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Doctrine Beliefs of Methodists

Moms View Message Board: The Kitchen Table (Debating Board): Doctrine Beliefs of Methodists
By Kaye on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 12:07 am:

This is not really a debate topic, jsut a search for info, but with religion it is always best here I think! Anyway, my question is does anyone know what the methodists believe? I have always been Baptist, have been very comfortable with their doctrines. We just moved and after church hopping through all the Baptist and community churches we have found a Methodist one we like. But I know nothing about Methodist. I know I like the music, like the pastor, but I was just curious where they stand on things. I did a search, but couldn't find any easy to read info, so I thought I would ask here. Thanks in advance. I certainly plan on asking the church if we decide to get more involved, but until then I was just curious.

By Pamt on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 01:13 am:

Try this:

I was raised (sporadically) in the Methodist church as a child and became a Baptist while in college. Could type more, but it's late, and I'm tired. LOL

By Feona on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 07:39 am:

This I thought was important. If you believe the bible is the word of God or inspired by God.

The official United Methodist doctrine is that the Bible was inspired by God and contains all things necessary for salvation. When read under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is our true rule and guide for faith and practice.

Article V, The Articles of Religion, The Book of Discipline: "The Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any person that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. . ."

Article VI, The Articles of Religion, The Book of Discipline: "The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ . . . Although the law given from God by Moses concerning ceremonies and rites does not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral."

Article IV, The Confession of Faith, The Book of Discipline: "We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation. It is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice. Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation."

I thought this was good.

By Ginnyk on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 09:46 am:

Having been a Methodist for the past 25+ years, I can tell you there is a wide diversity of belief/opinion in a number of areas. But, basically, Methodists are more akin to Baptists than to, for example, Presbyterians. Wesley is the founder of the Methodist Church, and founded it as a place for the working people to attend church, as most workers were not comfortable in or welcome in the Anglican churches of the time, but he developed it as a branch of the Anglican Church (Church of England) and did not initially intend it to be a separate church. Education was and is very important in Methodism. Wesley started a tradition of Sunday School which included education in reading, arithmetic and crafts so the working people could better themselves.

The UMC is, like all Protestant churches, centered on Jesus and the Trinity. In most churches communion is open to all who wish to partake. Baptism is whenever the parents or person decides; most confirmations take place around the end of 8th or 9th grade.

I can tell you that the polity (how the denomination is run) includes bishops, who are elected by the every 4 year meeting of representatives from every conference (conferences are regional and somewhat based on population); every conference has an annual meeting with representatives elected by each church which is part of the conference. The Bishop appoints the senior minister to a church (which is partly why there are more women as senior ministers in UMC churches than in many other denominations); the church and senior minister have a large voice in selecting associate pastors. The senior pastor controls the pulpit, that is, s/he decides how the worship service will be conducted, who preaches and generally what is preached. While a senior pastor can be removed by the bishop, s/he cannot be fired by the congregation.

I haven't looked at the links Feona posted, but will check them out.

By Ginnyk on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 09:51 am:

I just checked. The Confessing Movement of the United Methodist Church is a movement within the church, and while many people believe what Feona posted, this is not an official position of the national United Methodist Church. There are many "movements" within the United Methodist Church, begun by people who want to promote a particular cause or belief or point of view and are able to recruit enough people who agree with them. In the past such "movements" have been about such topics as desegregation, anti-war, the ordination of women. Presently the Reconciling Movement of the United Methodist Church is concerned with the church's position on the ordination of gays and lesbians.

Here is the official web site for the United Methodist Church

By Dana on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 11:35 am:

Ginny, I'm surprised you say that Meth is more akin to Baptist than Presb.

John Calvin and John Wesley worked together in forming a "religion". However, there was a split between the two men leading to Methodist and Presbyterian.

