Todd Stepp

Author's details

Name: Todd Stepp
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Wesleyan/Anglican: Nazarene Publishing House in Financial Crisis — September 29, 2014
  2. Wesleyan/Anglican: +N.T. Wright on “Space, Time, and Sacraments” — September 29, 2014
  3. Wesleyan/Anglican: Christ Will Come Again — September 25, 2014
  5. Wesleyan/Anglican: The Wesley Teapot — August 21, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Wesleyan/Anglican: Pan-Methodist Full Communion — 1 comment
  2. Wesleyan/Anglican: Wesleyan-Anglican Society/Fellowship In Formation — 1 comment
  3. Wesleyan/Anglican: The United Methodist Church Maintains Its Statement on Sexuality — 1 comment
  4. Wesleyan/Anglican: Does Numerical Growth Equal Spiritual Growth? — 1 comment
  5. Wesleyan/Anglican: No "Archbishop" for the UMC, and No more Guaranteed Appointments — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Sep 29 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: Nazarene Publishing House in Financial Crisis

Original post at

Nazarene Communications Network has just published the following news release:

Board of General Superintendents declares Nazarene Publishing House in financial crisis       
Monday, September 29, 2014
Kansas City, Missouri
In light of the most recent report to the Board of General Superintendents (BGS) from the leadership of Nazarene Publishing House (NPH), the BGS unanimously moved to declare NPH in financial crisis. This action was taken in consultation with and support of the Executive Committee of the General Board.

Additionally, in further consultation with the BGS and the Executive Committee of the General Board, members of the NPH board of directors have resigned from their positions in order to create a small interim crisis management team to help navigate next steps. The BGS expresses appreciation for their service during this challenging time. The members of this crisis management team will be nominated by the BGS to serve as an interim board of directors of NPH.

Speaking on behalf of the Board of General Superintendents, David Graves, BGS chair, emphasized that "the long-term publishing goal is to have a sustainable Wesleyan-Holiness voice representing the Church of the Nazarene and its mission to make Christlike disciples in the nations."

Further announcements will be made as recommendations and plans are approved.

The church is asked to remember NPH and its employees in prayer.
--Board of General Superintendents

(The original post can be found here.)

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Sep 29 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: +N.T. Wright on “Space, Time, and Sacraments”

Original post at

Though this recording took place seven years ago . . . it's +N.T. Wright!  -  No, though this recording took place seven years ago, I just ran across it on Facebook and thought it very much worth sharing.

Bishop N.T. Wright N.T. Wright on "Space, Time, and Sacraments" at Calvin College on January 6, 2007.

(For the full video and audio of this presentation, please visit this website.)

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Sep 25 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: Christ Will Come Again

Original post at

             It has been interesting, in recent days, to see the number of, not just “family oriented” movies, but the overtly “Christian” movies being shown in movie theaters.  God’s Not Dead and Heaven’s For Realare the two big examples, thus far.  We have had biblical themed Hollywood movies, as well.  There was Noah, which, while having a much bigger budget and all of the Hollywood special effects, took such creative license that it just ruined the movie in terms of being true to the biblical story.  I am much more hopeful for the movie about Moses and the Exodus scheduled to be released in December.
            Nevertheless, these latter two are different from the former two.  The latter two seek to tell a biblical story, i.e., at least a story based upon a story in the Bible.  However, they are not being produced in order to propagate either a Jewish or Christian faith.  They are being produced . . . to make money . . . and, perhaps, to make an artistic contribution.  This is different from the other two that I have mentioned.
You see, the former two may hope to make money, as well, but they come from and seek to express a particular understanding of the Christian faith.  They seek to be a means of evangelism, or at least a Christian apology.  More specifically they seek to express the Christian faith as understood in popular evangelical circles.
On October 3 we will see the release of yet another movie that seeks to be “evangelical.”  It seeks to promote a particular understanding of a certain aspect of the Christian faith that is popular in many American evangelical circles.  -  The problem is it is wholly unbiblical.  It is based on a misunderstanding of Scripture which first made its appearance in the 1800’s (which means it was wholly absent in Christian teaching for 1800 years!).
New 2014 Movie

The movie in question is Left Behind.  It is actually a remake of a movie that starred Kirk Cameron some fourteen years ago.  It is based on Tim LaHay’s popular Left Behind novel series.  But, to be clear, while the books and the movie, themselves, are works of fiction, they represent a very real (though mistaken) theology.  This time around, the movie has a bigger budget and a little more star power in the form of Nicolas Cage, which makes it even more unfortunate.
Original 2007 Movie
So what’s the problem with Left Behind?  It is the whole concept of a “secret rapture” where people (Christians and children) all of a sudden simply disappear without a trace leaving planes hurling toward the ground and cars careening off of cliffs.  -  What is wrong with that?  Well, there is not one verse in Scripture that teaches that . . . nowhere . . . not one.
            Oh, there are two passages (two only) that are referenced to support this understanding.  The first is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 which says:

For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.

