Methodists

Origin: Originated in England when John Wesley broke from the Anglican Church and formulated his own theology.
Prime Philosophy: Wesleyism, Lutheranism
Founder: John Wesley
Founding Date: 1739
Church Structure: Methodism follows a democratic system of churches that participate in a national convention. Some branches of Methodism have bishops; yet others reject them. Duties are divided among exhorters (hold meetings for exhortation and prayer), local preachers (laymen licensed to preach), and itinerant preachers (devote themselves exclusively to the ministry). Every four years a convention is held to determine theology.
Mission: Methodists believe that mission is witness to the God of grace, and that mission has four essential dimensions: Proclamation (proclaim the Gospel); Evangelism (invite people to personal decision for and commitment to Jesus Christ for their salvation); Incorporation (call persons to be incorporated into the Body of Christ); and Servanthood (serve as agents of God’s liberation and reconciling grace among the nations).

Religious Doctrines

God: Trinitarian Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Sacraments: Baptism, Communion
Salvation: Assurance of Salvation, Saved by Grace through Faith, Christian Perfection
Scriptures: 66 books, supernaturally inspired, Sola Fide—Methodists insist that reason is needed to read and interpret scripture as well as determine Christian witness.
Dogmatic Origins: Sola Scriptura, doctrines vary even within some denominations; Methodists say they are more concerned with "deeds not creeds". It should be emphasized that rigorous doctrines and dogmas can not be applied to Methodism as a whole.
Church: "A Methodist is one who has the love of God shed abroad in his life by the Holy Ghost given unto him. One who loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength. God is the joy of his heart and the desire of his soul." –John Wesley

Theological Beliefs

Creation: Genesis account; differences in theology make it hard to know if evolution as a possibility is rejected.
Man’s State: Fallen state due to original sin
Sin: covered up through justification by grace. A person who has been "born again" is capable of attaining Christian perfection through God’s grace. A person can be forgiven of sins by repenting and trusting in Christ for forgiveness and grace.
Grace: Grace is offered to all and calls a person to faith, but may be readily rejected by a person. Methodists generally view the sacraments as capable of increasing grace in a person.
Redemption and Salvation: redemption is a free gift available to all, good works are a sign of a justified person. Methodists believe in "witness of the Spirit" to assure themselves that they have been saved.
Justification: By faith alone. Methodists believe good works, pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, spring from a true and living faith, for through and by them faith is made evident. Justification (in the classical Protestant sense) is God’s declaration that a person is righteous in lieu of their faith in Jesus as lord and savior.
Repentance: a gift of grace through the Holy Spirit.

Sacraments

Baptism: Trinitarian baptism. "Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church." –Article VI of the United Methodist Church’s The Discipline of The Evangelical United Brethren Church
Communion: Methodists generally believe that Christ is present in a spiritual form in communion and not in a bodily form also. The United Methodist Church’s The Discipline of The Evangelical United Brethren Church confession says "We believe the Lord's Supper is a representation of our redemption, a memorial of the sufferings and death of Christ, and a token of love and union which Christians have with Christ and with one another. Those who rightly, worthily and in faith eat the broken bread and drink the blessed cup partake of the body and blood of Christ in a spiritual manner until he comes." – Article VI

Miscellaneous

1. Man is free not only to reject salvation but also to accept it (free salvation) by an act of human will.
2. All people who are obedient to the Gospel according to the measure of knowledge given them will be saved (universal salvation).
3. The Holy Spirit assures man of his salvation directly, through an inner "experience" (sure salvation).
4. Christians in this life are capable of Christian perfection and are commanded by God to pursue it (full salvation).

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