PANDEMICS AND THE CHURCH AND STATE IN  HISTORY

PANDEMICS AND THE CHURCH AND STATE IN HISTORY

January 7, 2022 By dwayman

It is helpful to hear from a Christian scholar from Nigeria as we often get caught up in our individual nation’s politics and lose sight of our global Christian witness, purpose and history.  Here Dr. Bernard B. Fyanka, Redeemer’s University Ede, Osun State Nigeria, provides an insightful analysis of the church and state as both encounter a pandemic.

The conclusion to his analysis states:

” In my opinion, the central agitation of the church with regards to this pandemic and possible pandemics in the future should have been over the designation of the churches as entities providing essential and emergency services. This characterization should be based on the original basis of the relationship between the church and state in which the church is viewed as a charitable organization providing medical, social and spiritual relief to communities.The emphasis of the church should not have been on rights to congregate but rights to work inparallel status with doctors, nurses, police, and other emergency services in providing much-needed relief. Finally, as opined by the catholic church, ‘the Church has direct authority fromGod Himself over the exercise of religion and the meaning of faith and morals. But this authority does not preclude cooperation with legitimate governmental entities in fostering the common good, which in fact is required by the Church’s own moral teaching.”

Free Methodist Bishop Emeritus David Kendall notes:  “Dr. Fyanka’s point, as I understand it, is that the church is not called to protect and advocate for its own rights,

BAPTIZED CYNICISM  by Matthew Ruszynski

BAPTIZED CYNICISM by Matthew Ruszynski

October 18, 2021 By dwayman

Rev. Matthew Tuszynski

I’ve never read the ‘Left Behind’ series, but I grew up around the time it was most popular.  That meant that, even without reading so much as the first page of the first book, I already knew most of the major plot points just by virtue of being around people who were entranced by the books.  If you are old enough to remember the 90’s and early 00’s (and I still haven’t fully processed the fact that some of you reading this might not be), you’ll already be familiar with the eschatological hysteria of the period.  It’s a hysteria that had been building since World War I, but something about the turning of the millenia, and some nonsense about the Aztec calendar that was all over the History Channel for some reason, got a good portion of the populous to believe that any moment now we’d live through that ‘empty clothes left where my husband/wife/brother/second-cousin twice removed was sitting just a moment ago’ scene from those novels.

That hysteria imbued much of western Christianity with an almost Gnostic nihilism about the physical world and its problems.  Somewhere along the way the phrase ‘in the world, but not of the world’ was spawned, and it’s become such a fixture in Christianese that we sometimes forget that no such phrase appears in the scriptures.  There are two near analogues; the first is John 17:16–18 (NASB95) 16“They are not of the world,

THE SUFFERING WITNESS                 by Ayebale Barigye

THE SUFFERING WITNESS by Ayebale Barigye

October 14, 2021 By dwayman

The necessity of hearing the Word of God preached by a variety of unique pastors is vital to a full understanding of the Gospel. Each pastor not only comes from their own place in history but also in geography and culture.  Pastor Ayebale Barigye was born in Uganda and raised in the United States.  He is a graduate of Greenville University.  This blend of international and national experience not only causes Pastor Barigye to have a clear understanding of the justice our faith requires, but the importance of following our Suffering Savior as we also pick up our own cross and follow him.  This sermon is a part of the series on Suffering preached at St. Paul’s Free Methodist Church in Greenville, IL.

This sermon was given on October 10, 2021.  The audio is available on YouTube by clicking here.

LOVING FROM WHERE WE STAND

LOVING FROM WHERE WE STAND

October 11, 2021 By dwayman

When John wrote that the mark of being a Christian is by our love for all, (John 13:35) he established what is our clear Free Methodist understanding of the social concerns of our day.  This truth, also called the Theology of Love by Wesleyan authors such as Mildred Bangs Wynkoop, defines the dynamic power of love that is central to our Wesleyan heritage.

It is therefore appropriate that Supt. Bruce Cromwell was asked as a member of the Study Commission on Doctrine to write about the love we are committed to expressing to the LGBT community as we stand upon the teachings of Scripture.  His guidance has been published under the title Loving From Where We Stand and can be ordered here.

To understand his heart, this interview on FM Radio is a shared conversation with the Rev. Dr. Cromwell and Elijah Drake.  You can listen to the podcast here.

 

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A COLORBLIND CHRISTIANITY

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A COLORBLIND CHRISTIANITY

August 19, 2021 By dwayman

With the 2020 Census revealing that we are increasingly a multicultural nation and therefor must be a multicultural denomination if we are to reach this and future generations, this article provides both an analysis and a call upon us.  Written by Amar D. Peterman in August 17, 2021 the author begins:

“In its early stages, the multiracial church movement felt promising. Inspired by the 2004 book United by Faith, this movement held bold aspirations of a racially reconciled, Revelation-like worshiping community. While many questioned whether this elusive dream might become a reality, I wanted it to be true.

Yet, as Tom Gjelten reported for NPR last year, the multiracial church movement failed. While the movement succeeded in racially integrating congregants, many multiracial congregations remained steeped in a Christian faith governed by whiteness. Congregations grew in diversity, yet governance and meaningful decision-making power was safeguarded by cohorts of predominantly white male leadership.

For all its promises, the multiracial church movement was unequipped and under-resourced to deliver. Most importantly, this movement failed to address the distorted imagination of belonging.

To understand this, one must start with a core interpretive assumption held among mainstream evangelicals. The task of hermeneutics, as I was taught at an evangelical Bible college, is a process of ridding oneself of the baggage — the “bias” and “presuppositions” — we bring to the text: our experiences,