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5 years ago  ::  Aug 24, 2009 - 6:42PM #811
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

Aug 24, 2009 -- 6:28PM, Kevinponeill wrote:


Aug 24, 2009 -- 2:07PM, Matt16-18 wrote:


"Much of Methodist belief is actually to be found primarily in the liturgy and in hymns ... and has not received extensive articulation in other forms. In some cases, it remains implicit."


(above quote from:  PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN UNITY, THE GRACE GIVEN YOU IN CHRIST:CATHOLICS AND METHODISTS REFLECT FURTHER ON THE CHURCH, (The Seoul Report)  Report of the Joint Commission for Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Methodist Council, 2006)



One thing is certain, the Methodist Hymnal explicitly affirms the doctrine of the Vicarious Atonement!


Jesus, our great high priest, hath full atonement made ... Extol the Lamb of God, the all atoning Lamb; redemption in his blood throughout the world proclaim. 379. Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow


Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see the very dying form of One who suffered there for me ... 297. Beneath the Cross of Jesus


E'en now by faith we join our hands with those that went before, and greet the blood-besprinkled bands on the eternal shore. 709. Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above


Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee! 'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee. Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered. For our atonement, while we nothing heeded, God interceded. For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation; thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation. 289. Ah, Holy Jesus


And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior's blood! Died he for me? who caused his pain! ... He left his Father's throne above (so free, so infinite his grace!), emptied himself of all but love, and bled for Adam's helpless race. 363. And Can It Be that I Should Gain


This is that great thing I know; this delights and stirs me so: faith in him who died to save, him who triumphed o'er the grave: Jesus Christ, the crucified. 163. Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know


Come, all ye souls by sin oppressed ... This is the time, no more delay! This is the Lord's accepted day. Come thou, this moment, at his call, and live for him who died for all. 339. Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast


Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! 378. Amazing Grace


Ye chosen seed of Israel's race, ye ransomed from the fall, ye ransomed from the fall ... 155. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name


Depth of mercy! Can there be mercy still reserved for me? Can my God his wrath forbear, me, the chief of sinners, spare? ... Now incline me to repent, let me now my sins lament, now my foul revolt deplore, weep, believe, and sin no more. 355. Depth of Mercy




Yes we sing our Faith.  Here is a list of many Methodist hymns that you likely know already:


see link: gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/hymns/


 


We share the Articles of Religion with the Anglicans.  You can see the ideas of our Faith here: archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1648


Methodism emphases is on living the Christian Faith, not on the ideas of Faith.  See Wesley's Sermon, "The Almost Christian" to understand what I have bee saying about our view of "ideas".  Belief alone is not enough.  That makes us (according to Wesley) an "almost Christian".  Living the Faith in Christian community (as I stated before) makes one a true Christian.





Kevin ,


That is partially true. Wesley emphasized personal conversion as requisite for salvation. Then one of the marks of true conversion is love for the brethren and walking in the truth. This is where the Church comes in as a community.

For those who have faith, no explanation is neccessary.
For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

If one turns his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 25, 2009 - 3:39AM #812
Matt16-18
Posts: 1,119

KevinPONeill: Methodism emphases is on living the Christian Faith, not on the ideas of Faith.


And I have no problem with that. Mere intellectual assent is not saving faith. Salvation by faith alone is a Protestant idea.


KevinPONeill: Belief alone is not enough.


Of course it isn't! 


What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? James 2:14


Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? James 2:20


You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24


But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22


... if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Cor 2:13


Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Matt 25:34-35


KevinPONeill: Living the Faith in Christian community (as I stated before) makes one a true Christian.


Obviously true. Scripture teaches that faith apart from the works of charity is barren, and that Christ founded a Church.  Christ did not call us to be Lone Rangers!

If you would enter life, keep the commandments. 
Matthew 19:17
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 25, 2009 - 3:34PM #813
Matt16-18
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KevinPONeill: Methodists received their name from their detractors because of our emphasis on spiritual discipline in order to realize the fruit of God's grace. Grace is free, and offered to all. In that respect Methodism was at odds with Calvinism that was the dominant view among the sects of England.




John Wesley rejected the core principles of Calvinism, that is, the principles that make Calvinism a distinct form of religion. The hyperlink that you posted said this:


"Wesley believed that people have freedom of choice. We are free to accept or reject God's justifying grace."


 and this,


"Wesley believed that, after we have accepted God's grace, we are to move on in God's sustaining grace toward perfection.Wesley believed the people could "fall from grace ...".


