Friday, July 1, 2016

why i am a Methodist

There are many reasons why I am a Methodist.  I am writing this for someone that I love that sometimes considers going to another denomination, but it is good practice for me and good info to keep in mind.

Why I am a Methodist.  In no particular order.....

1.  Methodists focus on grace.  God so loved the world.  Church should feel like good news, not a guilty reminder of how bad we are.  Everyone knows they are sinners, what we need to remind each other is that although we are sinners, we are still loved by God.  Jesus ran with sinners.  Methodists focus on grace.

2.  Methodists generally [at least this Methodist] does not make a big deal out of peripheral ideas or doctrines.  Baptism is not a heaven or hell issue.  Get over it.  Some folks spend so much time on the parsley of the Christian life that they miss the main meal.  Keep the main thing the main thing.  On everything else, think and let think.

3.  Methodists welcome everyone.  This is how the Kingdom works.  I don't agree with everyone or everything, but everyone is welcomed.  No one will be shamed on my watch, ever.

4.  Methodists care about the poor and needy and actually try to do something about it.  From the days of John Wesley until today, Methodists are engaged in giving themselves away.  I love this aspect of faith that is so often neglected.  Is it really Christianity if we are not missionally engaged?

5.  Methodists are ok worshiping with folks that are different than they are.  Not everyone has to vote like me or think what I think about the Bible to worship at the same place.

6.  Methodists have stuck with the historic principles of faith.  Dispensationalism is not Biblical and it is a newcomer to Christian teaching showing up around 1850.  The church survived for 1800 years without it.  It is not a helpful addition to the discussion of Christian belief because it causes people to spend years thinking about the second coming instead of living and loving now, today.

7.  Methodists can live the same way 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.  Some Christians pray really loud in church on Sunday, but then act like "normal" people the rest of the week.  When they pray over lunch at Applebees, they don't raise their hands and shout.   Some Christians listen to sermons about drinking on Sunday and pretend like they don't but then rush off for a beer whenever they can.  Methodists don't have to pretend about who they are.  You can be the same every day of the week.  This is a faith for normal, real, human people.  Read the book - Jesus actually did turn the water into wine.

8.  Methodists know that they don't know everything.  No church, no pastor, no denomination knows it all.  God only has the answers.  Methodists don't act like they know everything.

9.  Methodists focus on the essentials of faith.  God created the world, people sinned, God send Jesus Christ to save us, when we choose him we are forgiven and we begin a new life.  Pretty basic.  Nothing more is needed.

10.  Love.  I started w grace,  I will end with love.  1 Jn 4 says, God is love.  The greatest commandment is that we would love the Lord with our heart soul mind and strength, and then we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Humans love to make things complicated.  God makes it so simple if we would just pay attention:  love.

If you are looking for a church home, I invite you to find a Methodist church.  If you are thinking about leaving your Methodist church, please reread this post and think about what some of the alternatives are that are out there.  We are not a perfect church, but I am glad to be a United Methodist Christian.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.


Anonymous said...

Jeff, this is a great post. And there is something I wanted to ask you before you left KC, but didn't get time to. Is there anything about the way the Methodist denomination does church organizing/operating that attracted you to this denomination.

Church organization is not something we talk about often, but it's an important factor is the way churches operates physically, operationally and financially. In some faiths each church body is autonomous and makes all its own decisions. In some faiths individual churches support denominational mission efforts. Some faiths such as Methodists are closely tied at the hip to Conferences and Conference decisions. So is there anything about Methodism organization that attracted you to this faith, in addition to the tenants of the faith?


Raegene Kinghe said...

Right on message Jeff,good info. Could you expound on dispensationalism and more on your comment of drinking.

Judy Hansen said...

This is the best "Top Ten" list ever!

Greg Oehring said...

This is one of the Best Top Tens I have ever read. It is right on point and doesn't miss a beat!