These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
Browse posts tag by Biblical
HOMOSEXUALITY ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE

HOMOSEXUALITY ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE

December 21, 2016 By dwayman

By David R. Bauer

Like all Christian bodies, the Free Methodist Church is presently confronted with the necessity of responding to strong cultural pressures to accept homosexual relationships, especially those described as “monogamous, covenantal partnerships.” The recent move to legalize “gay marriage” in many states (and nations) has provided the impetus to address this matter with urgency, intentionality, and careful deliberation.

The biblical understanding and evaluation of homosexuality stand at the center of the Church’s response. This centrality of the Bible in the current discussion stems from two considerations. First, the Christian Church in general and the Free Methodist Church in particular hold the Bible to be the ultimate authority in all matters pertaining to faith and conduct. Indeed, the refusal to accept homosexuality in the Christian tradition throughout history derives from the biblical witness. Second, the Bible’s consistent negative appraisal of homosexuality is the primary obstacle to the acceptance of homosexuality by the majority of contemporary Christians and Christian bodies.

A proper examination of the biblical position will be sensitive to both exegetical and hermeneutical issues. In an effort to acknowledge the historical and incarnational character of the Scriptures, an appropriate examination will carefully pursue the exegesis, or interpretation, of relevant passages in order to ascertain how the inspired authors intended that the original readers in their own historical contexts should understand these passages. But such an examination will recognize also that the Bible is more than an amalgam of passages. The Bible is canonical Scripture,

PASTORAL RESPONSES TO MARITAL FAILURE

PASTORAL RESPONSES TO MARITAL FAILURE

December 21, 2016 By dwayman

David W. Kendall
2012

In the gospel records the opponents of Jesus attempt to drag him into the controversy over grounds of divorce. They put the question to Jesus, is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason? (Matthew 19:3). Clearly these Pharisees, conservative by bent, observing what they perceive to be Jesus’ rather low or liberal view of law based on His treatment of people and apparent violation of the traditions of the elders, put the question in terms of the liberal interpretive view: Are they correct to say that any offense can be grounds for failing to keep the marriage covenant? Jesus refuses to go there. He cites the Genesis-Creative design and supports the permanence of the marriage covenant. He does so over against the liberal view of the law. But Jesus does not stop with a critique of the liberal view. He implies that even the conservative view may be suspect. He does so when the Pharisees respond by citing the Mosaic provision for a certificate of divorce. Why did Moses make this provision, if not to be used? Jesus answers that Moses conceded to the hardness of human hearts. The provision was made to clean up the relational and social mess created by hard-hearted refusal to keep covenant in relation to wife and God. But it was never God’s intent that marriages should end. So, Jesus concludes that one who divorces his wife forces her to commit adultery,

WESLEYAN PERSPECTIVES ON WOMEN IN MINISTRY

WESLEYAN PERSPECTIVES ON WOMEN IN MINISTRY

December 20, 2016 By douglas-britt

Azusa Pacific University — July 2005 – Dr. Karen Strand Winslow

This presentation was created to address a need in Free Methodist churches for education about the ordination and placement of women pastors in order that people in and out of the church might experience the salvation of God as preached and enacted by women pastors. In spite of our formal denominational stance, which is to ordain women as elders and located them, Free Methodist women face opposition from local congregations who have not resolved objections to women ministers. Many steps have been taken to ameliorate this problem, which is, to a significant degree, one of lack of education, exposure, and experience. One such step, this paper, requested by the Board of Bishops, was created to address objections, and answer questions regarding women pastors.

Those who resist women preaching and ministering often do so on the grounds of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:12-15, which seem to restrict first century Corinthian and Ephesian women from conversing and teaching in the emerging church. However some of the Free Methodists among these are unaware of why their church ordains women. Like many Christians, they think the New Testament allows women to serve in all sorts of capacities in the church except that of senior pastor. Thus, a large part of the discussion below examines these passages.

