[quote=Shibboleth]Methodist is an offshoot of the Wesleyan Church and not very close at all to Catholicism.
This needs a bit of correction. The current United Methodist Church traces its origin to John Wesley in 1784. Wesley was an Anglican priest, and remained so all his life. The United Methodist Articles of Religon, which define UM “doctrine” are almost identical to those of the Anglican Church.
Wesley was actually quite close to the Catholic Church in many respects. He did not believe in the “faith alone” teachings of Luther. In fact, Wesley’s greatest controversies were with the Lutherans and the Calvinists.
Of course, he was an English Protestant and had his differences with Catholicism. But he was for the most part on friendly terms with Catholics.
The Methodist stream was fed by the post-Reformation German Pietist movement. The current United Methodist Church is a union between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church back in 1968.
Unfortunately, most United Methodists are quite unaware of the teachings of John Wesley, who was an ardent sacramentalist. The present-day UM church has strayed very far from its Wesleyan roots.
Within the UM church, which is mainline Protestant, is a very strong evangelical wing which continues to fight for the restoration of what they see as biblical Christianity. Things are very tense within the denomination right now after this year’s General Conference, which had big pro-gay demonstrations. Because of the increasinlgy leftward tilt of the church leadership, many evangelicals are predicting a split in United Methodism.
We’ll have to wait and see. United Methodists are very loyal to their denomination and it’s very hard to get them worked up over points of doctrine, at least enough to split their denomination. The abortion issue wasn’t enough to do it.