The Methodist Church
crossflame_index.png



History:


The Methodist Church was founded in England around 1740 by John Wesley. Wesley was born in Lincolnshire, England June 17th, 1703. John came from a family of high stature, and he loved to learn as he spent much of his time studying. The Methodist Church, though initially a small church, would experience an enormous growth in membership during the 19th century. The Methodist Church would take its place as one of the most dominant Christian branches in the United States, prompting Ulysses Grant in 1868 to call it, "one of three great political parties" symbolizing the Church's power.



john_wesley.jpg
John Wesley



Theology:


Methodism's appeal to people was its all including nature, while certain branches of Christianity excluded certain people, Methodism had a belief of universal salvation. To achieve this salvation, a person needed to go through a cycle: repentance, justification, sanctification. Repentance is the acknowledgment of one's sinful nature, justification is where the convert is assured that Christ had died for their sins, and sanctification is where they are purified. Of the Seven Sacraments of Catholicism, the Methodist Church believes in Baptism and the Lord's Supper. However, unlike Catholicism, the Methodist Church sees baptism as a symbol of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. They see this as a way of becoming closer to God, whereas the Catholics see baptism as something required in order to gain entrance into heaven. As for the Lord's Supper, the Methodists believe that it is only a symbol of the body and blood of Christ; the Catholics believe that the wine and the bread become Christ's blood and body.

Photo42688.jpg
Example of a Methodist church
How is the Methodist faith different from Catholicism?
  1. One can become a member of the Methodist Church by professing that Jesus is their savior, the son of God who died for their sins. But one must be baptised to become a member of the Catholic Church.
  2. Communion is a symbol of Christ's body and blood for a Methodist. But the Catholics believe in transubstantiation; they believe a priest can transform the bread (wafer) and the wine into the actual blood and body of Christ.
  3. Catholics consider the Pope to be Christ's deputy on earth; Methodists do not recognize the Pope's authority.
  4. Catholics believe that Christ shares himself with Christians through the sacraments. Methodists believe that Christians experience Christ through a personal relationship with him.
  5. Catholics hold the Virgin Mary in a higher esteem than Methodists as they pray to her because they believe she became the mother of everyone when Jesus died. They believe she is without sin unlike the Methodists.
  6. Methodist base their beliefs solely on the Bible, The Holy Scriptures of the old and new Testaments. But, Catholics base their faith on the Bible and the word of the Pope and other Catholic leaders.
  7. Methodists do not confess their sins to priests in order to be forgiven for sins while the Catholics do. Methodists confess their sins directly to God and are forgiven because of Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
  8. Catholics believe that some people go to hell and some go to heaven just like the Methodists. But, the Catholics believe that some people end up in purgatory where some souls have to go to be purified before going to heaven.


Methodists and other Protestant faiths believe that humans are sinners, and their sin separates them from God. They all agree that the sacrifice of God’s son, Jesus Christ, on the cross was payment for the sins of humankind. This free gift of salvation through the death of Jesus Christ is God’s grace.

Methodists believe that there are three types of grace. They are prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace.

·Prevenient grace is there for anyone at anytime who wants to experience God’s love even before they accept it.
·Once a person accepts God’s love then they are forgiven for their sins, and they receive justifying grace. Methodists believe that a person has a choice to accept this offer of grace or not unlike the Lutherans and the Presbyterians who believe that a person cannot refuse God’s grace.
·Sanctifying grace comes with justifying grace. This kind of grace helps a person avoid the temptation of sin with God’s help. Methodists believe that if a person does not work toward becoming free of sin with God’s help then they can lose their salvation and go to hell.


Contemporary:

An Interview with Pastor Dan Drew

Pastor Dan Drew has been a Pastor for 37 years now and has been apart of many different Methodist churches.

Abortion

The Methodist church is pro life; they do not agree with abortion. To them it is only a last resort: "We have basically a tolerance we don’t take a stand against it, we are pro life and we actively encourage people to not get abortion but do not take the stance against abortion, if it’s the last choice, we have not advocated for abortion being illegal" (Dan Drew). They openly talk about abortion throughout the church, and want the members of the church to feel safe bringing this topic up if they believe it needs to be. Every few years they re-write "the book of discipline", and this topic is always discussed thoroughly.

