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Switch to Forum Live View Looking for info on Methodist denomination.
4 years ago  ::  Mar 22, 2010 - 11:34PM #1
Will.weston
Posts: 7

I was hoping a Methodist could clarify something.  I come from a Baptist tradition (but don't attend a church currently).  I've always heard that the only real difference between a Baptist and a Methodist is the way we baptise.  But I attended a Methodist Church yesterday and I got the feeling it was more relaxed than the Baptist tradition.  For example: Baptist Churches I have attended seem to always be drawing this line in the sand, as if to separate the saved from the unsaved.  It is like they are constantly checking their neighbor to see if they are saying, "Amen" at the right times.  And little coversational cues like "If you don't remember what day you were 'saved' maybe you are not a real Christian," and so forth.  Everyone in the congregation knows these cues, but they are constantly being reaffirmed as if there is a paranoia that someone will challenge what it means to be a Christian and the whole church seems always on the verge of being offended or freaking out if you don't play the game.  


In contrast, the Methodist Church I attended had a low-key service that I enjoyed very much.  There was no pressure to play that game and people were happy just to introduce themselves to me.  The sermon was a passage from John and the preacher acknowledged that there were distinct differences in how each of the Gospels portrays Jesus and that the 'facts' in the Gospels do not always match up. 


So, I have read a couple of comparison charts on Christian denominations on the internet and they are all too wordy and vague.  Given my impressions of the Baptist and Methodist traditions above, what is your view as a Methodist about these observed differences. 


My more specific questions are:


1...Do Methodists take a less than literal approach to the Bible (less literal than the Baptist view that insists it is all entirely accurate including the creation account in Genesis and the Bible is essentially written by God who whispered it word for word to humans and He made sure they didn't edit anything)?


2...I read on a comparison chart that Methodists believe a person can "gradually" turn to Christ over time.  This seems very practical to me but it is very un-Baptist.   Baptists insist one must confess to being a sinner, repent, and ask Jesus "into your heart" and accept Him as Lord.  This is all pretty much one little prayer at the time of conversion and then they are considered 'saved.'  In case anyone forgets that, they always put those cues in their services to get people to jump through the hoops to remind them what Christianity (according to Baptists) requires.  So do Methodists typically go the "pray the magic prayer and, presto, your saved" like the Baptists?  Or is their a significant number who consider themselves in the group that has "gradually turned" to Christ?


I appreciate your answers in advance.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 23, 2010 - 2:37PM #2
Jewell
Posts: 1

I am a Methodist and yes we take a more relaxed view of things compared to Baptist. Yes we beieve in being "saved" or"born again",however this is a personal thing and no pressure at my church. Yes we believe some have a gradual conversion experience and other have had a more dramatic one....for myself I was saved in my living room, in April  1965. Those who have been raised in  the church come to conversion in a more gradual way. In our church we practice sprinkling as a means of baptism, however we recognize all forms of it.....No one is ever excluded from communion as it is open to all who wish to recieve it.


Our church is very active and  we stress helping others. Using our God given talents to help those in need whatever that may be.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2010 - 5:04PM #3
Bevo
Posts: 561

I basically agree.  In Methodism, Scripture is primary.  One of Wesley's quotes was, "I am a Bible bigot."  Another difference between the two expressions of faith involves the "Breaking of the Bread."  Methodism holds to a sacramental view, meaning God meets us at the Table and imparts his grace unto us.  The Baptist expression holds to the tradition that the meal is done "only in remembrance" and nothing special takes place at the meal.  Another difference is that many Baptist churches are independent, whereas all United Methodist churches are connectual. Methodists  determine church policy every four years at General Conference, whereas most Baptist churches determine church policy irrespective of other Baptist churches.


It is perfectly permissible for Methodists to be baptized by full immersion.  While not often done, our Methodist church has immersed persons wishing to be baptized (we have a fountain outside that we use).


Most Methodist sermons are not expository in nature, meaning a section of Scripture is chosen and serves as "backdrop" to the balance of the sermon.  Many Baptist sermons are expository, meaning that the preacher will take a section of Scripture and, through exegesis of the Scripture, explain in full detail what the Scripture is saying.


If you are interested in finding a Methodist church, I would recommend you attend one that supports either/or the following:  Good News, The Confessing Movement or the IRD.  I'd suggest emailing either Good News or the Confessing Movement, give them your address, and asking them for a church near where you live.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 01, 2010 - 10:13AM #4
Will.weston
Posts: 7

Thank you both for your responses.  They were very helpful. 


I was busy with important business and neglected to return as promptly as I wanted to. 


I have been encouraged by my positive experience to attend the Methodist Church I visited a couple of weeks ago.  I do not wish to badmouth my Baptist friends, but the more relaxed atmosphere and inclusiveness of the Methodist service was a breath of fresh air compared to what I have been used to.    

