EVANGELICAL, WESLEYAN, EGALITARIAN

EVANGELICAL, WESLEYAN, EGALITARIAN

November 1, 2018 By

Our Wesleyan heritage has been supportive of women in leadership throughout our tradition.  Though not always lived out, here is a good article explaining this history.  Written by Craig L. Adams you can read the entire article here.

In part he says:

“I guess it is a paradigm shift for a lot of people but, the fact is that the Methodist acceptance of women in ministry was well ahead of the modern, secular feminist movement — and is, in that sense, unrelated to it! The more radical, Bible-thumping, revivalistic branches of the Wesleyan movement accepted the idea of women in ministry long before the official acceptance of this by the United Methodist Church.

As proof I offer this passage from Binney’s Theological Compend Improved (1874): “Woman’s Sphere in the Church.”

This early egalitarian attitude toward gender & women in ministry is characteristic of the Wesleyan tradition and should be seen as part of the fruit of a progressive-revelation perspective on the Scriptures. The rejection of the practice of slavery by John Wesley and the earliest Methodists is another.

There is really a difference in how Scripture functions in Wesleyan theology as contrasted with other perspectives.

In a recent article on the Church of the Nazarene’s Holiness Today site, Al Truesdale (emeritus professor of philosophy of religion and Christian ethics at Nazarene Theological Seminary) writes about “Why Wesleyans Aren’t Fundamentalists.” He says that the fundamentalist approach is to see the content Scripture’s revelation as divinely revealed information: thus,

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE

October 15, 2018 By

SCOD 2018
Supt. Bruce N. G. Cromwell, Ph.D.

The 2015 FMC-USA General Conference directed the SCOD to research things that make for peace, the use of force or violence, and the concept of a just war. As I began to study this topic and research these issues,1 eventually resulting in a paper on capital punishment for the SCOD,2 it was suggested that the broader and yet more foundational issue which must be addressed is the relationship between the Church and the State. Such interchange is rife with challenges and opportunities. History has found the dizzying dance between the city of God and the city of humans to often have the respective partners switching the lead, or at least attempting to each guide the relationship. But the two-steps and dips and twirls and spins that Church-State relations seem to currently be engaged in have led to increased questions about what a Christian should do in our complicated and confusing political reality.

When looking at the issues facing our societies and the best ways for peoples and nations to address such societal concerns it is important to ask what the proper place and role of the Church is alongside of political entities. How much should one influence the other, or even relate to the other? The words “separation of Church and State” are frequently thrown about in such discussions, though they are often used in a manner not intended by Thomas Jefferson,

ABUSE, ABANDONMENT, ADULTERY

ABUSE, ABANDONMENT, ADULTERY

October 1, 2018 By

Free Methodist clergy recognize that marriage is a covenant that is not meant to be broken.  We also recognize, along with Jesus and Paul that there are circumstances from a “hardness of heart” that make a marriage abusive.  To require a person to stay in such a marriage would be contrary to the intent of Scripture.  Thus Free Methodist clergy also recognize that with the biblical explanation of abandonment and adultery destroying the covenant of marriage so does abuse.  In this writing by Herb Vander Lugt with editor Martin R. De Haan II we are provided a detailed study of Scripture in support of this understanding.  

In part De Haan says:

THE LAW OF MOSES

The apostle Paul reminds us that all

Scripture is inspired by God and full of wisdom for living in a fallen world (2 Tim. 3:16). With this reminder, let’s review some often-overlooked provisions in the law of Moses. While Jewish rabbis have seen significance in these passages, the church has often focused on the marital ideal rather than those conditions which, according to Moses, required protection for even the most weak and vulnerable women in Israel….

God’s ideal and intent formarriage has never changed.  What has changed, however, are the conditions that occur when hard- hearted people break and are broken by the timeless principles of God. The same law that offers penalties for murder, theft, perjury, and adultery also provides consequences when the purpose and covenant of marriage are broken by contempt and abuse.

