In 1786, the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, looked back on the revival begun during his lifetime. He seemed to think that it was well enough established that it would not immediately vanish after his death. However, he was not content with the survival of a lifeless sect that hung around, but failed to renew souls in the image of their creator. He wrote in “Thoughts Upon Methodism” :
I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.
This passage is one that haunts me. It is as if Wesley continues to challenge all who call themselves Methodists to continue to have the zeal to “spread Scriptural holiness” that the early Methodists had. I can’t read this quote without asking myself the obvious question: Is the United Methodist Church in America a dead sect, does it have the form or religion without the power? Or have we held fast to the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which we first set out?
I plan on looking at the three keys that Wesley lifts up in this passage in the days to come (doctrine, spirit, and discipline). Until then, I would be very interested in your reaction to the implicit question Wesley asks us today, Are we a dead sect, or do we have he form and power of godliness?
Kevin M. Watson teaches, writes, and preaches to empower community, discipleship, and stewardship of our heritage. Connect with Kevin. Get future posts emailed to you.
Frank Adams said:
Yes, unfortunately Methodism is a dead sect – utterly dead. I am a former Methodist, now an Anglican Catholic and a Christian Zionist. Interesting combination I know, but utterly on fire for God and committed to bringing lost souls into the kingdom. The Methodist Church, in my opinion, has traded the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Social Gospel – basically all people are good and will get to heaven regardless of the means (, and they love big government which fosters socialism in our country). We Catholics do not believe that – we believe that calling upon the name of Jesus is the ONLY means of redemption, renewal and resurrection into His eternal Kingdom, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. I am a lawyer, cum evangelist and love to speak about my salvation experience and travels in Christ’s Holy Church (I have been a Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran and now an Anglican – praise God, He sent me to everyone of those church bodies to learn something, lol).
BTW, Methodism is not the only dead sect in our world today. I especially hold in contempt the theology of the United Church of Christ that currently proclaims “God is Still Speaking”. God has spoken once and for all time in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, the Word. We fought this heresy at Nicea and other places, yet here it crops up again. The Holy Spirit DOES speak to individuals to guide and direct those who invite Him to indwell them, but this is not what the UCC has in mind – they infer that a new word of tolerance (for sin) has been given, much like the Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians seem to embrace. Because of these heretical winds blowing through the Church we are seeing the ‘great falling away’ indicated in Holy Scripture. I doubt that the ‘institutional’ churches are strong enough to withstand the various worldly agendas being brought to bear. But of course, the Church will prevail even against the gates of hell. Fortunately, there are members of Christ’s Church scattered throughout the various churches so there still is hope.
Rev.Moses Prasad said:
then the work of evangelism has only begun when a person repents and believes. At that point he still needs by gospel preaching – evangelism – to have the way of God expounded more perfectly (Acts 18:26) and to be rooted and grounded in the truth (Col. 2:6-7). This aspect of evangelism is almost entirely neglected today.
Methodism has reach heritage.It can only be rectify in way of implementation.
Vision of John Wesley is alive to day even by Local Lay preacher and Preachers.
Greats REVOLUTION IN Christian WORLD WAS brought by John Wesley.
I know he was such a tool that was used in Christian World
for Great re bible.His prayer inspires us to today.
Rev.Moses Prasad said:
A great re bible came in Christian world by Rev.John Wesley. Bristol was his first Methodist Station in west England.Man who courageously proclaimed. THE WORLD IS MY PARISH.It survive today also .Methodist sect is alive today and carry the vision of John Wesley in this century.
Rev.Moses Prasad said:
Methodism spread all over the world with the scripture Base.
This is fire of Re bible in the world.In 18th and 19th Century the Flame of Methodism spread by the Power of Holy Spirit as it was founded on the conversion of John Wesley i 1739.
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Hello Frank Adams. I hope that you receive this message. Are you familiar with RZIM, Ravi Zacharias? You might find his sermons very stimulating. I too experienced different dominations and found them lacking in Scriptural understandings and insights. Ravi Zacharias is a gifted speaker.
Moses Prasad said:
John Wesley returned from Georgia America in year 1738. On returning from Georgia in Feb 1738 John Wesley wrote, I went to America to Convert the Indians; but Oh, who shall convert me? What is he that will deliver me from this evil heart of unbelief? This was a seeking heart of John Wesley who came to know the truth and truth made him free. This was John Wesley response to God. John Wesley left behind as his dying testimony, these words, “The best of all is, God is with us.”
moses Prasad said:
I have read above comment telling Methodist is a dead sect.
I oppose it.What is social Gospel?Jesus Said to disciple ,Give them to eat.They were hearing the word of God for three days.Here is miracle done by five loaves and three fishes.Will you tell this is a Social Gospel.If,Yes,Then Methodist is taken Social Gospel to serve.There is Gospel Preaching in Methodist Church,not in Roman Catholic.
