There are many Protestant denominations in the United States, and people can often get confused about the differences between them. This blog post will explore the differences between Methodists and Presbyterians. Both denominations are Protestant, but they have some key theological distinctions that set them apart from each other.
What is Methodist?
Methodism is a branch of Christianity that was founded in the 18th century by John Wesley. Methodist beliefs emphasize personal piety and social justice, and the Methodist church has a strong commitment to social reform. Methodist churches are organized into circuits, which are groups of churches that share a common minister. Methodist worship services typically include hymns, prayers, and a sermon. The Methodist church also practices baptism and communion. Methodist churches are found throughout the world, and the Methodist movement has had a significant impact on other Protestant denominations.
What is Presbyterian?
Presbyterianism is a Christian denomination characterized by a connectional polity and Presbyterian polity, ordaining women and LGBT people to ministry. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and the necessity of grace through faith in Christ.
- Presbyterian church government was ensured in Scotland by the Acts of Union in 1707 which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. In fact, Presbyterianism is not only the largest Reformed denomination in the world but also has ecumenical ties with several other Reformed denominations as well as mainstream Protestantism, resulting in worldwide membership of over 80 million people.
- Interestingly, Presbyterianism originated in Scotland during the 16th century Reformation. At that time, the Church of Scotland had broken away from the papacy but had not yet developed a Presbyterian polity.
- Presbyterianism later spread to England, Ireland, North America, Europe, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and parts of Central America and South America.
Today, Presbyterian churches can be found on every continent. For example, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), located mainly in the United States with additional congregations elsewhere, is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the world while The Presbyterian Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Presbyterian denomination. As you can see then, Presbyterianism is a widely-spread Christian denomination that has its roots in Scotland’s 16th-century Reformation movement.
Difference between Methodist and Presbyterian
Methodist and Presbyterian churches are both Christian denominations that have a long history. Methodist churches began in the 18th century, while Presbyterian churches originated in the 16th century. Both Methodist and Presbyterian churches follow the teachings of John Calvin.
- Methodist churches place an emphasis on social justice, while Presbyterian churches focus on personal spiritual growth. Methodist churches also tend to be more open and inclusive than Presbyterian churches.
- Methodist churches ordain women and LGBTQ+ individuals as clergy, while most Presbyterian churches do not. Despite these differences, Methodist and Presbyterian churches share many similarities.
- Both denominations believe in the Bible as the authoritative source of Christian teachings, and both denominations offer sacraments such as baptism and communion. Ultimately, Methodist and Presbyterian churches are both expressions of the Christian faith.
Presbyterians and Methodists have different beliefs about salvation. Presbyterians believe that people are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Methodists believe that people are saved by grace through faith and good works.