The Methodist church is one of the mainline protestant Christian denominations. As a denomination is a specific branch
within the Christian religion, the Methodist church is also within a specific type of denomination called protestant.
The protestant denominations are separate, really, only, from the Roman Catholics. Protestant denominations are so
named because they were "born" essentially out of the protests of the people of the abuses of the Roman Catholic church
around 1500 A.D. As there are many different denominations that are called protestant, the largest and most popular of
these denominations are often call the "mainline" protestant denominations. These denominations would include the
Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopal, etc.
A Methodist church is very similar to a Baptist church in practice. The biggest difference between the two is in
matters of doctrine. Both believe in God as revealed to us in the Bible. Both believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God
who lived here on earth, who taught us many things about God, who was crucified on a cross, and who three days later
rose from the dead and several days after that ascended back into heaven. For every fifty things that Methodists and
Baptist believe alike, there is maybe one thing they don't believe alike. As the two largest of the protestant
denominations, both the Methodist Church and the Baptist Church can trace much of their beliefs back to their ancestors
who lived several hundred years ago. In matters of doctrine, Methodists are typically considered to be "Armenian"
after Joseph Armenius, and Baptists are typically considered Calvinists after John Calvin.
What does the Methodist church believe that makes it distinctive? Perhaps the most well-known of these distinctives
is that Methodists do not believe in "once saved, always saved". This belief is related to how a person receives
"salvation" by God and whether or not God's salvation is permanent on this earth meaning can a person "lose" their
salvation while they are still on earth. The Methodist church believes they can. How they believe this can happen
is as follows: If a person once becomes a Christian, by repenting of their sins and placing their faith in Jesus Christ,
and then afterwards "backslides" by falling back into gross sin and clear disobedience to God's Word, then that person
loses their salvation. They are in a sense disqualified for salvation because of their immoral behaviors, and their
salvation is revoked.
Is the Methodist church doctrine, that you can lose your salvation, warranted based on the teachings in the Bible?
The answer is: quite possibly. There are clearly portions of the Bible that seem to teach exactly that. There are
also clearly portions of the Bible that seem to teach "once saved, always saved". Which is right? It seems to be
exactly a case of semantics. People who believe you can lose your salvation also believe that if you are genuinely
saved, you will not fall into a backslidden state in this life. People who believe in once saved, always saved also
believe that you must persevere in a state of righteousness in this life if you are genuinely saved!