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Free and United Methodist

Discussion in 'Wesley's Parish - Methodist/ Nazarene' started by Memento Mori, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Memento Mori

    Memento Mori Guest

    We have two Methodist congregations in town: Free Methodist and United Methodist. Could someone explain the difference to me please?

    Thank you. :thankful:
     
  2. Mr Dave

    Mr Dave God Save The Queen!

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    Hi there, welcome to Wesley's Parish

    Someone else will have to give more details and correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, it's a similar story to what happened in Britain.

    Methodism arose as a movement in the 18th Century and as it grew, some people lost faith in the main body of Methodism and created a variety of different 'Methodist Churches' (for us the Primitive Methodists broke off and wanted to start again feeling that 'the Methodists' were losing their original focus on helping the poor, and wanted to revert to the Primitive roots of methodism). In the 20th Century a feeling arose for unity amongst the groups so in the case of Methodism in the USA, in 1968, the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical brethren joined together to create the United Methodist Church. As they did this, there were other Methodist groups who, for whatever reason, did not take part in this unifying merger. These are the Free Methodists; they are Free as they are not aligned to the structure and command of the main Methodist movement, but they adhere to Methodist theology.

    Between the two, the theology is very similar. In practice, Free Methodists are probably more evangelical. The Free Methodist Church is much smaller than the UMC, but as far as I know has congregations in more countries (they exist in Great Britain for one, which the UMC does not). Their UK 'about us' page says that here they formed in originally in 1971, which to me suggests that they disagreed with the ordination of women as that's when we began to ordain women. So they agree with fundamental Methodist theology but disagree in some other respects etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  3. Qyöt27

    Qyöt27 AMV Editor At Large

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    The original split in the 1800s that created the Free Methodists was - if I recall correctly - over pew fees and slavery. It was common at the time for churches to charge a fee to patrons that sat in the pews, which the Free Methodists disagreed with. If they formed out of the Methodist Church, South, then the Free Methodists likely also split because they were abolitionists. I'm more sure of the pew fee issue, though.

    This seems somewhat strange to modern denominations (including the UMC) that neither charge fees nor support slavery, but as with most things, that was simply the original problem. Over time, the cultural or theological differences would grow, and so they wouldn't necessarily want to re-unite, even if the original two problems had long since been resolved.
     
  4. Lee52

    Lee52 New Member

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    This is correct. The split was over pew fees.
     
  5. Memento Mori

    Memento Mori Guest

    Thank you very much guys. It never occurred to me to wonder until now. I think I vaguely recall hearing about denominational splits over pew fees.
     
  6. GraceSeeker

    GraceSeeker Senior Member

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    From the official website of the Free Methodist Church: "The Free Methodist Church was founded in 1860, primarily as a result of controversies within the Genesee Conference (around Buffalo, NY) of the Methodist Episcopal Church."

    There were more issues than just pew subscriptions, but that was one that the Free Methodist Church is very proud to proclaim today. Other, perhaps even more important issues: episcopal authority, ordination of women, and personality conflicts.

    From "The Earnest Christian", a publication that is considered the founding newsletter of the Free Methodist Church. Here is (just the beginning of) an extended article from January 1860 which states what is seen as one of the problems in the then existing Methodist Episcopal Church.

    F R E E CHURCHES.
    By THE EDITOR.
    Mankind need nothing so much, as the
    universal prevalence of the Christian
    religion, in its purity. This wCfuld allay
    the evils under which humanity is
    groaning, by remcving their cause.
    It would bring Paradise back to earth.
    For. the iiles^igs of the Gospel of
    Christ there is no substitute. He who
    enjoys them-, in their fulness, has all he
    needs to make him happy. In their
    absence, man is "'wretched, and miser-,
    able, and poor, and blind, and naked.""
    Things, trifling in themselves, become
    important when they affect the
    accomplishment of some great, beneficent
    enterprise. A glass of wine overi
    threw the Orleans dynasty, resultM.
    in the horrors of civil war, and deluded
    Frajice with the best blood of her (^ildren.
    A passing cloud suggested to
    Franklin the theory of electricityi and
    led to the transmission of messages
    upon the swift wing of the trained light^
    ning. A small file may render worthless
    the heaviest piece of artillery, and
    decide the battle on which the fate of
    nations is suspended.
    The question of free churdies derives
    its importance from its influence
    upon the purity and the progress of
    Christianity. It has a greater bearing
    upon both, than many imagine. The
    world wUl never become converted to
    Christ, so long as the Churches are nducted
    upon the exclusive system It
    has always been contrary to the economy
    of the Methodist church, to buUd
    houses of worship with pews, to sell or
    rent. But the spirit of the world has
    encroached upon us by little, and little,
    until in many parts of the United
    States, not a single free church cmi be
    found in any of the cities or larger villages.
    The pew system generally obtains
    among ^ denominations. We
    are thoroughly con'rinced tEat this system
    is •wrong in principle, and bad in
    its tendency. It is a corruption of
    Christianity....

