Catholicism and Methodism – Major Christian Denominations

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Religion is an important aspect of a person’s life. It provides them with a community and reasoning in life. Religion is universal; all people can believe and belong to a religion. Religion can inspire people to do great things; it can lead people to peace; it can lead people to war; it can lead people to lead people.

But most importantly, it fills people with hope, whether it is hope in the after-life, belief in a higher power, the goodness of mankind, or the quest for unity. People follow different religions for different reasons. One of the most followed religions in the world is Christianity. Two denominations of Christianity include Catholicism, one of the major denominations of Christianity, and Methodism, one of the growing denominations of Protestantism, a branch of Christianity.

The two religions are rather similar, but they also have many differences, which give a distinct difference to each other. These will be explored in the rest of this report.

Methodism originated in 1739 in England as a result of the teachings of John Wesley. He, his brother Charles, and other fellow students at Oxford University formed a group devoted to study, prayer, and helping the poor. They were coined “Methodists” by other students because of the method and structure they used in their religious affairs.

Both Charles and John Wesley were ordained ministers for the Church of England, but they were banned from preaching in public due to their overly evangelistic methods. They broke away from the Church to preach in homes, fields, barn houses or anywhere else they could find followers.

After disbanding from the Church of England, they didn’t initially start a new Church, but rather initialised faith-restoration groups called “United Societies” as a branch of the Anglican Church. By 1774, however, Methodism spread and became it’s own religion.

As the years went by, Methodism became the largest Protestant denomination in America. The largest denomination of Methodism today is the United Methodist Church, which is a unique blend of New Testament Christianity, the Protestant Reformation, and the influence of John Wesley and his Methodist Church. As Methodism grew, it became attractive to people wanting to find a friendly religion. The Church’s religious community includes some of the largest political figures in America, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Hillary Clinton.

Founding the Methodist religion, John Wesley found it important that a religion should hold the ultimate goal and primary motivation of devout godliness. Three basic conceptions of this ideal were to shun and avoid evil in all of its forms, to perform good deeds as much as one possibly can, and to follow the Word of God.

The Methodist doctrine also states that God is three persons in one as the Holy Trinity, made up out of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It also states God has and always will exist, creator of all things, all powerful, master of all creation and that He wishes us to live in unity with Him to live a great life.

The doctrine states that Baptism and Communion are sacrifices to God, not just sacraments. In Communion, Methodists eat bread and drink wine to show the symbolism of Christ’s redeeming resurrection as being One with the Body and Blood of Christ.

Methodists worship in communal Churches. They are lead by a minister and are attended by Methodists in the local or travelling community. Sessions are held in the Church daily, along with Communion, and night vigils are held four nights of the week.

People are not expected to attend Church everyday, but are urged to attend as often as possible. They are also asked to pray to God when they are in need, as this keeps a contact between the Methodists and God.

Prayer doesn’t need to be held all the time, but regular prayer sessions are to be kept to keep a Holy relationship with the Church and a friendly relationship with God.

The Methodist religion celebrates the feasts of most Christian religions. As Methodists believe in the mission of Jesus Christ, they believe in celebrating Christmas as the birth of Jesus, the Assumption of Our Lady as the rising of the Virgin Mother Mary of God into heaven as both body and soul, the Immaculate Conception as the start of Jesus life on Earth by the conception of the Virgin Mary by God, and Easter, celebrating the sacrifice Jesus made to reconcile the sins made by Christians.

These celebrations are celebrated in Church through services, and can also be celebrated in homes as family celebrations. The feast days remind Methodists what their religion initially meant, which was to celebrate those before them who lead by example to live lives if goodness and set the example for them to live by, in accordance to the Methodist doctrine.

Methodism is organised in a hierarchical system with the General Conference (GC) level being the highest position. The General Conference is the only official organisation that can officially speak on behalf of the Methodist Church.

The levels beneath the General Conference are the Central and Jurisdictional Conferences, which are composed of Annual Conferences. Those Annual Conferences are divided into Districts, and then divided into Churches.

The chart on the right-hand side shows the hierarchical system that the Methodist Church uses, with the everyday Church folk starting at the bottom, followed by various forms of higher power.

The Methodist Church is appealing to many people. Firstly, the Church has a rich history. The religion started in England nearly 300 years ago, spread around the world, while building schools, the first institutions for settlers, women and newly freed slaves. The United Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant denomination in America, and is growing as a major Protestant denomination all around the world, with a surge currently being held in Africa.

Secondly, they belong because the believe God will comfort, guide and forgive everyone. Everyone is accepted, whether they be male or female, rich or poor.

Furthermore, education is an important factor in the Church. Methodists believe brainpower is a gift from God, and it should be cherished and deeply appreciated. Methodists are also dedicated to applying their minds outside the Church, not just inside, as if they think themselves to be closer to God, it shall happen, and it would benefit the goodness of mankind.

Both Catholicism and Methodism have many common factors to each other. Firstly, both are Christian denominations, which mean they both believe that God came to Earth in the form of the Saviour Jesus Christ through the birth of the Virgin Mary, and was crucified so that all sins will be forgiven.

Both religions believe that all people are equal, and that no matter who you are, rich or poor, woman or man, adult or child, you are all the same in God’s eyes.

Methodism and Catholicism both believe that God exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as the Holy Trinity.

Both Catholicism and Methodism have strong educational beliefs, which Catholicism and Methodism both attributing schools and learning as a major part of their message. This follows through to the shared belief that the Word of God should be taught to all, and shared with people around the world.

The Catholic and Methodists Churches also have vast differences between them. One the major differences is that the Methodist Church believes that abortion is allowable for women, as they believe that the sacredness and the wellness of life of a woman is more important if a baby is unwanted.

In the Catholic Church, abortion is shunned upon, as it believes that all forms of life are sacred, which in this case, is the unborn foetus whose life is in the hand of the mother.

Methodism also accepts divorce, but it considers that the welfare a child, if at the centre of the divorce, is kept.

Catholicism is against divorce, as it believes that a bond between a man and a woman can’t be broken.

The Catholic Church is against homosexuality, as it believes that relationships consist of a man and a woman only.

On the other hand, the Methodist Church believes that God’s grace is available to all, no matter who you are.

Methodism also believes Euthanasia is acceptable, as they believe the use of medical technologies to prolong terminal illnesses requires responsible judgment about when life-sustaining treatments truly support the goals of life, and when they have reached their limits. The Methodist Church therefore believes that dying persons should have the liberty to discontinue treatments when they cease to benefit to the person.

However, Catholicism holds a strong stance against Euthanasia, as they believe that all forms of life are precious, and is similar to the situations concerning abortion.

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