EVANGELICALISM’S FATAL FLAW

EVANGELICALISM’S FATAL FLAW

February 2, 2024 By dwayman

The leading Free Methodist author, Rev. Dr. Howard Snyder, provides an insightful historical and theological study of why the Evangelical church has lost its way.  Though most Free Methodists identify as Wesleyan rather than Evangelical due to the reasons noted in this study, it is important to understand what has and is happening within a large branch of American Christianity.

Evangelicalism’s Fatal Flaw Howard A. Snyder

Evangelicalism in the U.S. suffers from a fatal flaw.

What in the world is “evangelicalism”? The term is contested and variously defined. In the United States however it has come to mean doctrinally conservative Protestants, especially white Protestants, who are also very conservative politically. That perception has taken hold in the media and is backed by evangelicals’ voting record in the past several Presidential elections, going back to Ronald Reagan.

What is evangelicalism really though, theologically speaking? British Baptist historian David Bebbington formulated a definition in the 1980s that is now widely accepted. According to Bebbington, evangelicals are defined by four marks: biblicism (a high view of biblical authority); crucicentrism (central focus on Christ’s atonement); conversionism (conversion by faith in Jesus Christ is essential); and activism (the Christian duty to evangelize).

I have never liked this definition. It doesn’t really click with my own experience growing up in the Free Methodist Church. I always felt something was missing, especially for those of us in the Wesleyan and holiness tradition.

I used to think Bebbington’s definition wasn’t quite right.

PUTIN AND THE CHURCH

August 10, 2023 By dwayman

The Christianity of President Putin is stated by this researcher as having a union of church and state.  The comparison is made between the leadership of Hitler and Putin as both seeing themselves as having the Divine right to conquer others.  In Putin’s case it is to fulfill the destiny of Russia as the 3rd Jerusalem.

Rob Schwarzwalder writes:

“This mystical belief has caused Putin to believe he, himself, is imbued with the spirit of his nation. Shortly before Lent, one of his business associates asked Putin about asking forgiveness before a priest. Putin responded, “‘I am the President of Russia. Why should I ask for forgiveness?’”

When a leader believes he is the personification of the state itself, specially chosen by God to lead his country to conquest and triumph, trouble looms — as the people of Ukraine have learned with great pain. The German philosopher G.F. Hegel claimed that the state — a centralized government with power over every institution and person within the borders it controls — “is the march of God on earth.” This is precisely the approach taken by the Nazis concerning Adolf Hitler. The so-called “Fuhrer (leader) principle” was made clear by one of Hitler’s lapdog apologists, Rudolf Hess: “Hitler is Germany and Germany is Hitler. Whatever he does is necessary. Whatever he does is successful. Clearly the Führer has divine blessing.” This is why negotiating with Putin has proven so difficult.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND REAL RELATIONSHIP

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND REAL RELATIONSHIP

July 23, 2023 By dwayman

As the conversation about the benefits and dangers of Artificial Intelligence occurs within our academic, business and political cultures, Dr. Sam Wells, Vicar of St. Martin in the Fields, London, brings the Christian church into this larger conversation.  Preached on July 16, 2023, Pastor Wells begins:

Reading for address: Romans 8: 1-11

“Earlier this year, the CEOs of the leading global tech research organisations announced their recommendation that ‘Mitigating the risk of extinction from artificial intelligence should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.’ This statement marked a parting of the ways.

Up until this year there’d been two conversations about artificial intelligence. The dominant one was one of promise: it was about how artificial intelligence was coming to be used in more and more ways that both took over the roles performed by human beings, resulting in less burdensome work and more leisure, and offered to improve the results of human investigation. The quieter conversation was one of threat: it was about how AI could jeopardise human existence, either by becoming as superior to humans as humans are to gorillas, or by being so set on achieving its goal it stopped at nothing to obliterate humankind. What the tech CEOs are now saying is that the conversation about benign promise has been superseded by the conversation about looming threat. So it’s time for some serious consideration of AI and of how church and world should respond to it.

FULLER’S BIBLICAL SUPPORT FOR WOMEN IN MINISTRY

June 13, 2023 By dwayman

David M. Scholer

As an historically more reformed seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary has supported the equal calling of Women in Ministry since 1966.  In this positional statement Professor David. M. Scholer provides an extensive biblical study on this support.  Click here for the entire article.

Women in Ministry

In the following article, we present Fuller Seminary’s position on women in ministry, as described and biblically supported by the late Professor of New Testament David M. Scholer.

An Introduction

Women have contributed much to the ministry of the Church throughout its history. However, their role in this area has never been free from controversy. Today, most church bodies are discussing the place of women in their ministries. Crucial to these discussions for many of us are the matters of faithful biblical interpretation…

The Basis in Creation

First, man (‘adam), a generic term meaning the “human person,” is created in God’s very own image (Genesis 1:26–27; 5:1–2). This creation in God’s image includes the identification of persons as male and female. This mutuality of women and men carries no suggestion of male headship or female submission.

Second, this mutuality is confirmed by the fact that both the man and the woman together, without distinction, are charged with responsibility for all of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26, 28). This equal partnership between man and woman is also present in the retelling of the creation story in Genesis 2.

