Methodist Corner

Methodist Corner

So much to do, so little time. You'll find here, from time to time, posts on various topics. Whatever has my attention at the moment will find it's way here.

Friday, June 30, 2006

My Blog has Moved, You Will Be Redirected in 5 Seconds.

It's now located at

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Invitation to Join

If your interested in joining an email discussion list concerning all things UMC, then stop by Aldersgate1 at Yahoo Groups.
From the group description...
"This Group is a forum for members and friends of the United Methodist Church who wish to discuss our beliefs and traditions."


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What's Your Eschatology

This "What's Your Eschatology" quiz has been around for several months, but I just now had the opportunity to take it. No suprises here, although I must confess, I've studied eschatology just enough to consider myself a staunch pan-millenialist. Meaning I believe it will all "pan-out" in the end. It is fun though, to "wrestle" with the deeper meaning of God's word. Some would say that it's better just to leave those "deeper" things to God and find out the answers on the other side of eternity. I however, would rather think that any question that brings us closer to knowing who God is, as limited as that "knowing" may be, is a question worth asking. Anyway, here are my results...

You scored as Amillenialist. Amillenialism believes that the 1000 year reign is not literal but figurative, and that Christ began to reign at his ascension. People take some prophetic scripture far too literally in your view.





Moltmannian Eschatology








Left Behind


What's your eschatology?
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If you're interested, here are some definitions that might be helpful.

Eschatology literally means the study of the eschaton, the times of the end, 'last things', or 'end times.

Amillennialism is the teaching that there is no literal 1000 year reign of Christ as referenced in Revelation 20. It sees the 1000 year period spoken of in Revelation 20 as figurative. Instead, it teaches that we are in the millennium now, and that at the return of Christ (1 Thess. 4:16 - 5:2) there will be the final judgment and the heavens and the earth will then be destroyed and remade (2 Pet. 3:10).

Preterism is a variant of Christian eschatology which deals with the position of past-fulfilment of the Last Days (or End Times) prophecies in varying degrees. The term preterism is derived from the word preterite, or past perfect tense; it also has its roots in the Latin word præter, meaning "past." Adherents of Preterism are known as Preterists.

Partial preterism is a form of Christian eschatology that holds much in common with but is distinct from Full preterism (or 'consistent' or 'hyper' preterism) in that it places the events of most of the Book of Revelation as occurring during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (and/or Rome several centuries later) yet still affirms an orthodox future bodily return of Christ to earth at an unknown day and hour. Partial preterism sees Matthew 24, the Book of Daniel and most of the Book of Revelation (besides its last 2 or 3 chapters) as speaking about events no later than the first century AD, and about a coming of Christ in judgement not the (second, final and bodily) coming of Christ.

Postmillennialism in Christian eschatology is an interpretation of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation which sees Christ's second coming as occurring after or post- the thousand year "millennium".

Premillennialism in Christian eschatology is the interpretation of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation in the Bible which sees Christ's second coming as occurring before or pre- his literal thousand year reign on earth which some envision to be centred literally on King David's throne in Jerusalem.

Dispensationalism is a method of interpreting the Bible that divides history into distinct eras or "dispensations" in which God deals with man in a distinctive way and, in some cases, in which God's ethical standards change.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

UM Action Briefing - Winter 2006

Read the latest UMAction Briefing from the Institute on Religion
and Democracy

  • Judeo-Christian Standard for Lake Junaluska is Rejected
  • UM Judicial Council Was Correct
  • UM Lobbyist Attacks President Bush
  • Missions Agency Defends Secular Political Grants
  • Wesley Professor Addresses Pro-Life Service
  • Bouknight Declares Bright Future for UMC
  • UM Evangelism Professor Describes Church Growth

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Monday, March 27, 2006

The Holiness Manifesto

An article in Christianity Today highlights "The Holiness Manifesto". Could this be a blueprint for churches today?
"In February, the top leaders of ten historic Holiness denominations released a theological manifesto to rearticulate their key doctrines for today."
Could it be that a return to the teaching of "holiness of heart and life" espoused by our founder, John Wesley, is just what we need to turn around the seemingly unstoppable exodus of members from our mainline churches?

