Methodist vs Catholic

My husband was raised Methodist but is no longer “practicing”. We were married in the Catholic Church, have had all our kids baptised in the Catholic Church, and we attend church regularly together. He has no desire to convert himself because his parents and all of his extended family are methodist - and he says if none of them can be saved or go to heaven due to not being Catholic - it’s not fair for him to convert. Not to mention he says he flat out doesn’t want to.
What are your thoughts and how closely do the Catholic Church and Methodist Church fall in line with beliefs?

Wow, you could be me on the other end! My fiance actually just converted through the RCIA, even though all his family is Methodist, and under severe opposition from his stepfather! But from what I know, the Methodist church and the Catholic Church are really not so far off from their basic foundation. I’ve actually heard a Methodist or two describe themselves as “lazy Catholics”.:wink: (They don’t go to church for a workout!!) Though my fiance’s immediate family no longer practices, his grandparents are extremely dedicated Methodists, and they were just thrilled that he’d found a place for God in his life again! They even sent him little cards for his confirmation. And actually, through sponsoring my fiance and attending RCIA, I even discovered a lot I hadn’t known before. For one thing, the Catholic faith is (one of the only) Christian faiths that believes you don’t necessarily have to be Catholic (insert denomination here) to go to heaven. The Church doesn’t teach that you won’t be saved unless you’re Catholic! Of course, there are other paths to salvation, we simply have the rare luxury of FULL understanding of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, contemplation of the mysteries, meditation on the sacraments, etc. as well as being part of the apostolic faith established by Christ Himself.
Now, 5 years ago, when we first started dating and he found out I was Catholic, he made it painfully clear right out of the gate, that he had ended relationships in the past because the girl wanted him to convert to Catholicism. I told him he would receive no such pressure from me, but on the rare occasion that he would attend mass with me and my family, I think he really missed having God so close in his life, and that seeing us all sharing in communion with God’s love, he felt like he was really missing out. He made the decision about a year ago all on his own to start going to RCIA classes, and has since become an even better Catholic than me! (I know, you always hear that!!)
Many of the candidates in our RCIA class had been married to a Catholic for many years, and were just now deciding to become Catholic themselves, and I think that for some people, they just have to get over the “stigma” most Protestants can have about the Catholic faith. Really, I think your husband may feel a bit guilty about turning his back on his family, so to speak. I know my fiance had a few issues about that in the beginning, not so much from his mother, but his stepdad’s words were ringing in his ears…“What will your grandparents think when they hear this???” But his grandmother is the most loving and understanding person, and her excitement for him coming to God and a deeper understanding of his faith, I think really gave him a lot of confidence in his decision. I wonder if your husband has talked to any of his family members at all about this?
We’re not yet married, and have no children, so I can’t say I speak from experience, but I excitedly anticipate the day we can pack up the kids, and all attend mass as a family. And I must say, it may sound strange, but I am able to love him on such a deeper level, now that we can share in every facet of our lives. I never felt unfulfilled before, but I can’t imagine our relationship now, without our faith as a central core. Looking back, I think of how empty that must have felt. Really, I think you should pray for him, that God speaks to him, and he is able to reconnect with his faith in some way…Catholic or not! Hope this helps.
Best Wishes!!

Thank you SO much for your post. I really appreciate your message. My hope and prayer is that someday he will convert - however I am careful to never make him feel pressured. I bring a lot of information to him because I do think that he was “misinformed” as to exactly what we believe. He has a deep love for God so I know that is the key. I also need to study more as to what we believe about non-catholics going to heaven. I don’t mean to say that we are arrogant as catholics and believe only we go - but I guess I am just uneducated on it all. One question I have that you may be able to answer is this - if it doesn’t matter if your catholic to gain entrance to heaven - than why would a non-catholic choose to convert? I understand that we have the fullness of the truth and faith and are able to get closest to God through the Eucharist - but if others don’t necessarily need that - then why would they convert?
thanks again and best of luck to you and your fiance:)

Honestly, I don’t know how far off the two of them are as I’ve never really learned or studied much about Methodism. This is also probably not going to really answer your question, but I have two friends, older women. One was raised Catholic and left the church for various reasons-- she has nothing bad to say about Catholicism and she attends Mass on occasion-- but she’s a Methodist now. Before the MP, she said that if the Latin Mass came back, she’d come back to the church. I actually attended my first TLM with her. She’s happy as a Methodist and has stated that her church reminds her a little bit about the Catholic church, though, it doesn’t have the fullness that we have. She didn’t say that-- but I think she knows that too. However, we have great religious discussions. Funny thing, some of her discussions with me have made me think more deeply about my own faith and it’s helped me a lot in my return to the church.

