Methodist Church

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!