Considering this recent quote from an article by the United Methodist News Service, it is obvious that we are in desperate need of change.

"There is one number in our denomination which keeps going up,' Coyner said. 'It is the percentage of churches that did not receive even one person as a new member by profession of faith, a number that is now up to 43 percent.

'If there is any number in our denomination that is steadily growing, that is it, and it is causing all kinds of other numbers to decline, including our ability to stand before God and say we are doing a good job in making disciples.' "


U.S. Churches Face Crisis, Discipleship Leaders Say - UMNS
The Holiness Manifesto - Christianity Today Magazine

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Ok, I Admit It. I'm Scared.

Actually, TERRIFIED is more like it. What do you do when you find yourself face to face with fear? I know what your thinking. "Where's your faith brother?" Well, that's the exact question I'm hoping you'll help me answer. How do you find you're faith when confronted with the possibility that deep within you lurks a sniveling coward who's greatest wish is to remain hidden within the dark recesses of your seldom visited past?

I think I know how Moses must have felt when God told him to return to Egypt. Here Moses is, standing in the very presence of God, witnessing what can only be described as a miracle - "The Burning Bush", and still finds room for doubt. "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" Moses asks. At this point, you'd think it wouldn't matter what you thought of yourself. God says "Go", so go. What more do you need?

I ask myself that question. "What more do I need?" But, unlike Moses, I haven't had that "burning bush" experience. Or have I? You see, in the dark recesses of my being, where the "sniveling coward" waits, there appears to be something invading his space. It is just a tiny pin-prick of brilliant white light. There! Hovering in the darkness... I'll cover it with my thumb... That doesn't help... It seems to know my very thoughts, anticipates my every action... This way, that way, it moves just enough to evade my fumbling... Is it growing? No, that can't be. STOP, NO, they'll see me. They can't see me. What will they think. They'll know me for who and what I really am. But what does it matter? He sees me, He knows me, but in spite of it all, has chosen me anyway. Should I surrender? Give in to the intruder? I can't, but I must. It's death, but it's life.

Jesus said "I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness." (Joh 12:46)

So, what is it that I'm afraid of? Terrified of?
Moving. That's it. Moving. My wife and I feel that God is leading us to Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. That would mean leaving our small Mississippi hometown and moving 481 miles away. I know it's not that far, but for me, it might as well be on the other side of the planet. Mississippi has been my home for thirty-three of my thirty-six years. I have a good job that pays well, a nice home, and family nearby. I'm comfortable, I'm content, what could God possibly want with me?

God almighty, what in the world are You thinking? I can't do this. You're asking me to leave the only home I've ever known, drag my children away from their family and friends, and ask my wife to do the same. I thought I had given You everthing you wanted. Who knew You'd ask for my life as well? But that's exactly what you're asking for isn't it?

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
(Rom 11:36,12:1)

Please pray for us.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Graduate Student Kicked Out of Internship Based on Religious Beliefs

An online article on the Pacific Justice Institute website reports another obvious example of anti-Christian sentiment in the secular workplace. The article states...
CSULB ordered Ms. Escobar to sign a document admitting that she had “an inability to separate her religious beliefs from her role as a[n] . . . Intern.” She was also directed to refrain from sharing her faith, even during breaks and after work hours.
Would someone please tell me how it's possible to seperate yourself from your beliefs, especially religious beliefs. Aren't our beliefs an expression of who we are? To seperate yourself from your beliefs would be to fundamentally alter your character. That's not to say that your beliefs can't change or evolve, but as they do, YOU change.

Are you - Christian- willing to change who you are? Isn't that what the Romans asked the early Christians?

"It's ok for you to be a Christian," they said. "As long as your willing to worship our gods as well. Just leave your Christianity at the temple door. You can pick it up again on your way out."

Now Christians are being asked to leave their Christianity in their locker along with their jacket. Or maybe put it in your drawer beside your purse. Don't worry, you can pick it up again when you leave. Better still, leave it at home or in your church. Yeah, that's the answer, leave it at home. That way you'll be sure not to offend anyone with your talk of a "better way".

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Friday, February 17, 2006

There's No Such Thing as a Silly Question!

