United Methodist Questions, United Methodist Answers: Exploring Christian Faith

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Brand new Book. Seller Inventory AAV New Book. Shipped from UK. Established seller since Seller Inventory IQ Seller Inventory LIE Seller Inventory M Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title With its question-and-answer format, and clear, jargon-free writing, this volume is an excellent resource for learning about the United Methodist Church.

United Methodist Questions, United Methodist Answers: Exploring Christian Faith, Revised Edition

About the Author : F. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Customers who bought this item also bought. In the s a court case saved the church from being demolished to make way for the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The case resulted in the bridge being relocated.

Historic St Georges welcomes visitors and is home to archives and a museum on Methodism. In the more than years since , Methodism in the United States, like many other Protestant denominations, has seen a number of divisions and mergers. In , the Methodist Protestant Church split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over the issue of laity having a voice and vote in the administration of the church, insisting that clergy should not be the only ones to have any determination in how the church was to be operated.

In , the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church split into two conferences because of tensions over slavery and the power of bishops in the denomination. The two general conferences, Methodist Episcopal Church the northern section and Methodist Episcopal Church, South remained separate until With the words, "Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church" [23] the new denomination was given birth by both churches which had distinguished histories and influential ministries in various parts of the world.

The United Methodist Church seeks to create disciples for Christ through outreach, evangelism, and through seeking holiness, also called sanctification , by the power of the Holy Spirit. The flame in the church logo represents the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, and the two parts of the flame also represent the predecessor denominations, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren, united at the base symbolizing the merger. The United Methodist Church understands itself to be part of the holy catholic or universal church and it recognizes the historic ecumenical creeds , [24] the Apostles' Creed [25] and the Nicene Creed ; [26] which are used frequently in services of worship.

Some argue that the United Methodist Church can lay a claim on apostolic succession , as understood in the traditional sense. Thomas Coke , already an Anglican priest, assisted Wesley in this action. Coke was then "set apart" as a superintendent bishop by Wesley and dispatched with Vasey and Whatcoat to America to take charge of Methodist activities there.

In defense of his action to ordain, Wesley himself cited an ancient opinion from the Church of Alexandria , which held that bishops and presbyters constituted one order and therefore, bishops are to be elected from and by the presbyterate. Methodists today who would argue for apostolic succession would do so on these grounds. While many United Methodist congregations operate in the evangelical tradition, others reflect the mainline Protestant traditions.

Although United Methodist practices and interpretation of beliefs have evolved over time, these practices and beliefs can be traced to the writings of the church's founders, especially John Wesley and Charles Wesley Anglicans , but also Philip William Otterbein and Martin Boehm United Brethren , and Jacob Albright Evangelical Association. Outler led the team which systematized denominational doctrine. Outler's work proved pivotal in the work of union, and he is largely considered the first United Methodist theologian. These Doctrinal Standards are constitutionally protected and nearly impossible to change or remove.

The key emphasis of Wesley's theology relates to how divine grace operates within the individual. Prevenient grace , or the grace that "goes before" us, is given to all people. It is that power which enables us to love and motivates us to seek a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In this work, God desires that we might sense both our sinfulness before God and God's offer of salvation. Prevenient grace allows those tainted by sin to nevertheless make a truly free choice to accept or reject God's salvation in Christ.

Justifying Grace or Accepting Grace [50] is that grace, offered by God to all people, that we receive by faith and trust in Christ, through which God pardons the believer of sin.

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  5. It is in justifying grace we are received by God, in spite of our sin. In this reception, we are forgiven through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The justifying grace cancels our guilt and empowers us to resist the power of sin and to fully love God and neighbor. Today, justifying grace is also known as conversion , "accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior," or being " born again ".


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    Sanctifying Grace is that grace of God which sustains the believers in the journey toward Christian Perfection : a genuine love of God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and a genuine love of our neighbors as ourselves. Sanctifying grace enables us to respond to God by leading a Spirit-filled and Christ-like life aimed toward love.

    Wesley never claimed this state of perfection for himself but instead insisted the attainment of perfection was possible for all Christians. Here the English Reformer parted company with both Luther and Calvin, who denied that a man would ever reach a state in this life in which he could not fall into sin.

    Such a man can lose all inclination to evil and can gain perfection in this life.


    Wesleyan theology maintains that salvation is the act of God's grace entirely, from invitation, to pardon, to growth in holiness. Furthermore, God's prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace interact dynamically in the lives of Christians from birth to death. According to Wesleyan understanding, good works are the fruit of one's salvation, not the way in which that salvation was earned. Faith and good works go hand in hand in Methodist theology: a living tree naturally and inevitably bears fruit. Wesleyan theology rejects the doctrine of eternal security , believing that salvation can be rejected.

    A key outgrowth of this theology is the United Methodist dedication not only to the Evangelical Gospel of repentance and a personal relationship with God, but also to the Social Gospel and a commitment to social justice issues that have included abolition, women's suffrage, labor rights, civil rights, and ministry with the poor. Wesleyan theology stands at a unique crossroads between evangelical and sacramental, between liturgical and charismatic , and between Anglo-Catholic and Reformed theology and practice.

    It has been characterized as Arminian theology with an emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit to bring holiness into the life of the participating believer. The United Methodist Church believes in prima scriptura , seeing the Bible as the primary authority in the Church and using sacred tradition , reason , and experience to interpret it, with the aid of the Holy Spirit see Wesleyan Quadrilateral.

