Pedlar, James E. “Schism and the Spirit in Hugh Bourne’s Theology.” Wesley and Methodist Studies 10, no. 2 (2018): 177-196. DOI: 10.5325/weslmethstud. 10.2.0177
It is normally argued that theological issues were not at stake in the separation of the Primitive Methodist Connexion from Wesleyan Methodism. While it is true that the flashpoint issues were methodological, there were underlying theological differences that contributed to the schism. Primitive Methodist co-founder Hugh Bourne had a pneumatocentric theology that prioritized the personal work of the Holy Spirit over the Spirit's work through the community. His Spirit-centred perspective led the Primitive Methodists to a more participatory and egalitarian understanding of the church, but offered little reason to resist separation from Wesleyan Methodism when conflict arose.
The Primitive Methodist Connexion was founded near the beginning of a fractious era of British Methodist history. For seven decades following Wesley’s death, Methodism in Britain splintered into a variety of ecclesial bodies, most of which were eventually reunited. Several significant studies of these divisions were written during the height of mid-twentieth-century ecumenical fervor.
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