THE B’S OF METHODISM
The B’s of Methodism in a nutshell capture the essence of who we are and what we believe as Methodists. Methodists are peculiar and special people with a very rich heritage having been raised up for a particular purpose. This focus seeks to AFFIRM Methodism and to summarize who we are as Methodists through this presentation of the B’s of Methodism.
METHODISTS ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE BAPTIZED
This is a claim which must be stressed not only when confronted by those who set out to nullify our approach to baptism, but also for the benefit of our own members some of whom do not understand the significance of Baptism as practiced in our church. The controversy usually surrounds the issue of infant baptism vs adult baptism; affusion vs immersion.
WHAT IS BAPTISM
► Baptism symbolizes cleansing from sin. To be baptized means to purge or to cleanse ceremoniously with water. It depicts the cleansing from original sin.
►Baptism is the rite of initiation by which we become part of the church or community of faith. Baptism is a means of welcoming persons into the fellowship of the church.
►Baptism is a sign of our common bond with Christ and his church – Through baptism we are united with Christ and made part of the whole people of God
► Baptism is a sacrament since it was mandated by our Lord. Matthew 28: 19– 20.
► According to Wesley, Baptism is also a means of grace.
MODES OF BAPTISM
Various images have been used in scripture to express the significance of baptism thus giving rise to the modes of baptism. Baptism may be by sprinkling, pouring, dipping or immersion. Contrary to the suggestion of some, that only immersion is “water baptism” it must be emphasized that in all the above modes of baptism water is a central element. All these modes of baptism are accepted by the Methodist Church. For example, persons who can answer for themselves who are being baptized for the first time, may request that baptism be done by immersion, if that is what they desire.
THE FORMULA OF BAPTISM
Baptism in the Methodist Church follows the trinitarian formula, that is, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Matthew 28: 19 – 20
THE BASIS OF BAPTISM
►Baptism is a response to a divine initiative and to the grace of God who calls us to be part of God’s people.
►This response is a faith response expressed either by the baptized and/or the community of faith.
NUMBER OF BAPTISM
Baptism is an unrepeatable act, hence no need for rebaptism. The singularity of baptism reminds us that we are one people, and are called to confess and serve one Lord. As Methodists we insist on one baptism.
FORMS OF BAPTISM
►Baptism may be administered to persons of all ages– infants as well as those who can answer for themselves.
►The promise of the Holy Spirit is to you and your children. Acts 2:39
►The Methodist Church practices both forms of baptism.
METHODISTS ARE PEOPLE WHO BELONG
We belong to:
► body of Christ – we share a common bond
► Each other – we are connected to and responsible for each other. We seek to help each other
► The Church Family – all of us are members of and contribute to the proper functioning of the church
► A connexion (member > congregation > Circuit > District Conference > Connexion) – All are accounted for. None is left to fend for itself.
METHODISTS ARE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE
We believe in:
THE FOUR (4) UNIVERSALS:
► All persons need to be saved
► All persons can be saved
► All persons can know that they are saved
► All persons can be saved completely
►Father, Son and Holy Spirit
► In Jesus Christ as the means of our salvation
THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH
By “Catholic Church ” we mean the “universal church”
THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS
By this mean that all of us (clergy as well laity) share the responsibility of ministering to others
► The Sacrament of Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper
► The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
METHODISTS ARE PEOPLE WHO BEHAVE
Methodists are expected to behave in appropriate ways
OUR BEHAVIOUR IS IN KEEPING WITH THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST
►We are committed to Christian holiness. Wesley required that Methodists flee from the wrath to come and be saved from sin.
►We are committed to a covenant relationship with Christ as outlined in our Covenant service
METHODISTS HAVE CERTAIN DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Continuance in membership depends on acceptance of a life of discipline. According to our membership ticket, Methodists should:
► Come to church regularly
► Join in Christian fellowship
► Bear witness to Christ in daily life and seek to witness to others
► Be methodical in prayer and bible study
► Give personal service to Church, neighbours and community
► Give money to the work of the Church and its mission
► Receive communion faithfully and regularly
METHODISTS HAVE ETHICAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Based on what Wesley refers to as Prudential Means of Grace, Methodists should:
► Do no harm:
– Refrain from immoral behaviour (immoral sexual behaviour, drunkenness, drugs, killing)
– Refrain from loose behaviour (slack dressing, swearing, gossiping)
– Refrain from dishonest behaviour and ill gotten gains (lying, stealing, gambling)
► Do good:
– Care for each other especially the sick, lonely and depressed
– Care for the soul through instruction, exhortation and reproof
– Ensure that justice is done
– Be honest in all dealings
– Show respect for all persons as created in the image of God
– Care for the environment as part of God’s creation
METHODISTS HAVE CIVIC AND PATRIOTIC RESPONSIBILITIES
► Pay taxes
► Obey the law
► Support the community and country
As Methodists we need to begin to appreciate who we are and what we have.
WE ARE A PECULIAR AND SPECIAL PEOPLE WITH A RICH AND GODLY HERITAGE