When Francis Asbury was twenty-six years old he made the journey from England to America to begin his ministry in the New World. Asbury reported directly to Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmore in Philadelphia1. Asbury was put off by Boardman and Pilmore's desire to stay in Philadelphia and so he took it upon himself to begin the itinerant ministry in America that Wesley desired. Early on Asbury showed that, when it was necessary, he would initiate action when no one else was willing to. As he wrote in his journal,
"I am fixed to the Methodist plan, and do what I do faithfully, as to God....My brethren seem unwilling to leave the cities, but I think I shall show them the way. I am in trouble, and more trouble is at hand, for I am determined to make a stand against all partiality. I have nothing to seek but the glory of God; nothing to fear but his displeasure....I am determined that no man shall bias me with soft words and fair speeches."2
This passage reveals an important aspect of Asbury's personality that will allow a greater understanding of his later actions in the movement. Although he was under the direction of senior pastors within the Methodist movement at the time, Asbury truly answered to no entity but God, it was to God that all his actions were held accountable and if he had to step on some toes or embarrass other pastors by the example of his hard work then so be it. What mattered was the proliferation of the gospel and the achievement of Wesley's design for Methodism in America.
Asbury pursued his itinerant role with vigor, but the years that preceded the American Revolution were uneventful when compared to his later years.
|Early Methodism in America|
|Asbury's Early Life|
|Asbury before the Revolutionary War|
|Asbury during the Revolutionary War|
|Asbury after the Revolutionary War|
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1Richard P. Heitzenrater, Wesley
and the People Called Methodists (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995), 244
2Frank Baker, From Wesley to Asbury (Durham: Duke University Press, 1976), 123