This paper is a product of the Wesleyan Studies Summer Seminar for 2011. This program at Asbury Theological Seminary, under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Collins, provides Wesleyan scholars with a month long intensive opportunity for research, writing, and interacting with other Wesleyan scholars for the furthering of academic knowledge in fields of Wesleyan Studies.

This paper explores the historical theological positions regarding water and Spirit Baptism in early Methodism and how these views diverged in the American Holiness Movement. Early Methodist teaching was more in line with Church history in associating water baptism with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. American Holiness teaching reduced the importance of water baptism to a symbolic act of repentance with a later outpouring of the Holy Spirit leading to entire sanctification.