Methodism is the name given to a group of Protestant churches that arose from the 18th century Wesleyan movement in England led by John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. Although centered in the British Isles and North America, Methodism has spread worldwide. The total world community is estimated at more than 75 million; the largest single group is the United Methodist Church in the United States, with about 12 million members worldwide: 8.0 million in the United States and Canada, 3.5 million in Africa, Asia and Europe.
John Wesley, the founder of the movement, was an ordained "minister" of the Church of England (Anglican) who on May 22, 1739 had a conversion experience while listening to the reading of Luther's commentary on St. Paul's Letter to the Romans. He preached the Gospel in England and America for over 40 years following his conversion, and tens of thousands joined his lay groups. They remained in the Church of England until after Wesley's death.
Methodists believe in the inspired Scriptures, which are declared by them to be the sole and sufficient rule of belief and practice. The dogmas of the Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus Christ are upheld. The universality of original sin and the consequent partial deterioration of human nature find their efficacious remedy in the universal distribution of grace. Man's free co-operation with this Divine gift is necessary for eternal salvation, which is offered to all, but may be freely rejected. There is no room in Methodism for the rigorous doctrine of predestination as understood by Calvinism. While the doctrine of justification by faith alone is taught, the performance of good works enjoined by God is commended, but the doctrine of works of supererogation is condemned.
The "witness of the Spirit" to the soul of the individual believer and the consequent assurance of salvation are distinctive doctrines of Methodism. This assurance is a certainty of present pardon, not of final perseverance. It is experienced independently of the sacraments through the immediate testimony of the Holy Spirit, and does not preclude the possibility of future transgressions.
According to Protestants, the Bible teaches that Scripture (the written word of God) is the only rule of faith for a Christian. Along with justification by faith alone (sola fide), Scripture alone (sola scriptura) was one of the central tenets of the Protestant reformation.
However, the truth is that the Bible does not teach that Scripture is the only rule of faith for a Christian. The Bible teaches that both Scripture and apostolic tradition are sources of Christ's revelation, and that one must accept both of them along with the Church. That's why the Catholic Church has always taught that there are two sources of divine revelation (Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition); and that the Church instituted by Jesus Christ was given authority to determine the authentic meaning of Scripture and Tradition.
If the Bible is the only rule of faith for a Christian, then logically the Church or tradition would not be a rule of faith for a Christian. However, the Bible clearly teaches that one must hear the Church and follow tradition.
Matthew 18:17 "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
2 Thessalonians 2:15 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
Luke 10:16 "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me."
This teaching of Jesus, that one must hear the Church under pain of being considered a heathen, refutes the entire idea of Scripture alone.
Jesus' condemnation of the "tradition of men" (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:8, etc.) had nothing to do with the true apostolic tradition, which the Bible says we must accept. Jesus was condemning the man-made practices of the Pharisees.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
Further, the bible teaches that the church, not the bible, is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
1 Timothy 3:15 "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
As one former Protestant minister (who eventually saw the falsity of Protestantism) put it: "If I were writing that verse [1 Tim. 3:15] as a Protestant, I would have said that the Bible, not the Church, is the pillar and ground of the truth. But St. Paul says it's the Church. This means that the Church must be every bit as infallible as the Bible, and that it must present something unique by way of presenting the truth of Jesus Christ."
The unique role of the Church is that it sets forth the true meaning of Scripture and Tradition in precise terms and dogmas, something the Bible was not intended to do in all of its passages, which should be obvious to any honest person considering the issue. All the thousands of sects that has been created throughout the ages, and especially after the Protestant reformation, simply because they didn't knew how to interpret scripture correctly, undeniably proves this fact. Moreover, if the Church is infallible and the pillar of truth, there must obviously be a way of recognizing its infallible teaching by means of a continued succession of authority which would safeguard the truth and exercise its authority (see The Papacy in Scripture).
For a more in depth refutation of Scripture alone (sola scriptura), please consult the following file: The Bible does not teach Sola Scriptura (scripture alone).