Here is an excerpt from a site I found:
Most of the things John Wesley had to say about John Calvin would clearly be seen as negative. At one time there was a link between the two, and a group of believers even came to be known as Calvin Methodists. However, rifts soon developed between John Wesley and John Calvin. The Calvinists accused the Methodists of "works righteousness." The Methodists accused the Calvinists of "Horrible Decrees" of predestination.

Perhaps the sharpest distinction between Calvin and Wesley related to their theology of "Salvation." John Wesley believed that the grace of God is offered to all through atonement, and so he declares, "I am saved and I am sure." John Calvin, on the other hand, stated that all are not created for the same end; some are ordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation.

John Wesley said that salvation is for all by faith alone. John Calvin countered that the elect, the chosen, will respond in faith. Wesley and Calvin were together in their desire to develop church unity. It should be noted, however, that Calvin was more successful in achieving Church unity, whereas Wesley's movement tended to lead to disunity within the church.

And so, I will continue to enjoy my many Presbyterian friends and will continue to seek more and frequent opportunities to worship with them. However, for the sake of church history, it is well to remember that this comfortable relationship would not always have been possible.

Craven E. Williams
Greensboro College

Now, I'm not sure of the "predestination" thing for Presb. But according to somewhere in the bible (here is my learning disablitiy of "who, what when and where" being blank) God "hardens hearts" to Him. And with that, it is not our choosing of if we believe, it is His. So in essence, it is predetermined.

However, as far as the underlying faith of Presbyterian, it is "by faith alone" you are saved. To become a member of the Presbyterian church, you only need to accept Christ as your savior...and that is it.

I believe this is the same w/ Methodist.

The similarities between Calvin and Wesley were the reaching to the general population on their level. Salvation was for everyone, not just a select few. Salvation was not achieved by deed but thru faith. Calvin and Wesley ministered to all in the language they spoke. gone were the Catholic sermans in Latin. Gone were the rituals.
That was their mission: faith for all levels.

I grew up in a Methodist church. I found that all the other churches were more different than what I was accustomed to.

When I attended a Presbyterian church for the first time at the age of 36, it reminded me of what I grew up with. I found the two to be very very similar.

As for the "Cofessing Movement". Many Presbyterian churches are adopting the "Confessing Church" movement as well. Mainly, it is to protect the original believes stated in scripture. So many churches are swaying towards the general consenus of the population and "politically correct" manners. The largest comment within the Presbyterian church movement is the rights of gay/lesbian people. Where the traditional confessions (laws/believes within the churches foundations) does not specifically NAME gay/lesbian rights, the confessing movement does. It states frankly that a gay/lesbian person may not be ordained or married under Gods name. It reaffirms scriptures, that for some reason seem to have been underminded with todays way of life. It is refocussing the believes of the scripture, and that there is no way but Gods way. So pretty much, it is doing away with all the politically correct things going on. It is no longer allowing balance to all people. God says what is right and wrong, and you fall into one or the other. It is not saying that a gay or lesbian person can not attend church. It is not saying THEY are worthless people. It is simply saying that that lifestyle is not of God and therefore ordination and church marriage are not permitted.

So like the Confessing Movement of the UMC, there is a parallel Confessing Movement w/ the Presbyterians.

By Ginnyk on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 01:19 pm:

OK, Dana, that is just my personal impression, based on the Methodist churches, Baptist churches, and Presbyterian churches (and individuals) I know. I do think the distinction regarding attitudes towards "salvation" is a major difference of belief. Methodists do not believe in predestination, Calvinists generally do. And, predestination is a theological theory I have never been able to understand.

Do remember that the Confessing Movement (in both the Methodist and Presbyterian systems) is not the whole body, but rather a distinct movement within the body. (As is true of the Reconciling Movement.)

By Dana on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 05:31 pm:

Ginny, seeingh that you have experienced such a difference between the two, I would think, that your experience w/ the northern churches to be very different than those in FL where I grew up.

