What exactly is a Free Methodist?

This is an excellent question. We are not to be confused with the United Methodist. The Free Methodist would have a more conservative theology that elevates the scriptures as the source of truth in this life. In fact, the Free Methodist is a part of the Holiness Movement of the 19th Century much like the Wesleyan, Nazarene, and Church of God Anderson. The name free comes from the stance the Free Methodist took against the United Methodist because they charged for pews. The Free Methodist position is that all are equal in the eyes of the Lord. According to scripture, God is impartial and all creatures were created by God. The determining factor of a relationship with God is our "free will" choice. The beauty of this relationship is that it is not coerced, but God allows us to choose Him despite the evil that permeates our hearts because of the fall of Adam. When the United Methodist decided to change its position, allowing free pews for all, the Free Methodist felt the United Methodist had shifted their focus from the primacy of scripture. Though the United Methodist has good theological positions, some of their more recent social stances have caused it to stray from its roots. It seems over the years the United Methodist church has become more socially comfortable rather than standing firm with the convictions of its own theology. Granted that depending on the area, some United Methodist churches have strong determined leadership that seeks to correct the distance from its original underpinnings. However, much of the focus of the conference and leadership in the United Methodist church has become politicized and agenda based, rather than focused on the scriptures.

Three core question to consider when understanding the Free Methodist Church, what is the definition of Sin, Holiness, and free will.

We consider it a strong contradiction to say that the believer has a free will choice to believe and then no free will choice after they have prayed a confession of belief. Therefore, we believe that the Christian experience is a journey of valleys and mountains. There is a point, when sin no longer holds a Christian in bondage, but it is later in the Christian maturity. Whereas, some might say they were never saved, we would say they did experience the Spirit but have fallen and need to repent and get right with God. We would further state that if a believer continues in sin/rebellion against the Spirit, eventually the Spirit will no longer convict the soul and the believer is left to their own passions and desires further separating them from God. The Free Methodist position is that you always maintain Free Will and must daily surrender your own desires submitting to the will of the Holy Spirit.

Some beliefs hold a dispensational belief and say that the age of the Holy Spirit has passed. We believe the Holy Spirit is an active presence for today. Thus the Spirit still works miracles and still provides gifts to the believer. These gifts did not end at Pentecost, However, there is only one gift that should be elevated above all others and that is "Love." There are many gifts that reveal that a believer has the Holy Spirit. These gifts are diversified and each believer has one and the gifts are to edify the body of believers not the individual.

Some belief systems state that believing in Christ seals the believer in a way that permits them to continue in the fleshly desires without affecting their relationship with Christ. This is a gnostic belief from the 1st Century church called antinomianism that Paul strongly warned against. Paul says that if we continue in sin we put our Lord and Savior to open shame. (Hebrews 6:6) The scripture that is often qouted is "no one can snatch them from the Savior's hand." (John 10:28) The context of this passage is plural and a group, not a singular individual. Also, it leaves open still the possibility for the person on their own free will to jump from the Savior's hand which allows for consistency with the scripture in Hebrews 6:6.

