunter (1728-1797) and Bathsheba Hall (1745-1780). In addition to observing the transmission of the doctrine through narrative, the study of these stories illuminates early Methodist spirituality and the doctrine of Christian Perfection (or entire sanctification) through the embodiment of Perfection in the life of real people.
Amy Caswell Bratton was born in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. She was born into a rich family heritage of Methodism in the Free Methodist Church, attending Lakeview Free Methodist Church in Saskatoon while growing up. She attended Rocky Mountain College in Calgary, Alberta where her interest in Spiritual Theology and teaching were discovered. In 2005 she continued her studies at Regent College in Vancouver, BC where she completed her MCS and ThM in Spiritual Theology. She hopes to discover more kindred spirits among the early Methodists by continuing studying their stories and spirituality. Amy is currently living in Vancouver with her husband, waiting on God for the next part of her journey, be it in further studies, a job involving teaching or something else entirely. Amy blogs about the witnesses of perfect love at www.amycaswellbratton.ca.