Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

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Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby BluenoseAl » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:25 pm

For some time, I have been attempting to gain a better of understanding of the similarities and differences between Mennonite theology and that of a number of major Protestant denominations. In some cases, as a layman without theological training, I'm not able to identify a whole lot of differences aside from believers' baptism, non-resistance, and separation from "the world."

In particular, one of my more prominent ancestors left the Mennonites to become a Methodist minister, so I'm particularly interested in the differences between Mennonite and Wesleyan Methodist theology.

While Wikipedia is not an authoritative source, it provides a good basis for discussion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesleyanism#Wesleyan_Distinctives

Based on this article, are any of the "Wesleyan Distinctives" incompatible with Mennonite theology? What other major differences should I be aware of?

-Al
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Mr Jim » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:41 pm

I understand they view baptism and communion as sacraments instead of ordinances, and IIRC they can baptize infants..
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby BluenoseAl » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:59 pm

Methodists most certainly do baptize infants. As for the rest of the "Wesleyan Distinctives" mentioned on the Wikipedia page, I'm not seeing a whole lot of differences from Mennonite beliefs.

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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Mr Jim » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:23 pm

BluenoseAl wrote:Methodists most certainly do baptize infants. As for the rest of the "Wesleyan Distinctives" mentioned on the Wikipedia page, I'm not seeing a whole lot of differences from Mennonite beliefs.

-Al


Sacrament vs Ordinance would be an issue I suppose...

I really like the Weslyan Quadrilateral..

I've looked into Weslyan denominations (Weslyan, Nazarene, etc) though it seems they are generally open to women as pastors so that usually is a breaker for me...and don't even bring up UM :roll:
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby ohio jones » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:34 pm

Wesleyan teaching on the second work of grace and entire sanctification would be a bit different than the typical Mennonite view.
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby BluenoseAl » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:46 pm

Thank you to those who have responded so far. I'm a little surprised this thread hasn't gotten more bites -- perhaps some who might otherwise post are on vacation?

Based on the responses so far, it would seem that classical Wesleyan Methodist theology is somewhat closer to Mennonite theology than I previously understood. Perhaps that may partially explain why the ancestor of whom I spoke found his calling as a Methodist minister. (At that time, it was actually called the "Methodist Episcopal" church; "United Methodist" came much later).

With the exception of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, as cited by others, it would seem that the beliefs of the Primitive Methodist Church in particular are similar to CM beliefs in many ways:
http://www.primitivemethodistchurch.org/creed.html

-Al
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Mr Jim » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:29 pm

BluenoseAl wrote:Thank you to those who have responded so far. I'm a little surprised this thread hasn't gotten more bites -- perhaps some who might otherwise post are on vacation?

Based on the responses so far, it would seem that classical Wesleyan Methodist theology is somewhat closer to Mennonite theology than I previously understood. Perhaps that may partially explain why the ancestor of whom I spoke found his calling as a Methodist minister. (At that time, it was actually called the "Methodist Episcopal" church; "United Methodist" came much later).

With the exception of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, as cited by others, it would seem that the beliefs of the Primitive Methodist Church in particular are similar to CM beliefs in many ways:
http://www.primitivemethodistchurch.org/creed.html

-Al


LIke Primitive Baptist there's not exactly one on every street corner....
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby barnhart » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:55 pm

Interesting link to primitive Methodists. This spring our fellowship rented their camp facilities for a church camp. I meant to look up their beliefs a little further but forgot about it.
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Wayne in Maine » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:18 am

On the most fundamental level Wesleyan and Mennonite theologies are strikingly different. Wesleyan ideas are rooted in the Anglican tradition, which carries with it a very different relationship to society than Anabaptist kingdom-separation. Like the German pietists in relationship to the Lutheran church, the early Wesleyans considered themselves a sort of enlightened elite in the Angllican arger, church.

In many practical ways there are similarities between Wesleyans and Mennonites, and given how much modern revivalism owes to the Wesleyan tradition, and the influence of Revivalism on modern Mennonites, one should expect a lot of wesleyan ideas have been assimilated into Mennonite spirituality.
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Dan Z » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:27 am

Wayne in Maine wrote:In many practical ways there are similarities between Wesleyans and Mennonites, and given how much modern revivalism owes to the Wesleyan tradition, and the influence of Revivalism on modern Mennonites, one should expect a lot of wesleyan ideas have been assimilated into Mennonite spirituality.


I think this is right Wayne. Foundationally the two streams are quite different...but practically, Mennonitism bears the unmistakable marks of the Wesleyan/Methodist revivalism, especially from the third great awakening near the turn of the 20th century. If one wants proof, look at the theology, date and source of most of the hymns we sing.
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Bootstrap » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:38 am

Mr Jim wrote:Sacrament vs Ordinance would be an issue I suppose...