Some beliefs have a heretical belief called oneness theology. This group is the United Pentecostal church. The normal Pentecostal church is a fine group of brothers and sisters, but the UPC as it is called destroys the doctrine of the Trinity in its Theology and is dangerous. Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit have always been understood by the church as One God, Three Persons. Modalism, also called Sabellianism, is the unorthodox belief that God is one person who has revealed himself in three forms or modes in contrast to the Trinitarian doctrine where God is one being eternally existing in three persons. The UPC has unfortunately adopted Modalism to Christ. Understanding Christ to appear in three forms. In this Theology then, there is no God the Father or Holy Spirit only Jesus. Therefore, the Trinitarian baptism is not accepted by the UPC. However, the Pentecostal church (without the United in the name) has traditional held the Trinitarian doctrine and keeps to the traditional church position. ie. Assemblies of God. The difference then with the Pentecostal church and the Free Methodist is the emphasis on one particular Spiritual gift. In fact, the Pentecostal church has continued to say if the believer does not speak in tongues then they are not saved. Further, even though a person is practicing sin outside the church, they believe if they are speaking in tongues then they have the Spirit. The Free Methodist believes this is contrary to the scriptures. Specifically, the only Spiritual gift that should be elevated is "Love" and speaking tongues is only for the edification of the body not for the individual. The Free Methodist position would say that tongues are just one of the many gifts that can manifest from the Holy Spirit. They would say that this particular gift of tongues is controllable according to scripture and not the only identifier of the Spirit. Further, we would take the stance that if someone is continuing in sin then the Holy Spirit cannot reside in them. The Free Methodist Church believes that if tongues are meant to edify the body as the scriptures state, then tongues should not interfere with the order of worship.

Holiness is a very real possibility in this life. In fact, in the Greek, Christ commands Holiness. He says "Be Holy, for I am Holy!" Which is stated in the imparative. so the question to ask, Would Jesus give us a command that was impossible? Why would Paul state that if we continue in sin we put our lord to open shame? What would be the purpose of the Holy Spirit, if not to convict us of sin and guide us to a transformed life? The journey then for a Christian begins at justification-the belief in Christ as Savior and a full commitment to Him. There is a continual growth of the newly committed Christian but sin still nips at the heels of their progress. Once the believer has an experience which can only be described as assurance, when the Holy Spirit testifies to the believer they are a child of God. They move from a bondservant stage to the adoption stage. In this stage, the Christian feals like they are in a bubble for a while and then one day the bubble pops. It seems they have lost that feeling of comfort that fulfilled every desire of their heart. We call this a crisis experience. Every Christian has one, some or more dramatic than others. There are two options for the Christian at this point. By free-will they will either press into the relationship without the feeling of God's presence or they will fall into a backslidden state. I usually describe this as being similar to: a mother who has stepped across the room and called her child to walk toward her and the child must make a choice to either wallow in misery, or get up and walk toward the mother and feel the presence of comfort again. You see, God never left, He offers you a choice to press into a deeper relationship. After the crisis experience comes sanctification. This is what some call Christian Perfection. This is the state of the relationship when the believer is so commited that sin no longer has a hold on the believer. The believer is continually walking in the joy of the Lord despite their circumstances. You might think "what, no sin." That is correct "No Sin." Remember, Jesus command to the adulterous woman. He did not say "do not commit this sin anymore." He said,"Go and sin no more" in the imperative. Again, would Jesus give a command to this sinner that was impossible? Therefore, we believe in sanctification.

Now, I must explain Christian Perfection, it does not mean that the individual is completely perfected. That only comes when we get our new glorified bodies and in some beliefs it is called Glorification. But, what it means is we are perfected in "Love," the greatest of all the gifts of the Spirit. We are able to discern and reject harmful actions, sin, of will that might separate us from God. However, we may still commit unintentional sins such as offending someone without realizing we have done such a thing. We might commit a sin of omission, where the Spirit prompted us to witness to someone and we ignored the prompting. These are examples of sins that still occur. However, the sins of our past when we were controlled by our fleshly desires are no longer present. If you are already a Christian, contemplate on how different you are today than when you first believed. It should reflect a radical difference. A few more steps and you are there-Sanctification.

When you come to church you will see people at different stages of their journey. But the point is that they are on the journey. We fellowship to encourage eachother to go on to perfection. Which is best defined as God must reign without rival. Let there be no thought or desire of the heart that does not have the love of God.

Our worship service is blended with a mix of Contemporary Praise and Hymns. We hope you will join us in fellowship. You can contact the pastor directly with any questions about our theology. May the Lord lead and guide you on your journey toward perfection-God's uncoerced intention for humanity which allows for a free-choice expression of love toward the Creator.