In a recent email exchange from the United Methodist eMail group someone wrote the following.

"The questions we vigorously debate will be revealed as the work of Satan to divide us."
The following was my response...

Work of Satan? The debate maybe, the division probably, but the questions... I don't think so.
It's not the questions that divide us, but the hardness of our hearts. Some will say that the questions/debate about "non-essentials" aren't all that important. I disagree. Our conclusions concerning "non-essentials" may not be important, but the questions certainly are. They represent humanity's need to know it's creator. Your questions, my questions, can reveal more about us than our "statement of beliefs". It's what we don't know or what we're unsure of that pushes us forward in our quest for truth. Is it possible for God to be glorified through our debate? Certainly. The search for truth, for God's own truth, can be a glorious "means of grace".

I have a very dear friend who believes "once-saved always-saved". I disagree. I met Bob in a UMC Sunday School class where every morning we would discuss various "theological" issues. The teacher always seemed to steer clear of the tough questions and would never contradict statements made by anyone, no matter how far from orthodox they were. Somehow we got on the subject of OSAS and Bob made the emphatic claim that he would question the salvation of anyone who didn't believe it. We went back and forth for a few minutes and eventually agreed to "debate" the OSAS position next Sunday.

Some of the church leaders were absolutely terrified. All they could see was division, and they just knew that this was going to "tear the church apart". That next Sunday, we had our debate and in the classroom were several people that hadn't been there in quite some time. You see, the word had gotten out that Allen and Bob would be debating a very contentious subject and people wanted to be there to see what all the fuss was about. Maybe they came just to see a good fight, but the outcome was miraculous. I didn't change Bob's mind, and he didn't change mine. I'm not sure that anyone changed their mind concerning OSAS, but people were changed. I can't tell you how many people came up to me afterward to express their new found excitement. Apparently, our "questions" had prompted other "questions". People who hadn't read their Bibles in years we're not just reading them, but studying them. Their questions were prompting them to learn more of who God is.

My wife and I have been married fifteen years. Each day brings me new insight into who she is and what my response as her husband should be. As I seek to know and understand her, my love and appreciation for her grows. Our relationship with God is much the same. As we seek to know Him, we find out just how lovely He is.

As for me and Bob, what others thought would tear us apart, has led to a long and lasting friendship. Participating with others seeking to "know" God in a meaningful way, seeing the expressions of God's grace in their lives, and seeing God from their perspective can have a profound impact on our spiritual growth.

Paul had something to say about our "debates". He said, "Each person must be fully convinced in their own mind." He of course, was talking about the debate over food and festivals, but I think the passage from Romans 14 applies to our "non-essential" debates as well

...End response

This has really started me thinking, about how we tell our children that there is no such thing as a silly question, especially when they're just trying to learn about this world they live in. Do you think God ever thinks our "questions" are "silly"?

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Why are United Methodists Mute in face of Calvinism?

In a recent article , in The United Methodist Reporter, Rev. Donald W. Haynes discusses the apparent lack of "free will" authors. He also mentions the "secret weapon" of early methodism - Books. In "Why are United Methodists Mute in face of Calvinism?" he states...
"If we have no free will, we are not moral, responsible daughters and sons of the most high God, born in God'’s image. Rather we are robots, marionettes on a string, pre-programmed micro-chips.

Methodism, speak up! Preachers, become prophetic. Develop what your forebears called "“holy boldness".” Don'’t be intimidated by predestination in "grace clothing"."
I am often amazed at the lack of "Wesleyanism" encountered in our Methodist churches. Maybe it's just those I've been associated with, but there seems to be a serious lack of "Wesleyan/Arminian" theology being taught in our Methodist churches today. Maybe it's just the location, that's deep-south, where there are as many "Baptists", theologically speaking, in our pews as Methodists.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

We Are What We Behold

Christianity today has posted an excellent editorial addressing the two-edged sword of cultural influence.
"Scripture gives only one antidote for the temptation that cultural influence presents- —worship of the living God."
How many of our churches have become hubs of social activism instead of assemblies for communall worship? However, I would rather a church be a "hub of social activism" than "meet, greet, and gossip social clubs"; but that's a different topic altogether.

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