United Methodist Church
The Methodist Church is a branch of Protestant Christianity was founded around 1738 by John and Charles Wesley, two devout Angelican ministers. The two brothers, while attending school at Oxford, started a holy club that met once a week. The meetings set up a structure that systematically led them to living a holy life. Other students at Oxford who derided the methodistic habits they lived their lives by, referred to them as "Methodist".
The Wesley brothers along with another significant leader in the movement, George Whitefield, were attempting to bring reform within the Church of England, focusing on Bible study and a methodical approach to scriptures. The movement quickly spread with revival and many Angelican clergy became known as Methodists. Through vigorous missionary activity Methodism spread throughout the British Empire and resulted in the founding of the Free Church of England in 1844.
Mostly through Whitefield's preaching, the Great Awakening in the British North American colonies in 1740 breathed new life into religion in America. Through his dramatic style of preaching, people became passionately and emotionally involved in their religion. George Whitefield's passion for open air preaching, prompted him to take his preaching to those that were not able to attend the religious services. He became the best known preacher in Britain and America in the 18th century. With his American travels drawing large crowds, he was one of the most recognized public figures.
The original church body known as the Wesleyan Methodist Church eventually splintered off into a number of separate denominations known as Methodist. Today there are over 40 denominations that have descended from the John Wesley movement, a religious movement that distinguishes itself as strongly tied to social issues.
The branch of Methodism that followed the Wesley’s, follow the Arminian doctrines, and those that followed Whitefield practiced the Calvinistic doctrines. Although, both the Wesley’s and Whitefield greatly valued the Angelican liturgy and tradition.
Over the years, this denomination in America, similar to other protestant faiths, witnessed a number of divisions and mergers. Culminating in April, 1968 when the United Methodist Church was created, following the merger of Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church. It is the largest mainline denomination in the United States. The church's theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan.
This denomination considers itself part of the holy Catholic Church and confesses the ecumenical creeds, and recognizes the importance of the The Chalcedonian Creed.
The officially established Doctrinal Standards of the U.M. Church are;
• The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church.
• The Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
• The General Rules of the Methodist Society.
• The Standard Sermons of John Wesley.
• John Wesley's Explanatory Noted on the New Testament.
Go to Methodist Beliefs
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