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Jesmotguin

The mission of Methodists?

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So I was doing some study of Wesley as an outsider to the Methodist faith and there seemed to be this notion that by being saved, there is some path to healing the world outside of evangelism. Something along the lines of since our being saved has cured original sin, a Christian can take that light into the world and the world will be healed itself. I was wondering if someone could explain this and maybe site some of wesleys writings if they know them.

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I don't know what Wesley wrote about this subject but the Bible teaches that sometimes the presence of a believer spares a group from being judged. God would have spared Sodom if there were ten righteous people in it. When the ship carrying Paul to Rome for trial was caught in a storm God spared the lives of all on board because of Paul's presence. And I suspect that the reason the United States hasn't been judged for its sins is that there are many believers in it who are faithful to the Bible.

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So I was doing some study of Wesley as an outsider to the Methodist faith and there seemed to be this notion that by being saved, there is some path to healing the world outside of evangelism. Something along the lines of since our being saved has cured original sin, a Christian can take that light into the world and the world will be healed itself. I was wondering if someone could explain this and maybe site some of wesleys writings if they know them.

 

Hi Jesmotguin,

I have some knowledge of the Wesleys and of their emphatic teaching that people must use logic and reason in all matters of faith.

The name Methodist came about as a result of their intensive schooling in practical ways to demonstrate Christian faith.

I have read John Wesley's diary and highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing more about what motivated this man. The premise of your post is not far off the mark, and who among Christ's followers would disparage Wesley's hope of this even if it seems somewhat idealistic?

It has been asserted by a few scholars that England escaped the same horrors of the French Revolution by the Wesleys' (and thus God's) timely intervention to ease the suffering of the poor at the hands of the wealthy.

 

Quotes from John Wesley:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

 

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.”

 

“I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God's creational intentions.”

 

 

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The current United Methodist mission statement is "making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world".

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The current United Methodist mission statement is "making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world".

 

Hello and welcome, @actionsub ! :) Would you be willing to give us a rundown on Methodist beliefs and how they influence you? :RpS_cool:

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Hello and welcome, @actionsub ! :) Would you be willing to give us a rundown on Methodist beliefs and how they influence you? :RpS_cool:

 

At the time I came in, the Methodists I knew were pretty much Baptists who believed in infant baptism but not eternal security.

 

Basically, Methodists were a revival movement within the Church of England, spurred by John Wesley's embrace of Arminianism via a run in with some Moravians.

John Wesley's big thing was the assurance of salvation, and a rather rigorous discipleship.

There is a belief that one can be "perfected in love in this lifetime". (In practice, the chances of this are about equal to that of seeing Elvis rise from the dead.)

What that tends to result in is one of two things: a somewhat legalistic approach to life to make sure you're holy by not doing anything but church, or an obsessive

compulsion to be doing something, anything, for God all the time without rest.

 

Over the years, I've found Wesley's journey similar to that of Luther's. It was hearing the preface to Luther's commentary on Romans that assured Wesley

of his salvation. However, Wesley tended to be somewhat of an autocratic control freak.

 

As far as influence, I'm actually finding LUTHER'S beliefs more of an influence these days, particularly his stress on making a distinction between law and gospel,

while maintaining both have a necessary place in discipleship.

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So I was doing some study of Wesley as an outsider to the Methodist faith and there seemed to be this notion that by being saved, there is some path to healing the world outside of evangelism. Something along the lines of since our being saved has cured original sin, a Christian can take that light into the world and the world will be healed itself. I was wondering if someone could explain this and maybe site some of wesleys writings if they know them.

 

I've never heard his beliefs stated as such. While the idea of salvation as a cure for original sin has some support, the world being "healed itself" merely from Christian influence sounds more like

some liberal influence (and in United Methodism, there's plenty of it!) Most of the Methodists I know would probably reject that latter premise, and that any redemption of the world would only

come with active Christian engagement and evangelism. Granted, there are a few that think if we all just play nice, the world will be a better place. Most of the latter were the Methodists I met

in seminary; they did not tend to be the rank and file in the pews.

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At the time I came in, the Methodists I knew were pretty much Baptists who believed in infant baptism but not eternal security.

 

Basically, Methodists were a revival movement within the Church of England, spurred by John Wesley's embrace of Arminianism via a run in with some Moravians.

John Wesley's big thing was the assurance of salvation, and a rather rigorous discipleship.

There is a belief that one can be "perfected in love in this lifetime". (In practice, the chances of this are about equal to that of seeing Elvis rise from the dead.)

What that tends to result in is one of two things: a somewhat legalistic approach to life to make sure you're holy by not doing anything but church, or an obsessive

compulsion to be doing something, anything, for God all the time without rest.

 

Over the years, I've found Wesley's journey similar to that of Luther's. It was hearing the preface to Luther's commentary on Romans that assured Wesley

of his salvation. However, Wesley tended to be somewhat of an autocratic control freak.

 

As far as influence, I'm actually finding LUTHER'S beliefs more of an influence these days, particularly his stress on making a distinction between law and gospel,

while maintaining both have a necessary place in discipleship.

