Like other Protestant Christians, Methodism has a fundamental belief in the Bible and Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It would be nice if all denominations of Christianity were exactly alike, but they aren’t.The following are five beliefs that set Methodists apart from other Protestant Christians:
The most fundamental distinction of Methodist teaching is that people must use logic and reason in all matters of faith. Methodism has its roots in 18th century Anglicanism. Its founder was a Church of England minister, John Wesley (1703-1791), who, “sought to challenge the religious assumptions of the day. He and others met regularly for bible study and prayer, to receive communion and do acts of charity. They became known as “The Holy Club” or “Methodists” because of the methodical way in which they carried out their Christian faith.”
A unique feature of American Methodism is the observance of the season of Kingdomtide, which encompasses the last 13 weeks before Advent. During Kingdomtide, Methodists are encouraged to do charitable work and alleviate the suffering of the poor. Methodism is characterized by its emphasis on helping the poor and the average person. These ideals are put into practice by the establishment of hospitals, universities, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools.
Most Methodist churches annually follow the call of John Wesley for a renewal of their covenant with God. It is common for each congregation to hold an annual Covenant Service on the first Sunday of the year. The original covenant prayer given by John Wesley is still widely used, with minor modifications.
Methodists are convinced that building loving relationships with others through social service is a means of working towards the inclusiveness of God’s love. Most Methodists teach that Christ died for all of humanity, not just for a limited group, and thus everyone is entitled to God’s grace and protection. In theology, this view denies that God has pre-ordained an elect number of people to eternal bliss while others are doomed to hell no matter what they do in life.
Methodism is known for its rich musical tradition. Singing is a big part of the Methodist Church service. Charles Wesley, brother of the church founder, was instrumental in writing some 6,000 hymns, and many other eminent hymn writers come from the Methodist tradition.