Slavery and Methodism Today

Slavery and Methodism Today

An excerpt from “Slavery and the founders of Methodism

In 1774, John Wesley published his “Thoughts Upon Slavery.” The founder of the Methodist movement insisted that the concept of enslaving other people was based on “false foundations.” He described the horrific evils of the slave trade. He denied that it was acceptable for anyone to be excused from judgment on the grounds that one was not personally a slave owner. For Wesley, merely tolerating the existence of a system of enslavement was an accommodation with evil.

In 1780, the American Methodists required preachers to deliver sermons against the evils of slavery. Church leaders declared that the enslavement of other persons is “contrary to the laws of God.”

In 1785, the first Book of Discipline published by the Methodists included a piece of church legislation that any church member who buys or sells slaves is “immediately to be expelled” from membership, “unless they buy them on purpose to free them.”

In 1800, the General Conference issued a “Pastoral Letter on Slavery.” It said “the whole spirit of the New Testament militates in the strongest manner against the practice of slavery.”

That pastoral letter directed annual conferences to appeal to the legislatures in their respective states for the emancipation of slaves. And it called for “the universal extirpation of this crying sin.” So the documented history of Methodism makes clear that the founders of the church considered slavery to be “evil.”

Forty-four years after the General Conference enacted church laws to demand that Methodists free their slaves or leave the church and to insist that Methodists take public antislavery steps, the denomination decided to divide. Rather than require a slave-owning bishop to emancipate the people whom he considered his property, Methodists split into two denominations. Rather than politically mobilize to end the system of slavery in each state, Methodists split along the boundaries of states that affirmed enslavement.

This is the legacy of Methodism in the United States with regards to human slavery.

But what of slavery of a man or woman’s soul?

The irony of the pending UMC split is that a great many are focused on making atonement for the sin of slavery by others, while they themselves are promoting a form of slavery that leads to a never-ending darkness.

As the above article makes clear, John Wesley,”Denied that it was acceptable for anyone to be excused from judgment on the grounds that one was not personally a slave owner.” In our day, we might say, “Yes, she or he is a slave to sin, but what is that to me?” Worse, we call slavery, freedom.

If we do not believe sin leads to slavery and death, then we should love our neighbor as ourself and affirm our neighbor’s behavior.  Each of us must give an account to Christ for every word and act. The costs of our beliefs, whatever they may be, is great. 

Methodists split into two denominations. Rather than politically mobilize to end the system of slavery in each state, Methodists split along the boundaries of states that affirmed enslavement.

Methodists are on the verge of another split, this one along the boundaries of those who affirm the good and perfect law of our Lord (Psalm 19:7) and those who deny the liberating and transforming power of Christ.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31-36)

Do we believe the perfect royal law of our Lord as found in Scripture (James 2:8) is of man or God? Slavery to sin and the author of Scripture marks the line of demarcation for the UMC split. 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant — the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:27-28)

If we do not believe sin is slavery then we deny Christ, for it is because of sin that he came and died.

The legacy of Methodism today will last, not merely for a few centuries, but eternity. May God have mercy on us if we fail to feed the sheep of Christ with the words of his–and our–Father.

Do Methodist Believe Everyone Is A Child of God?

UMC Split

Do Traditionalist Methodist Believe Everyone Is A Child of God?Question: Do Methodist believe everyone is a child of God?

Answer: Great question. According to United Methodist teaching, Methodist believe the Apostle Paul’s summary of the condition of mankind: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.

But that does not mean that all UMC congregations teach this.

“No hopeful covenant for unity can change the fact that church law, for nearly 50 years, has categorically denied the first principle of unity, that “we are all children of God.” – Darryl W. Stephens
(It’s unclear to me from the covenant for unity if Mr. Stephens means all persons when he says “we are” or only United Methodist.)

“We believe that all people are children of God.” – Collister United Methodist Church.

“Everyone is a child of god,” Becky Hall, Executive Director of Christ United Methodist Church in Chattanooga and a delegate to the UMC Conference.