 

That's very interesting, thank you. :)

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So, the liberals in the United Methodist Church and their influence is very well known, but I'd be interested to know how those devout Methodists cope, whether or not there is a strict, Confessional Methodist type organization out there. Let me know, by the way, if you've any questions regarding Lutheranism. :)

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There is a flank group beginning to develop on the right: the Wesleyan Covenant Association. Plus, there's the "Good News" caucus that has been around since the early 70s. Good News is the one drawing a line in the sand of late over same-sex rights in the UMC.

As far as "confessional" Methodism, probably outside of the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds, there really is no "confession" that they can gather around in the same way that Lutherans have the book of Concord and the Reformed have the Westminster Confession. John Wesley himself was not overly wild about confessions, being more concerned with "experiential salvation" rather than detailed faith statements.

 

If any Methodist group really wanted to get confessional, it would probably require some alliance of sorts with the Anglican church from whence they splintered and their 39 Articles. Now Wesley did create his own sort of "Reader's Digest Condensed Version" of this Anglican confession, excising the parts he thought were too Calvinistic. This got further confused in the last century when the Methodist Episcopal Church (not to be confused with the Episcopalian denomination) merged with the Evangelical United Brethren (a similar group formed by German immigrants) to form the United Methodist Church. In their present form, the 25 Articles can be found here:

http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-articles-of-religion-of-the-methodist-church

 

The actual doctrinal standards come from Wesley's Notes on the New Testament and a four-volume collection of Wesley's Sermons.

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The Anglican HOOKER had held a trilogy of Scripture, Tradition and Reason as a guide.

The "Wesleyan Quadrilateral" of  Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience was not something Wesley himself set up -- a Theologian in the sixties -- Albert Outler -- more or less said the Quadrilateral was what Wesley WOULD HAVE set up, and it stuck -- a fourfold method of guidance with Scripture always as primary and the other three things supplementing it.  Hooker the Anglican seemed to consider Experience as a "part of Reason", whereas Wesley separated Experience into its own element.

So rather than Sola Scriptura, Methodists have this Quadrilateral as a guide.

I grew up in the Methodist Church before it was the United Methodist Church, in fact, as a ninth-grader, I went to the Convention in Dallas in late sixties where the UMC was formed -- another group that was merged in then was The Methodist Episcopal Church - South, which had been separate concerning slavery ALL THAT TIME - Civil War to late sixties...

I understood nothing at the time of the reasons for the merger, but got to go on a bus from Waco to Dallas with kids from various Methodist churches in town.

 

As far as Methodists being "Baptists who believed in infant baptism but not eternal security" that's pretty dead-on, but the Methodist Church where I grew up did not stress an individual conversion, salvation experience -- the "invitation" at the close of every regular service was for people to JOIN THAT PARTICULAR CONGREGATION --  rather than for a person to accept Christ into their life; I am trying to explain the bad with the good about how it was.  We periodically had "Revivals" - week-long sessions of early morning meetings and nightly meetings; maybe the 'altar calls' in those were more towards personal acceptance of Christ, but I think the general consensus was that you became a Christian by osmosis somehow..

At 19, I was saved and rebaptized, immersed at a Baptist Church (which, btw, is an option for someone who wants more than their head sprinkled as an infant) -- many Baptist churches will let Methodist ministers use their baptistries for that purpose.

 

The spreading/healing of the world mentioned in the OP is not something I am familiar with, and Wesley's own beliefs on the possibility of Perfection was never something I bought into or even fully understood.  As far as not believing in Eternal Security, Arminians in general seemed open about that -- we sang the Fanny Crosby hymn "Blessed Assurance" all the time, Both John Wesley and Jacob Arminius believed it might be POSSIBLE for a believer to cease being a believer; if you are currently a believer, you have Assurance; you are predestined in the sense that God's foreknowledge of your coming to belief and persevering in that belief is the basis of election.

 

Although Charles Wesley's "O, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing" was number one in the Methodist Hymnal for years and years, Methodists were not known as Charismatics, though not necessarily Cessationists either.  We had heard that there be such a thing as a Holy Ghost.

 

Apostles Creed was used more frequently than Nicene Creed, it was maybe in High School that I heard there was another Creed besides Apostles.  I was given a Revised Standard Version Bible by the church in 1962.  Today, one can get a Wesley Study Bible in either NIV or NRSV -- I hope to one day get the latter.

 

This spring there will be a denomination-wide decision about the homosexuality issue; and the United Methodist Church may be un-United somehow, we wait and see.

 

I cannot help but feel that the gay scandals in the Catholic Church may have a backlash against any acceptance at all of homosexuality in this upcoming General Conference ,which will include very conservative Methodists in Africa who will never vote for any gay acceptance.

 

The lack of stress on personal acceptance of Christ, at least in church where I grew up, I see as a negative.  The Open Table to all believers I consider a positive, as the Methodist Church's view that it was A true church among other true churches, rather than saying "we are the one True Church" as some may do.

 

 

 

Edited by Anto9us
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