My other friend was born a Methodist and now attends Catholic church. Her significant other is a Catholic and she’s been attending Mass with him for years. They live in other states, but when she’s here, she goes to Mass with me on Sundays. She probably won’t ever go through RCIA but she loves Catholicism. She sees some of the differences, but they aren’t as extreme as one might think and she’s very comfortable with Catholicism.

I’ve not yet been to a Methodist service. I’ve been invited by Friend #1’s pastor, incidentally who is a woman. I kindly told her I couldn’t go for that particular service (it was Christmas time) and might visit another time, either right after or right before my regular “Mass” time.

Any time! And having been through the RCIA with my fiance as recently as this spring, I feel that I’ve been a part of discussions similar to the kinds of questions you may have, so I’d be more than happy to collect some info for you…the part about the non-catholics going to heaven is actually in the NT…

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.” (John, 15:23-24)

Basically, Jesus is speaking to his disciples about the oppositions he is getting from those with whom He has shared His ministry. As you will remember, the very people who adored him and laid palms at his feet on Palm Sunday, were the ones who demanded, “Crucify Him!” on Good Friday. Those are the ones Jesus says, “Hate him, and hate His Father.” However, it was explained to me that since Protestants have not been witness to many mysteries of the Church, and have not been fully educated as to the full scope of what sharing in the Eucharist means, we can not hold them to our standards of what is rejection of Christ. Basically, they don’t know any better.

On the other hand, a Catholic who has turned their back on the Church, in full knowledge of the fullness and depth of what Christ expected of them, would have sinned, because they were presented with the gift of Christ, in his full physical and spiritual form, and rejected it. It’s kind of like that philosophy conundrum…
From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it, but from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it. An outsider looking in cannot possibly be held to the same standard as the insider looking out. Hope this sheds some light…

On another note, if you’re interested, and you think your hubby might be game, you might consider going to a couple RCIA meetings. That’s how we started. It would be a good way for him to at least see what the Church has to offer, and in our experience, lots of the “higher-ups” in the RCIA had tried lots of different faiths before returning to Catholicism. In fact, they encourage “shopping around”, so that you know what questions you want answered, and where you are seeking fulfillment. I don’t think anyone would pressure him to come back if he felt uncomfortable or uneasy about anything at all. But really, coming from someone with a very stubborn man in her life,…sometimes they just need to hear it from someone else!:wink:

So sorry, got lost in my ramble and forgot to answer the other part of your post!!! For the most part, the people who were seeking Catholicism through RCIA were searching for a “full connection”. People who are open-minded and searched freely through many faiths have said that Catholicism just made the most sense to them. Really, if you read the gospels, and think about it a little bit…(and I don’t mean the bits and pieces…but the “big picture”, Catholicism really hits all the points. I think a lot of our candidates just noted that they felt more of a deep, spiritual connection with the teachings of the Catholic church, and that’s why they changed. I, myself, happen to think that if more Protestants thought about what God wanted from them, and less about what made THEM feel good, they would steer toward Catholicism…(we’re definitely not known as the “feel-good” church!) But that’s fine for them. If a light, energizing notion of faith works for some people, fine! I just personally would feel very unfulfilled if I didn’t have a deep-rooted spiritual tie somehow with my mode of worship. (Protestants, don’t take this for something it’s not!) Having my Lord physically present in the Eucharist is something which is very dear and bittersweet to me. When I receive communion, it’s like I’m both admitting my role in Christ’s suffering, for they are my sins he’s conquering, and at the same time, rejoicing in the great triumph in salvation Christ chose to share with me anyway. What a special experience, I could never give that up!

I have a friend who is a Methodist pastor. His wife is a practicing Catholic. He never tried to convert her. Methodists are actually very similar to Catholics. They believe that it is possible for one to lose his salvation through sin and apostacy. They believe that man has been given free will by God to accept or reject God. They also believe that there is more than just “sola scriptura”. My Methodist pastor friend accepts tradtion. Ultimately, since Methodists are so close to Catholics, I think it will take more from the Holy Spirit to convert them.