FULL IMPLICATIONS OF BEING PRO-LIFE

FULL IMPLICATIONS OF BEING PRO-LIFE

May 31, 2023 By dwayman

Rev. David Wisener, Redeemer Free Methodist Church

I’m concerned pro-life Christians aren’t being ethically comprehensive. We need to reflect a coherent ethic that does justice to the value of all human life. We need to both recognize how wide- ranging the issues are surrounding the protection of life and be more precise with how we define the stances we choose to take.

A prime example for more precision is The Book of Discipline’s statement regarding abortion: “The intentional abortion of a person’s life, from conception on, must be judged to be a violation of God’s command, ‘You shall not commit murder,’ except when extreme circumstances require the termination of a pregnancy to save the life of the pregnant woman.”

The statement implicitly assumes all instances of terminating a human embryo occur within a woman’s body, but that is not the case. What of embryos that are created as part of invitro fertilization? In this process, several are created and frozen until a couple decides what they want to do with them: one or more are selected to be implanted to carry to term, but what about the others? The only options available are for the couple to either donate them to other couples; donate them for scientific use; dispose of them; or keep them frozen.

Yet, if we are going to use the same ethical logic from The Book of Discipline stated above, unless a couple donates their remaining embryos to other couples,

A CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS

A CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS

May 26, 2023 By dwayman

Rev. Dr. Keith Cowart

Beyond These Walls Conference (ILI)

The Woodlands: Houston, Texas

April 2023

Dr. Keith Coward is a candidate for bishop.  To see his introduction click here.  To hear his interview click here.

 

A Church Without Walls video click here.

 

Speaking of Jews and Gentiles, the Apostle Paul declares in Ephesians 2:14:

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…

When I was 6 years old my parents made a decision that would shape my life in ways I never could have imagined. They decided to send me to the newly integrated public school instead of the brand new private school that most of my friends would be attending. As a result, I was one of the first in our county to attend twelve years in a fully integrated school. Most of my new friends were black. We went to class together. We were in the same clubs. We played sports together. That’s me circled in red – the kid with the great hair. (The Lord gives and the Lord takes away!) Now, there were some interesting policies in our school,

SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH

SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH

May 23, 2023 By dwayman

“A Surgeon General’s Advisory is a public statement that calls the American people’s attention to an urgent public health issue and provides recommendations for how it should be addressed. Advisories are reserved for significant public health challenges that require the nation’s immediate awareness and action.”

More research is needed to fully understand the impact of social media; however, the current body of evidence indicates that while social media may have benefits for some children and adolescents, there are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents. At this time, we do not yet have enough evidence to determine if social media is sufficiently safe for children and adolescents. We must acknowledge the growing body of research about potential harms, increase our collective understanding of the risks associated with social media use, and urgently take action to create safe and healthy digital environments that minimize harm and safeguard children’s and adolescents’ mental health and well-being during critical stages of development.

The influence of social media on youth mental health is shaped by many complex factors, including, but not limited to, the amount of time children and adolescents spend on platforms, the type of content they consume or are otherwise exposed to, the activities and interactions social media affords, and the degree to which it disrupts activities that are essential for health like sleep and physical activity.6 Importantly, different children and adolescents are affected by social media in different ways,

JONAH, A LEGACY OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES

JONAH, A LEGACY OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES

May 21, 2023 By dwayman

JONAH, A LEGACY OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES

Rev. Dr. Amelia Traylor, M.D.

This sermon was given July 2022 at Northern Hills UMC

Rev. Dr. Amelia Traylor is a candidate for bishop.

You can hear Dr. Traylor’s introduction here.

You can hear her interview here.

Amelia Traylor is a medical doctor who is also a Superintendent in the River Conference.  This sermon is given when Dr. Traylor is a guest speaker at a UM church and her sermon begins 24 minutes into the service.  You can watch the video by clicking here.

THE GOD WHO SEES AND HEARS

THE GOD WHO SEES AND HEARS

May 21, 2023 By dwayman

THE GOD WHO SEES AND HEARS

Genesis 16

Rev. Dr. Michael Traylor, M.D.

Rev. Traylor is a candidate for bishop.

You can see his introduction here.

To see his interview click here.

This sermon was given on October 30, 2022 at New Hope Free Methodist Church.  Click here and start at the 49th minute into the service with the Scripture reading and Rev. Traylor’s insightful study follows.

PowerPoint for the sermon imbedded in the video:

 

ORDINATION SERVICE

ORDINATION SERVICE

May 16, 2023 By dwayman

Bishop Matt Whitehead

at the Ordination Service of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California, May 2021

II Timothy 4:5

Matt Whitehead is a candidate for Bishop.  See his introduction here.  Hear his interview here.

It’s wonderful to be with you. Obviously, with COVID, we’ve all been dealing with this reality of not being able to be together. It’s been an incredible learning curve, this new role that I’ve been in. My wife said recently, “It will be a shame to come to the end of your four years as a Bishop and never get out of our basement!” So, I’m glad to get out of the basement to be here with you and celebrate.

I’m going to take a few minutes to talk to the ordinands and the ministerial candidates. The rest of you are certainly welcome to listen, but I want to direct my thoughts to you, specifically today, who have taken this significant step of signing on and saying, God, use me! And some of you are coming to the point of ordination, and you’ve been on a journey, and boy, it is not easy to be ordained in the Free Methodist Church. We don’t want it to be frustrating, but it’s not easy. There’s a challenging road. And I know some of you,