All the Baptist churches I went to were Southern Bap. And the nature of FL as a "melting pot" would round out some of the differing edges that might be found in northern neighborhoods where families have attended the same church for generations. It is very uncommon to find people attending the same church they attended in their youth down here. Just too much moving around once they hit FL.

Our Methodist and Presbyterian are oh so similar, right down to what the bulletin looks like for each sermon. Even the hyms are sung the same (in other churches, the song may be the same, but not the tune in the quite the same manner or they just don't sing the same songs at all).

The church I am a member of is not part of the confessing church, but still holds onto the original policies (although, as I mentioned, really are the same, except things are spelled out naming names and actions).

We are a very OLD congregation and I don't think change comes easily. On the vote to become a confessing church, it was a tie, smack dab in the middle. So things remain.

The church I attend on Wednesday nights is a confessing church. Although, you would never notice the difference.

The term predestination is mind boggleing (sp?). From what I have learned in Sunday school, and I may be explaining this incorectly, it goes back to the Old Testiment and Gods choosen people...from the 12 tribes, I think. So if you are of His choosen people, you will ask for salvation. And again, somewhere in the New Testiment, it mentions about God hardening the heart. That only God has this power and that he knows before it ever happens that it will happen. Just as God knows the path we will take before we take a path.

For me, that is rather...umm...confusing. To say that God has given man the option of choice, and yet, our paths are already laid out by God.

Even within the Presbyterian church there is a lot of confusion of predestination. If all is planned, than why pray? Or why work hard to avoid temtations? And yet, prayer is a very powerful belief in the Presbyterian church. Living by Gods rules is important. It seems to be a big circle.

So in my area of the US, Presbyterian and Methodist are far more similar than the Baptist.

In short, of all the churches I have been to in my lifetime, I have enjoyed the Methodist and Presbyterian the most. I was baptised Methodist and reaffirmed within the Presbyterian church. The thing I like most about both is that our salvation is not granted by our deeds, but only our acceptance of Christ thru the Grace of God.

By Ginnyk on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 06:44 pm:

Yes, Dana, my experience is in Northern and Northeastern churches, and big city churches, and I am sure there are major differences. I worked for 13 years for an interfaith organization working with about 25 congregations in NW Philadelphia, so got to know the congregations, their pastors, priests and rabbis, and learned a lot.

But, back to Kaye and her original question. If you are feeling comfortable with this church and think you may want to attend regularly or even join, I would suggest that you sit down with the pastor and talk with him/her about your questions, and ask whatever you want to learn. It is the pastor's job and probably the pastor's pleasure to meet with someone who has sincere questions about what is believed in that church and what are important tenets of faith, and I am certain the pastor would be pleased to meet with you.

Oh, by the way, the UMC church is a temperence church - that is, the communion wine is grape juice, and until fairly recently, persons ordained for ministry (elders and pastors) had to take a vow of temperence. How strictly this is viewed depends on geography, the local conference and the pastor in terms of what their expectations are of members.

By Kaye on Wednesday, July 2, 2003 - 01:26 am:

Thanks for all of your input ladies. Ginny, yes before we join we will definetly speak with the pastor. I actually assume they will have some sort of class about the church, etc as a "new members" or alpha class. We briefly attended a Nazarene church and happened to come across some of their doctrines and decided that as a whole we couldn't really practice that religion. For example the church guide is very very conservative, women should wear dresses, no coed swimming, no r rated movies, etc. Now most churches don't still follow those practices, but again I have a small problem with that. I mean if it is posted in your church maybe you should listen..LOL. As far as a "temperence church: I have never heard that term. I also didn't realize that any church still served wine, hmmm wonder why I missed that when I was in college! Anyway, thanks for your answers!

By Ginnyk on Wednesday, July 2, 2003 - 06:19 am:

Kaye, I don't know if any church still serves wine - when I was growing up it was wine (Lutheran), but your question suggests that many have switched to grape juice (certainly a good idea for a lot of reasons).

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