#1 Can Methodists Drink?
The Methodist Church would not outwardly support drinking, as it is seen to create “a mocker, strong drink a brawler,’ and ‘whoever is led astray by it is not wise,” (Proverbs 20:1). Temperance was largely supported by Methodists as a doctrine of keeping the body’s sanctification and purity.
Using a multitude of scriptures such as this that support God does not tolerate drunkenness, Methodists today allow individuals to decide for themselves if they want to partake or abstain in the consumption of alcohol. Nevertheless, they do not support public intoxication or drinking to the point of being disconnected from one’s ability to worship God and serve others.
On the official website of the Methodist Church, UMC.org, they write:
We do not prohibit our members from doing so responsibly “with deliberate and intentional restraint.”
However, The United Methodist Church has long believed that abstinence from alcohol and other drugs witnesses to “God’s liberating and redeeming love” and is part of living into the life God has prepared for us.”
The Methodist denomination even goes as far as to offer treatment options and strategies to avoid falling under the temptation of alcohol.
It is not seen as a positive influence, but rather, as a force to be wary of.
- “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
- Methodists Communion Cups – Published by United Methodist Videos on September 22nd, 2016.
#2 Can Methodists Dance?
Certain fundamentalist, traditionalist, and conservative Methodist denominations may find dancing to be either inherently sinful or a vessel for sinful activities. This is considered an extremist perspective, and most Christians follow a more liberal-minded interpretation of biblical Scripture.
However, the modern-day United Methodist Church is considerably more progressive, even posting to their website on September 01st, 2020, Dancing, Melodies, Poetry, and Pastels.
Often referring to the dance as either:
- Beautiful and joyful
- Creating an intrinsic after-effect of temptation –
The bible offers both positive and negative interpretations of dance.
Positive Scripture about dance:
· “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with
tambourine and lyre!” – Psalm 149:3.
· “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you
have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” – Psalm
Negative Scripture about dance:
- Idolatry and the burning of a Golden calf – “and they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” – Exodus 32:6.
- Using dance for seduction and temptation – “But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod”. – Matthew 14:6.
- “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
BibleStudy.org explores the question, ‘is dancing a sin?’
“Sexually suggestive dancing (performed by a person to “entertain” others, by people who are dating, etc.) is not appropriate.
Such behavior can tempt others to commit further sin beyond any lust they create in their hearts.
That said, Scripture permits a person, either by themselves or with others to dance so long as their motive is not to entice others to disobey God.”
- Square Dancing at Central United Methodist Church – Fox 47 News – Published March 29th, 2017.
#3 Can Free Methodists Drink Alcohol?
Free Methodists do not support the consumption, possession, or production of alcohol. Writing on their official FMCUSA.org website that the goal of their Church is to:
“Bring wholeness to the world through healthy biblical communities of holy people multiplying disciples, leaders, group, and churches.”
Believing that Christians must treat their body as a sacred entity that has been gifted from God, Free Methodists believe in advocating for the safest and purest possible ‘temple,’ to “honor God with your body” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
In the Consitution of the Free Methodist Church, church leaders directly address alcohol:
“Because Christ admonishes us to love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves, we advocate abstaining from the use of alcoholic beverages (Mark 12:30-31).
The abuse of alcohol, a legalized drug, is damaging to individuals, families, and society. It is unpredictably addictive and its destructive effects cannot be fully measured. Its abuse leaves a trail of broken marriages, family violence, crime, industrial loss, ill health, injury and death.
As concerned Christians, we advocate abstinence for the sake of health, family, and neighbors. Moreover, we see the adverse social consequences as so pervasive that we seek by advocating abstinence to make a united social witness to the freedom Christ gives.”
UMNNews.org wrote in 2018 ‘Poll shows church’s shifting views of Alcohol,’ however, this is the United Methodist Church, not the Free Methodist denomination.
- “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.” –1 Timothy 3:8
- “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8.
- Free Methodist Church – Northeastern Seminary – Published August 14th, 2018.
#4 Can Methodists Eat Meat on Fridays?
Fasting Friday, often practiced as a Friday tradition of abstaining from animal meat (excluding fish). The tradition of fasting is seen as a very spiritual commitment, even if only done for one day per week. The intention behind this practice is to deprive the body in honor of their lord, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed his life in the name of mankind’s sin.