Seabold United Methodist Church believes that everyone is a child of God.” “We believe that everyone is a child of God.” Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church.

What does Christ say?

“While everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” Matthew 13:25. And, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.” Matthew 15: 13-14. “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the darnel weeds are the children of the evil one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Matthew 25:31-46

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:47-14:12

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12.

“You are doing the works of your own father,” Christ said. But they protested, “We are not illegitimate children. The only Father we have is God himself.” Christ replied, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.” John 8:44

“God predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:5. Paul writing to the church in Ephesus.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Galatians 3:26. Paul writing to the communities in Galatia.

While it might sound pleasing to welcome everyone into a congregation and assure them they are God’s children, Christ says only those who profess faith in him are his brothers and sisters and God’s children. It’s a simple matter to be adopted.

If you wish to become a child of God believe that Christ, the Son of God, came to earth, walked as a man, kept the whole law without committing one sin, and died so YOU could be saved from the death that never ends.

Confess your sins, ask this Christ to become your savior, and believe he now is. Then become baptized with water as an outward sign that you are marked as a child of God and be baptized with the Spirit of Christ so you can be transformed into his image.

Can We Serve God and Caesar?

Can We Serve God and Caesar?

Can we serve God and Caesar? In many ways “our rights” go to the heart of the impending split within the United Methodist Church–and for that matter to the divisions within the Body of Christ.

We speak of surrendering to Christ. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23. When they hurled their insults at Christ, he did not retaliate. When he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, Christ entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24.

Though Christ was the Son of God–in fact God himself–he waved his rights in order to save us. We are called to do the same.

And we claim that we have, that we follow Jesus above all others.  Until we are offended. Until we are persecuted. Until we are threatened. Then we claim our God-given rights awarded to us in the Kingdom of Man.

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day claimed loyalty to God. Then their position and power was threatened. Turning away from God, they claimed their rights under Caesar. With the force of Roman Law, they demanded the execution of Jesus.

There are but two kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man. If we truly are dead in Christ then we have no rights in the Kingdom of Man. We’re dead. If the cancel culture has proved anything it is that the dead have no rights. The dead cannot defend themselves, protect their reputation, or prevent the living from slandering them.

If we wish to test our pulse, to see if we are still living in the Kingdom of Man, read these verses and see if our blood boils.

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” – Matthew 5:38-40

Jesus said, “If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.”  Luke 6:34

Jesus said, “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together.” Matthew 5:25

You must obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. So whoever opposes the authorities opposes leaders whom God has appointed. Romans 13:1-2

Those living in the Kingdom of God have no rights in the Kingdom of Man other than the right to follow the example of Christ.  If in reading any of these verses you think, “Yes, but. . . ” then you are still living in the Kingdom of Man. There is no “but” in the Kingdom of God except, “But God. . . “

But God remembers the righteous.
But God has seen our hardships.
But God meant it for good.
But God has gives us peace on every side.
But God redeem us.
But God remains the strength of our hearts.
But God is compassionate and gracious.
But with God all things are possible.
But God gives us the free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
But God raises us from to life.
But God show his love for us.
But God is rich in mercy.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.
But the word of God cannot be chained.

Any time we claim that the Bride of Christ must adapt to the Kingdom of Man in order to. . .  be relevant, grow, be more inclusive, be more loving, stand up for. . . , we are asking that we relocate from the Kingdom of God and move back into the Kingdom of Man.

The Bride of Christ will only be relevant when she is married to Christ. The Bride of Christ will only grow, welcome and love all when she is married to Christ. The Bride of Christ will only be worthy of Jesus when she waves all rights and submits fully to him.

God is Jesus. Jesus is God. This God-Jesus-Savior has asked for your hand in matrimony. Will you say yes?