    Comparatively, the UMC stands to the right of liberal and progressive Protestant groups such as the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church on certain issues especially regarding sexuality , but to the left of historically conservative evangelical traditions such as the Southern Baptists and Pentecostalism , in regard to theological matters such as social justice and Biblical interpretation.

    United Methodist Beliefs: Is the Bible literal?

    The UMC is made up of a broad diversity of thought, and so there are many clergy and laity within the UMC that hold differing viewpoints on such theological matters. In making an appeal to a tolerance of diversity of theological opinion, John Wesley said, "Though we may not think alike, may we not all love alike? The United Methodist Church allows for a wide range of theological and political beliefs. For example, former President George W. The topic of abortion is complex for the United Methodist Church.

    The United Methodist Church affirms these two sentences in The Social Principles: Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child. Wade Supreme Court decision on the legality of abortion. A new resolution was re-adopted 56—2 in a resolutions subcommittee, decrying gender-selective abortion while also describing abortion as "violent" and opposing abortions done for "trivial reasons". The resolution passed in the daily consent agenda with no debate.

    Nevertheless, the United Methodist Church holds that "while we understand the need for women to have access to safe, legal abortions, we also 'mourn and are committed to promoting the diminishment of high abortion rates'. In continuity with past Christian teaching, we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, in the eyes of God and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures. Members of the United Methodist Church who identify with the pro-life position come mostly from the Confessing Movement within the denomination and have organized into the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality TUMAS to further their position within the denomination.

    Historically, the Methodist Church has supported the temperance movement. The United Methodist Church, along with some other Methodist churches, condemns capital punishment , saying that it cannot accept retribution or social vengeance as a reason for taking human life. The United Methodist Church, like many mainline Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church, has determined that there is no conflict between faith and the theory of evolution.

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    Some clergy have stated that "it's time for people of faith to accept evolution". The United Methodist Church is opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. The United Methodist tradition opposes the taking of life as an offense against God's sole dominion over life, and an abandonment of hope and humility before God. The United Methodist Church opposes gambling , believing that it is a sin which feeds on human greed and which invites people to place their trust in possessions, rather than in God, whom Christians should "love But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

    For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

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    The United Methodist Church supports federal legislative efforts for strict gun control measures in the United States, and outright bans of most weapons in other nations. According to The United Methodist Book of Discipline set by General Conference every four years , the Church "affirm[s] that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God" and encourages United Methodists to be in ministry with and for all people.

    The United Methodist Church prohibits same-sex unions. This affirmation, however, was based upon a senior pastor's right to judge the readiness of a congregant to join as a full member of the church.

    However, two United Methodist bishops "voided two resolutions in the Northeastern United States that called for defying church restrictions". Although there is no official policy, the Judicial Council of the UMC ruled, in , that ordained transgender pastors could serve in congregations within the denomination. On April 28, , the Judicial Council ruled that consecrating a bishop in a same-sex marriage or partnership is a violation of church law and that public marriage records could be considered as evidence of self-avowed homosexuality.

    In regards to the specific case of Bishop Karen Oliveto , the denomination's first openly gay bishop, the Judicial Council ruled that she "remains in good standing" pending the outcome of any administrative or judicial processes initiated within the Western Jurisdiction, since the Judicial Council itself does not have jurisdiction to review Bishop Oliveto's status. On May 7, , the Council of Bishops in the United Methodist Church proposed allowing individual pastors and regional church bodies to decide whether to ordain LGBT clergy and perform same-sex weddings.

    According to The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church , "The United Methodist Church calls upon all who choose to take up arms or who order others to do so to evaluate their actions in accordance with historic church teaching limiting resort to war, including questions of proportionality, legal authority, discrimination between combatants and noncombatants, just cause, and probability of success The United Methodist Church opposes conscription as incompatible with the teaching of Scripture. However, the United Methodist Church also supports and extends its ministry to those persons who conscientiously choose to serve in the armed forces or to accept alternative service.

    The church also states that "as Christians they are aware that neither the way of military action, nor the way of inaction is always righteous before God. The United Methodist Church maintains that war is incompatible with Christ 's message and teachings. Therefore, the Church rejects war as an instrument of national foreign policy, to be employed only as a last resort in the prevention of such evils as genocide , brutal suppression of human rights, and unprovoked international aggression. Consequently, the United Methodist Church endorses general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

    The United Methodist Church teaches that pornography is "about violence, degradation, exploitation, and coercion" and "deplore[s] all forms of commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. Persons who are addicted to pornography are physiologically altered, as is their perspective , relationships with parishioners and family, and their perceptions of girls and women. The UMC supports federal funding for research on embryos created for in vitro fertilization that remain after the procreative efforts have ceased, if the embryos were provided for research instead of being destroyed, were not obtained by sale, and those donating had given prior informed consent for the research purposes.

    The United Methodist Church includes a variety of approaches to public worship. The common pattern of worship is found in the official liturgies of the church, while the practices of congregations across the denomination are quite diverse. The common pattern comes from John Wesley, who wrote that "there is no Liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety, than the Common Prayer of the Church of England. Wesley's Sunday Service has shaped the official liturgies of the Methodists ever since.