Populist Saints

Front Cover
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006 M10 5 - 975 pages

Benjamin Titus Roberts (1823–1893) is best known for founding the Free Methodist Church in 1860 after his expulsion from the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was also an outspoken voice for such reform causes as the abolition of slavery, women in ministry, and farmers’ rights — so much so that he played a role in the rise of the Populist Movement. Ellen Stowe Roberts (1825–1908), scion of a prominent Methodist family, shared her husband’s passion for holiness, for speaking good news to the poor, and for urban ministry.

Popular Saints warmly tells the story of B. T. and Ellen Roberts’s lives, recounting their critique of powerful elites and illuminating the “crisis of Methodism” that gave rise to the Free Methodist Church. Howard Snyder’s detailed biography views key nineteenth-century currents and events — such as abolitionism, revivalism, women’s rights, the Civil War, and the expansion of railroads — through the lives of these two extraordinary figures, who taught a “holy populism” of simplicity, justice for the common people, and radical discipleship.

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