We All Believe Something

UMC Split

We should all thank Christ our Lord who has given us his strength and considered us faithful, appointing us to be writers, teachers, and preachers in his service. Too often we have been violent men and women, if not with fists, with our words. We have persecuted those who disagreed with us. Called them names, filed lawsuits against individuals and businesses and, without love, used the Sword of the Spirit to stab those with whom we disagree.  – The Apostle Paul paraphrased from 1 Timothy 1:12-13

Our goal in writing, speaking, teaching, and preaching should come from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. – The Apostle Paul paraphrased from 1 Timothy 1:5

God has charged us to be diligent, warning that if we ignore his call, he may remove the gift entrusted to us. We are not called to rebuke harshly. Rather, we should come to others with tenderness, urging all to invite the Spirit of Christ to live within, to work within, and to transform our minds and character.

We do not simply read God’s Word. God’s Word read us.

We do not “get into” God’s Word. God’s Word gets into us.

If we persevere in both reading and doing the words of God and watch our doctrine closely, we may save not only ourselves a great deal of harm, but also save those who hear God’s message of love in our lessons, lectures, and writings.

“Save those who hear God’s message of love. . . ” This is the issue dividing the United Methodist Church over same-sex marriage.

It is hard to allow someone you love to become lost. If you know a family member or close friend caught in a cycle of addiction, then you understand the pain that comes when all your efforts to rally the individual and turn them back towards sobriety fail. Who of us, in such a situation, would encourage more addictive behavior? Who of us would enable those we love to rush further into darkness?

And yet this is where the United Methodist Church is today. There are two sides who claim the mantle of love.

One shows love through affirmation. The other shows love through transformation. One shows love through inclusion. The other shows love through the exclusion of sin and its power. One shows love through a message of liberation. The other shows love through the death of The Messenger who came to set all men free.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:1 & 13

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31

Christ is that truth. And that truth sets us free from sin through his death.

We know that our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. – Romans 6:5-6

So let us put aside this notion that one side hates and the other loves. Both sides love, but in different ways.

Now as to the matter of the desires of the flesh, consider how God dealt with such immorality.

The men of the city called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” – Genesis 19:5

There is much that could be said about Sodom and Gomorrah, little of which is good, but there can be no denying that their rampant sexual sin had become so grievous in the sight of God that the plea for help from its victims had reached his throne.

The Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20

In much the same way pornography enslaves so many today, unbridle lust for sexual gratification controlled the lives of those living in Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Look,” said Lot, “I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” Genesis 19:8

Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves ,nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. – I Corinthians 6:9-10

We would do well to remember that our lust of the flesh, if left unchecked, can drive us to act in ways that harms not only ourselves, but others. One sin often leads to others. This is especially so within the Church. Once the Church tolerated the sin of slavery. Today the history of that sin is used to justify our tolerance for sexual sin. Sex before marriage, divorce, and adultery has led to the death of millions of aborted children.

With free will we are free to believe any number of things. We can believe there is no God, and many do. We can believe that human sexuality has changed over time, and many do. We can believe that God changes over time, and many do.

And yet God says he, “Does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” 1 Samuel 15:29

As to the specific matter of same-sex relations, God says:

Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is an abomination. – Leviticus 18:22

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is an abomination. – Leviticus 20:13

We know that the law is made for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine. – I Timothy 1:10

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. – Romans 1:26-17

Of course we know these verses. They have been shared countless times as proof that God hates ____ and here we add names, labels, letters, and lifestyles. But is “hate” the best adjective to describe God’s view on this matter?

While it is true that God calls the act “an abomination” תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה, might his purpose not be for “setting apart” for correction rather than destruction.

“The law is made for those who practice what is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

Let us not forget that for 10 righteous individuals he would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah. God goes to great lengths to spare us, even to offering his only son as payment for our sins.

This Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה is found sixteen times in Scripture and is always associated with separation, rejected, or set apart for destruction.
“Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה able to Egyptians.” Genesis 43:32
“Do not bring a תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה it, for it is set apart for destruction.” Deuteronomy 7:26.
“Her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה in the eyes of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 24:4
“Do not eat any תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה thing.” Deuteronomy 14:3
“If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה.” Proverbs 28:9
“Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה to me.” Isaiah 1:13
“But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; whoever chooses you is תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה.” Isaiah 41:24
“Are they ashamed of their תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” Jeremiah 6:15 & Jeremiah 8:12
“They were haughty and did תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Ezekiel 16:50
“In you one man commits a תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה offense with his neighbor’s wife, another shamefully defiles his daughter-in-law, and another violates his sister, his own father’s daughter.” Ezekiel 22:11
“You rely on your sword, you do תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה things, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’ Ezekiel 33:26

God’s purpose seems to be to put out of his presence those who are תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה  in order that they might be motivated to turn back to him. This is in keeping with God’s persistent call for us to repent. A parent who places their child in “time out” does not do this out of hate, but love. Mom or dad is simply trying to instruct the child in what the parent believes to be acceptable behavior. Should we not allow God to deal with us in a similar manner?

Now as to the matter of marriage Jesus says:

“At the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:6-9

No longer two, but one. A new creation. This union is both mysterious (two becoming one), but also holy, for it is not we who couple the man and woman but God. He joins them together. This union is of such value in God’s eyes that Christ later says:

“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:32

Christ seems to be saying that if a husband and wife choose to live apart, they remain united in a way that cannot be altered. It is as if Jesus is saying that we cannot uncreate what God creates. Certainly, throughout nature and all of creation this is the case. We can care for our planet, animals, people, but we cannot uncreate our planet, animals, people. We can destroy, but we cannot uncreate what God has established.

At this point some might ask: “But couldn’t God change his mind regarding marriage, and specifically, same-sex relationships?” After all, God seems to have changed his mind when it comes to what we can and cannot eat.

Jesus said, “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) – Mark 7:18-19

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” – Acts 10:9-15

Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:14-17

Paul wrote in his letter to the Timothy, “Hypocritical liars forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” – 1 Timothy 4:3-5

Peter said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.” – Acts 10:28

If God nullified the Levitical laws regarding food, can he not also nullify his commands regarding sexual immorality? If, as Paul says, “everything God created is good,” then is not all marriage between two people in love also good?

Some might argue that when God gave Moses the Law, mankind behaved in certain ways that seemed unnatural but now, with science and our enlightened examination, is considered normal.

If such is the case, then we are left to ask: How can an all knowing, all seeing, all powerful God fail to see future events. How is it that God failed to take into account for genetic predispositions that prompt some to be attracted to members of the same sex?

Perhaps at this point we should turn to the words of Jesus to get his perspective on marriage and sexual relationships.

Jesus said, “You have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” – Revelation 2:6

The name Nicolas is associated with the Greek root word meaning “conqueror” or “destroyer”–an apt label when one considers the current split within the United Methodist Church. In later letters to the churches, Jesus seems to link the practices of the Nicolaitans with the practices of those who listened to Balaam.

According to theopedia.com the, “Nicolaitans were one of the heretical sects that plagued the churches at Ephesus and at Pergamum.” Revelation 2:6,15. “Irenaeus identifies them as followers of Nicolas, one of the seven chosen in Acts 6, and as men who “lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism, which makes the fatal mistake that man can freely partake in sin because the Law of God is no longer binding.”
https://www.theopedia.com/nicolaitans

Jesus said, “I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.” – Revelation 2:14-15

Balaam encouraged Israel’s enemies to use sexual seduction to weaken God’s people. Through compromise with the society around them, God’s people committed sexual immorality and defiled themselves with foreign women. Moses called it the “Peor incident” (Numbers 31:15–16). By sleeping with the Moabite women, some of Israel’s men brought God’s judgment on the camp.

Jesus said, “I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” – Revelation 2:20

Once more Jesus cites sexual immorality as a reason for why he, “will make those who commit adultery with [Jezebel] to suffer intensely.” He will do this so that all the churches will know that “I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Finally, we find Jesus concluding the end of all things with this warning.

Jesus said, “Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” – Revelation 22:15

Who are these “dogs” Christ speaks of? This word for “dog is κύων (kuón) and only occurs five times in the New Testament and always in unflattering ways. The term is meant to symbolize things that God hates, are impure, sinful and disgusting.