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Becaue the Free Methodist tend to be a bit more conservative and not by rule, but by peer pressure you find conformity to not dance, drink or smoke. At the same time United Methodists actually have rules on these some of these things yet people's behavior is all over the place. So, at the seminary I attend which was about 2/3 United Methodist and 1/3 Free Methodist, the running joke was that the United Methodists were about as united as the Free Methodist were free.
     
  7. GraceSeeker

    GraceSeeker Senior Member

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    I don't want to turn this into an abortion debate either, but I do want to turn this into an understanding Methodism debate.

    Officially, the United Methodist Church DOES NOT support abortion. You (and perhaps others) may feel this way for the reasons that you have given, but with regard to the United Methodist Church it is important, VERY important, to understand that no one (including the groups you have named) can speak for the United Methodist Church except the denomination's quadrenial General Conference. Every 4 years we meet to define ourselves through a document known as the Book of Discipline. And that book gives individuals and groups within the UMC lots of room to do and say certain things, but those things do NOT define us. It would be like saying that because certain elements within the United Methodist Church have preached against abortion on demand and have spent money that was used to fund pro-life organizations (events that are true) that the United Methodist Church supports the pro-life movement.

    Both sets of conclusions (the one you gave and the alternate I just proposed) are false, for they show a lack of understanding of the way the United Methodist Church functions.

    For instance, the poster states that "the United Methodist Church supports abortion by being a founding member of a pro-abortion group (Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice)." Also, the following is taken directly from the RCRC website with regards to its origins:
    "Mainline Protestant and Jewish leaders meet at the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC, to discuss the Roman Catholic Church’s pledge to overturn the new U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. This meeting, called by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, leads to the formation of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR)."

    I can understand why those who do not understand the way the United Methodist Church functions might see this as the UMC being a founding member. But read carefully, it is NOT the United Methodist Church, but the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church that was taking the lead here. This particular body has done many things in the past that typical United Methodists in the pew has disagreed with; things that some would have supported and some would have opposed; and things that perhaps the whole church would stand behind. But it matters not which of the above the founding of RCRC fits into (I suspect the middle ground), it is NOT something that was actually done by the United Methodist Church.

    Again, only the General Conference meeting in session can speak for the UMC. For the 1973 founding of the RCRC to be something that was supported by the United Methodist Church as a founding member, the decision to do so would have had to have come before our 1972 General Conference. That meeting was held in Atlanta, GA in April of 1972; I remember because I attended it. And while abortion was discussed, the founding of Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice was not. In fact, in 1972 we passed exactly 6 resolutions at General Conference, they were: (1) Bishop's Call for Peace and the Self-Development of Peoples, (2) Children and Their Welfare and Health Care, (3) Goals and Recommendationss on Participation of Women, (4) Investment Ethics, (5) School Busing, and (6) Use of Reclaimed Paper. In none of those is the founding of RCRC or any other organization dealing with abortion mentioned.

    Now, what is the United Methodist Church's official stand on abortion? To answer that question we must turn to the Discipline, not the actions of even a group like a General Board.

    The following are ALL the references to abortion that can be found in our most recent Discipline as produced by the 2008 General Conference:
    And most importantly:
    Some will see in the above that the UMC does indeed support abortion as a legal option when the conflict of life with life may justify it, i.e. in the event of the pregnancy putting the life of the mother at risk.

    Others will see in the above that the UMC does not support abortion as an acceptable means for either birth control or for the purpose of gender selection.

    And still others won't even look at our official statements and will simply see what they want to see in groups that may bear the United Methodist name, but that don't actually speak for nor represent the denomination as a whole.As for the Free Methodist Church, the following represents their official stance:
     
  8. GraceSeeker

    GraceSeeker Senior Member

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    Show me the link, please.

    -----edit-------

    Never mind. I found it:

    It appears that a resolution to the 2004 General Conference passed which had as one of its "whereas" statments: "WHEREAS, The United Methodist Church was a founding member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in 1973, and"

    And further had as the substance of the resolution:
    Well, I still assert that despite the poor wording of this resolution, the truth is that the United Methodist Church was not a founder member for all the reasons I've already stated above. But that seems to be neither here nor there now, as I see that in 2004 the resolution did pass.

    I'm sure that there were those who voted for that resolution not to support abortion but to support other forms of reproductive choice. But I will now concede this is just one more case of the United Methodist Church speaking out of both sides of its mouth with regard to social issues. :::sigh:::


    I wish that we could discipline a group, but we cannot. We can only discipline individuals. The Board of Church and Society has been taken to task recently for making it seem that the UMC was in support of homosexuality in that they were planning to sponor a march in Washington, D.C. and lend the name of the Church to it. Enough opposition was raised that they backed down from that. But there was nothing that the denomination could have done to discipline them if they had gone ahead. This is so even though our Discipline is clearly states that while we see all persons as being of sacred worth that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

    On more than one occassion it has been suggested that we need to take away funding from the Board of Church and Society, but because we really want to encourage the church to be involved in society we continue to fund it, imperfect though it is in the leadership it provides.
     
