Decision theology

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Methodist preachers are known for promulgating the doctrines of the new birth and entire sanctification to the public at events such as tent revivals and camp meetings.[1]
People at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church praying at the mourners' bench and chancel rails, located in front of the altar (Pasadena).

Decision theology is the belief of some evangelical denominations of Christianity, such as the Baptist Churches and Methodist Churches, that individuals must make a conscious decision to "accept" and follow Christ (be "born again", also known as experiencing the "New Birth").[2]

In denominations of the Methodist tradition, after experiencing the New Birth (the first work of grace), ministers teach that believers should seek entire sanctification (the second work of grace).[3] While Methodists teach that these works of grace can be experienced anywhere, revival services in tents and camp meetings are often held to call individuals to experience the New Birth and entire sanctification; altar calls in which individuals approach the mourner's bench or chancel rails to seek these works of grace also take place in services of worship throughout the year.[4]

Lutherans and Reformed Christians reject the "decision theology", believing that faith receives the gift of salvation rather than causes salvation. These Christian denominations object to the "decision theology" as contradicting the monergism of orthodox historic Lutheranism and Reformed Christianity. Methodist theology, on the other hand, is synergistic and teaches that all individuals have free will to accept Jesus and be made holy.[5]

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  1. ^ Gibson, James. "Wesleyan Heritage Series: Entire Sanctification". South Georgia Confessing Association. Archived from the original on 29 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  2. ^ Fortson, Nina. "Salvation". Asbury United Methodist Church. Retrieved 10 March 2016. You have to personally make the decision to follow Jesus on your own. Once you have decided to follow Jesus, you must admit that you are a sinner and repent (turn away from) of your sins and invite Jesus to come into your life as your personal Savior. ...Know that this is an exciting new journey of a brand new life through Jesus Christ. Equip yourself with the Word of God, get into a believing bible-based church and surround yourself around other Christian believers.
  3. ^ Buschart, W. David (2009). Exploring Protestant Traditions: An Invitation to Theological Hospitality. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 9780830875146. In true Methodist fashion, holiness of life was most fully realized as the result of a second work of grace (entire sanctification), which is distinct from and subsequent to the first work of grace (regeneration). This second work of grace results in purity of heart and power for living the Christian life.
  4. ^ Synan, Vinson (1997). The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 9780802841032.
  5. ^ Bates, Christopher G. (2015). The Early Republic and Antebellum America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History. Routledge. p. 641. ISBN 9781317457404.

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