I have been asked in the past, during theological discussions, how in the world I can be Reformed and also be a member of the Methodist church. I always reply that none of the doctrinal differences are salvation issues, and I also emphasize how much I love my fellow church members. My family and I are a part of a beautiful congregation of people who love Jesus and who want the world to love him as well. Also, Methodist churches have a deep history of singing great music and as a choir member, I am deeply satisfied by the rich music that is a part of our service.
Now, I won’t pretend that the differences between my Reformed theology and the theology of the Methodist Church aren’t vast. Where I am Calvinistic in my soteriology, my Methodist friends are Arminian. My Methodist friends believe a Christian can commit a sin so grievous that salvation can be lost, but I believe a true Christian may commit a serious sin, but will never fully fall from grace. Like the Apostle Pauls says, “He who begins a good work in you will perfect it to the end” (Phil 1:6). In fact, Methodists would reject the five points of Calvinism (TULIP) which are: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Preservation of the Saints, whereas I believe they accurately reflect Scripture…all five of them. I could go on and on about the differences, but I’ll leave it at that.
What the Methodist Church and I do agree on can be summed up in the Apostle’s Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
…and we baptize babies.
Like John Wesley said, “In essentials: unity; In nonessentials: diversity; in all things: charity.