What Do United Methodists Really Believe?



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Those other than fundamentalists have already "left the building."

The results of this poll are not surprising since it appears to me that recent history has in effect purged the church of the more liberal members.

Using Jesus parables as a guide, I established fourteen difference categories and then quantified the number of times that Jesus mentioned these categories in his parables. These parables appear to me to be the most reliable representation of his actual thoughts. I took the list from Wikipedia as my guide. (Wickipedia, Harmony. Parables of Jesus,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parables_of_Jesus#Canonical_gospels) . Then, I counted the number of references made by Jesus to these topics. The top 5 categories are as follows Christian Life, Faith, Discipleship (30), Use your brain, knowledge (15), Nature astronomy, horticulture, plant animal and fish life (15), Salvation, righteousness, Kingdom of Heaven (14), Money, health and business (12). The eight remaining categories had fewer citations.

If, as more current church members profess, salvation was that important, Jesus would have mentioned it more frequently. Instead, though, he simply taught that living a good life was most important. Modern Christians should be governed accordingly, and discard the narcissistic view that the poll suggests.

Don E. Bray 180 days ago

I disagree

You have taken a purely analytic approach to a theological issue. I get paid once a month and when I was giving to my church, it was once a month. However, I would buy a coffee each day. So, I spent 20 days per month buying coffee and only 1 day a month giving to the church. Does that mean coffee was more important to me than my church? Of course not but it is analogous to your approach of what was more important to Jesus. You have to look at what Jesus did, and not just what he said to know what was important. Jesus died on the cross for you and me. For our salvation, he died and was resurrected. It was the whole reason God sent his Son to earth, to save us all. As a scientist, I can appreciate using analytics to resolve an issue, but. I think your effort is a total misapplication. You have to look at the bigger picture. It reminds me how liberals will twist a verse totally around to justify their unGodly positions.

Steve 180 days ago

Free will to interpret

Thankfully, we have the freedom to interpret events, as is being done here. In fact, Jesus allows that we have the freedom to deny him, but we must believe in God. With this thought in mind, I feel that following the evidential track, as taught by Jesus, is a better approach to faith in our modern world.

Don E. Bray 180 days ago

Once or twenty times a month?

To your question, if your coffee is drunk with other colleagues, then you have the opportunity twenty times a month to practice your beliefs which you go back and recharge only once a month. Both are important, just different arenas. My understanding is that Jesus would have been very comfortable in your coffee house, he was a collegial person who worked as a carpenter in his early years and only late began his ministry. His quarrel was with the Jewish obsession with their laws and not with the common people or with the practice of life's events. Thus, his parables are rooted from his 20+ years of life experiences, hence their relevance to our lives.

Don E. Bray 178 days ago

Laity Contrasted with Clergy

The most interesting part of this article is that it shows how much the UMC laity are at odds with the UMC clergy. The last survey I saw which addressed clergy beliefs dates to the late 1990s and showed UMC clergy to have the most "liberal" beliefs of major denominations. Even more Episcopal priests believed in the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Jesus than did UMC clergy. IIRC, around 53% of UMC clergy did not believe in the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Jesus. I have no doubt that this figure has risen in the intervening years. When you have a denomination where the majority of its clergy do not believe the essential tenets of the faith, that is a problem. As my wife so wisely puts it, "you are OK when you have clergy that are more "conservative" than the laity, but when the laity are more "conservative" than the clergy, this causes problems." Indeed, I believe that the issues within the UMC today stem from a disconnect in belief between the majority of its clergy and a majority of its laity

Dan 183 days ago

The more I read Re liberal views the more I am

convinced of the need for a total split between progressives and Traditionalists. Believing in the virgin birth and Christ’s physical resurrection are basic tenets to calling one’s self a Christian and follower of Christ. They are embedded in the Apostle’s Creed. They are implicit in our UMC membership vows. To not believe in them means you aren’t a Christian and aren’t a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. It means your standing as aUMC member and leader is invalid.. you should either resign your membership in the UMC or be defrocked. You certainly have no place in the UMC or in any Christian Church if this is what you believe.

Steve 180 days ago


Clearly, if you group all the conservatives/traditionalists together then they are the most. Similarly, if you group all the liberals and progressives together, they are the most by just a smedge. There is some pretty wide divergence within the conservative group as configured. Possible not as much as a liberal/progressive grouping, but its there.

Anonymous 184 days ago


Your math is wrong. Liberals and progressives totaled 20%; conservatives and traditionals totaled 44%. The article addressed whether it was theologically legitimate to group centrists and moderates with the liberals and progressives- and determined that it was not becase they were more theologically aligned with traditionals and conservatives.

td 183 days ago

Notable Quotes   

    "Christ told us specifically where He would be found and where we were to worship Him as Christians until He came in glory: Christ is in the people who need our help. Christ is in hungry and thirsty people; in people without adequate clothing and shelter; in people who are strangers in a strange land and people who are imprisoned. Any so-called Christianity that ignores or, God forbid, abuses such people is pernicious heresy from the pit of hell. You spit on the Body of Christ in the Chalice when you abuse Him in the body of your neighbor."

    – Mary Pezzulo, "How to Help Imprisoned Migrants," on her blog "Steel Magnificat" on Patheos.com.


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