Why does The
United Methodist Church ordain women?
been part of Methodism
since John Wesley licensed
Sarah Crosby to preach in 1761. Although women were ordained in the
Methodist tradition as early as the late 1800s, it was the May 4, 1956
General Conference vote for full clergy rights that forever changed the
face of ordained clergy.
the creed of The United Methodist Church?
believe in God, Creator of the world;
and in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation. We believe in the Holy
Spirit, through whom we
acknowledge God’s gifts, and we repent of our sin in misusing these
gifts to idolatrous ends.
affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves
to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.
joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community,
sexuality, marriage, and the family.
commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young
adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the
quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of all persons.
believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God
and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their
welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God,
collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the
elimination of economic and social distress.
dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of
justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people
of the world. We believe in the present and final
triumph of God’s Word in human
affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the
gospel in the world. Amen.
churches that require
affirmation of a strict list of beliefs as a condition of membership,
Methodist Church is
not a creedal church.
So why do
we recite creeds during worship?
United Methodist Hymnal contains nine
creeds or affirmations. Only
two of these (Nicene and Apostles') are strictly considered to
creeds because they are products of ecumenical councils.
remaining affirmations are taken from Paul’s letters (Corinthians,
Colossians, Romans and Timothy) along with affirmations from the United
Church of Canada, the Korean Methodist Church and the United Methodist
Methodists are not required to believe every word of the affirmations.
Church founder, John Wesley himself did not agree with
historic (Athanasian) creed, because he disliked its emphasis on
condemning people to hell.
help us come to our own understanding of the Christian faith. They
affirm our unity in Christ with those followers who first
wrote them, the many generations who have recited them before us and
those who will recite them after we have gone.
Methodists believe that animals
have souls and go to heaven?
other Catholic and Protestant
denominations, we United Methodists
do not teach that animals have souls and therefore need redemption and
forgiveness or heaven in the same way that humans do.
we do teach that "All creation is the Lord's, and therefore we
are responsible for the ways in which we use or abuse it [including the
animals and diverse forms of life on the planet]." (¶ 160, 2008 Book of
"We support regulations that protect the life and health of animals,
including those ensuring the humane treatment of
other domestic animals, animals used in research, and the painless
slaughtering of meat animals, fish, and fowl.
preservation of all animal species including those threatened with
extinction." (¶ 160C, 2008 Book of
include in our Book of Worship a liturgy for the blessing of animals
and we see animals as companions and "friends" to
humans and believe
that all of them belong to God.
The UMC teach
about the second coming?
Methodists have varied
interpretations and understandings of the
second coming of Christ as referenced in
scripture. While you would find many who take a literal approach
to belief in the second coming, most United Methodists would be
uncertain about the meaning of
the second coming.
speaking, United Methodists are focused on Christ and welcoming his
grace--prevenient that moves us to turn
to Christ for
salvation, justifying that works righteousness in us and trust for
salvation, and sanctifying that perfects us in lives of love of God and
neighbor. We tend not to be a speculative people . Often attention to
the second coming can get pretty dicey and speculative. As the children
of John Wesley, we are practical people attending to Christ present in
worship and in the daily life and needs of others around us.
United Methodist Church accepts cremation and organ donation. How is
this consistent with resurrection of the body? Our Articles
of Religion affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ in very strong
did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all
things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature"
the Articles of Religion say nothing about the Last Judgment or
theresurrection of believers (though the Scriptures and the Creeds
both affirm this!), the Confession of Faith speaks of it in these words:
"We believe all men
stand under the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ,
both now and in the last day. We
believe in the resurrection of the
the righteous to life eternal and the wicked to endless
condemnation" (Article XII).
doctrinal statements, then, affirm the bodily resurrection of
Jesus, indeed the resurrection of the same body that entered the tomb.
But for believers, many of whose bodies over the past two thousand
years may have entirely decomposed, if they were not burned, lost at
sea, or otherwise destroyed, our statements speak simply of the
resurrection of "the dead." This is consistent not only with
biology, but also with the teaching of Paul in I Corinthians 15. There,
Paul insists that resurrection is real, necessary, and more than a
matter of revivifying dead bodies or remains. Instead, he speaks of a
spiritual body that is raised of which our perishable, corruptible
bodies are at most but the seed (see especially verses 35-49).
all of these reasons, United Methodists do not insist upon burial as
the only appropriate means of committing our earthly remains to God,
and so are generally open to cremation as a viable alternative. In some
places burial or entombment is simply not an option, either because of
costs involved or because of a lack of cemetery space. Ultimately, this
is a decision that will be in the context of the individuals, families,
and cultural norms involved.