The second comes from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:36-44 which, in part, says:

. . . so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.  Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. . . .

          “Well, of course,” some might say, “there you have it in black and white” (or red, if you have a red letter edition).  But is that the case?  -  Take a closer look.  Neither passage says anything about people disappearingwithout a trace.  Neither passage says anything about this being some secret event, where people have no clue as to what happened.  Neither passage says anything about our going to heaven to live eternally with the Lord.  Neither passage says anything about leaving a world in chaos.  So what do they say and how are they to be understood?
            Let’s look at the Thessalonian passage, first.  What we find here is something that those in the Middle East would readily recognize.  It draws on the image of when a king comes to a city.  When a king is arriving at a city, before he ever actually enters the city, loud trumpets are sounded.  People go out of the city in order to meet the arriving king, and they then usher him in in great fanfare and glory.  In fact, as was pointed out by the Rev’d. Peter Doyle, a colleague of mine, the actual Greek verb used in the passage is used in two other places in the New Testament.  In both of those places it specifies this very action of going out in order to usher one into the city.  In other words, far from our disappearing without a trace, we are going out to usher our King, Jesus, back upon His return to rule and reign forever!  And, as is stated in the Book of the Revelation, every eye will see Him.

            What, then do we make of the meeting Him in the air/clouds and our being with Him forever?  We meet Him in the clouds, because Paul is emphasizing what was stated by the angels in the Book of Acts, viz., “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (1:11).  He is affirming what Jesus has said about His coming in the clouds, and what St. John wrote, “Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him . . .”   And, indeed, we will be with Him forever, for He has returned to dwell among us forever!
            How are we, then, to understand Jesus’ teaching in Matthew, then?  Well, it is helpful to read it in context.  -  If we start back in verse 29, we discover that this is in the context of Jesus’ second (and final coming), when “. . . all the tribes of the earth will . . . see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory” (vs. 30).  So, again, this is not a secret rapture, where no one knows what happened.
            In the immediate context, Jesus is explicitly stating that it will be like “the days of Noah”:

For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left . . .” (vs. 37-40).

In other words, it is the one who is taken that is the one who is in trouble!  They are the ones who are “swept away in judgment.”  The Rev’d. Joel Parsons, another one of my colleagues, lets us know that we want to be “left behind,” because to be taken is to be taken in divine judgment!  That is clear from the context of this verse.
            And folks, that was the understanding of these passages found in the entire Church until the 1830’s!  And, it remains the understanding of these passages in the vast majority of the Church, today.  The exception is in much of the American evangelical world which has been indoctrinated with this new (novel) position.
            So, if that is the case, then where in the world did this whole secret rapture idea come from?  -  Well, hold on to your seats!  -  It originated in Scotland with the purported vison of a fifteen-year-old girl named Margaret MacDonald.  She reported that her vision revealed this “two-staged” second coming.  In other words, Jesus came in the incarnation, He would “come” secretly to “rapture” the Church away, and then He would come yet again in glory to reign.  -  In no place does the Bible teach this.
            Nevertheless, her vision caught the attention of an evangelist named John Darby, who went looking for biblical support for this girl’s visions.  The “support” he found?  The two passages cited, above.  From this, Darby developed an entire system to talk about the “end times.”  The message was popularized in a war ravaged America by Dwight L. Moody and the Scofield Bible.  The people of the day were quite open to this idea of escape, because, in the midst of war, they had lost hope in the concept of redeeming the world.  As the message spread, organizations like Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary arose promoting this new dispensational understanding of the “last days.”  And so the evangelical community embraced the various “end times experts” and had their visions reinforced by popular novels and other books.
            But, if we should “leave behind” the misunderstandings that form the basis of the Left Behind movie, then where should we Wesleyan Christians stand?  -  We should stand with the Scriptures and the historic teachings of the Church.  We hold to the ecumenical and orthodox faith of the Church as found in the creeds.  We do not find in them any mention of a secret rapture, but rather they clearly affirm our beliefs in the resurrection of the body and that Jesus will “come again to judge the living and the dead.”  In short, we believe that “Christ had died; Christ is risen; and Christ will come again!”  -  Thanks be to God!
Special thanks goes to Randall Hardman, whose blog article prompted this article.