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 01, 2010 - 3:49PM #5
Bevo
Posts: 561

One last, but nevertheless important distinction between the two traditions involves salvation.  Baptists view salvation as a one time occurrence.  Methodists view salvation as a journey, characterized by prevenient grace, justifying grace and sanctifying grace.  Methodists might say, "I was saved, I am saved and I am being saved."  Methodists would cite the four "alls" in describing this:


All must be saved. (original sin)


All can be saved. (armenianism, not election)


All can know them self saved. (assurance)


All can be saved to the uttermost.  (sanctification)

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2 years ago  ::  Aug 01, 2012 - 12:18PM #6
Hisfollower
Posts: 3

Mar 22, 2010 -- 11:34PM, Will.weston wrote:

I was hoping a Methodist could clarify something.  I come from a Baptist tradition (but don't attend a church currently).  I've always heard that the only real difference between a Baptist and a Methodist is the way we baptise.  But I attended a Methodist Church yesterday and I got the feeling it was more relaxed than the Baptist tradition.  For example: Baptist Churches I have attended seem to always be drawing this line in the sand, as if to separate the saved from the unsaved.  It is like they are constantly checking their neighbor to see if they are saying, "Amen" at the right times.  And little coversational cues like "If you don't remember what day you were 'saved' maybe you are not a real Christian," and so forth.  Everyone in the congregation knows these cues, but they are constantly being reaffirmed as if there is a paranoia that someone will challenge what it means to be a Christian and the whole church seems always on the verge of being offended or freaking out if you don't play the game.  


In contrast, the Methodist Church I attended had a low-key service that I enjoyed very much.  There was no pressure to play that game and people were happy just to introduce themselves to me.  The sermon was a passage from John and the preacher acknowledged that there were distinct differences in how each of the Gospels portrays Jesus and that the 'facts' in the Gospels do not always match up. 


So, I have read a couple of comparison charts on Christian denominations on the internet and they are all too wordy and vague.  Given my impressions of the Baptist and Methodist traditions above, what is your view as a Methodist about these observed differences. 


My more specific questions are:


1...Do Methodists take a less than literal approach to the Bible (less literal than the Baptist view that insists it is all entirely accurate including the creation account in Genesis and the Bible is essentially written by God who whispered it word for word to humans and He made sure they didn't edit anything)?


2...I read on a comparison chart that Methodists believe a person can "gradually" turn to Christ over time.  This seems very practical to me but it is very un-Baptist.   Baptists insist one must confess to being a sinner, repent, and ask Jesus "into your heart" and accept Him as Lord.  This is all pretty much one little prayer at the time of conversion and then they are considered 'saved.'  In case anyone forgets that, they always put those cues in their services to get people to jump through the hoops to remind them what Christianity (according to Baptists) requires.  So do Methodists typically go the "pray the magic prayer and, presto, your saved" like the Baptists?  Or is their a significant number who consider themselves in the group that has "gradually turned" to Christ?


I appreciate your answers in advance.


will I agree with what was posted as well. I too was brought up Methodist and we all so beleve that the communion table is open to all. Yes we were founded in 1965 but out west in the west we were founded in 1848 which is 150+ yrs of being around Jhon wesly was our founder please feel free to  go to umc.org for more in info on our faith hope you find what you are looking for.

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8 months ago  ::  Dec 04, 2013 - 8:59PM #7
river8101
Posts: 5,541

I don't know anything about Baptists, but when I was teenager, I sang in a Methodist church for 2 years.  I lived in a mainly Christian neighborhood, and my best friend was Methodist .  She and her parents went to church every week.  Church had 3 choirs.  One was for the adults, another was for teens, and the other for children. That church was very music conscious, and had a very large organ. The teacher (who played the organ) not only directed our choirs but also directed a choir in a Reform Jewish temple, and kept inviting me to sing there. (I think he needed an extra alto.) and could read music.   I would have, but the Temple was a distance and my parents didn't feel like taking me there every Sat. morning and to rehersals.  The minister always preached kindly, and at Christmas there was standing room only, because many outsiders came to hear the choirs.  We were really good.  Some were not Christians.


Anyway, as a Jew, I never felt uneasy in that church.  There was no anti-Semitism in the sermons.  Nothing about getting saved so you wouldn't go to hell, or anything like that. Most of the sermons were to be kind to one another and help those who needed help.  I heard no evangelism in the sermons, or topics on hell if you didn't believe in Jesus.   Communion was held once a year on Holy Thursday, I think, and they had bread and grape juice.  I didn't go to that, and I don't remember if the choir sang on that date or not.  It's been years.   I do remember at Christmas the teen choir was sent caroling around the neighborhood. It was fun, but very cold.  On Christmas eve there were several instruments.  I really liked that.


Evangelical preaching I have heard on TV was nothing like what I heard in the church I sang in. If it had been, I would have left.  By the time I was 15, I stopped participating, because I found channels for music elsewhere, but I really enjoyed going, and had friends there.  Nobody ever tried to convert me.  If they had, I would have left.

“Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject.”
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