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Where does the “Rapture” fit into United Methodist beliefs?

 

Methodism has a lot of diverse viewpoints among its churches and members, and so I have no doubts that many pastors and churches are tuning in to this speculative phenomenon. However, it is not central to our approach to discipleship and our theological framework.

Wesley and his spiritual children are not into the future in the kind of rapture/left behind approach. He and we are into the present--living in love toward God and neighbor. Our doctrine focuses on the order of salvation--prevenient grace, justifying grace, sanctifying grace and the assurance of salvation that God gives in trust.

See our Our Doctrinal Standards and General Rules in the Book of Discipline. Go online and read the sermons of John Wesley. Read especially Wesley's sermon on the Great Assize. This will get you as close as Wesley gets to this type of thinking. But notice that almost all of his sermons have to do with how we live our lives now and how we accept the gift of salvation and live accountably for the grace we have received.

Rev. Dan Benedict
Center for Worship Resourcing
General Board of Discipleship