Fasting Friday is common in the denominations of:
- Eastern Orthodox
The reason behind choosing Friday is that it is thought to be the day that Jesus died.
UMC.org describes of the Methodist principles behind fasting:
“There is a strong biblical base for fasting, particularly during the 40 days of Lent leading to the celebration of Easter. Jesus, as part of his spiritual preparation, went into the wilderness and fasted 40 days and 40 nights, according to the Gospels.
Fasting has been a part of Methodism from its early beginnings. John Wesley considered fasting an important part of a Christian’s life and he fasted weekly. To Wesley, fasting was an important way to express sorrow for sin and penitence for overindulgence in eating and drinking. He believed it allowed more time for prayer and was more meaningful if combined with giving to the poor. Wesley did advise caution against extreme fasting and against fasting for those in fragile health.”
They highlight that fasting does not solely entail abstaining from food, but can be abstinence from a particular source of nutrition, such as abstaining from meat.
Even stating that “fasting one day a month is good for your health,” the UMC.org page Unplugging, Fasting, and Ancient Practices expands upon the days leading up to Easter by adding, “
“Fasting is good for you as an individual, good for the world, and acts as a reminder of the suffering of Jesus and of others in the world.
- “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:16-18
- Fasting as a Discipline – Lenten Message from Reverand – DakotaUMC.org – Published March 28th, 2014.
#5 Can Methodists Gamble?
Gambling is directly referenced in the Methodist text, The Social Principles:
“Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, and destructive of good government. As an act of faith and concern, Christians should abstain from gambling and should strive to minister to those victimized by the practice.
Where gambling has become addictive, the Church will encourage such individuals to receive therapeutic assistance so that the individual’s energies may be redirected into positive and constructive ends.
The Church should promote standards and personal lifestyles that would make unnecessary and undesirable the resort to commercial gambling—including public lotteries—as a recreation, as an escape, or as a means of producing public revenue or funds for support of charities or government.”
Dating back to the early days of Evangelical Methodism, Founder John Wesley would deliver a sermon titled ‘The Use of Money,’ in which he would preach phrases about:
- Gambling could harm your neighbor
- Gambling could be a violation of Christ’s great commandment to not take from others
- Casinos are an environment ridden with temptation, places ‘that entice men and women to many kinds of sins’
Wesley attempted very passionately to instill a message of good Christians avoiding establishments such as casinos. Within the larger Christian religion, any encouragement of desiring money can be seen as dangerous.
Even 1 Timothy 6:10 states:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
When risking the importance of spiritual objectives (such as being closer to God), one is advised to set aside earthly belongings, superficial man-made items, and financial greed. God is taught to be the pinnacle of love, much more important than that of cash, games, gambling, or recreation.
A less-conservative Methodist would likely have no qualms with recreational gambling, if done in good sport and willingness of each party that does not result in ‘harming thy neighbor.’
- “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10.
- 1st United Methodist Church – GAMBLING – April 9th, 2020.
#6 Can Methodists Be Cremated?
Genesis 3:19 says, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
The United Methodist Church writes on its official website about the practice of cremation and ‘returning to dust:’
“The Bible does not speak about the issue of cremation vs. burial, but usually assumes that bodies will be buried. In the cultures that produced the Hebrew Bible, if a body was burned it often would have been a sign of disrespect for the person or a punishment for sin (Genesis 38:24; Leviticus 20:14; 21:9; Joshua 7:25). However, it appears cremation may have occurred with no intent to dishonor the dead after a plague or large massacre (Amos 6:9-10).
Whatever their belief about soul and body, conclude that since cremation only does rapidly what nature will do also more slowly, cremation is acceptable.”
Encouraging members on UMC.org to Go Green for Funerals– some members of the Methodist church choose to have their:
“Cremated remains are buried in a biodegradable urn in the drip line of a tree. The practice is more earth-friendly than traditional burial explains EcoEternity president Jack Lowe.”
As becoming a tree afterlife is directly on their official website, one could argue Methodists are open to a very liberal, modern, and flexible acceptance about how its followers choose to be laid to rest.
- “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” – 1 Corinthians 15:42.
- What Does the Bible Say About Cremation? – CremationResource.org; published August 13th, 2012.
#7 Can Methodists Remarry?
With a moderately liberal perspective to Christianity, Methodists are a Protestant religion that airs on the evangelical side of subjects like divorce, same-sex marriage, and female priests. Due to this, there is room for forgiveness and growth past a divorce, with remarriage being acceptable within the Methodist denomination.