JUSTICE PILGRIMAGE

JUSTICE PILGRIMAGE

September 7, 2018 By

The Wesleyan theological method is to evaluate truth from four sources: Scripture as our primary source, and Reason, Tradition and Experience as resources.  Thus our theological education involves the study of Scripture, the study of the sciences and philosophy, the study of history and the exposure to experiences.  It is molding all four into a single educational experience that is difficult. Greenville University has accomplished this rare feat in their Justice Ministry pilgrimage program.

Here Helen Kaufman, one of the leaders in the FMC for decades in Civil Rights shares her experience in this “embodied learning.”  The article begins with:

“Helen Kaufmann ’56 had studied Civil Rights issues for decades. She was no stranger to good research habits, and years of teaching at Parkland College (Champaign, Illinois) honed her ability to engage deeply with material.

Yet a different kind of “learning” emerged when Kaufmann laid her hand across the stone slabs that bore the names of 4,400 lynching victims at the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. The horrors of lynching hit home afresh as she viewed “row upon row” of jars holding soil from lynching sites, a stark symbol of the prevalence of that practice mere decades ago.

She slept in a motel built on the onetime site of a slave warehouse, where slaves spent their own fitful nights many years ago. She saw the former Lorraine Motel in Memphis where Martin Luther King,

THE DANGER OF CIVILITY

THE DANGER OF CIVILITY

August 28, 2018 By

Rev. Dr. Laura J. Hunt:

One of the most sobering experiences I have had recently was when I attended an African-American Conference and after a sharing session, when people had been invited to tell their stories of being marginalized, two different people felt the need to come to my husband and I (who are both white and newcomers to the group) to make sure that we understood that they were not angry black people. This seemed worse than any of stories we heard that day. It was direct evidence of how often white people have failed to listen, failed to have compassion, and have chosen to blame the survivors instead.

As a woman in ministry, I recognize that our frustrations, too, are often dismissed if they are not packaged in ways leadership (particularly but not exclusively male leadership) finds appropriate. I do believe that each of us is responsible for handling our anger in a godly way. But it is also important to listen to people delivering news we don’t want to hear, even if they are, or we perceive them to be, angry. In this video, Christena Cleveland does an admirable job of pointing out this phenomenon, relevant for both race and gender discussions, although she frames it primarily in the context of race.

Christena Cleveland, PhD, is a social psychologist, public theologian, author and professor. She is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Organizational Studies at Duke University’s Divinity School and the author of Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart.

PREACHING ON DIVORCE

PREACHING ON DIVORCE

August 24, 2018 By

It is difficult to preach on topics like Divorce.  Pastor Colleen Hurley-Bates does so eloquently as she teaches the clear affirmation of Jesus’ view of marriage while emphasizing also the grace and forgiveness of his love and ours. This is an example of excellence in preaching and pastoral guidance in sexuality.  If you would like to listen instead of read, click here.

Rev. Colleen Hurley-Bates, August 19, 2018

Today we study a teaching of Jesus about divorce, which is a painful topic because most of us have lived with it’s effects in various ways. When we stop and think about those in our lives, maybe we ourselves who have been part of the breakdown of a marriage, it brings up strong feelings and difficult memories. To have people start out being so full of love that they want to commit their whole lives to another person, only to find themselves later in a place they never thought was possible, is a surreal experience. Most people never imagine something so beautiful could end that badly or think they themselves would be sunk in the mire of despair, anger, and regret made all the worse by legal maneuvering, custody battles, family drama and changing friendships.

Most people do not go into marriage intending to ever separate. There are circumstances which make it nearly impossible to stay together, especially what is called the 4 A’s: abuse,

INSIDE THE MIND OF A PEDOPHILE

INSIDE THE MIND OF A PEDOPHILE

August 18, 2018 By

A Grand Jury in Pennsylvania fears that as many as a thousand children were sexually abused by priests. This horrifying accusation requires all Christians to understand the persistent nature of pedophilia. Because Jesus Christ is the great physician, it is often assumed that confession, prayer and forgiveness will change a pastor or priest so that he or she no longer has this desire for sexual relations with children. Since we know that Jesus can forgive all sin and may choose to miraculously heal a person from anything, the fact is that the risk of allowing a person with pedophilia access to children is too great. We, as a safe and healthy church, must take action whenever this is found. Like most sexual desires, pedophilia is persistent over the life of the person and no current treatment is effective in changing the person, however helpful such treatment might be in encouraging them to not act on their urges.  In this professional article by Neuroanthropology we have a good presentation of the facts on which to have conversations.

