John Wesley held that a preacher needed to offer people both law and gospel. In a 1751 “Letter on Preaching Christ” he wrote that preaching gospel means “preaching the love of God to sinners, preaching the life, death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ, with all the blessings which, in consequence thereof, are freely given to … Continue reading Thoughts on preaching Christ
As Methodist preachers were facing opposition and struggling to bear fruit in Calvinistic Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1771, John Wesley wrote the following in a letter to one of the movement’s supporters: If any one could show you, by plain Scriptures and reason, a more excellent way than that you have received [from Methodists], you certainly … Continue reading How do we dig the wells again?
Do we in the United Methodist Church consider ourselves a church or a human institution? Yes, I know, the answer is both because we in the UMC always say the answer is both. But bear with me for a moment, please. As I’ve listened to clergy in the UMC begin to prepare themselves for a … Continue reading Are we a church or an institution?
Methodists have long struggled with the question of how to relate with John Wesley and how to understand his role and position in the church. Some warn that he should not be afforded too high a regard because his theology is practical rather than systematic. Some defend him. Some dismiss him. Some quote him at … Continue reading Can we follow the prescription?
John Wesley reads the Beattitudes as both an account of the perfected Christian life and as a description of the journey we take toward that state. The first and enduring rung on that ladder is poverty of spirit, which Wesley described at great length but sums up with the following words: Poverty of spirit then, … Continue reading The treacherous first step
I have been away from regular blogging for some time, and I am finding it difficult to get into the regular pattern once again. Such is the way with all things in life, yes? As I try to pick up this habit and discipline again, I am going to return to something that has long … Continue reading Will we bend our knees?
We seemed content to be the chaplaincy to a consumerist culture that was fast losing a sense of what it meant to be Christian. — Rod Dreher, from the Introduction to The Benedict Option The church in every age is tempted by the surrounding culture as Christ was tempted by the devil. Worship me, the … Continue reading Remembering what it means to be a Christian
Originally posted on David F. Watson:
Let’s face it: no one really knows what’s going to happen over the next few years within The United Methodist Church. Division? Restructuring? Fragmentation? Slow demise? Despite widespread conjecture and one or two wild conspiracy theories, your guess is as good as mine. The Wesleyan movement, however, is much…
I was watching the movie Sully again this week. It is a movie about the pilot of a passenger jet who lands in the Hudson River in New York City after the plane is damaged by birds shortly after take off. The lead is played by Tom Hanks. Like so many of his other roles, … Continue reading How do you know when you’ve done your job?
During the later stages of the controversy over Donatism in Africa during the fourth and fifth centuries, Augustine of Hippo took a major role. It is a long and complicated story and not without controversy still today, but I wanted to share some of Augustine’s words that remain relevant to the church today. While writing … Continue reading The UMC at the Valley of Elah