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The Methodists

Methodism is second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. The United Methodist Church forms the largest Methodist organization, but there are over a dozen others. While modern Methodism has officially abandoned many of its more conservative views, and has become quite active in community and social causes, American Methodism has traditionally been associated with very strict standards of personal living regarding gambling, sex, alcohol, and other supposed vices. Over the course of American history, Methodism has associated itself with reform activities involving abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, abolition of child labor, and the temperance movement.

Methodists believe in a “triune” single God manifested in the three persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They believe that both Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the inspired word of God and that salvation is available through Jesus Christ. The church has a flexible standard regarding baptism, by sprinkling of water on the head or by full immersion of either infants or adults.

Methodism is a socially active religion, spelled out in its own “Social Creed,” with a great number of colleges, missions and hospitals to its credit. Its roots were in eighteenth century England with the teachings of John Wesley, and hence many Methodist institutions include the name “Wesleyan.”

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