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Methodism has historically followed the Protestant tradition of referring to sanctified members of the universal church as saints . However, as a title, Saint is usually used to refer to biblical people, Christian leaders, and martyrs of the faith. While most Methodist churches place little emphasis on the veneration of Saints, they often admire, honor, and remember the saints of Christendom.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, believed that there was much to learn from studying renowned saints, but he discouraged the 'worship' of them. He expressed concern about the Church of England's focus on saints' days and said that "most of the holy days were at present answering no valuable end."As such, Methodism does not have any system whereby people are canonised.
The title Saint in Methodist churches is commonly bestowed to those who had direct relations with Jesus Christ, or who are mentioned in the Bible. Occasionally, some esteemed, pre-Reformation Christians are addressed using the title Saint; the theologian Saint Augustine of Hippo being an example.[ citation needed ] However, there is no established rule as to the use of the title. Some Methodist churches are named for historic heroes and heroines of the faith such as the Twelve Apostles (excluding Judas Iscariot), Timothy, Paul, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Virgin Mary, and Joseph.
John Wesley's belief was that Christianity should be Christ-centered. Article XIV of the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church states that
|“||The Romish doctrine concerning...worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.||”|
Explicitly, Methodism denies Purgatory, relics, and prayer to saints—considering them to be distractions from the Christ-focused life and unfounded in Scripture.
While Methodists as a whole do not practice the patronage or veneration of saints, they do honor and admire them. Methodists observe All Saints' Day, following the liturgical calendar, in which the Church Universal, as well as the deceased members of a local congregation, are honored and remembered.
The Virgin Mary is honored as the Mother of God (Theotokos) in the United Methodist Church. Methodists churches teach the doctrine of the virgin birth, although they, along with Orthodox Christians and other Protestant Christians, reject the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Many Methodists, including John Wesley, have held that Mary was a perpetual virgin,which is the belief that Mary was ever-virgin for the whole of her life and Jesus was her only biological son. Contemporary Methodism does hold that Mary was a virgin before, during, and immediately after the birth of Christ. A small number of Methodists hold the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary as a pious opinion.
The title is used to refer to historical martyrs, especially dating before the Reformation. The General Conferences of the United Methodist Church voted to officially recognize Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 2008 and Martin Luther King Jr. in 2012 as modern-day 'martyrs'. The vote recognized people who died for their faith and stand as Christian role models.
Methodism, also known as the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity which derive their practice and belief from the life and teachings of John Wesley. George Whitefield and John's brother Charles Wesley were also significant early leaders in the movement. It originated as a revival movement within the 18th-century Church of England and became a separate denomination after Wesley's death. The movement spread throughout the British Empire, the United States, and beyond because of vigorous missionary work, today claiming approximately 80 million adherents worldwide.
A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The United Methodist Church (UMC) is an American mainline Protestant denomination and a major part of Methodism. In the 19th century, its main predecessor, the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a leader in evangelicalism. The present denomination was founded in 1968 in Dallas, Texas, by union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley in England, as well as the Great Awakening in the United States. As such, the church's theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan. It embraces liturgical, holiness, and evangelical elements.
Sola Scriptura is a theological doctrine held by some Christian denominations that the Christian scriptures are the sole source of authority for Christian faith and practice.
Mary was a first-century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, and the mother of Jesus, according to the New Testament and the Quran.
The five solae of the Protestant Reformation are a foundational set of principles held by theologians and clergy to be central to the doctrine of salvation as taught by the Reformed branches of Protestantism. Each sola represents a key belief in the Lutheran and Reformed traditions in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. These Reformers claimed that the Catholic Church, especially its head, the pope, had usurped divine attributes or qualities for the Church and its hierarchy.
The Dormition of the Mother of God is a Great Feast of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of Mary the Theotokos, and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on 15 August as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Dormition not on a fixed date, but on the Sunday nearest 15 August.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christian theology:
Intercession of the saints is a doctrine held by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic Churches. The practice of praying through saints can be found in Christian writings from the 3rd century onward. The 4th-century Apostles' Creed states belief in the communion of saints, which certain Christian churches interpret as supporting the intercession of saints. As in Christianity, this practice is controversial in Judaism and Islam.