Free Methodist churches claim the Wesleyan theological foundation for faith and practice. The term “Wesleyan” means a holistic methodology that widely embraces Scripture,

FMC STATEMENT ON WOMEN IN MINISTRY

FMC STATEMENT ON WOMEN IN MINISTRY

December 20, 2016 By dwayman

Statement adopted by the 1995 General Conference of the Free Methodist Church of North America

The General Conference of 1974 passed a resolution “giving women equal status with men in the ministry of the church” (General Conference Minutes, p. 388). According to the General Conference report in the Light & Life magazine, the vote was unanimous. That vote, in the minds of many, settled the issue and they turned their attention to other concerns. During the intervening twenty years, the denomination’s position has not changed. However, outside the denomination, the voices opposing women in ministry and limiting the leadership roles of women in the local church have become more assertive. Some of those voices are respected evangelical leaders (e.g., refer to J. I. Packer below) who seem to be ignorant of Wesleyan/holiness church history, inferring that anyone who differs from them is playing fast and loose with Scripture. This is confusing to many. On the other hand, within the denomination there is growing concern over the fact that, though women officially have access to full ordination and any role in the church, few women are in leadership positions. At a time when women are entering formerly male-dominated professions in increasing numbers and providing community leadership, the percentage of women among Free Methodist pastors, especially senior pastors, and in church and conference leadership roles, is not growing as would be expected. Given these concerns, the Study Commission on Doctrine believes it is time to articulate anew the church’s position on women in ministry.

FRAMING MISSIONAL RESPONSE TO 21ST CENTURY CHALLENGES

FRAMING MISSIONAL RESPONSE TO 21ST CENTURY CHALLENGES

December 20, 2016 By dwayman

By Bishop David Kendall

The Challenges of Same-Sex Marriage

Biblical, Theological, Historical Framework

We will respond to the proponents of same sex marriage and our friends who experience same sex attraction out of the larger historical and theological framework of the biblical story. According to our scriptural story, God created all that is and is committed to redeem the whole of creation. God calls a people through whom he chooses to work for the world’s well-being, in continuity with God’s original creation-design to entrust the world to the care, keeping, and developing of the human beings who bear God’s image. Through the people of Abraham, Israel, Judah, Messiah, and the Church (a renewed and expanded “Israel”) God offers grace and power to redeem the world and its peoples.

As part of the Church, therefore, we are on mission with Jesus to accomplish the plans of God for his world. That mission is revealed in the Scriptures, grounded in the historical ministry of Jesus, and will consummate in partnership with all Jesus’ followers who continue with his power and authority what he began until the end of the age.

Accordingly, we understand our identity and calling in continuity with the historic and kingdom agency of God’s people. The primary trajectories for mission trace to the fulfillment brought in Jesus. We understand our calling to be that of followers, of continuing with Jesus to bring his kingdom work to fullness of expression in our world today.

RESPONSE TO SEXUALITY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION

RESPONSE TO SEXUALITY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION

December 20, 2016 By dwayman

By Bishop Matthew Thomas

Anyone living in 21st century North America should be familiar with changing societal mores regarding human sexuality. Most pastors have frequent opportunities for ministry and face questions pertaining to Biblical teaching on sexual matters and how it applies to their ministry- preaching, teaching, baptism, discipleship, membership and marriage. What is the Free Methodist Church’s position, understanding of and ministry counsel related to these matters?

The Biblical and historic understanding of the church on sexuality and marriage have remained largely unchanged in most of Protestantism and other Orthodox movements of the church throughout the centuries. But, societal changes in terminology and sexual expression press the church to clarify its terms and shape the church’s response while maintaining integrity with Scripture and the church’s doctrine. Refining responses and engaging societally changing norms is important for all pastors. Freelancing in theology praxis resulting in simply succumbing to societal pressure for conformity or developing unhealthy and graceless responses are not options for pastoral response. The church’s primary task remains to serve Christ and remain faithful to Him and His Word.

Fidelity to a Biblical hermeneutic and Scriptural authority has been sacrificed on this one issue in many churches and denominations. Modifying Biblical interpretation in ways that forsake sound exegesis in this one area renders suspect exegetical integrity on all other matters. The list of churches and denominations that have modified their exegesis resulting in a diminished their view of Scriptural authority are numerous. This has become a hermeneutical watershed for many since the Scriptures are consistent and clear on most issues connecting gender relationships as it relates to sexuality.