I wasn’t able to get back on here last night and read the replies - but I just did now and wanted to thank you all again for your responses. My faith has grown a mountain since this last Lent. It is hard to put into words what it feels like to have the intimate relationship with our Lord that I am developing. I have never felt more peace in my entire life:-) Anyways - my journey is still so new as I am a cradle Catholic who feels like I am being reborn and truly learning my faith. I want so much for husband to experience what I am - as he is my best friend on Earth - but you all are right. The Holy Spirit must come into play here and it is not in my control.
Many blessings to you all for the insight you have shared with me tonight:)

This discussion really interests me. My in-laws are Catholic. I was raised Baptist so my wife and I eventually became Methodist. We occasionally visit my in-laws church and it is nice and small. Their priest is married, a former methodist minister. My inlaws don’t mind that their daughter is methodist. They seem to be thrilled that she is in worship. I know that their are many couples in virtually every church I’ve visited where their husband or wife will not attend worship. I seem to hear the term good catholic a lot. I never really know how to take that. There are many divorced catholics that go to the methodist church because they say that they are no longer recognized. Even though some of the greatest people that I love and know are catholics some of the behavior or rules are a little strange to us. Please understand that I don’t mean to offend anyone. We need christians the percentages are down whether you are catholic, methodist etc. I notice the Catholic Church is really trying to make more people feel welcome. But, if your husband is feeling that in some way whether, knowingly or not, that it is condemning other denominations, that may be his reservation in saying yah, sign me up. Either way I hope you and your family continue to worship together and stay in love with the lord. God bless you all. Peace be with you!

I would think there would be significant similarities. The “founder” of Methodism was John Wesley, an Anglican priest. I think he valued a more personal experience to his faith and advocated living Christianity in a very “methodical” way. He never abandoned the Church of England, but his movement sort of took on a life of its own.

Here is the wikipedia article on the Articles of Religion, which were adapted by John Wesley from the Church of England’s Thrity-Nine Articles.

I was baptized Methodist, because my Mom’s side was Methodist. I was raised Presbyterian. My family and I joined the Catholic Church Easter of 2011.

There are similarities between Methodist and Catholic, but it depends where you are. Methodists and Presbyterians have different affiliations, presbyteries or synods or whatnot. Some are conservative while others are liberal. I was a part of the liberal Presbyterian Church in the USA, its like the United Methodists. They both financially support abortion and you will find more “liberal interpretations” in these churches. The conservative branches would have much more in common with the CC, but would still see Communion as symbolic or “Jesus is with us during communion”, real quote from a Methodist minister. The Methodists and Catholics both disagree with "once saved, always saved"and both use the early creeds. The local Methodist Minister is a former Catholic, so there must be a lot in common.

As to the “why convert” question, I always felt a disconnect from the Early Church. I saw too many differences between the Early Church and the denomination I was a part of. I went in search of a passage to prove I was right and wound up on a search for the truth. As I got closer to the CC, I realized my theology had always been more Catholic than I knew. I felt there was undeniable evidence to join the CC. It was never a matter of getting to heaven, it was about getting closer to God now.

It is difficult to leave family and friends at “the old family church”, that was probably the most difficult part. Give your husband time and space on this, but don’t play down the Catholic Church. The first step is to encourage him to grow in relationship with God, no matter which Church he chooses. Prayer for him is a very valuable tool.

PM me if you have questions or if I can help!

The United Methodist Church is the most liberal Methodist Church I’m aware of in the U.S. It seems to me that with a statement like this on abortion. I guess its possible but it would be sort of two faced. In fact, while there are liberal elements in the UMC, its actually one of the more conservative mainline churches. This is due in part to its presence in Africa. Africa is one of the only places where this church is growing, and they are more conservative.

This has no meaning. There is nothing in the Church which says that anyone is or is not “Recognized.”

Those who have left the Church because of divorce have left because either they don’t like what the Church has to say about divorce or they have an incorrect understanding of the Church’s teaching on the subject.

But there is no such thing as being “Recognized” in the Catholic Church.


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