The Methodist church experienced internal division and many other American denominations in this period of the nineteenth century. Despite Wesley’s absolute distaste for slavery, the question of slavery became an important issue for Methodist churches in both the North and South.
Black ministers Mistreated and members in churches controlled by white Methodists were the cause of many African American Methodists to form their own churches. The African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816 followed five years later by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church are two.
Moving up to 1843 a small antislavery church was formed. A year later while the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, was held the antislavery church split into two separate Christian churches, the Methodist Episcopal church and the Methodist Episcopal church, South.
One of the denomination’s bishops who owned slaves brought up this issue in the general conference if he could serve in that capacity while he owned slaves. The offending bishop was suspended by the conference so delegates from the slave states founded their own church
More black Methodists formed their own denominations after the Civil War and in the later years of the nineteenth century, branches of American Methodism increased with growing membership and churches becoming wealthier.
As noted in the New Testament there should be no discrimination in the church, “all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28 (KJV):
- 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
The Methodist Protestant Church was formed In 1830 because of a refusal of the church to grant the laity representation or permit the election of ruling elders. In 1939 the differences were reunited with a merger. As the twentieth century came about Methodism was involved in promoting understanding and cooperation among Christian churches.
In 1908 The Federal Council of Churches another organization that came into being helping flood the already saturated collection of Christians oriented churches in the world, chose the Methodist Social ideology as its own declaration of social code.
At this time the Methodists pushed forward to reconcile the divisions within its own churches. Another merger occurs In 1939; the Methodist Episcopal church; the Methodist Episcopal church, South; and the Methodist Protestant church, combine, forming the Methodist Church, totaling almost eight million members.
An merger of two churches, the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical Association, formed the Evangelical United Brethren church in 1946. They had always shared similar beliefs. The Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren to form the United Methodist church in 1968 with around eleven million members.
The United Methodist church In 1974 had fallen to almost 10.2 million members, then by 1999 it had fallen to 8.4 million. Although losing three million members it still ranks as the third largest Christian denomination in the United States.
Its membership in Africa and Asia has expanded To a great extent. Over the last fifty years included are:
- African Methodist Episcopal church, 3.5 million members;
- the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church, 1.2 million members;
- the Christian Methodist Episcopal church, 800,000 members.
The United Methodist Church the largest one in the US has members up to 12 million in some 42,000 churches around the world. And as with the original one started in Baltimore in December 1784, only one church of that name now has split into many numbers of offshoots with modified names.
As mentioned the United Methodist Church participates in and is a member of the: World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches. These two church Councils are two more entities that have come about by the creation of man, with no New Testament coverage or reason for.
Part 1 and 2 shows how the Methodist church has changed down through the years, whereas the New Testament stands as it was put together back when it came about, no change. This is the problem in man created churches time brings about change.
These parts are written to show that change is not scriptural.