In part the authors say:

Role of the Brain

There is significant evidence that indicate structural abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles (Schiffer, 2008). Abnormalities occur when the brain is developing and can be on-set through certain experiences, such as sexual abuse as a child. Abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles may result in compulsion, poor judgment, and repetitive thoughts.

These abnormalities in the brains of pedophiles are caused by early neurodevelopmental perturbations (Schiffer,

FEMALE CEO’s ONLY 5% and DECLINING

FEMALE CEO’s ONLY 5% and DECLINING

August 7, 2018 By

Women continue to be kept from top leadership even in the Fortune 500 Companies where a woman broke through the glass ceiling and became CEO.  Here is an article on this.

It says in part:

By Jeff Green

Of the at least 24 female chief executive officers of S&P 500 companies who’ve stepped down since 2009, all but three have been replaced by a man, according to an analysis of data on executive departures compiled quarterly by recruiter Spencer Stuart. That includes PepsiCo Inc. CEO Indra Nooyi, who announced Monday that she’ll leave the post in October, and at least four other women this year.

The largest companies have struggled to elevate women, who hold only about 5 percent of CEO positions. Progress has stalled even amid the revelations of harassment or other misconduct brought to light by the #MeToo movement and pressure from investors such as State Street Corp. and BlackRock Inc. to get boards to add diversity.

“Despite the advances that females have made over the last 10 years, and the big push that’s going on to get them into executive positions, if you look at the talent pool of available individuals, it’s going to be mostly men,” said Tom Flannery, who leads the global chief executive board services practice at Boyden, an executive recruiter. “Just from a pure odds standpoint, most of the time, when a CEO is replaced,

PORNOGRAPHY AND ACEDIA

PORNOGRAPHY AND ACEDIA

July 9, 2018 By

The attempt to empty human life from its spiritual foundation has created a secular culture that is vulnerable to addiction.  This is true whether the addiction is physical, financial, relational or spiritual.  In this excellent article on the spiritual foundation for the use of pornography, Duke Divinity Professor Reinhard Hütter provides a profound explanation of both how we got to where we are and how to find our way out.  Unsurprisingly it has to do with the Spiritual Disciplines that connect us with God.

Professor Hütter begins his article by saying:

“A uniquely toxic combination of the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh has become an almost normal component of everyday life: the perturbingly pervasive use of pornography in general and internet pornography in particular, with its dangerous addictiveness and its lethal effect on the Christian spiritual life. To comprehend the spiritual roots of this crisis, we need to recall an all-too-forgotten vice, acedia, usually called “sloth” but better rendered as “spiritual apathy.” It is the very forgoing of friendship with God—which is the fulfillment of the transcendent dignity and calling of the human person—and the embrace of the self-indulgent deception that there never was and never will be friendship with God, that there never was and never will be a transcendent calling and dignity of the human person. Nothing matters much, because the one thing that really matters, God’s love and friendship,

WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS THE 4th OF JULY?  1852

WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS THE 4th OF JULY? 1852

July 5, 2018 By

In 1852 in Rochester, NY where the Free Methodist Church would organize eight years later stating that a primary purpose of this new “FREE” Methodist church is the the abolition of slavery, the  former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglas gave a speech on the 4th of July that is still sadly relevant today.  It is helpful to hear the first-person testimony of those who have and are suffering the prejudice that betrays our nation’s claims of independence for all who are endowed by their Creator with equal, unalienable rights.  This seven minute video is an important reminder of the ongoing work of the FMC in these United States of America.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO