By Gordon L. Heath

Two things happened last week that quickly became related in my mind.

First, I finished my course entitled “The World and Writings of John Wesley” by looking at what happened in subsequent generations after the death of John Wesley. The story has some highs – such as widespread nineteenth century revivals or the globalization of Methodism in the twentieth century. It also has some lows – such as the demise of Methodism in the West. And I used some commentary by David Hempton to provide some analysis, especially of the lows.

Second, I started reading about the 2021 Canadian census results that portrayed a continuation of the decline of Christianity in Canada. Brian Clarke and Stuart Macdonald have previously noted that decline,[1] and the most recent census simply reinforces that narrative of downward trajectory.[2]

What linked the two things in my mind was the reality of a downward spiral of a once vibrant faith. The post-Christendom reality of the Western world has been readily identified by a host of scholars and has been lamented by the faithful who sit in empty pews on Sunday.

So what went wrong?

[Editor’s note: The above is part of a post originally posted on To view the post in its entirety, visit: The Decline of Methodism, the Rise of Christendom, and Agency]


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