Homosexuality


In the Methodist church they have a "don't ask don't tell" rule when it comes to gay pastors, and if one was to come out, they would face consequences; a Methodist church trial. They do not perform gay marriages, but they allow gay members of the community join the church. In the Chardon Methodist Church they are actively trying to change the rules of gay marriage.

Mormon


“We see it as another denomination, they don’t agree with everything, we don’t agree with their “cult” they don’t see it as a “cult” but we do respect them, and have tried to work with them on issues in the community, we don’t treat that as a set, we don’t agree with some of the practices but we try and work with them” (Dan Drew). They are not against the Mormon churches in the community, but they do not agree with all of their beliefs.

Recession


It appears that the Methodist churches was not affected much by the recession. "Some people left due to job changes" (Dan Drew). Dan Drew has been a pastor for 37 years, and he said "there is not a great deal in diffrent now then there were 10 years ago" (Dan Drew). People still came to church, because it was an "escape" from all of the nonsense going on around them.




Demography:


The beginning of the Methodist Church was extremely slow as when created it was, "known and ridiculed at Oxford in 1729". However, in 1820 the Methodist Church would grow, rapidly expanding to encompass 250,000 people. Put into perspective, the population during that time period hovered around 10 million meaning 2.5% of the population had been converted in addition to its already established members. In the following 30 years, the Methodist Church in the States would expand to a total of 1.5 million people, nearly 5% of the entire United States population. By 1997, the Methodist Church contained a total of 33 million adherents throughout the world. According to a census taken in 2007, by the National Council of Churches, the Methodist Church ranked third in terms of population. However, the Methodist Church in the United States is now on a downward slope. In comparison to a census taken by the same group in 2006, the entire Methodist Church along with many of its largest branches experienced a decrease in participants within the States. The United Methodist Church, reported as the largest Methodist aligned church, reported that membership has been on a decrease for more than 40 years. However, across the world the United Methodist Church has experienced an increase in population.

According to statistics taken during the late-1900s, and early-2000s, the Methodist Church is primarily centered within the United States, which contains about seventy percent of the Methodist Church's members. Following the United States in terms of Methodist population is the United Kingdom. However in recent years Methodism has become more popular throughout the world, with the UMC claiming around 5 million members outside of the United States.


Methodism_over_time.gif
Data compiled based on Church Attendence


Using information collected via Church records, these numbers reinforce the weakening state of the Methodist Church. Despite the United States population growing at about 2 million people per year, the Methodist Church is shrinking. Demonstrated by the bar graph, there is a significant decrease in the Methodist population despite the United States growing in terms of population as contrasted by the graph of the United States Population
Methodism_in_the_US.PNGPopulation_of_the_United_States.PNG

WolframAlpha_Methodist_Church.gif

Work Cited:
Bibliography
Catholic Church, London. “St. Mary of the Angels.” Humilitas. http://www.humilitas.org/‌index.php?id=9.

Combs, Brian. “Love for modern-day lepers.” The People of the United Methodist Church. Last modified January 2011. http://www.umc.org/‌site/‌c.lwL4KnN1LtH/‌b.1355351/‌k.2E2B/‌Our_People.htm.

Frank S. Mead and Samuel S. Hill, Handbook of Denominations. Abingdon Press.

Hahn, Heather. “Census helps church with evangelism.” The People of the United Methodist Church. Last modified March 23, 2011. http://www.umc.org/‌site/‌apps/‌nlnet/‌content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=2789393&ct=9228157.

"Jacksonport United Methodist Church". Accessed November 16, 2011. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=12114.

Janet Gabler-Hover. "American History through Literature 1820-1870". Gale.

Matt Rosenberg. "US Population Through History", Accessed November 15, 2011.. http://geography.about.com/od/obtainpopulationdata/a/uspop.htm.

Mead, Frank S. Handbook of Denominations. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon, 1970.

"Methodism", Wolfram Alpha. Accessed November 16, 2011. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=methodist+church.

The National Council of Churches. “Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches reports on record number of national church bodies.” News from the National Council of Churches . Last modified March 5, 2007. http://www.ncccusa.org/‌news/‌070305yearbook2007.html.

Rosenberg, Matt. “US Population Through History.” geography.about.com. Last modified July 21, 2011. http://geography.about.com/‌od/‌obtainpopulationdata/‌a/‌uspop.htm.

Vlal, Ted. “Methodist Sacred Narratives.” Patheos. http://www.patheos.com/‌Library/‌Methodist/‌Beliefs/‌Sacred-narratives.html .