Where does the Methodist Church Stand?


#1

In relation to the Episcopal Church, Anglican Church, Catholic Church, etc...Where does the Methodist Church stand theologically and politically? Are they more conservative than Episcopalians? What about Lutherans? I would love to hear from both Methodists and non-Methodists on this.


#2

Methodists (I’m speaking of the United Methodist Church) are all over the place theologically and liturgically. They range from very conservative to very liberal. Broadly speaking, I would say that United Methodists in the South are more theologically conservative than in other regions of the country.


#3

On the biggest political issue of the day, acceptance of practicing homosexuals as clergy and 'gay marriage', I think the Methodist church in America as a whole or institutionally might be as liberal as the Episcopal church. They soundly voted down measures that would have accepted such things this summer, but as I understand it that was mostly due to the large contingent of Africans who actually dare to believe what the missionaries taught them. If it was just the Methodist church in the US they very likely would have given their approval.


#4

Really? That kind of surprises me. I got the sense that they were theologically more conservative. Some rather big name conservatives in the United States are Methodist, such as George Bush, which kind of led me to believe, perhaps incorrectly, that they were largely conservative. Also, I don't see them actually adopting any theological measures that would be considered overly liberal. Perhaps it is because of the large African membership in the church but I find it hard to believe the church is too liberal given that about 20% of its members live in Texas.


#5

The Methodist minister in the town near me is a woman, and she has dreadlocks and sometimes does her service barefooted. In appearance in any case, that is hyper liberal. I don't know what her doctrinal stances are though (it would be interesting if she was hyper tradionalist!).

I have started doing a bit charity work at their church, and the parishioners are really lovely.


#6

The Methodist pastor I used to know here in Texas once lied to a man, pretending to be a Catholic priest, and "heard" the first confession of the guy's kid. The same pastor has also stated that he does not believe that forgiveness in the face of wrongdoing is always the right thing to strive for. :shrug: My experiences with the Methodist church are a bit far from the norm, apparently.


#7

[quote="Robert_Caritas, post:5, topic:306505"]
The Methodist minister in the town near me is a woman, and she has dreadlocks and sometimes does her service barefooted. In appearance in any case, that is hyper liberal. I don't know what her doctrinal stances are though (it would be interesting if she was hyper tradionalist!).

I have started doing a bit charity work at their church, and the parishioners are really lovely.

[/quote]

Lol...I would love to spend five minutes with her...but that's about it.


#8

[quote="Lochias, post:6, topic:306505"]
The Methodist pastor I used to know here in Texas once lied to a man, pretending to be a Catholic priest, and "heard" the first confession of the guy's kid. The same pastor has also stated that he does not believe that forgiveness in the face of wrongdoing is always the right thing to strive for. :shrug: My experiences with the Methodist church are a bit far from the norm, apparently.

[/quote]

Apparently!


#9

[quote="RyanBlack, post:2, topic:306505"]
Methodists (I'm speaking of the United Methodist Church) are all over the place theologically and liturgically. They range from very conservative to very liberal. Broadly speaking, I would say that United Methodists in the South are more theologically conservative than in other regions of the country.

[/quote]

We "stand" in our 915,842 committees (per congregation), arguing with ourselves.(Literally, I mean. Not necessarily with each other--although we do that too--but arguing with ourselves about whether to argue with each other.......The standard line is, :D"where there are 2 Methodists, there are:p at least 3 opinions".:D

Not to mention that :eek:when the toilet overflows in a Methodist church, we have to call together** all** the aforementioned 915,842 committees, & try to figure out which committee among them is in charge of voting on the formation of a 915,843rd committee to decide what to do when the toilet overflows in a Methodist church.

Did I mention that whichever committee there is decided upon has to be voted into existence at the next Official Board meeting??? Never. Do. Anything. In. A. Methodist. Church.Without. Going. Before. The. Aforementioned. "Official. Board".:shrug:
Its a wonder we stopped having the piano carried up & down the stairs every Sunday, because the choir was using it midweek for practice in the fellowship hall.
(I couldn't make that up. Every. single. bluidy. week. :rolleyes: Bring it down for choir, & put it back upstairs for Sunday services:rolleyes:).
Now that I think of it, it probably had to be brought before the..well, you know: the :whistle:Official Board.


#10

political and theological conservatism are two different things. However conservative President Bush may or may not have been has nothing to do with how the United Methodist leadership votes. They have a claim as being the link between the mainline Protestant Church and he evangelic wing. And as with other churches there is a struggle over who's values, devout living versus social justice, will win out anytime the leadership meets to determine policy.

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#11

[quote="jinc1019, post:4, topic:306505"]
Really? That kind of surprises me. I got the sense that they were theologically more conservative. Some rather big name conservatives in the United States are Methodist, such as George Bush, which kind of led me to believe, perhaps incorrectly, that they were largely conservative. Also, I don't see them actually adopting any theological measures that would be considered overly liberal. Perhaps it is because of the large African membership in the church but I find it hard to believe the church is too liberal given that about 20% of its members live in Texas.

[/quote]

I think the way you should look at it is that the United Methodists occupies a moderate position on the religious spectrum. While churches like the Episcopal Church have basically gone over to the liberal side, the UMC is still on the fence.

In the United States, there are a lot of Methodists who want their church to go the way of the Episcopal Church. However, they are constrained by the fact that the UMC is an international church.

On the other hand, the Episcopal Church is largely an American church (I know they have diocese in parts of South America and Europe, but these are numerically insignificant in the ECUSA's democratic processes). It is a member of the Anglican Communion and has to deal with protests from African Anglican Churches, but those African Anglicans do not participate in the decision making for the Episcopal Church.

