The Methodist church has its origins in the early teachings of Church of England missionaries to the colony of Georgia, John and Charles Wesley. John Wesley's teachings still serve as the foundation for early 21st century Methodist churches, which have over 11 million U.S. members, according to United Methodist Communication's website. Despite struggles upon first efforts in 1736, the Wesley brothers returned and helped spark growth in Christianity in the mid to late 1700s.
The Methodist church has some unique core beliefs, but few of its main doctrine principles are considered controversial. A primary basis of the Methodist church is what John Wesley called "practical divinity". According to the UMC website, this includes "primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action." In essence, Methodist churches believe Christians demonstrate faith through good works.
As is the case with many protestant Christian denominations, along with many evangelical or non-denominational Christian churches, Biblical scripture is considered a core foundation for guiding Christian living and obedience go God's word. The First United Method Church website indicates the Bible is the "primary source for Christian doctrine". The church believes authors of the Bible disclosed God's messages related to Jesus' life, death and resurrection, as well as the involvement of the Holy Spirit in Christians' lives. Along with adherence to many church traditions, the Methodist church generally puts scriptural guidance first.
Another shared belief with many protestant Christian churches, the Methodist church recognizes God's commandment that believers witness to non-believers to bring them to a relationship with Christ. The First United Methodist Church expands by adding the importance of Biblical reason in witness. Methodists are taught to learn and discern the Bible, to consider scriptures and interpreted theological works on the scripture as the basis for discipleship. First United calls this a "balance of heart and head."
One of the more dividing elements of Christianity is Baptism. Considered one of the seven Sacraments by the Catholic church, Baptism has long been valued by most protestant churches as a sacred element of faith. The Methodist church generally believes that Baptism is important to affirm one's faith. The church also practices infant Baptism, believing the Bible supports this practice before affirmation of faith, and that you should only receive Baptism once.
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