Catholics believe in grace. But it is a faith that is not separated from works (per James). Faith inherently includes these works. But we're not saved by faith alone (that's where Protestantism errs); we're saved by grace alone with works. That is the Catholic teaching. Grace is primary in the whole process, so in that very real sense we can say "saved by grace alone" (i.e., without separating works of course) -- whereas we can never say "saved by faith alone" (i.e., with works playing no part at all) -- which is classic Protestant heresy, or "saved by works alone" (i.e., without grace) -- which is the Pelagian heresy. The true Catholic position will always include the works alongside grace and faith.
The majority of Protestants not only believe in faith alone, but also in eternal security, which means that according to them, a true believer cannot lose his salvation. These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith alone. A person who believes in faith alone or eternal security is a heretic, because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone does not justify a man only, but our deeds also.
Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."
How clear does it have to get? You can lose your salvation if you do certain things.
For a more in depth refutation of faith alone and eternal security, please consult the following file: Justification by faith alone and eternal security refuted by the Bible.
In Methodism, only two sacraments are admitted: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism does not produce sanctifying grace in the soul, but strengthens its faith, and is the sign of a regeneration which has already taken place in the recipient. Its administration to infants is commanded because they are already members of the Kingdom of God. The Eucharist is a memorial of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, who is not really present under the species of bread and wine, but is received in a spiritual manner by believers. The sacrament is administered under both kinds to the laity.
In Catholicism, baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. Christ commanded "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:15-16).
The Bible teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins.
Acts 2:38 "But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
That's quite clear. The Bible says that baptism is for the remission of sins. It takes away sins. Baptism washes away original sin.
Acts 22:12-16 "And one Ananias… Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked upon him. And he said… arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
This clearly indicates that St. Paul's sins would be washed away in baptism.
Jesus teaches that all men must be baptized to have the faith and be saved.
Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…"
In the very last INSTRUCTION THAT JESUS CHRIST GIVES THE APOSTLES BEFORE LEAVING THIS WORLD – He gives His Apostles two commands: to teach all nations and to baptize. This should tell everyone something about the importance and the necessity of baptism. Baptism is bound up, by Jesus Himself, with the very command to teach all nations the Christian faith. That's because no one can be saved without it, as we see in St. Mark's Gospel.
Mark 16:15-16 "And he (Jesus) said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Jesus says that those who believe and are baptized will be saved, which indicates that the unbaptized will not be saved. But some ask: why didn't Jesus say, "he that believeth not and is not baptized shall be damned," after saying he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved? The answer is that those who don't believe are not going to get baptized, so it's not necessary to mention baptism again.
Romans and Ephesians teach that one comes out of sin through baptism... Continue reading: The Bible teaches baptismal regeneration and that baptism is necessary for salvation
John 6:53 "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
Protestants do not believe that the Eucharist is the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe that after the consecration at Mass, "the Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is truly, really, and substantially contained" in the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine (Council of Trent, Decree on the Eucharist). The Catholic view of the Eucharist was unanimously held for the first 1,500 years of Christianity. The biblical support for the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist is overwhelming and undeniable.
In John chapter 6, Jesus clearly says that his flesh is food and his blood is drink, and that you must eat his flesh and drink his blood.
John 6:51-58 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever."
Jesus says over and over again, in the clearest terms, that His flesh is food and His blood is drink. He says that unless you eat His flesh and drink His blood you shall not have life in you.
The Jews scoffed at the notion of eating his flesh; in response, Jesus confirms that this is exactly what he meant.
Non-Catholics claim that the words of Jesus in John 6 are not meant to be understood literally. They claim that Jesus was speaking only metaphorically or symbolically. Such an interpretation is not justified by the context of John 6. Furthermore, it is clearly refuted by what Jesus said to the Jews immediately after expressed their disbelief at the idea of eating His flesh.