Also, there are conservative Methodist denominations, but they tend to be smaller and not to have the same kind of name recognition as the UMC.


#12

[quote="jinc1019, post:4, topic:306505"]
Really? That kind of surprises me. I got the sense that they were theologically more conservative. Some rather big name conservatives in the United States are Methodist, such as George Bush, which kind of led me to believe, perhaps incorrectly, that they were largely conservative. Also, I don't see them actually adopting any theological measures that would be considered overly liberal.

[/quote]

It seems to me that in mainline Protestant churches the clergy are often more liberal (heretical) than the laity. I believe had the leaders had their way in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) they would have approved of gay marriage this summer. The Church of England would now have women bishops if left up to the clergy.

It also seems most folks simply attend the church they were raised in.


#13

[quote="jinc1019, post:4, topic:306505"]
Really? That kind of surprises me. I got the sense that they were theologically more conservative. Some rather big name conservatives in the United States are Methodist, such as George Bush, which kind of led me to believe, perhaps incorrectly, that they were largely conservative. Also, I don't see them actually adopting any theological measures that would be considered overly liberal. Perhaps it is because of the large African membership in the church but I find it hard to believe the church is too liberal given that about 20% of its members live in Texas.

[/quote]

[quote="exnihilo, post:12, topic:306505"]
It seems to me that in mainline Protestant churches the clergy are often more liberal (heretical) than the laity. I believe had the leaders had their way in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) they would have approved of gay marriage this summer. The Church of England would now have women bishops if left up to the clergy.

It also seems most folks simply attend the church they were raised in

[/quote]

Yet famously that doesn't apply to the second President Bush, however using him as a model of overall Methodist thought would be as acceptable as using Speaker Pelosi, as perhaps the highest ranking Catholic in American politics, as a stand in for Catholic norms or Governor Palin or Attorney General Ashcroft for Pentecostal ones


#14

I've known a few Methodists and a few Methodist pastors. Nicest people in the world.
And the room doesn't suddenly change temperture when they find out I'm Catholic.


#15

[quote="4Squarebaby, post:13, topic:306505"]
Yet famously that doesn't apply to the second President Bush, however using him as a model of overall Methodist thought would be as acceptable as using Speaker Pelosi, as perhaps the highest ranking Catholic in American politics, as a stand in for Catholic norms or Governor Palin or Attorney General Ashcroft for Pentecostal ones

[/quote]

True, but Bush was formerly an Episcopalian. Methodism comes from the Anglican Church. Moving from one to the other is in some sense as small a change as could be made.


#16

Methodists are usually known for their enthusiastic comgregational singing. I have known two practising Methodists in my life and both were lovely people. Theologically, I don't know, but politically tey are both pragmatists.


#17

[quote="4Squarebaby, post:13, topic:306505"]
Yet famously that doesn't apply to the second President Bush, however using him as a model of overall Methodist thought would be as acceptable as using Speaker Pelosi, as perhaps the highest ranking Catholic in American politics, as a stand in for Catholic norms or Governor Palin or Attorney General Ashcroft for Pentecostal ones

[/quote]

Good point.


#18

Thanks to everyone who has posted so far, I appreciate everyone's comments and I hope they keep coming. I was raised Catholic and in New England, so we didn't have a lot of Methodists in the rural town I grew up in. I also didn't know any Methodists either. This is the first time in my life I live in a place (Chicago) where Methodism has a strong presence, so it is great to hear what others think who know more than I do about it.


#19

[quote="Zooey, post:9, topic:306505"]
We "stand" in our 915,842 committees (per congregation), arguing with ourselves.(Literally, I mean. Not necessarily with each other--although we do that too--but arguing with ourselves about whether to argue with each other.......The standard line is, :D"where there are 2 Methodists, there are:p at least 3 opinions".:D

Not to mention that :eek:when the toilet overflows in a Methodist church, we have to call together** all** the aforementioned 915,842 committees, & try to figure out which committee among them is in charge of voting on the formation of a 915,843rd committee to decide what to do when the toilet overflows in a Methodist church.

Did I mention that whichever committee there is decided upon has to be voted into existence at the next Official Board meeting??? Never. Do. Anything. In. A. Methodist. Church.Without. Going. Before. The. Aforementioned. "Official. Board".:shrug:
Its a wonder we stopped having the piano carried up & down the stairs every Sunday, because the choir was using it midweek for practice in the fellowship hall.
(I couldn't make that up. Every. single. bluidy. week. :rolleyes: Bring it down for choir, & put it back upstairs for Sunday services:rolleyes:).
Now that I think of it, it probably had to be brought before the..well, you know: the :whistle:Official Board.

[/quote]

Hilarious! Every church has its quirks. Nothing operates as smoothly as it should.


#20

[quote="ltwin, post:11, topic:306505"]
I think the way you should look at it is that the United Methodists occupies a moderate position on the religious spectrum. While churches like the Episcopal Church have basically gone over to the liberal side, the UMC is still on the fence.

In the United States, there are a lot of Methodists who want their church to go the way of the Episcopal Church. However, they are constrained by the fact that the UMC is an international church.

On the other hand, the Episcopal Church is largely an American church (I know they have diocese in parts of South America and Europe, but these are numerically insignificant in the ECUSA's democratic processes). It is a member of the Anglican Communion and has to deal with protests from African Anglican Churches, but those African Anglicans do not participate in the decision making for the Episcopal Church.

Also, there are conservative Methodist denominations, but they tend to be smaller and not to have the same kind of name recognition as the UMC.

[/quote]

I think this is a fairly accurate idea about the Methodists compared to other mainline protestants. I agree that it seems to be "moderate" compared to other churches but moving in that direction.


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