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 justice
THE LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

THE LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2018 By dwayman

One of the most powerful statements on the church’s responsibility to work for “justice for all” was written by a Baptist pastor named the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It happened in 1963.

In part he says:

“In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation…

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.



September 27, 2017 By dwayman

We rely on our Free Methodist Universities to provide wisdom and guidance to our denomination.  The religion department of our university in Seattle, Seattle Pacific University has done just that in this statement.  This has been affirmed by our Free Methodist Schools of Theology of our Universities:

The Statement on Racial Justice has been signed by the Theology faculty of five Free Methodist schools:

School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University and Seminary
School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University and Seminary
Bastian School of Theology at Greenville University
School of Theology at Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary
Department of Theology at Spring Arbor University

In cooperation with SPU’s John Perkins Center and Office of University Ministries our theologians give this guidance:

Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Action

As Christian leaders, we commit ourselves to the call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to stand with those who experience discrimination and racism.  We commit ourselves to challenge expressions of racism occurring in various institutions of our nation, such as law enforcement, the legal system, the educational system, political structures, and the Church.

We repent for the ways Christians have been and still are complicit participants in these injustices.  In light of our history and recent events in our nation, we believe it is necessary to reaffirm our commitment to reject ethnic nationalism, injustice, and violence.

We thank God for all who pursue Biblical justice,



August 13, 2017 By dwayman

Understanding privilege is far more difficult for those for whom it is a daily experience.  This causes systems, (church, economic, justice, social, educational) to remain systemically unjust.  Thus when those without privilege step up and ask for justice, the privileged feel threatened or displaced.

It is not enough to just understand privilege but to also be those who “seek justice” for all.  That is not only a deeply Christian value but a human one.  As Free Methodists our commitment is stated in our Ordination Vow when we say we are “insistent for justice”:  Rooted in a deep love for Christ and sharing His compassion for people, Free Methodist elders help create congregations that are fervent in prayer, enthusiastic in worship, holy in lifestyle, insistent for justice, caring for the poor, and reaching out locally and globally to bring all people into relationship with Jesus Christ.

To help everyone have a common language here is an article post on the conversation-empowering website National Seed Project.  This was written in 1989 as we were just beginning to understand the dynamics.  Much progress has been made since then.

It says in part:

As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege,



April 5, 2017 By dwayman

In 1860 our Free Methodist founder, Benjamin Titus Roberts, wrote in the April EARNEST CHRISTIAN that:

Open opposition to all wrong and injustice is another element of Scriptural righteousness. Many who will not do wrong themselves will countenance it, at least indirectly, in others. This is usually the first step in a loss of virtue. They who, for the sake of party interest, personal relationship, or any other cause, is silent when they should reprove, will soon apologize for, then justify, then approve, and, if occasion serves, perpetuate the wrong from which, at first, their moral sensibilities revolted. 

Often as we live our blessed lives due to Christ’s work in us, we can live in that blessing without speaking out against the injustice and wrong so prevalent in our day.  These convicting words, written 157 years ago, remind us that Christ calls  us to an active participation in bringing justice and mercy to our world.

Our 2015 Free Methodist Book of Discipline says it this way:

¶3221       Worth of Persons

We are committed to the worth of all humans regardless of gender, race, color, or any other distinctions (Acts 10:34-35) and will respect them as persons made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection.

The  Old  Testament  law  commands  such  respect  (Deuteronomy 5:11-21). Jesus summarized this law as love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).