From John Wesley’s journal entry dated May 18, 1788, in which he records a short account of Methodism that he made to a congregation:
There is no other religious society under heaven which requires nothing of men in order to their admission into it, but a desire to save their souls. Look all round you, you can not be admitted into the Church, or society of the Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Quakers, or any others unless you hold the same opinions with them, and adhere to the same mode of worship.
The Methodists alone do not insist on your holding this or that opinion; but they think and let think. Neither do they impose any particular mode of worship; but you may continue to worship in your former manner, be it what it may. Now, I do not know any other religious society, either ancient or modern, wherein such liberty of conscience is now allowed, or has been allowed, since the age of the Apostles. Here is our glorying; and a glorying particular to us.
Wesley’s description was of the movement in the British Isles. The American movement had become a church a few years before. I do not know if the Early American Methodist Church could be described with as much freedom of conscience.
In 2013, in some parts of America, Christians would find refreshing the freedom of conscience that early Methodism offered. In other parts of the country, Christians have total freedom of conscience — some would say verging on licentiousness — but seem to lack any serious desire to save their souls.
In other words, early Methodism still has something to offer — even if it has no movement to make the offer — to the church in America.