These “dogs” κύων are fixated on outward appearances, in this case genital mutilation.

Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. – Philippians 3:2

These “dogs” κύων prey on the weak and helpless.

In the Parable of the Rich Fool Jesus said, “Even the dogs came and licked his [Lazarus] sores.” Luke 16:21

In the eyes of Jews, these “dogs” κύων are comparable to pigs. These dogs serve as an example of someone who is saved and later rejects the salvation found in Christ and returns to their old way of life.

“For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.

“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for  people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”

“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it (worldly desires) and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

“Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit, and a sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” – 2 Peter 2:18-22

These “dogs” κύων “are vicious.

Jesus said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” – Matthew 7:6

According to Jesus, these “dogs” κύων “ will remain outside the new Jerusalem and have no part in the Kingdom of God.

We all believe something, but what we believe has eternal consequences. This is especially so for those in the Church who serve as leaders, deacons, elders, pastors, teachers, preachers, and even writers and authors. Anytime we council others on the ways of God we should do so in holy fear.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.” – Luke 17:2-3

A runner stone might weigh up to 3,300 pounds. Hung around a person’s neck, it would take them down so fast there would be no chance to escape.

If anyone’s teaching does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have been robbed of the truth. 1 Timothy 6:3-5

For certain individuals have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. – Jude 1:4

I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Romans 16:17-18

What we believe is, to a large degree, the intrinsic nature of who we are. Our beliefs determine our actions. Our actions determine our destiny. Wherever you are going, that’s where you will be.

Plot your course carefully.

Can Same-sex Marriage Be Consecrated by the Word of God and Prayer

UMC Split

Hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron, forbid people to marry. For everything God created is good. Nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:3, 4-5

If nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving, then can same-sex marriage be consecrated when bathed in the word of God and prayer?

If clergy–who are ordained, set apart, and elevated above laity, consider a couple to be united in holy communion–then on what grounds could a believer possibly object to the wedding of a same-sex couple?

Finally, is it hypocritical for heterosexual believers who live in ungodly ways to prevent same-sex couples from marrying?

With these few verses to Timothy, the Apostle Paul seems to suggest that those in the church of Ephesus needed to check their own spirit before preventing others from marrying. Do these verses support same-sex marriage? 

Worms fer thought. What says you, mate?

Have we stretched this passage ter far? Sailed over tha edge? Be fer ya keelhaul me, think on how some others might see this verse and ponder how ya might respond in kindness ter thar way of thinking things.

Hold Onto That Loving Feeling

Can the UMC Denomination Avoid Divorce?

Hold Onto That Loving Feeling

“I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” – the words of Jesus from Revelation 2:4-5

The church in Ephesus started out well enough, but over time it fell out of love. With whom or what, Jesus does not say, but we might suspect it is the Lord himself. Christ is, after all, the groom and his Church, the bride. Perhaps he sensed those in Ephesus had lost that loving feeling.

In chapter four of his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes: “Live a life worthy of the calling you received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is but one body and one Spirit. Speak the truth in love.

Paul went on to say: “So I tell you, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do. In the futility of their thinking they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more. Therefore, put off falsehood and speak truthfully, for we are all members of one body. Speak only what is helpful for building others up. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Be imitators of God and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.”

“Among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity or greed. These are improper for God’s holy people. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.”

Later Paul wrote these words to his spiritual son Timothy. “The goal of [my] command is love. Love comes from a pure heart. Love comes from a good conscience. Love comes from a sincere faith. We know the law is good if one uses it properly.” What Paul did not say, but which he may have hinted at with his command to love is this: “The law is good if one uses it properly in LOVE.”

“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Timothy 15:15

Our calling is to proclaim the Gospel of God and the core of God’s good news is redemption. Christ saves us from sin, error, and evil. This is why he came and died.

Love first, love second, love last. Knowing about sin, reciting a list of sins, never saved anyone. Only the love of God as shown through the sacrifice of his Son saves.

