Methodists/After Death, What then?


What is the Methodists belief of what happens after we die?

For when a Christian dies, do they move on with full conscience?  I've heard some say we lay in the ground until Jesus 2nd coming.  Others say we go to another area but are conscience...

As far as I am aware there is no single Methodist believe on "what happens after we die."  However, most United Methodists would probably say that when we die we go to heaven.  I know of few, if any, who would believe in any concept like "soul sleep."  Most would affirm that the "general resurrection of the dead" is not just something that the dead in Christ just wait around for -- asleep -- but, rather, that it is an idea, concept, or theological affirmation which reflects the true reality of our continued existence as distinct individuals beyond our death.  Specificity as to how this is the case is probably not a part of most Methodists thinking.

Personally, I don't believe in the idea of time.  I believe, rather, that when one dies one is immediately freed from the limitations of time and space and is, instantly, alive in their "new, resurrected bodies" at the "end" of time.  And, at the same moment, I believe that when we die we are at once in heaven with God.  As contradictory as these two ideas are, they are part of my personal understanding of life after death as being beyond our human comprehension but still absolutely true.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Rev. Gregory S. Neal


I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.


I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

I have my own website:   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at and in bookstores.

I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]