I was recently at a Methodist church in town (not for worship, but rather for coffee at their poshly-decorated coffee nook/gift shop), and while there I took a look at some of their documents and doctrine, and more or less confirmed what I already knew about Methodism, and affirmed why I am NOT a Methodist. It has less to do with their ordination of women (which, of course I have some I Tim. 2 issues with) or their Armenian traditions (which I have some Romans 8 issues with) but more over the Weslean tradition and Wesley's 25 articles. Per this one:
Article XVII—Of Baptism
Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church.
I've yet to see from Scripture where baptism of children or infants is illustrated or instructed. From the churches site, "Those that are baptized as children must make the choice to confirm their belief in Christ to continue as members of the church." To continue as members? I do not understand the strange idea of a half-sacrament. Scripture seems to give a solid example of baptism of professing adults, not children. How can baptism be done with the idea that a confirmation needs to follow separately?
The other article that caught my attention was sixteen, on the "sacraments":
Article XVI—Of the Sacraments
Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace, and God’s good will toward us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in him.
I've come to question recently the usage of the word "sacrament", since, by definition, it's held to be a means of divine grace, and when individuals partake of the Lord's Supper, or baptism, they may, or may not, be partaking in these ordinances with the right heart attitude (a non-believer could ask to be baptized - likewise a non-believer could take the elements of the Supper). So in these situations, is grace ALWAYS understood to be imparted? I can think of individuals who have walked from the faith but yet were baptized as infants. Was grace still imparted in that infant baptism? I would argue not - not just because I do not recognize infant baptism as a valid administation of the baptism ordinance, but because the implication becomes that grace was poured out and essentially WASTED. I don't think that's right, and this also seems to clash with the reformed doctrine of limited atonement.
Another thought: per MW, the English word sacrament is from the Latin sacramentum, which means to make holy, or to consecrate. Yet are the elements made holy? Or is the meal, as an ordinance, one of remembrance? It feels a little like treading into glorifying the meal and the components of the meal, more than the message of the meal, and understanding, per I Cor. 11, the propriety of worship and the proper observation of the meal and preparation of the heart. This reminds me of another fault with this particular UM church, as on it's site, regarding the Lord's Supper, the warning was merely, "God offers this relationship to everyone, so all who desire to receive are welcome to participate." All who desire to receive, regardless of genuine faith and repentance? I was at a UM church long ago, and I recall how, as the elements were about to be distributed, the pastor gave the feeble warning of, "Only partake of these elements if you are a Christian, or thinking of becoming one..." I'm sure that was right out of I Cor. 11.
There are other things, but those are some of the principle reasons I'm not a Methodist. Another note from the site was about "If You Have Children", followed by instructions on where to put them for church (because, why would you want them with you during the worship service? That's just silly to worship together as a family.)