"Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." I Peter 1:8
Although John Wesley lived and died in the Episcopal Church, he founded and his brother the large and popular denomination known as the Methodist Church. In 1729, he and his brother, Charles, and a number of others began meeting for religious exercises. These people were students at Oxford University. These "Holy Clubs" wanted to overcome the formalism and ritualism of the Episcopal Church, and to stimulate piety and spirituality among its members. They arranged a daily schedule of duties, setting hours for visiting the sick and in prison, praying aloud three times each day, etc., etc.
The "turning point" in John Wesley's life came May 24th, 1738 when at a prayer meeting in London, he learned that it is not by rules and laws nor by our own efforts at self-perfection, but by faith that man enters "upon life and peace."
As other groups began to meet, they became known as Methodists because of their methodical manner of life. When Wesley died, the groups banded together under a conference known as the Methodist Episcopal Church. The banks at first were known simply as "Societies" following the General Rules drawn up by Wesley.
In 1784, Wesley took a step that formally put him out of the Church of England. When he was called upon to send ministers to America, he asked the Bishop of London to ordain several of his lay-preachers. The Bishop refused, so Wesley took the matter into his own hands and ordained two himself to preside over affairs in American including a Dr. Coke...whom he named Superintendent. Wesley died in 1791.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States had its beginning when the Christian Conference convened in Baltimore on December 24, 1784. At this conference, the Book of Discipline prepared by Wesley was adopted which cut the 39 Articles of the Episcopal Church down to 24 Articles, then added one to cover the church rulers in the United States. The Apostles' Creed (inherited by the the Episcopal Church from the Catholic Church)was also brought into the Methodist form of worship.
Two notable divisions occurred. In 1828, a group separated becoming known as the Methodist Protestant Church. In 1844 there was another division having to do with slavery and with the powers of the General Conference. In 1939, three main divisions united to form the Methodist Church: (1) The Methodist Episcopal Church, (2) The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and (3) The Methodist Protestant Church.
There are over nine million Methodist in the United States, besides 845,000 "preparatory members" Worldwide, Methodists claim 25 million membership.
1. Harmon, N.B.(Editor) Doctrines and Discipline of The Methodist Church. Nashville: The Methodist Publishing House, 1948, p.3.
2. Schaff-Herzog Encyclopidia, Vol. II. p.1485-1486
3. Harmon, op.cit.
1. "The Methodist Church is a church of Christ in which 'the pure word of God is preached and the Sacraments duly administered." Harmon, p.3. Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church.
2. Some Methodists do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, and the church accepts them in this unbelief.
R. Sockman, "What is A Methodist?,p.82,article in Religions of America.
3. There are two Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Sockman, Ibid.p.86
4. "Let every adult person, and the parents of every child to be baptized, have the choice of sprinkling, pouring, or immersion." Discipline, p.410
5. "The baptism of Infants" is justified on basis Jesus said "Suffer the children to come unto me." Discipline, article,1910,p.470-474
6. Parents of the infant are duty bound to teach the infant after baptism, concerning "our faith" (Methodist Doctrine). Discipline,p.471.
7. The Methodist Discipline gives rules,doctrines, and regulations governing all procedures and affairs of the church, and all ministers are obligated to observe "every part" of it in his district. Discipline, of it in his district. Discipline,
8. The complex organization of the Methodist Church with all its conferences, powers and duties are set forth in the Discipline. Discipline, article 4, p.10.
9. Conferences must not change or revoke any of the Methodist Church's existing Articles of Religion, or change or do away with the episcopacy or destroy the superintendency.
10. No member of the Methodist Church may preach without a license. Discipline, article 302, p.91.
11. Women may engage in the ministry of preaching except as travelling evangelists. Discipline, Article, 313, p.94.
12. Elders and deacons are selected by the election of the annual conference. Discipline,article 392,p.15.
13. Term "Reverend" is applied to Methodist men. Discipline, article 414, p.119
14. The Methodist Publishing House shall be under the control of the Board of Publication, subject to the Conference. Discipline,article 1103, p.238.
15. The order for dedication of an organ is prescribed: "in the name of the Father . Son and Holy Spirit." Discipline, article 1931 p.550.
16. The doctrine of "justification of faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort." Discipline, article 9.