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Aug 21 2014


Original post at

It is with great joy that I am announcing to the readers of this blog that the Wesleyan-Anglican Society is now ready to receive members and dues via our website!

It has taken quite a while to organize, incorporate, get a bank account, and set up our website and Paypal account, but WE ARE FINALLY READY!

Over the past year, we have taken in members via email and Facebook messaging, but we had not had the capability of receiving our annual dues.  Now, all of that has changed.

I want to encourage the readers of this blog to go to our website, and click on the membership link.  There you can access the Constitution and the Application Form.  You can also make payment of dues via Paypal, or you can write a check, if you prefer.

I would also encourage you to join the Wesleyan/Anglican Facebook page, where members and friends of the Society are able to dialogue about all things Wesleyan & Anglican.

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Aug 21 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: The Wesley Teapot

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I've been meaning to post an article about one of my recent acquisitions, about which I have been quite excited.  Time, however, has gotten away from me . . . until now.  (At least I'm taking a couple of moments to get this up!)

Recently I found on an ebay auction one of the Wesley teapots.  As a big Wesley fan and a drinker of tea, it seemed like a perfect fit for me!

The original was a gallon-sized teapot used by the Rev'd. Mr. John Wesley for thirty years.  It is displayed in the Museum of Methodism at City Road Chapel (i.e., Wesley's Chapel) in London.  Josiah Wedgwood, the famous potter to the Queen, presented Wesley with the teapot in 1761.

The one that I purchased is an exact replica in quart size.  It was reproduced by Wedgwood in 1908.  The floral pattern, known as "Wesley Blue Calico," is still used by Wedgwood on various items.  Josiah Wedgwood described the origin of the "Wesley Blue Calico" as follows:

"The wreath around the blessing is suggestive of Mr. Wedgwood's flower garden where he and Mr. Wesley first met, and where their lifelong friendship began; The single flowers above the spout are England's national flowers - the rose for England, thistle for Scotland, the shamrock for Ireland; The design in band around the bowl and on the lid of the teapot was taken from a dress belonging to the young woman who later became Mrs. Wedgwood and the grandmother of Charles Darwin."

On one side of the teapot there is a prayer that says:

We thank thee Lord for this our food
But more because of Jesus's blood
Let manna to our Souls be given
The bread of Life sent down from Heaven
On the other side (as shown in the picture) one finds the "Wesley Grace," which was written by John Cennick, the first Methodist lay preacher.  It reads, as follows:
Be present at our Table Lord
Be here and everywhere ador'd
These creatures bless & grant that we
May feast in Paradice with thee.

(And, yes, the above reflects the actual spelling!)  -  The Wesley Grace is still sung by Methodists of various stripes to the tune of Old 100th ("Doxology").  It is sometimes sung prior to coming to the Lord's Table for the sacrament.  At other times it is sung prior to a church dinner.  -  It appears in The United Methodist Hymn, though strangely (and wrongly), "These creatures . . ." is changed to "Thy creatures . . ."

Much of the above information came from Treasures of the World Methodist Museum located at Lake Junaluska, NC, and printed by Biltmore Press, Asheville, NC.

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Aug 18 2014

Wesleyan/Anglican: Nazarene Call For Prayer For the Middle East

Original post at

Earlier this month, the Board of General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene issued an episcopal call for prayer concerning the turmoil throughout the Middle East.  Specifically, the General Superintendents have called us to pray for the following concerns:

  • Pray for peace in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, for a just and lasting solution that allows all people to live with dignity and respect in the absence of violence. Pray for the comfort of those who have lost family members and friends.
  • Pray for peace in Syria, for an immediate end to the conflict, and for protection of human life. More than 100,000 people have been killed; there are 6.5 million internally displaced people in Syria and 2.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. Pray for their many needs to be met and for hope in the face of long-term displacement.
  • Pray for the persecuted church across the region that is in danger because of faith in Christ, that those who are oppressed would know the strength and courage that comes from fellowship with God. Pray that people of different faiths could live in peace with one another.
  • Pray for the protection of children throughout the region and for all people who have experienced trauma.
  • Pray for local churches that are working in partnership with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (and other ministries and agencies) to alleviate suffering as they care for the vulnerable in volatile, insecure conditions
I want to encourage my fellow Nazarenes, and all of the readers of this blog to answer this call for prayer.

The full article can be found at this link.

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