Friday, March 23, 2012

Could this be the reason?

Methodists were once a robust people in America.  Today their ranks are at least a third less than they once numbered, their churches hardly a bastion of traditional moral order and creedal confession, and their future more in doubt than ever before.  Could this be one reason?  You tell me...
  • 166 We believe in God, Creator of the world; and in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation. We believe in the Holy Spirit, through whom we acknowledge God’s gifts, and we repent of our sin in misusing these gifts to idolatrous ends.
  • We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.
  • We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and the family.
  • We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.
  • We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.
  • We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people of the world.
  • We believe in the present and final triumph of God’s Word in human affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the gospel in the world. Amen.
 (It is recommended that this statement of Social Principles be continually available to United Methodist Christians and that it be emphasized regularly in every congregation. It is further recommended that "Our Social Creed" be frequently used in Sunday worship.)

From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church - 2000. Copyright 2000 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you omit the "Great Commission"
from the church's purpose, then you
have short-circuited your reason for
existence as a church. Christ told
us to go and make disciples of all
nations, baptizing and teaching them.

The church has 5 main purposes,
worship, teaching, evangelism,
fellowship, and service. To protect
the environment is not our reason
for existence.

Clair Vaux said...

To protect the environment is not our reason for existence.

In the proper context, yes it is. We are stewards in the Master's House and have been given the responsibility to care for all that He has made. Psalm 95 is a wonderful ordering of the fact that everything belongs to God and is but on loan to us. We are also seeing that environmental degradation affects the poorest populations of the word in a way that it does not those of us privileged to live in the wealthy West.

Just as Adam was given the task of tilling the Garden we, too, are to care for God's good earth.

Certainly we can use the resources of the earth to support human life but the dreadful extreme utilitarianism of the past couple hundred years has led many creatures to the brink of extinction.

The Methodist statement does need to recapture the Great Commission and all that it entails but at the same time we are part of the great web of life on this planet and part of the suffering creation that awaits liberation from the effects of the Fall.

I once saw a wonderful Lutheran artwork saying that "Creation awaits Salvation's reign." When Paul speaks of the redemption of the Cosmos it does not refer to man only.

Christine

Anonymous said...

I find the Methodists interesting, as there are many more of them than Lutherans. It is extremely difficult to find negative or critical press about the Methodists either in the mainstream media or in the Internet. Why is this the case.

The Methodists really know how to maintain a balancing act of appearing traditional while quietly endorsing the tenets of liberal Christianity. Here is one example:

http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1355351/k.2E2B/Our_People.htm

Read the section titled "The People of The United Methodist Church".

The values outlined in that section are not placed in any specific context. Think about the beliefs of the ELCA while reading them.

http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=2041977&ct=7315423

Lutheran Pastor said...

There are not so many more Methodists than Lutherans. In fact, probably about even now at least in the US but about 3x as many Lutherans worldwide.

Anonymous said...

You hear about ELCA Lutherans leaving in droves, but where do disaffected Methodists go? As the Methodist headquarters owns all of the church property, only individuals church members may leave.

Lutheran Pastor: Te future of the LCMS is in Africa and in South/Central America. Perhaps the LCMS needs to relocate offshore.

Lutheran Pastor said...

Not as long as 75% of Americans are not churched; we dare not abandon our own back yards because the mission is easier or seems more fruitful somewhere else.

Lutheran Pastor said...

Correction above: should have read IN church -- meaning Sunday morning.

Anonymous said...

Lutheran pastor: Then why is it so common for an LCMS church to sponsor a congregation in the third world, while a sister congregation or preaching station in the same circuit is on life support and gets completely ignored.

Anonymous said...

I find the Methodists interesting, as there are many more of them than Lutherans. It is extremely difficult to find negative or critical press about the Methodists either in the mainstream media or in the Internet. Why is this the case.

meh, why waste ammo to kill something that is committing suicide on its own? Methodists are self annihilators.

Anonymous said...

"where do disaffected Methodists go?"

Church of the Nazarene

Anonymous said...

The Nazarenes? I understand the Nazarenes are a Pentecostal sect. Well then, no drinking, dancing, or card playing for you!

By the way, Joseph Smith was a Methodist before he had his "revelations" and started the Mormon church.

Anonymous said...

"I understand the Nazarenes are a Pentecostal sect."


Nah, not Nazarenes. They are about what Methodists were 50 years ago.

Anonymous said...

When a Methodist leaves for the Nazarene church, he or she rejects Historical/Higher criticism. Leaving the ELCA for an ELCA-lite church accomplishes nothing. I am still waiting for the LCMC and the NALC to abandon Historical/Higher criticism.

Although it is not loudly advertised, James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, is Nazarene. His organization reflects Nazarene theology. I wish his ministry well.

Anonymous said...

Has Chris Rosborough ever explained why he left the Nazarene church for the LCMS?