United Methodists take no direct stand against cremation, we do
take a very proactive stand to encourage organ donation. Our Social
Principles state that "organ transplantation and organ donation are
acts of charity, agape
love, and self-sacrifice. We recognize the life-giving benefits of
organ and other tissue donation and encourage all people of faith to
become organ and tissue donors as part of their love and ministry to
others in need" (¶ 162 W).
United Methodist Church believe
that babies are born in sin?
we do believe that babies, at birth,
are contaminated by sin. The
ancient teaching of the church on this is called the doctrine of
original sin. The Articles of Religion in our
of Discipline state: "Article VII - Of Original or Birth
Sin Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the
Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of
every man, that
naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is
very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature
inclined to evil, and that continually."
point here is that we do not choose ["Original sin standeth not in the
following of Adam"] to follow the way of sin; indeed, we cannot help it
without the grace of God.
means, as Romans 5 puts it (see all of chapter 5 which is about
salvation) "as by one man's disobedience [Adam's] the many [meaning all
who are born] were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience [Jesus]
the many will be made righteous." This is Paul’s way of spelling out
both the doctrine of sin and the doctrine of salvation. Remember
here, we are dealing with Paul's way of setting this up. Christ can
redeem all because his faithfulness to God in perfect love and
obedience matches and exceeds the disobedience of one man, Adam.
notion of original sin does not compute very well with the modern
outlook. Most of the 20th century church tried to dance around it and
then wondered why Jesus' saving work was hard to get serious about. "If
we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in
us.” says 1st John, vs. 8.
point is that we, from birth, need the grace of God available in Jesus
Christ. We cannot hope in some tiny spark of goodness at our core
that is always there to get us through. We are without merit or claim
upon God on our own. This is a hard pill to swallow in our
"enlightened" and modern perspective. On the other hand, what a
gracious hope and gospel we proclaim and live if we simply accept the
desperate need we are in from the beginning and the washing of water
and the word in baptism where God claims us as God's own in union with
Christ, dying to sin and living alive to God by the power of the Spirit.
person who commits suicide go to hell?
161 N) Suicide—We believe that suicide
is not the way a human life
should end. Often suicide is the result of untreated depression, or
untreated pain and suffering. The church has an obligation to see that
all persons have access to needed pastoral and medical care and therapy
in those circumstances that lead to loss of self-worth, suicidal
despair, and/or the desire to seek physician-assisted suicide. We
encourage the church to provide education to address the biblical,
theological, social, and ethical issues related to death and dying,
including suicide. United Methodist theological seminary courses should
also focus on issues of death and dying, including suicide.
Christian perspective on suicide begins with an affirmation of faith
that nothing, including suicide, separates us from the love of God
(Romans 8:38-39). Therefore, we deplore the condemnation of people who
complete suicide, and we consider unjust the stigma that so often falls
on surviving family and friends.
encourage pastors and faith communities to address this issue
through preaching and teaching. We urge pastors and faith communities
to provide pastoral care to those at risk, survivors, and their
families, and to those families who have lost loved ones to suicide,
seeking always to remove the oppressive stigma around suicide. The
Church opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia.
say we believe in the "holy catholic
church" in the Apostles' Creed?
Is this a reference to the Catholic
Church? The Apostles' Creed is a statement of belief from the early
(probably from the first few centuries after Jesus' death and
resurrection). When the creed states, "I believe in the holy catholic
church," it refers to the universal church rather than a specific
branch of Christianity. The word catholic comes from the Greek word
katholikos whichmeans "universal" or "general."
United Methodists believe
United Methodists believe in saints,
not in the same manner as the
Catholic Church. We recognize Matthew, Paul, John, Luke and other
early followers of
Jesus as saints, and countless numbers of
United Methodist churches are
named after these saints.
We also recognize and celebrate All
Saints' Day (Nov. 1) and "all the saints who
from their labors rest." All Saints' Day is a time to remember
Christians of every time and place, honoring those who
lived faithfully and shared their faith with us. On All Saints'
churches read the names of their members who died in the past
our denomination does not have any system whereby people are
elected to sainthood. We do not pray to saints, nor do we believe
serve as mediators to God. United Methodist believe "...
one God; there is also one mediator between God and
Jesus, himself human who gave himself a
ransom for all" (1 Timothy
Methodists call people "saints" because they exemplified the
Christian life. In this sense, every Christian can be considered a
Wesley believed we have much to learn from the saints, but he did
not encourage anyone to worship them. He expressed concern about
Church of England's focus on saints' days and said that
"most of the
holy days were at present answering no valuable end."
focus was entirely on the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
is the nation
whose God is the Lord. Psalm
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