  9. Lee52

    Lee52 New Member

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    I am not UMC, so I really do not have a dog in this hunt, and, ....... I am a born-again Christian of Wesleyan doctrinal beliefs, so:

    Satan will place people into our midst in positions of leadership to water down our commitment to right and true. Not right as in left and right, right as in true and false.

    Such is the nature of all Christian organizations, called denominations these days. Whether it be Oral Roberts calling out for millions of dollars or GOD will take him home, or Jimmy Swaggart and his liaisons with pornography and women of ill-repute, or a young man in Norway that frequented fundamental Christian websites before he slaughtered 90 some of his countrymen, women, and children.

    All of Satan's work on this earth is intended to bring confusion and disillusionment upon the unsaved and give them a tainted view of Christ and His sacrifice for everyone who will accept it, so that those who do not understand, continue to not understand and fail to come to Christ as Savior and Lord.

    We must continually guard ourselves and our denominations against these internal attacks by Satan. We must speak out most loudly when it is our leadership that is mistaken or out and out wrong in their positions.

    Be blessed,
    Lee52
     
  10. AngCath

    AngCath Well-Known Member

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    Wait, so what is the Methodist Church, South? Is that the same as the Southern Methodist Church? There's a congregation of that denomination near by and I've never known what the difference was there.
     
  11. Qyöt27

    Qyöt27 AMV Editor At Large

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    No, that was a historical denomination during the 19th and early 20th century (and I forgot the 'Episcopal' that was still in the name, Methodist Episcopal Church, South).

    To quote Wikipedia (and bolded for emphasis toward the end),
    I seem to recall looking at the statements of belief for the modern Southern Methodist Church some time ago, and it struck me as being on the fundamentalist side. For the very least because I seem to recall two of those statements being adherence to strict Biblical literalism and Young Earth Creationism as conditions of membership, amongst other things.

    Those two points alone make it differ contentiously from the official doctrine of the UMC (being that the UMC doesn't affirm literalism, and accepts the validity of scientific models of evolution; of course, personal rejection/acceptance of those points aren't requirements for membership in the UMC).
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  12. Redheadedstepchild

    Redheadedstepchild Child of God Supporter

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    MOD HAT

    Please remember that if you are not truly a member of this forum you may not debate or teach here.
     
  13. Nancy Dalrymple

    Nancy Dalrymple Newbie

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    I guess i am a little concerned about joining the Methodist church now since they were never for woman in the original church belief system. You see i don't want to go against the Lord in anything i do and i wanted to become a minister but now i am in doubt again. I have prayed about this but i still am in doubt, i may make a better misionary and men and woman can do this.
     
  14. Nancy Dalrymple

    Nancy Dalrymple Newbie

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    So if i post another question i will have 6 right> Can you at least answer my post?Thank You!
     
  15. Nancy Dalrymple

    Nancy Dalrymple Newbie

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    Redhead your a Methodist are you United or orginal?
     
  16. Maid Marie

    Maid Marie Zechariah 4:6

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    Hello, I am not sure that I understand your question. Do you mean that because they once didn't ordain women that it should speak to you today about joining? If so, I don't really understand the connection between what they used to do and what you should do now.

    FWIW - I am studying for ordination [though in the CotN]. I also know of or about some ordained female pastors in the UMC. One of them was very helpful when my aunt passed away and another is very helpful for my cousin's UMC.
     
  17. GraceSeeker

    GraceSeeker Senior Member

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    Like Maid Marie I'm confused by your comment as well. In what "original church belief system" was who "never for woman"?

    And what do you mean "they were never for woman?"


    I will tell you this. As I read scripture it is not true that Paul was against women serving in the church? Under his ministry they served as prophets, deacons, apostles, hosted the church assemblies, and lead the faith community.

    Also, I will tell you that later in time nearly every church that you can identify moved away from this. Certainly the Catholic Church did begin to recognize only male clergy (and continues to do so). The Anglican Church descended from the Catholic Church and at the time that it descended it had and kept this same pattern that it inherited from the Catholic Church of only having male clergy. Shortly after that the Methodist Church was an offshoot born out of a spiritual revival within the Anglican Church, but it still was entirely a male only clergy. It would be another 100 years before there were Methodists of any shape or form that considered it appropriate for a woman to be ordained. Those who felt this way were at the time members of the Methodist Epsicopal Church, but the feeling was not universal and there became a falling out in which this was one part of a much larger conflict. That new church that grew out of the Methodist Episcopal Church was the Free Methodist Church (among others) and it did recognize the ordination of women. In time, the remaining original Methodist Epsicopal Church would realize that it had been wrong to ever oppose the ordination of women, would repent fo its error and begin to ordain women.

    Lastly, I want to tell you that is where it stands today, (to my knowledge) all branches of Methodism ordain women and believe that the scriptures confirm this practice.
     
  18. Maid Marie

    Maid Marie Zechariah 4:6

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    This is my understanding as well.
     
  19. Lee52

    Lee52 New Member

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    As it is within our congregatons. We have ordained women for quite some time now and we follow the Methodist doctrines pretty closely, except for earthly congregational memberships.
     
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