The above is what both Holy Tradition and Scriptures teach, so Wesley was orthodox in this particular teaching, unlike the Calvinists who are heterodox in this regard.




KevinPONeill: The leaders of the "Methodists" were all High Church priests. John and Charles Wesley died an Anglicans.




Which would mean that John and Charles Wesley died as Protestants in communion with an institution founded by a man, Henry VIII, and in imperfect communion with the true Church, the Church that Christ founded.




KevinPOneill: The Methodist were told to go to the CEO to receive their sacraments, but they did their devotions in the Methodist Classes.




Right. Methodism wasn't a reaction against Catholicism, it was a reaction against a strain of Protestantism, i.e. it was a reaction against the Calvinism that infested the Church of England. Wesley was not so much a theologian arguing doctrine with the COE, he was a man interested in bringing spiritual revival to a moribund Anglicanism. He was absolutely correct for insisting that the call to holiness is the vocation of every Christian.




KevinPONeill: I believe you will find that Methodisms unique emphasis on previent grace, and holiness, as well as the view of being catholic, are not dissimilar to the RCC.




From your hyperlink:


God's prevenient grace is with us from birth, preparing us for new life in Christ. "Prevenient" means "comes before." Wesley did not believe that humanity was totally "depraved" but rather God places a little spark of divine grace within us which enables us to recognize and accept God's justifying grace. Preparing grace is "free in all for all," as Wesley used to say.


Compare this to what the Catholic Church teaches:


 Catechism of the Catholic Church 



1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. ..."





2001 The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, "since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:"50




Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.51

Aren't Wesley and the CCC saying essentially the same thing here?


That said, John Wesley's teachings about the Sacrament of Baptism are clearly heretical and not what is taught in Holy Tradition or Scriptures.


This following is from The New Birth, by John Wesley


Wesley first quotes from the Anglican Catechism something that is entirely correct:


"In the Church Catechism likewise, the judgment of our Church is declared with the utmost clearness: "What meanest thou by this word, sacrament? A. I mean an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Q. What is the outward part or form in baptism? A. Water, wherein the person is baptized, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Q. What is the inward part, or thing signified? A. A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness."


After quoting the Anglican Catechism (which is teaching exactly what the Catholic Catechisms of that era taught), Wesley then draws these unbelievable conclusions from what he has just quoted:


"Nothing, therefore, is plainer than that, according to the Church of England, baptism is not the new birth. ... the new birth is not the same thing with baptism, so it does not always accompany baptism: They do not constantly go together. A man may possibly be "born of water," and yet not be "born of the Spirit." "...the new birth is not the same with sanctification."




KevinPONeill: I believe you will find that Methodisms unique emphasis on prevenient grace, and holiness, as well as the view of being catholic, are not dissimilar to the RCC.




As far as John Wesley views about the "catholic spirit" goes, there are indeed some things that the Catholic Church can agree with, and many things the Catholic Church cannot agree with.


Here are some things that the Catholic Church agrees with:


... a catholic spirit is not speculative latitudinarianism. It is not an indifference to all opinions: this is the spawn of hell, not the offspring of heaven. This unsettledness of thought, this being "driven to and fro, and tossed about with every wind of doctrine," is a great curse, not a blessing, an irreconcilable enemy, not a friend, to true catholicism.


... a catholic spirit is not any kind of practical latitudinarianism. It is not indifference as to public worship, or as to the outward manner of performing it. This, likewise, would not be a blessing but a curse. Far from being an help thereto, it would, so long as it remained, be an unspeakable hindrance to the worshipping of God in spirit and in truth.


... a catholic spirit is not indifference to all congregations. This is another sort of Latitudinarianism, no less absurd and unscriptural than the former. But it is far from a man of a truly catholic spirit.


KevinPONeill: We would not consider our sect The Church, but a part of the one catholic Church.


That may indeed be what Methodists believe, but neither the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox, nor the Catholic Church believes that within Methodism one finds Holy Tradition preserved intact.


Because Holy Tradition is only partially accepted by Methodists, and because the Methodist lack valid bishops and are hence without a valid Sacrament of Communion, the Methodists are only in a very imperfect communion with the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH.

If you would enter life, keep the commandments. 
Matthew 19:17
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 25, 2009 - 6:55PM #814
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

Kevin,


I'll side with Wesley on this one.


Christian Baptism and the New Birth are not the same.