Christian perfection is the name given to various teachings within Christianity that describe the process of achieving spiritual maturity or perfection. The ultimate goal of this process is union with God characterized by pure love of God and other people as well as personal holiness or sanctification. Various terms have been used to describe the concept, such as Christian holiness, entire sanctification, perfect love, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the second blessing, and the second work of grace.
Assurance of salvation is a Protestant Christian doctrine that states that the inner witness of the Holy Spirit allows the justified disciple to know that they are saved. Based on the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, assurance was historically a very important doctrine in Lutheranism and Calvinism, and remains a distinguishing doctrine of Methodism.
The Articles of Religion are an official doctrinal statement of Methodism. John Wesley abridged the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, removing the Calvinistic parts among others, reflecting Wesley's Arminian theology. The Articles were adopted at a conference in 1784 and are found in the Books of Discipline of Methodist Churches, such as Chapter I of the Doctrines and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and paragraph 103 of the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline. They have remained relatively unchanged since 1808 by Methodists worldwide.
Catholicity is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices widely accepted across numerous Christian denominations, most notably those that describe themselves as Catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
The word saint derives from the Latin sanctus, meaning holy, and has long been used in Christianity to refer to a person who was recognized as having lived a holy life and as being an exemplar and model for other Christians. Beginning in the 10th century, the Church began to centralize and formalize the process of recognizing saints; the process whereby an individual was added to the canon (list) of recognized saints became known as canonisation.
Anglican Marian theology is the summation of the doctrines and beliefs of Anglicanism concerning Mary, mother of Jesus. As Anglicans believe that Jesus was both human and God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, within the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglican movement, Mary is accorded honour as the theotokos, a Koiné Greek term that means "God-bearer" or "one who gives birth to God".
In Christian theology, good works, or simply works, are a person's (exterior) actions or deeds, in contrast to inner qualities such as grace or faith.
Protestant views on Mary include the theological positions of major Protestant representatives such as Martin Luther and John Calvin as well as some modern representatives. While it is difficult to generalize about the place of Mary, mother of Jesus in Protestantism given the great diversity of Protestant beliefs, some summary statements are attempted.
Wesleyan theology, otherwise known as Wesleyan–Arminian theology, or Methodist theology, is a theological tradition in Protestant Christianity that emphasizes the "methods" of the eighteenth-century evangelical reformers John Wesley and his brother Charles Wesley. More broadly, it refers to the theological system inferred from the various sermons, theological treatises, letters, journals, diaries, hymns, and other spiritual writings of the Wesleys and their contemporary coadjutors such as John William Fletcher.
Protestantism is the second-largest form of Christianity with a total of 800 million to a billion adherents worldwide or about 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than also by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.
Criticism of Protestantism covers critiques and questions raised about Protestantism, the Christian tradition which arose out of the Reformation. While critics praise Protestantism's Christ-centered and Bible-centered faith, Protestantism is faced with criticism mainly from the Catholic Church and some Orthodox Churches, although Protestant denominations have also engaged in self-critique and criticized one another.
We also recognize and celebrate All Saints' Day (Nov. 1) and "all the saints who from their labors rest". United Methodists call people "saints" because they exemplified the Christian life. In this sense, every Christian can be considered a saint.
We Protestants (for the most part) tend to say something to the effect that, if it is not found in Scripture it is not held to be required as an article of faith. Thus, the assumption of Mary would not be held as an article of faith (i.e., as a required doctrine). However, in as much as the Scripture does not say that Mary was not assumed into heaven, and, in as much as we do have other instances of some sort of "assumption" in Scripture (e.g., Elijah, as mentioned, before), there seems to be nothing that would require that a Protestant Christian could not have a private "opinion" (in the Wesleyan sense of the term) that agrees with Rome or Constantinople (at least regarding Mary's assumption).