The United Methodist Church writes in an official statement:
“Where marriage partners, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, are estranged beyond reconciliation, we recognize divorce as regrettable but recognize the right of divorced persons to remarry.”
Not supporting divorce without just-cause, the Methodist Church advocates for its married disciples to work on their marriage, attempt to make it a lasting union for life, and do everything they can before agreeing todivorce.
As True Discipleship describes of Methodist divorces and remarriages:
“The bottom line is that there must be tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Methodist couples sitting in the pews who have entered and remain in adulterous marriages and relationships.”
- “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:32
- “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 7:39.
- UMC.org – Divorce – November 8th, 2017.
#8 Can Methodists Take Catholic Communion?
Just as a Catholic cannot receive communion outside of a Catholic Church, the same is true that a Methodist cannot receive communion outside of a Methodist Church.
Certainly not welcome to take the Catholic communion, a Methodist would not likely be found in a Catholic church for the sacrament of communion. The only exception to this you may hear is an Orthodox Church with Canon Law outlining ‘extenuating circumstances.’
There are many differences between these two denominations, but they are both connected by Protestant Christian roots. One of the numerous variations between these groups is that Methodists have two sacraments while Catholics have seven:
- Holy Orders
- Anointing of the Sick
It is believed that a person is tied to their unity of faith through the statement of communion. You would not want to conflate that sanctity with another denomination’s theology, therefore, most keep each communion ceremony separate.
- “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” – Matthew 26:26-28.
- Methodist Beliefs – Communion – First United Methodist Church – Published August 3rd, 2017.
#9 Can Methodists Get Married Outside?
With most Methodist followers wanting to get married in the holy Church of Methodism, indoor weddings are most common, but outdoors weddings are not against any formal regulation.
With no official statement pertaining to the ‘indoor’ or ‘outdoor’ nature of a wedding’s environment, the Methodist Church has not specifically said whether or not Methodists can get married outside.
Left up to the discretion of that couple, t is solely promoted that a wedding in the Church is the most traditional version of this holy standard for bonding union, not necessarily a better version.
Weddings do tend to be quite formal affairs, so an outdoor wedding may not suit the style and taste of most Methodist couples that commonly feel connected to the sanctity of the Church for their special day.
A Methodist bride describes her outdoor wedding, proving that Methodist members do indeed get married outside, but even she questions her ability to get a pastor for an outdoor ceremony, “Is this an issue?”
The official Church would ultimately leave this up to each couple, but also encourage couples to get married in the Church, before God, in His holy house.
To get married within the Methodist church, you must pass the screenings of:
- Clergy – getting on the same page as the officiant
- Music – must be played by the Church’s organist or be approved by the Church
- Premarital Counseling – meeting with a minister at least once a week before the wedding
- Membership – within that Church as an active member. A non-member may pay a higher fee
- Ceremony Limitations – some examples may be no flash photography, candles, etc.
- “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,” – Ephesians 5:25-33.
- Requirements For Getting Married in a Methodist Church – Published September 28th, 2017.
#10 Can Methodists Eat Pork?
Although there is no public statement on UMC.org regarding the consumption of pork, it can be hypothesized that yes, Methodists are free to eat pork unless they are fasting during Good Friday, meatless Friday, or length.
This hypothesis comes directly from the First Methodist Church of Albany, who wrote to their followers through social media:
“Do you eat pork? Then we have your ticket for our Media Connection Barbecue.”
Jesus was written about as avoiding pork, and other unclean animals that the bible discourages in some form or another. However, most people enjoy the moderate consumption of pork in present-day society.
Paul advocated for one to avoid pork in the bible, so some Methodists or Christians that translate the bible very literally may avoid pork for this reason alone. However, this is not the case for the general population of Methodists, who enjoy meat about as commonly as any American.
If one does abstain from eating pork, they may also be referencing Leviticus 11:7-8:
“And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”
Nonetheless, most Methodists do not have any large complaint against pork except that they advocate for a ‘painless slaughtering of all meat animals, fish, and fowl.’
- “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. …” – Leviticus 11:1-47.
- UMC.org – Food Mission – Published July 3rd, 2014. Script snippet: “a few dozen sausages on the stove… that’s how Dana Pearis thinks about her pork chops too.’
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