John 6:52-53 "The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
The Jews did not believe that it was possible (or that Jesus could really mean) that He would give them His flesh to eat. They said exactly what the Protestants are saying today. If Jesus had been speaking in purely metaphorical (rather than literal) terms, as the Protestants say, then here was the perfect opportunity for Him to assure them that their fears were unfounded. It was the perfect moment for Jesus to explain that He didn't really mean that people would eat His flesh, but that He meant something else.
So what does Jesus say to them? In response to their disbelief, we see that Jesus repeats the same message, that it's necessary to actually eat His flesh and drink His blood, but in even stronger terms. He tells them that if they don't eat His flesh and drink His blood they will not have life in them (John 6:53).
There's more: in John 6:54, the Bible switches from the word phago (meaning "eat") to trogo (meaning "chew" or "gnaw") to leave no doubt that Jesus actually means eating his flesh.
The word phago (meaning "to eat" or "consume") is used nine times in the original Greek text of John 6:23-53. Phago is sufficient to convey the idea of eating Jesus' flesh. Immediately after the Jews expressed their disbelief that Jesus could mean such a thing, we read (in John 6:54) that Jesus switched to an even stronger and more graphic word. The word He then used (in John 6:54 and following) is trogo. This word literally means "to gnaw, chew or crunch," as even a Protestant study bible accessible on the internet will confirm (http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=5176). Therefore, to eradicate all doubt about the necessity to eat His flesh, Jesus switches to a word which means nothing but literal eating ("gnawing, chewing"). The same word trogo is used to mean literal eating in Matthew 24:38 and John 13:18.
John 6:54-56 "Whosoever eateth [trogo] my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth [trogo] my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."
In light of this evidence, it is absurd to argue that Jesus didn't mean that people would actually eat His flesh and drink His blood.
After telling them that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood, many of his disciples left him; this proves that it was clear to all present that Jesus said and meant that people must eat his flesh.
John 6:60-68 "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? ... From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life."
If Jesus did not really mean that people would eat His flesh and drink His blood, then He would have clarified His meaning and stopped these disciples from leaving Him over a misunderstanding. He would have said something like this: "Wait, you misunderstood me. I was only speaking symbolically. I didn't really mean that people would eat my flesh and drink my blood." But He doesn't do anything of the sort. He lets everyone who cannot accept His message walk away. This is an overwhelming contextual indication that everyone understood that Jesus was speaking literally of the necessity to eat His flesh and drink His blood. They simply couldn't accept it, and Jesus wasn't going to deny the truth or modify what He had told them.
The fact that many of Jesus' followers left Him over the necessity to eat His flesh and drink His blood is sadly illustrative of how this issue would, at different times in Church history, be a prime cause of people leaving the true faith of Jesus. It happened again in the 16th century, when many left Jesus and His true faith because they refused to believe that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Protestants admit that the blood of the passover lamb mentioned in Exodus 12, which the Hebrews had to mark their doors with, signifies Jesus as the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world; they don't realize that god also commanded the Hebrews to eat the passover lamb... Continue reading: The Bible teaches that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist
The invocation of saints and the veneration of relics and images are rejected. While the existence of purgatory is denied in the Twenty-five Articles (Article XIV), an intermediate state of purification, for persons who never heard of Christ, is admitted today by some Methodists. (That is heresy! Fortunately, it is rejected by even the majority of Protestants. No one can be saved without the Catholic Faith, that is, without belief in Jesus Christ and the Trinity (see No Salvation Outside of the Catholic Church.))
The Catholic Church teaches that there is one God, the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three divine persons in one God. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity, true God and true man. God alone is adored and worshipped. This adoration or worship, which is given to God alone, is called latria.
Saints in Heaven are not adored, but are venerated as holy men and women of God in Heaven. The veneration which is given to saints, which is not adoration, is called dulia. The veneration which is given to the greatest of all the saints, the mother of God, is called hyperdulia. Hyperdulia is also veneration, not worship or adoration.
