Interesting sermon at a Methodist church this morning

Today was “Decoration Sunday” at the little country Methodist church where my mother and father are buried. I went, as I always do, to take part in the music program (yes, I went to the vigil Mass yesterday evening to cover my obligation).

The new pastor there is a young man, perhaps in his upper 20s. Rather than preach a sermon geared to the special occasion, he chose to continue with the next message in his series on the nature of God, specifically, on the aseity of God (look it up if you don’t know what it means).

I was amazed. Take away the down-home preaching style, and the rural Alabama way of speaking, and most of what he said could have come from the mouths or the pens of the 2nd- and 3rd-century Catholic theologians that I’ve been reading recently. He may have not realized it, but he was really making this convert enjoy himself :smiley:

That is interesting.

Plus I learned a new word (I had to look up aseity).

Well, now you’re obliged to tell him how sound his thinking was in light of the early Christians :slight_smile:

Maybe plant a seed for him to dive into the Church Fathers and learn the continuity of Christ’s Church to this day.

I did :smiley:


Methodists pastors are very well trained. I am sure he understands quite well that his succession from the apostles is no less than any pope in the Catholic church.
He knows from history that Peter was never a bishop of Rome. Even Catholic historians teach that.

But I am sure he would enjoy the conversation. But dont go into it by quoting some mythology that some guys believed starting around the third century. I am sure he knows all about it. Peace, JohnR

Interesting, but completely false. Peter was never bishop of Rome? Is your claim that he was not a bishop or that he was never in Rome? Either option is to be blind to history.

“[H]is succession from the apostles is no less than any pope…”? You seem to think that this Methodist minister was ordained through the laying on of hands by a successor of the Apostles, as done in the New Testament. I doubt that even this minister would claim that.

Please study Church history. The real Church. Not one that started only 500 years ago.

Nice attempt at derailing the thread. :frowning:


Historians say Peter was in Rome but did not found the church and neither was a bishop.
Here is Raymond Brown to explain.

^ Brown, Raymond E. and Meier, John P. (1983). Antioch and Rome: New
Testament Cradles of Christianity. Paulist Press. p. 98. “As for
Peter, we have no knowledge at all of when he came to Rome and what
he did there before he was martyred. Certainly he was not the
original missionary who brought Christianity to Rome (and
therefore not the founder of the church of Rome in that sense).
There is no serious proof that he was the bishop (or local
ecclesiastical officer) of the Roman church–a claim not made till
the third century. Most likely he did not spend any majortime at Rome
before 58 when Paul wrote to the Romans, and so it may have been
only in the 60s and relatively shortly before his martyrdom that
Peter came to the capital.”

The laying on of hands was not ordination. It simply indicated a special mission. It did not imply any kind of clergy. There were no priests or clergy or ordination ini the NT.
That began in the third century. My point is that the Succession of a Methodist pastor is as good as the Popes since there is no direct connection by ordination by anyone back to the apostles. Also, Peter was never a bishop of Rome or anywhere. You got a 200 year gap which might as well be 2000.

Peace, JohnR


Sorry, Just trying to answer the question. It was after all about the Methodist pastors.

Peace, JohnR

It wasn’t about the Bishop of Rome.

Sorry to disabuse you, but Methodist clergy are trained in seminaries and have a minimum of seven years of post secondary education. The church fathers you speak of are their church fathers too. The Catholic church does not own the church fathers. Nor does it have any special authority about them that is recognized by all Christians.

Why would you imagine that a Methodist preacher is some sort of ignoramus? Methodism was founded by John Wesley who had been an Oxford academic. I grew up in the Methodist church and Methodist clergy have usually been quite scholarly.

It is I who must disabuse the both of you. We’re talking about a small country church, 20 miles from a town of any size, that might have 50 at Sunday worship on a really good day. These kinds of rural Methodist congregations make do with the best they can get, usually somebody with a full-time day job who can preach and doesn’t mind taking the responsibility.

This pastor is in his early-to-mid 20s and most assuredly has not had seven yeas of post-secondary education. That said, he is not an ignoramus; I thought he handled the subject quite well. However, he seems to be primarily self-taught, judging from what he told me during our brief conversation.

Actually, it began shortly after Pentecost, when Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. Although the terms “bishop,” “priest,” and “deacon” were somewhat fluid in the apostolic age, by the beginning of the second century they had achieved the fixed form in which they are used today to designate the three offices whose functions are clearly distinct in the New Testament.

The early Church Fathers recognized all three offices and regarded them as essential to the Church’s structure. Especially significant are the letters of Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who traveled from his home city to Rome, where he was executed around A.D. 110. On the way he wrote letters to the churches he passed. Each of these churches possessed the same threefold ministry. Without this threefold ministry, Ignatius said, a group cannot be called a church.

Or how 'bout the writings of St. John Chrysostom:"[In Philippians 1:1 Paul says,] ‘To the co-bishops and deacons.’ What does this mean? Were there plural bishops of some city? Certainly not! It is the presbyters that [Paul] calls by this title; for these titles were then interchangeable, and the bishop is even called a deacon. That is why, when writing to Timothy, he says, ‘Fulfill your diaconate’ [2 Tim. 4:5], although Timothy was then a bishop. That he was in fact a bishop is clear when Paul says to him, ‘Lay hands on no man lightly’ [1 Tim. 5:22], and again, ‘Which was given you with the laying on of hands of the presbytery’ [1 Tim. 4:14], and presbyters would not have ordained a bishop" (Homilies on Philippians 1:1 [A.D. 402]).
In fact, when Paul told Timothy, “[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2) he was referring to the first four generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, the generation Timothy will teach, and the generation they in turn will teach.

Interesting. Is the church in question part of the United Methodist Church?

Not sure. I get hits on both “Nesmith Methodist Church” and “Nesmith United Methodist Church,” but the church itself doesn’t have its own website. I never think about clarifying that when I’m actually there.

Sorry but I must have missed the obvious

  • you were a methodist who became Catholic?
  • you attended a methodist service recently and were highly impressed by the sermon?

how did the wonderful methodist sermon reinforce your decision to ‘come home’

ps. I too have started to read some of the ECF, as I try to grow my faith. I find them very ressuring

The first tactic employed by heretics is always a denial of the traditional apostolic succession. True in the second century, true today.

That being said, Catholics and most Protestants share a common understanding on the nature of God - God’s aseity, omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, etc. Its part of the ‘Mere Christianity’ thing. I’m not surprised that a Methodist pastor would be preaching on the aseity of God. That’s just orthodox Christianity. Now if he was preaching about the Immaculate Conception or papal infallibilty that would be a shock.

No, I am a former SoBap (raised Pentecostal) who became Catholic several years ago.

  • you attended a methodist service recently and were highly impressed by the sermon?


how did the wonderful methodist sermon reinforce your decision to ‘come home’

As it states my displayed personal data on the upper right of the screen, I “swam the Tiber” in 2005, which was years ago.

ps. I too have started to read some of the ECF, as I try to grow my faith. I find them very ressuring

Actually it was reading the earliest fathers back in the mid-'90s that first started me asking questions about Catholicism. "What?! The Apostle John isn’t even cold in his grave, and the Church is already falling into Catholic heresies :bigyikes: :smiley: "

Please read the OP. He wasn’t preaching about apostolic succession; he was preaching about the aseity of God.

You will find that the little rural Methodist churches tend to have preachers/pastors that are more orthodox in their understanding than the big city churches, where liberalism/modernism is still in force. At least that is what I found when I was a Methodist. And yes, the orthodox Protestant understanding of God is close to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox views.

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