Christian McShaffrey on An Open Letter to United Methodists

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of BCNN1. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

While I am very sorry to hear of the painful divisions your denomination has been experiencing since the General Conference in 2019, I am writing to assure you that there is hope for the future through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ah, but what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Does it, perhaps, change with time or is it — like Jesus himself — the same; yesterday, today, and forever?

The Anglican ministers who founded your denomination in the 18th-century (e.g., John Wesley and George Whitefield) had a very clear understanding of the Gospel.

The early Methodists were in complete agreement with Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Lutherans over the doctrine of Justification, but they felt that the doctrine of Sanctification had been neglected.

To be clear, Wesley saw Justification as an instantaneous experience of the new birth (or regeneration) and Sanctification as the process of becoming more holy.

As Wesley preached, he offered people not only the hope of immediate forgiveness of sin, but also the hope of gradually learning to sin less. This is “traditional methodism” and it has changed millions of lives for the better.

There is, sadly, a “new methodism” that would not only leave people in their sins, but even affirm and celebrate those sins. These are not the old sins of thievery, drunkenness, fornication, etc., but the very abomination that caused Sodom and Gomorrah to be wiped off the face of the earth: Homosexuality.

You will probably remember that before Sodom was destroyed, God graciously offered his people a way of escape. A man named Lot took that way of escape, but his dear wife, looking back, was turned into a pillar of salt.

This is the kind of pain that modern Methodists can expect to feel due to the recently announced “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation”.

This “protocol” is essentially a way for “traditional” Methodist congregations to withdraw peacefully from the United Methodist Church. While the traditionalists should be thankful for a peaceful way of escape, they should also brace themselves for the pain that will undoubtedly be experienced.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Christian McShaffrey