There are biblical reasons why the Catholic Church has always recognized the importance and the necessity of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the new Eve, the new Ark, the pure vessel, the sealed gate, and the Mother of God. To fail to have devotion to her is equivalent to a man in the Old Testament who would refuse to venerate the Ark of the Covenant or would refuse to march behind it to a battle. Such a man would fall prey to the enemies of God and would be separated from the camp of God's people (see The Biblical basis for praying to Mary and for Catholic teachings on Mary)
Exodus 32:9-14 "And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power… Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants… And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people."
Moses' intercession with God was so great that God even asked Moses to allow Him to destroy the Israelites. This must not be understood in the sense that the Almighty God can be or was constrained by any man, but rather that He was powerfully swayed and influenced by this man's close relationship with Him. Moses pleaded with Him not to destroy them, and God relented because of Moses. As we can see, not all men are equal before God. Not all men have the same intercessory power with Him. The intercession of extraordinary and saintly men is powerful and effective.
We see another example of this in the case of Abraham:
Genesis 18:26-33 "And the Lord said to him: If I find in Sodom fifty just within the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake. And Abraham answered, and said: Seeing I have once begun, I will speak to my Lord, whereas I am dust and ashes. What if there be five less than fifty just persons? wilt thou for five and forty destroy the whole city? And he said: I will not destroy it, if I find five and forty. And again he said to him: But if forty be found there, what wilt thou do? He said: I will not destroy it for the sake of forty. [And Abraham, because he had powerful intercession with God, bargained Him all the way to ten] What if ten should be found there? And he said: I will not destroy it for the sake of ten. And the Lord departed, after he had left speaking to Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place."
The next example we will consider is one where the Bible says that the prayers of a man would cause God to accept people He otherwise wouldn't.
Job 42:7-10 "… the Lord said to Eliphaz… My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering: and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly… So [they] went, and did according as the Lord commanded them… And the Lord also was turned at the penance of Job, when he prayed for his friends…"
The Lord was turned at the prayers and penance of Job. The intercession and prayers of saintly men obtain graces and favors that the Lord will not always otherwise give. God said that He would only give this grace to Eliphaz if Job would pray for him.
Jeremias 15:1 "And the Lord said to me: If Moses and Samuel shall stand before me, my soul is not towards this people: cast them out from my sight…"
God says that even if Moses and Samuel stood before Him, He would still reject this people. This is quite revealing. The people described in this passage were so bad that not even the powerful intercession of the great servants of God, Moses and Samuel, could relax God's anger against them. However, these words show us that the intercession of extraordinary servants of God, such as Moses and Samuel – who have built up a special credit or influence with Him – impacts how God deals with and looks at people, even if it didn't make the difference in this particular case because of how bad the people were. The intercession of saintly men helps determine what God does for people and what He does to them, as we saw with the examples above.
Before we we move on, we must consider an objection. One of the main objections that non-Catholics raise against praying to saints comes from 1 Timothy 2:5.
1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Jesus is the only mediator between God and men, protestant say, so you can't include saints or prayers to them. This objection is false for many reasons. Just because Jesus is the only mediator does not mean that others do not mediate as part of the one mediation of Christ. For example, in John 10:16 Jesus says that He is the one and only shepherd; but He appoints Peter to shepherd His sheep in John 21:15-17. Ephesians 4:11 also teaches that there are many pastors or shepherds. The point is that these other sub-shepherds all work under and by the institution of the one shepherd, Jesus.
Another example is that Jesus says He is the supreme judge. We read this in John 9:39 and in many other passages. Certain men of God, however, will also act on His behalf as judges in Heaven, even of angels. We read this in 1 Corinthians 6:2, Matthew 19:28, and elsewhere. Yes, Jesus is the unique mediator, because the mediator is the one who unites man to God. Jesus alone did this by His passion and death. We read this in 2 Corinthians 5:18. But that does not mean that within the one mediation of Christ there are not others who participate in His mediation. In fact, the Bible clearly teaches it.