Love with all your might-Jesus often used parables–short, intensely realistic, stories using everyday images—to grip his audience and point out with vividness and wit the presence of God in their lives. Jesus spoke about God’s power and authority in the world. This is the main theme of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The narratives speak of this divine rule in both present and future . the Gospel writers show, has somehow brought the kingdom into existence (Matt 12:28; Mark 1:15) and Jesus assures his disciples that the kingdom of God is already theirs (Luke 6:20). The future aspect of the kingdom is evident in those passages that announce the final fulfillment of God’s reign (Mark 9:1; Luke 22:18). Jesus’ ethical teachings are intended to promote repentance, obedience to God’s will,
Moses Prasad said:
John Wesley had experienced the real truth in his life by feeling and had waited for its’ fruitful life.The mustered seed became a baniyan tree.State is bigger or the Kingdom of God is bigger.John Wesley proved that Kingdom of God is bigger then State.So he said, World is my perish. A remark about Methodist a dead sect will not be applicable in all the respect.
moses prasad said:
John Wesley the founder of Methodism. He was an extra ordinary man adopted and practiced
Evangelism . Man of Great Vision brought Evangelism in Church of England. “The World is my Perish” Other qualities made him reaching out the Gospel through
his organizing skill and administrative Structure
Moses Prasad said:
Theology and polity of Methodism, the most basic foundation of Methodism is an institutional . It gave a solid foundation of doctrine .It’s rooted in form of
a semi- lay Church order. what is Methodism? Methodism is a religion which prefers personal of its theology. Converse with God to institutional Forms and authority: a concern to bring the truth to simple people, a stress on holiness, a reaffirmation of the doctrine of the Holy spirit; a semi-lay Church order.
Church is not a property of some leader who has occupied this position by might .They have left the principles led down in Bible. Kingdom of God survives for ever. God is alive for ever.
Human behavior is affected both by genetic inheritance and by experience. The ways in which people develop are shaped by social experience and circumstances within the context of their inherited genetic potential. The scientific question is just how experience and hereditary potential interact in producing human behavior.
Dr. Rev. Moses Saryug Prasad said:
John Wesley met Peter Bohler and asked,’ But what can I preach? He said,“Preach
faith till you have it and then because you have it, you will preach faith”. On
Monday 6th march 1738A.D., the person whom John Wesley preached, offered
salvation by faith alone was a prisoner under sentence of death. Peter Bohler gave the
account of the fruits of living faith-the holiness and happiness. In regard of Faith and
the doctrine, salvation by faith Wesley said, “Here ended my disputing.” I could now
only cry out, Lord help thou my unbelief. A great inspirational word of Pastor Peter
shook John, it was; do not hide the talent in the earth that God hath given you
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Rev.Dr. Moses S Prasad said:
John Wesley was confident that God is using this section of people for revival in urope and it will spread in the world but it was also doubt that it may not become dead .
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Oliver Gyam Amanfo said:
This is not the Methodist church that Wesley planted centuries ago. We have forgotten the meaning of our name. The methods of the Bible have now been set aside and in place of it, we have brought in human traditions and teachings. The church has now been charismatised and we are given heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. 1Tim. 4:1.
Various winds of doctrines are blowing in the church. In fact, the falling away from the truth has taken place.
The corruption started right from the headquarters when we went into ecumenical relationship with other churches. For such a union to be established, all the churches involved must set aside what makes them peculiar and any differences between them and the others, and that is why we are where we are now.
Even though the Roman Catholic church is not part of this ecumenical movement, she is the mother of it and the power behind it. She seeks to bring all the world’s religions together, then she as the mother will dictate her principles and practices to them. No wonder the Bible says that “she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication”. Rev. 14:8. All the churches in this ecumenical movement are thus drinking of the wine of Babylon which is detestable to God. Rev. 18.
God is calling us to come out of Babylon and her daughters (all apostate protestant churches). We must all run and find refuge in Christ. The truth is that I left the church about six years ago and I am now a proud Seventh-day Adventist. My new-found faith is not part of this ecumenical movement.
Michael Dobbs said:
Thanks so much for publishing this historical and spiritual truth !! God bless y’all!!
John Wesley be turning his grave today with what goes on in Methodist churches today ‘dead sect’
These are they, clouds without any water, having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof; from those such turn away. 2Tim 3
It’s not just Methodist, it’s many churches and denominations, we have compromised the gospel. Nothing wrong with changing methods but the message can’t change; the two have in some ways been confused. The church, the body, in many areas have become so liberal until you can’t discern right from wrong. Sad
However, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is still true for this generation. It’s just gonna take some folks hungry and thirsty for a renewing and reviving and he will answer.
Donovan McCormick said:
I heard this quote in Rod Parsley’s message Repairers of the Breach back in 1991. Do you have a way to send this via text message?
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