Avoid sin, yes, but never avoid loving others. Be perfect as Christ is perfect and as much as it depends on you, live a life worthy of the calling you received.

Where Do Methodist Stand On Climate Change?

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers - FAQ

Did God Really Say Climate Change Is Real?

Question: Where do Traditionalist Methodist stand on climate change?

Answer: Great question.

The planet’s climate is under constant transformation and has been since earth’s creation. In chapter one of Genesis we read that the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep. Then light burst forth. God separated the water on the earth from the water above it and he called the water above “sky.” God caused the water on earth to be gathered into one place so that ground appeared. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” We do not know the number of hours, days, years, centuries this process required. Some interpret the word “day” in Genesis to be twenty-four hours. Others interpret the word “day” to represent and event, like saying, “One day I made up my mind to …”

Regardless, during this process the earth’s climate was undergoing dramatic changes – and it has yet to stop.

Climate reacts to forces in the atmosphere and on earth. Some scientists argue humans are now the dominant force behind climate change. But are we? Had we lived during the days of Noah, “When men began to increase in number on the earth …” would scientists have blamed the increase in human population for the Great Flood? Did the the increase in livestock and raw sewage entering streams cause the skies to burst forth with rain and the creeks, streams, and rivers to “well-up” from beneath?

Drought was a constant problem in the Old Testament. Drought caused famines in the time of Abraham (Genesis 12:10 ), Isaac (Genesis 26:1 ), Joseph (Genesis 41:27 ), and the Judges (Ruth 1:1 ). Drought also impacted the Israelites during the days of David (2 Samuel 21:1 ), Elijah (1 Kings 18:2 ), Elisha (2 Kings 4:38 ), Haggai (Haggai 1:11 ), and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:3 ).

Did human behavior cause these droughts or did God have a hand in it?

In the Book of Revelation we read, “hail and fire mixed with blood was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.” Revelation 8:7

Will climatologist blame this event on global warming, climate change, and the burning of fossil fuels?

Trees affect our climate, and therefore our weather, in three ways: they lower temperatures, reduce energy usage and reduce or remove air pollutants. When we lose a third of the trees and all the grass, we can expect a substantial increase in global warming, a strain on our power grids, and an increase in air pollution.

And what of our water supply? “Something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. And a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. A third of the waters turned bitter. Many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” Revelation 8: 8-10

Scientists warn of rising sea levels, but if the event mentioned above occurs, the melting of arctic ice at the Poles will be nothing compared to the sea-coast flooding we will experience when large tsunamis hit the coastlines of populated continents. Whole navel fleets will be wiped out. With a third of our streams and rivers toxic, those living further inland will scramble to find clean drinking water.

And what of the sky? “A third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.” Revelation 8:12

The first thing we will notice is an increase in darkness — then extreme cold. The planet’s temperature will drop several degrees Fahrenheit over the course of weeks and months. With less sunlight, the amount of photosynthesis will decrease. Plants will begin to wither and die. Animals that rely on vegetation to survive will be left with a shrinking food supply.

We might imagine that people would rush to spend time in the sun during the reduced daylight hours, but “the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire.” Revelation 16:8. We will long to stand in sunlight, but the sun’s intense rays will prevent us from enjoying its warmth.

Sea levels will rise dramatically. “Every island fled away.” Revelation 16:20

Tectonic plates will shift, leveling whole mountain ranges. “The mountains could not be found.” Revelation 16:20

Rivers will shift or disappear. “The great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up.” Revelation 16:12

Some, maybe most, Methodist believe climate change is real, but is global warming man’s fault? God’s? A little of both?

A new heaven and a new earth  are promised for those who accept Christ as their savior. Revelation 21:1. But God also commands us to be good stewards of our planet. It is our duty to protect and preserve what God created. It is also our responsibility to let others know that Christ can change each person at a soul level if they will only ask him to do so.

As Christians we should be good stewards of creation and seek to leave things better than we found them. (The “campsite” rule.) But we should also be good stewards of the words of instruction given to us by the Creator and seek to share God’s Good News with all we can whenever we can.