If Jesus' unique mediation excluded prayers to saints, then it would also exclude asking a fellow man to pray for you. There is no way around the logic of this argument. For when you ask a fellow man to pray for you, instead of going to Jesus directly, you are asking another person to act as a mediator with Jesus for you. That's what Catholics do when they pray to saints. Therefore, if prayers to saints are excluded by the unique mediation of Jesus, then asking others for prayers is definitely excluded as well.
Not only do most Protestants accept the concept of asking others to pray for them – thus contradicting their rejection of prayers to saints – but, in the New Testament, St. Paul himself repeatedly asks others for prayers.
Romans 15:30 "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."
Paul also tells others that he is praying for them.
Colossians 1:3 "… praying always for you…"
Paul even says that the prayers of others bestow gifts upon him.
2 Corinthians 1:11 "Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf."
The Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse also gives us a glimpse of how the saints and their prayers intercede for men.
Revelation 8:3-4 "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."
We see another example in Revelation chapter 5.
Revelation 5:8 "… elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints."
The Bible also teaches that even the relics of these saintly men are venerated and can be miraculous. First, in Matthew 9:20-22, we see that a woman who touched Jesus' garment was cured of a hemorrhage. Certainly Jesus was God, and not a mere saint. Many non-Catholics will say it's superstitious or idolatrous to venerate the relics of saints. But the Bible teaches otherwise.
Acts 19:11-12 "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them."
Paul was not only given miraculous powers, but the handkerchiefs and aprons which he touched were effective to work miracles. We see a similar thing with St. Peter. In Acts 9, St. Peter raised the dead. In Acts 5:15, we read that his very shadow was considered effective to miraculously heal and cure.
In the Old Testament we see the same biblical teaching on the relics of saints. In 2 Kings 2 (4 Kings 2 in the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible), we see that the cloak of the prophet Elijah miraculously parted the Jordan River.
2 Kings 2:13-14 "He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it… When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over."
Another example of a miraculous relic comes from 2 Kings 13:21 (4 Kings 13:21 in the Douay-Rheims Bible). We read that the bones of the prophet Elisha were so powerful that they raised a man to life.
2 Kings 13:21 "And it came to pass, as they were burying a man… they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet."
The bones of saints are one of the most common relics used by Catholics. Far from being idolatrous or superstitious, we see that Catholic relics are rooted in biblical teaching and practice.
Many Protestants reject the use of statues and images of the saints. They think they are idolatrous and condemned in the Bible. However, just as we saw with their position on the relics of saints, their position is not correct on this issue either... In the Bible God specifically commands the making and use of statues for religious purposes. The following verse should crush, once and for all, the false idea that the Bible condemns the use of true religious statues and images... Another false idea that must be addressed is the idea that Catholics worship statues because they sometimes kneel or bow before them in prayer. This objection is false and refuted by Sacred Scripture.... Continue reading: The Bible on praying to and venerating Saints.
There is proof for Purgatory in the Bible as well. It's found in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 15. Let's examine this Biblical proof for Purgatory. I will use the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, a famous Protestant translation... Continue reading: The Bible teaches Purgatory
In its work of conversion Methodism is aggressive and largely appeals to religious sentiment; camp-meetings and revivals are important forms of evangelization, at least in America. Among the practices which Wesley imposed upon his followers were the strict observance of the Lord's Day, the use of few words in buying and selling, and abstinence from all intoxicating drinks, from all purely worldly amusements and from costly apparel. The church service which he prepared for them was an abridgment and modification of the Book of Common Prayer, but it never came into universal use, sentiment among Methodists being rather unfavourable to any set form of liturgy.
In America the ministry is divided into two orders; the "deacons" and the "elders" or "presbyters"; in Great Britain and her colonies only one order exists, the "elders". The name of "bishop" used in the episcopal bodies is a title of office, not of order; it expresses superiority to elders not in ordination, but in the exercise of administrative functions. No Methodist denomination recognizes a difference of degree between episcopal and presbyterial ordination. A characteristic institution of Methodism are the love-feasts which recall the agape of Christian antiquity. In these gatherings of "believers" bread and water are handed round in token of brotherly union, and the time is devoted to singing and the relating of religious experiences.