For those who have faith, no explanation is neccessary.
For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

If one turns his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 25, 2009 - 10:50PM #815
Roodog
Posts: 10,168

Kevin , Wesley was an Evangelical, he believed in Justification by faith alone.


God accepts you as you are but cares too much for you to leave you as you are.


 He takes you through the process of Sanctification which will last for the rest of your life.

For those who have faith, no explanation is neccessary.
For those who have no faith, no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

If one turns his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 26, 2009 - 12:22PM #816
Matt16-18
Posts: 1,119

KevinPONeill: Methodism emphases is on living the Christian Faith, not on the ideas of Faith. See Wesley's Sermon, "The Almost Christian" to understand what I have bee saying about our view of "ideas". Belief alone is not enough. That makes us (according to Wesley) an "almost Christian".




Roodog: Wesley was an Evangelical, he believed in Justification by faith alone.




From "The Almost Christian": 


... let no man deceive his own soul. "It is diligently to be noted, the faith which bringeth not forth repentance, and love, and all good works, is not that right living faith, but a dead and devilish one. For, even the devils believe that Christ was born of a virgin: that he wrought all kinds of miracles, declaring himself very God: that, for our sakes, he suffered a most painful death, to redeem us from death everlasting; that he rose again the third day: that he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father and at the end of the world shall come again to judge both the quick and dead. These articles of our faith the devils believe, and so they believe all that is written in the Old and New Testament. And yet for all this faith, they be but devils. They remain still in their damnable estate lacking the very true Christian faith." [Homily on the Salvation of Man.]


KevinPONeill: Salvation / and New Birth is not just justification, but also sanctification, that leads to spiritual perfection. Anything less than the goal of full sanctification was (according to Methodism) antinomianism ... The Baptist view of salvation is very different from the Methodist view. A person cannot "lose" their salvation according to Baptists.


Exactly.


Southern Baptists preach a form of OSAS which is nothing but antinomianism - i.e. the SB teach that once a man is "saved" there is no sin that he could conceivably commit that would lead to his damnation. Since "no sin" would certainly include the sins of apostasy, unrepentant murder, unrepentant rape, unrepentant Satan Worshipping, etc. it is obvious that that the Southern Baptists are preaching antinomianism.


That said, not all Baptists are antinomianists. For example, John MacArthur is a conservative Baptist that speaks against the antinomianism of the Southern Baptists (MacArthur calls the SB position "non-lordship salvation"). The various Baptist sects are themselves divided over the "lordship salvation controversy".



A 15-Year Retrospective on the Lordship Controversy, by John MacArthur


"Most of my theological opponents in the lordship debate were fellow conservative evangelicals who had been my friends and allies ... [b]ut they were promoting a view of the gospel that, from a biblical perspective, seemed seriously flawed. They insisted there is no place in the gospel for the proclamation of Jesus' lordship. They said those who call unbelievers to surrender to Christ's authority are preaching a gospel of works. They taught that repentance is a false addition to the gospel message. They objected to any kind of evangelism that employed the language of denying oneself, taking up a cross, and following Christ (cf. Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). They declared that devotion to Christ, love for Him, and obedience to His commands are all matters that pertain to discipleship rather than saving faith. Faith, they said, is merely the acceptance of salvation as a free and unconditional gift--and they portrayed discipleship as a second-level commitment. Therefore, according to their view, the gospel presents Jesus as Savior only, not as Lord.



Nearly all the leading advocates of the no-lordship gospel were associated with Dallas Theological Seminary. In fact, Dr. James M. Boice, who wrote powerfully in defense of "lordship salvation" long before I entered the fray, referred to their view as "the Dallas Doctrine."


The pedigree of no-lordship doctrine at Dallas Seminary is traceable back to founder Lewis Sperry Chafer. The doctrine apparently stemmed from Chafer's misguided attempts to develop a uniquely dispensationalist soteriology. Chafer (together with other early dispensationalists, including C. I. Scofield) was so zealous to eliminate every vestige of law from the dispensation of grace that he embraced a kind of antinomianism. That was the seed from which the no-lordship gospel sprouted."


KevinPONeill: Methodists believe salvation involves both God's will and ours, Christians can lose their salvation along the way. Baptism does not guarantee complete salvation; it is the initiation of the process, that must be affirm by the believer along the way of salvation.


Which is not surprising since Wesley was an Anglican, and Anglicans have never taught antinomian OSAS.