17. Immersion (baptism) is not essential for salvation of adults (although they do hold infants are saved by baptism!).
18. It is not necessary to partake of Lord's Supper weekly; quarterly is practice of Methodists.
19. The church is composed of many branches (denominations) and the Methodist church is one branch. Preamble to Constitution.
1. The name "Methodist" not in the Bible.
2. The name "churches of Christ" is in the Bible. Romans 16:16.
3. "Sacraments" not in Bible, but even if it were, the Methodist church does not "duly administer" them according to the Bible.See under Baptism below for example.
1. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14. Matthew 1:25.
2. Those who believe a lie are condemned. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.
1. "Sacrament" is a word carried over from Catholic tradition, not found in the Scripture.
1.Baptism was immersion or "burial" in and "raising up" from water.Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12.
2. There was and is only one baptism. Ephesians 4:5
1. Baptism is not the subject Jesus was teaching on this occasion....not mentioned in this entire chapter, not in the chapter before or after.
2. Infants were never baptized in all Bible history.
1.. Teaching preceded true baptism, Matthew 28:18-20, as well as followed it. Infants are NOT capable of instruction, hence never received baptism in the Biblical record.
1. The Scripture constitutes God's ONLY authorized guide, given by inspiration of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
2. "All things pertaining unto life and godliness" were delivered in the first century, 2 Peter 1:3.
3. No other doctrine, principle, precept, commandment, procedure or policy is to be taught by man or angel, other than that given to the apostles. Galatians 1:8-9.
4.Nothing can be added to or taken from the word of God. Revelation 22:18-19.
5. Traditions or doctrine (disciplines) of men make void the word of God.
1. The church of Christ had no ecclesiastical governing conferences.
2. Each local congregation was independent of all others, under Christ alone as head with all authority. Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23.
3. Elders and deacons constituted local officers. Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:1-13.
1.. Any Christian or group of Christians must repent of any man-made tradition, system or notion contrary to God's Word, and pray that God will forgive him or same. Acts 8:14-24.
2. Every man or woman that is in any FALSE way should renounce it at once, confess faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God , and be immersed into the Kingdom of God, like Saul of Tarsus and other obedient hearers of God's Word did. Acts 9;Acts 22.
3. "Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate." 2 Corinthians 6:17.
1. Every Christian preached (or shared the Word) Acts 8:4
1. NOT permitted. 1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12
1.The local church is to select its officers from among themselves. Acts 6:3-5.
2. Let them be proved, let them be chosen and then let them serve. I Timothy 3:1-10
3. Evangelists appointed elders. Titus 1:5.
1. 'Reverend' used once in the Bible and there it applies to God,NOT man. Psalms 111:9.
1. No conferences nor official functionaries of such in the early church. 1 Corinthians 4:6. Must NOT go beyond things written.
1. No organs in Christian's worship. Not according to the pattern. Hebrews 8:5. John Wesley objected to their use, as did all prominent reformers.
2. Cannot be "in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
3. Some say, "How petty must God be if He can't overlook instruments in worship?" When has it ever been God's Will to "overlook" that which He (sees as strange or unnatural) never authorized? Did God overlook Cain's offering?(Genesis 4:2-8) Did God overlook Nadab and Abihu offering? (Levitius 10:1-3) Sure many today would consider God's actions pretty petty, after all it was only unauthorized (strange) fire!
1. See what the Bible teaches in James 2:14-26.
2. Faith only gives us "power to become" sons of God. John 1:12. "Power to become suggests possibility, not actuality.
3. Faith must WORK by LOVE to avail with God. Galatians 5:6.
1. Baptism is necessary to:
enter Kingdom. John 3:5
have sins forgiven. Acts 2:38
receive Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
enter the church. 1 Corinthians 12:13
enter into Christ. Galatians 3:27.
saves us. 1 Peter 3:21.
wash away sins. Acts 22:16
.saves us. Mark 16:16.
1. See type in Old Testament of weekly eating showbread. 1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 1:6; Leviticus 24:5-9; Hebrews 10:1
2. Early Christians communed each week. Acts 20:7;see 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
3. Steadfastly, Acts 2:42
1. Christ established one church. Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13.
2. NO division exists. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (the Bible does not support the concept of "different branches" of the Church nor the concept of denominations (division).
3. If many denominations are the visible branches where is the visible trunk?
4. Jesus taught that "a man" is the branch and that Christ himself is the vine. John 15:1-7.