I'm not sure. Here's Wesley's classic sermon on the topic:

http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-sermons-of-john-wesley-1872-edition/sermon-16-the-means-of-grace/

First, always to retain a lively sense, that God is above all means. Have a care, therefore, of limiting the Almighty. He doeth whatsoever and whensoever it pleaseth him. He can convey his grace, either in or out of any of the means which he hath appointed. Perhaps he will. "Who hath known the mind of the Lord or who hath been his counsellor" Look then every moment for his appearing! Be it at the hour you are employed in his ordinances; or before, or after that hour; or when you are hindered therefrom: He is not hindered. He is always ready, always able, always willing to save. "It is the Lord: Let him do what seemeth him good!"

Secondly. Before you use any means, let it be deeply impressed on your soul; -- there is no power in this. It is, in itself, a poor, dead, empty thing: Separate from God, it is a dry leaf, a shadow. Neither is there any merit in my using this; nothing intrinsically pleasing to God; nothing whereby I deserve any favour at his hands, no, not a drop of water to cool my tongue. But, because God bids, therefore I do; because he directs me to wait in this way, therefore here I wait for his free mercy, whereof cometh my salvation.

Settle this in your heart, that the opus operatum, the mere work done, profiteth nothing; that there is no power to save, but in the Spirit of God, no merit, but in the blood of Christ; that, consequently, even what God ordains, conveys no grace to the soul, if you trust not in Him alone. On the other hand, he that does truly trust in Him, cannot fall short of the grace of God, even though he were cut off from every outward ordinance, though he were shut up in the centre of the earth.

Thirdly. In using all means, seek God alone. In and through every outward thing, look singly to the power of his Spirit; and the merits of his Son. Beware you do not stick in the work itself; if you do, it is all lost labour. Nothing short of God can satisfy your soul. Therefore, eye him in all, through all, and above all.

Remember also, to use all means, as means; as ordained, not for their own sake, but in order to the renewal of your soul in righteousness and true holiness. If, therefore, they actually tend to this, well; but if not, they are dung and dross.

Lastly. After you have used any of these, take care how you value yourself thereon: How you congratulate yourself as having done some great thing. This is turning all into poison. Think, "If God was not there, what does this avail Have I not been adding sin to sin How long O Lord! save, or I perish! O lay not this sin to my charge!" If God was there, if his love flowed into your heart, you have forgot, as it were, the outward work. You see, you know, you feel, God is all in all. Be abased. Sink down before him. Give him all the praise. "Let God in all things be glorified through Christ Jesus". Let all your bones cry out," My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord: With my mouth will I ever be telling of thy truth, from one generation to another!"


Are there Mennonites who would find fault with that?

Mr Jim wrote:I really like the Weslyan Quadrilateral..


Me too.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.

http://mennodiscuss.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8352&p=234867#p233710
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby BluenoseAl » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:39 pm

Wayne, Dan,

Your point of view is more along the lines of what I was expecting to hear. I'm still trying to understand the details of the differences, even though there are many similarities as well. What I do find interesting, however, is that Methodists who wish to pursue Divinity studies are welcome to do so at AMBS, while they complete the Methodist-specific aspects of their training at other institutions.

I'm not seriously considering ministry as a new career at this point, although I am feeling a certain impetus from the Spirit in this direction. But, if I were to pursue Divinity studies, I'm pretty sure I would prefer to do so at an institution that could guide my training from an Anabaptist perspective. Otherwise, I'd have to rely heavily on others outside the institution to confirm aspects in which the Anabaptist point of view differs from that of evangelical Protestant denominations.

I wish I'd had the opportunity to chat about all this with my great-great grandfather, the Rev. Dr. Moses S. Godshall. I'm sure it would have been a very interesting conversation.

-Al
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Bootstrap » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:45 pm

BluenoseAl wrote:What I do find interesting, however, is that Methodists who wish to pursue Divinity studies are welcome to do so at AMBS, while they complete the Methodist-specific aspects of their training at other institutions.


Richard Hayes, William Willimon, Stanley Hauerwas, and a bunch more Methodists also seem to fit rather comfortably into the Mennonite camp in many ways.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.

http://mennodiscuss.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8352&p=234867#p233710
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Wayne in Maine » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:34 pm

Bootstrap wrote:
BluenoseAl wrote:What I do find interesting, however, is that Methodists who wish to pursue Divinity studies are welcome to do so at AMBS, while they complete the Methodist-specific aspects of their training at other institutions.


Richard Hayes, William Willimon, Stanley Hauerwas, and a bunch more Methodists also seem to fit rather comfortably into the Mennonite camp in many ways.

As a Nazarene "Radical Evangelical" back in the 70's and 80's I fit into the Mennonite camp very well. But I didn't understand the Anabaptist roots that could actually sustain the beliefs and practices I observed. It was only many years later that I adopted that world view.
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Re: Mennonite vs. Wesleyan Methodist Theology

Postby Bill Rushby » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:17 pm

Some of my ancestors in Australia were Primitive Methodists. Have you heard of them?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_Methodism


From Wikipedia: "The Primitive Methodist movement exalted its poor congregations by glorifying plain dress and speech. They promoted it for two reasons. Firstly they thought plain dress was enjoined by the Gospel and secondly because it made them distinctive. In a time when Wesleyans sought assimilation and respectability, they wanted to stand out as a "peculiar people".[citation needed] The Primitive Methodist movement made a virtue out of their difference.
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