Methodism did not arise as a result of doctrinal dispute, but out of an emphasis on practical Christianity. "The underlying energy of the Wesleyan theological heritage stems from an emphasis upon practical divinity, the implementation of genuine Christianity in the lives of believers." 1
The founder of the Methodist movement is John Wesley. Wesley was a minister of the Church of England who struggled with his own faith until having an evangelical experience of conversion at Aldersgate. John Wesley himself described the general perception of the newly-formed Methodist group:
The one charge then advanced against them was, that they were "righteous overmuch;" that they were abundantly too scrupulous, and too strict, carrying things to great extremes: In particular, that they laid too much stress upon the Rubrics and Canons of the Church; that they insisted too much on observing the Statutes of the University; and that they took the Scriptures in too strict and literal a sense; so that if they were right, few indeed would be saved. 2
Wesleyan Emphases - prevenient grace, justifying grace, sanctifying grace - http://www.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1812
"Sanctifying grace draws us toward the gift of Christian perfection, which Wesley described as a heart 'habitually filled with the love of God and neighbor" and as "having the mind of Christ and walking as he walked.'"
Views on Social and Ethical Issues
Women in Church - http://www.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1751
Tobacco Abstinence - http://www.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1756
The Wesleys and Their Times - UMC's General Board of Global Ministry
Links to primary and secondary materials on John, Charles, and Susanna Wesley, and public domain photos of the Wesleys.
History of the United Methodist Church - UMC Official Site
Full history of the UMC, with many photos.
About the United Methodist Church - UMC Official Site
History, social principles, what we believe, the constitution...
Wesleyan Emphases - UMC Official Site
Doctrinal distinctives of Wesleyan and Methodist churches, including their understanding of prevenient grace, justifying grace, and sanctifying grace.
The Story of United Methodism in America - Drew University
Full-length text and 128 illustrations
Gallery of Wesley-Related Photos - Drew University
Includes full descriptions.
The Wesleyan Church
Official site of the Wesleyan Church (TWC).
Who are the Wesleyans? - TWC Official Site
Overview of the Wesleyan Church.
Contemporary Issues - TWC Official Site
Views of the Wesleyan Church on a wide range of modern social issues.