The Probationer’s Catechism, Part 3: Q&As on the Doctrines of Methodism

The following text is from the Third Lecture (“Doctrinal”) of the “Probationer’s Hand-book: Religious, Historical, Doctrinal, Disciplinary and Practical” by Rev. S. Olin Garrison, M.A. The handbook, also known as the Probationer’s Catechism, is a series of lectures in catechetical form, intended to prepare probationary members for full membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church. These outlines could be adapted for a church membership class.

[Note. This Lecture should be divided. The Probationer might commit the Articles of Religion and some Scripture proofs. At all events, get the leading doctrinal points fixed clearly in the mind.]

25. How many Articles of Religion are there in our book of Discipline?
Twenty-five. They are an abridgment by Mr. Wesley of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. (See Appendix A. The number of the question will aid the memory.)

26. What is the substance of the first five articles, and can you give any scriptural proofs?

27. What is the substance of the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth articles, and proofs?

28. What is the substance of the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth articles, and proofs?

29. What is the substance of the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth articles, and proofs?

30. What is the substance of the twenty-first, twenty-second, twenty-third, twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth articles, and proofs?

31. Upon what doctrines does Methodism lay special stress?
Universal Redemption, the Free Agency of Man, Regeneration or the New Birth, Adoption, the Witness of the Spirit, and Entire Sanctification or Perfect Love.

32. What is Regeneration, and what its relation to the human family?
Regeneration is that act of God’s free grace whereby the soul is brought into spiritual light, and is renewed by the Holy Spirit. John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17. The Church teaches that all men are perfectly free to reject or accept this salvation. Acts 17:30; Rom. 8:32; John 2:16; 1 John 2:2. (See Wesley’s Sermons, vol. i, p. 399.)

33. What is Adoption?
All who become new creatures in Christ Jesus are accepted as children of God, received into his spiritual family, and given all the privileges of sonship. Rom. 8:14, 15; 3:26; 1 John 3:1, 2. (See Wesley’s Sermons, vol. i, p. 75.)

34. What is the Witness of the Spirit?
It is a direct impression made by the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer, assuring him that he is a child of God. No one has this Witness whose life does not conform to the teaching of God’s word. Rom. 8:16; 1 John 5:10. (See Wesley’s Sermons, vol. i, pp. 85-108.)

35. What is Entire Sanctification, or Perfect Love?
It is that act of divine grace, usually wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit subsequent to Regeneration, whereby the believer is enabled to love God with all his mind, soul, and strength, and his neighbor as himself. 1 Thess. 5:23; Eph. 1:4; 1 John 1:7, 9; Matt. 5:48.

36. Is Sanctification instantaneous or gradual?
It may be either. But while we may be made perfect in love in this life, we should grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (See Wesley’s “Plain Account of Christian Perfection.”)