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Notes from the Newsroom
John I. Carney

The same sermon

Posted Friday, October 26, 2018, at 7:50 AM
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    Now I know why your evil Mr. Carney. Your not saved. Methodist??Methodists say one is saved by "faith only". But what does the Bible say about "faith only"? James 2:24, 26 says, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." The purpose of Methodist "baptism" (sprinkling) is to join the Methodist Church. With Methodist "baptism", one is not "baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13) which is the Lord's one church (Ephesians 1:21-22), but he is "baptized" into the Methodist Church, which is a counterfeit church. Since Methodist "baptism" is not done for the purpose of forgiveness of one’s sins and to be saved, then with Methodist "baptism", one’s sins are not forgiven and one is not saved. One still has every sin he has ever committed and is still lost. One has only joined one of Satan's many counterfeit churches.

    -- Posted by RICKTN40 on Tue, Dec 25, 2018, at 8:31 PM
  • You have a lot of misconceptions about Methodist theology. Let me try to explain a couple of them -- not for the sake of proving that my beliefs are better or worse than yours, but just for the sake of defending my denomination against your claim that it's counterfeit.

    In fact, while John Wesley did believe that we are saved by grace, he's particularly known for emphasizing the importance of works — that is, of living a changed life — as the evidence of one's salvation, and was critical of some of his contemporaries who bent over too backwards in emphasizing faith over works. He used the often-misunderstood term "Christian perfection" to describe this. He did not mean, and did not believe, any Christian to ever become sinless; rather, the term was a way of describing a transformed life and priorities. But he was accused in his lifetime of promoting a works-based theology, the exact opposite of your accusation.

    And the purpose of baptism is not "to join the Methodist church." In fact, we believe that baptism is not something humans do, or the church does, but the outward symbol of something that God does. That's why we believe infant baptism to be acceptable. If you were baptized in another denomination, and then decided to join a United Methodist church, we would not baptize you again -- even if you asked for it! -- because we believe that God's grace is sufficient, and God knew what He was doing the first time around. Baptism is not some sort of gimmick for the purpose of joining the church. It's a symbol of the grace that God bestows on us. In Methodist theology, we talk about three different types of grace: prevenient grace, the grace that God bestows on you before you even know you need it; sanctifying grace, the grace that welcomes you into salvation; and sustaining grace, the grace that enables you to live a Christian life.

    Baptism is baptism, and we welcome anyone who was baptized by or into any church. Again, that's the opposite of believeing that Methodist baptism is "to join the Methodist church."

    Interpreting the Bible and its commands is a tricky process. Martin Luther was so opposed to James' works-based theology that he once said he didn't think the book should have been canonized. It is possible for two Christians to read the same Bible and come up with contradictory opinions on a wide range of scriptures. You can cherry-pick verses that say faith, not works. You can cherry-pick verses that say works, not faith.

    It's good, and important, to take these issues seriously, and know what you believe about them. I'm not a universalist, and I don't think the Great Pumpkin is going to visit only the most sincere. But I also try to have a sense of humility, knowing that on any given issue, God is always right but I might be wrong. And I try (not always successfully) to treat other Christians with respect, even when I disagree with their theology. We have enough to worry about sharing the good news with the world to spend so much of our time drawing swords against each other.

    -- Posted by jcarney on Thu, May 9, 2019, at 2:21 PM
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