The Free Methodist Church
is a denomination of Methodism
, which is a branch of Protestant Christianity
. It was founded in 1860 by a group, led by B. T. Roberts, that left the Methodist Episcopal Church for a number of reasons. The Free Methodists are so named because they believed it was improper to charge for better seats in pews closer to the pulpit. They also opposed slavery and supported freedom for all slaves in the United States, while many Methodists in the South at that time did not actively oppose slavery. Beyond that, they advocated "freedom" from secret societies, which had allegedly undermined parts of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Today, the Free Methodist Church is considered to be a part of Evangelical Protestant Christianity, and its theology is similar to that of the Church of the Nazarene and other Holiness churches. Members have traditionally abstained from alcohol and tobacco.
The largest Free Methodist church in the world is in Spring Arbor, Michigan.