If you would enter life, keep the commandments. 
Matthew 19:17
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 26, 2009 - 1:42PM #817
Matt16-18
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KevinPONeill: Methodists DO have ideas about the Faith, and as noted above, they are insufficient on their own to leads us to the way that leads to Eternal Life.




I quite agree with John Wesley that "the faith which bringeth not forth repentance, and love, and all good works, is not that right living faith, but a dead and devilish one." Which is why I utterly reject the Protestant "no-lordship gospel" that teaches that "that repentance is a false addition to the gospel message". (See quote above from John MacArthur)




KevinPONeil: Not that ideas do not matter, but they are insufficient.




I totally agree that mere intellectual assent to doctrine is not sufficient to save, which is why Paul writes, "if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (1Cor 2:13).


To accept the Gospel, one must, of course, give intellectual assent to the divinely revealed doctrines taught by Holy Tradition and the Scripture, but giving intellectual assent alone to divinely revealed doctrine is not saving faith. "Even the demons believe -- and shudder." (James 2:19)




KevinPONeil: There is where the "touchy-feely" part comes in. That is what Jesus demonstrated, not creeds, dogmas and Canon Law. 




Is this what you mean by touchy-feely?


"The group leader opens the meeting and announces the topic of conversation. Then the group leader gives his or her own experience concerning it, and the asks volunteers to do the same, all the while making all they say come out in the form of natural conversation. There was no discussing anything but experience."


"This method arose from disliking the old method of a brief testimony from each person and a reply from the leader (intended to avoid rambling and unprofitable conversation). Instead, crosstalk was encouraged."


"The Oxford Methodist would meet one on one with John Wesley for discipling. The significance of this method of holiness showed both the dedication that Wesley had for each person in his care and the time invested in each and every one."


(quotes from The Methodist Method)

 


If you would enter life, keep the commandments. 
Matthew 19:17
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 26, 2009 - 2:10PM #818
Matt16-18
Posts: 1,119

KevinPONeill: We are saved into the Church. We maintain our personhood, but it is through union with the Church that brings us to Christ.


Union with the true Church is union with Christ since "he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him."


The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn 15:1ff.; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; Acts 9:5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ's salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church and by means of the Church (cf. Col 1:24-27),47 which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27; Col 1:18).48 And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single "whole Christ".49 Dominus Iesus


"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower ... .a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5)


If you would enter life, keep the commandments. 
Matthew 19:17
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 27, 2009 - 8:49PM #819
Matt16-18
Posts: 1,119
KevinPONeill,  I am still not sure what you mean by "touchy-feely" in regards to "The Method".
Has "The Method" evolved in the UMC, that is, do the Methodists still practice the spiritual discipline of the Oxford Holy Club, or would a potential convert to Methodism experience a different discipline in his local UMC church?
For the specific discipline of the Oxford Holy Club, see this hyperlink: The Methodist Method

 

If you would enter life, keep the commandments. 
Matthew 19:17
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 28, 2009 - 2:14PM #820
Matt16-18
Posts: 1,119



KevinPONeill: That witness is their public commitment to Christ. The Oxford Method is not something used in our ministries, but we are encouraged to have such relationships with each other, as we seek to live holy lives.




Is "the method" anything specific, or can it be generalized as commitment to social justice? How important is the commitment to personal holiness in the overall scheme of things? 




KevinPONeill: It is not found in a book, but in the spiritual bonds one forms through giving of ourselves to one another in love. The same was true for the early Christians. "See how they love one another". .... Methodism rejected the outward religion, and emphasised a religion of the heart.




That is hardly a unique point of view for a Christian community to have. I was thinking that "the method" (whatever that happens to be in the current age), is what gives "Methodists" a unique sense of identity. But you say that the "Oxford Method is not something used in our ministries", and you haven't really given me an idea of what has replaced the Oxford Method.




KevinPONeill:  Methodism rejected the outward religion, and emphasised a religion of the heart.




It is good that Wesley understood that Christians are called to a religion of the heart.


"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." Matt 23:27


"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5


... you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18


 


While the Gospel certainly includes a social justice dimension, I am wondering, what do Methodists make of the following?


Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42


My question is this, could the Methodists embrace the spirituality of the desert Fathers and the desert Mothers? Can Christians achieve holiness by embracing this path? 


What do Methodists think of St. Anthony of the Desert and St. Mary of Egypt?


If you would enter life, keep the commandments. 
Matthew 19:17
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