Bethel Methodist Church (denomination)
|Bethel Methodist Church|
|Separated from||Evangelical Methodist Church|
The Bethel Methodist Church separated from the Evangelical Methodist Church after a church trial called into question the theological stances of a handful of ministers.
The small denomination's Book of Discipline traces this theological dispute to the mid-1970s when "a widening tolerance of many different beliefs regarding the nature of God, man, angels, sin, salvation, sanctification and heaven" began to emerge.
After Rev. Arthur Slye Jr. was elected Mid-States District Superintendent in the 1980s, he "chose to preach some of his deepest-held truths to the District Conference at Irving." This raised many objections, which resulted in a "heresy trial" followed by repeated "attempts to clarify" by Slye and his supporters.
On August 16, 1988, five Evangelical Methodist Church ministers met in Hico, Texas to determine a course of action. Their three churches in Irving, Port Neches, Texas, and Robinson, Texas would pull away from their parent denomination and form an Interchurch Council. Articles of Incorporation for the Bethel Methodist Church were filed with the State of Texas on February 27, 1989. Slye, pastor of the Irving church, was elected the new denomination's first General Superintendent. The first services were held on Easter Sunday, March 24, 1989.
Emphases include the possibility of a Christian "backsliding" as well as man's free will to choose or reject God. The Bethel Methodists take these Arminian positions an uncommon step further by teaching God's free will. From its online catechism:
For God to tell a lie would violate His divine attribute of truth. He has the power to lie, but it would be immoral, against His standard of right and wrong. God can lie, but He will not lie. [...] He never has, is not now, nor ever will choose to [sic] go against His divine nature, not because He can’t, but because His divine character will not allow Him to make immoral decisions.
Church government is largely congregational, though bound by a denominational constitution and bylaws.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-11-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-11-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)