Nathan Lesher History and Polity: A Future With A History October 14, 2010 Introduction Sir Winston Churchill once
said, The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see. Ecclesiastically, the Free Methodist heritage is one that continues to grow towards a bright future while not neglecting past heritage. In the book, A Future With A History, David McKenna articulates how Free Methodism came to be and how social, political, organizational, spiritual, and globally how change continues to be a theme for our denomination. I will give a brief summary of the book and unpack some things I learned along the way. Beginning Between 1858 and 1860, a number of leaders, including B.T. Roberts were excluded from the Methodist Episcopal Church on various charges and allegations. In reality, the primary issue was their proclamation of the basic principles of Methodism, especially the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification. Appeals made to the General Conference of May 1860 were denied. Those excluded could not join any other Methodist body, for there was none that agreed with them on the issues on which they were shoved out. Therefore, the Free Methodist Church was organized by a convention of lay members and ministers which met at Pekin, Niagara County, New York, on August 23, 1860. Born at a time when representative government was being developed by free societies, the Free Methodist founders reaffirmed the biblical principle of lay ministry. Free Methodists recognize and license unordained persons for particular ministries. They mandate lay
unhealthy compromise on pressing social issues. called Christians to deeper levels of relationship with God and greater concern for the needs of hurting humanity. arising in American Methodism but spreading through other nations and denominations. Free Methodists displayed an awakened principles characteristic of the early Wesleyan movement. Free Methodists are concerned for the whole church. Roberts and other ministers and laypersons in the Genesee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in western New York. Early on. pastors. Socially. They even expressed that woman could be ordinate as ministers but that came to fruition several years later. The newly named Free Methodists sought to maintain the heritage of original
. raised a protest against theological liberalism. and denominational ministries. Small groups of believers are accountable to one another for growth in Christian life and service. Continuation During the nineteenth century.representation in numbers equal to clergy in the councils of the church. the Reverend B. conference. district. superintendents. T. and lay leaders who provide counsel and direction to the church. They value the leadership of bishops. not just the local congregation. the holiness movement. There are lines of responsibility connecting local. but later was reversed in 1936 General Conference. and loss of spiritual fervor. evidenced by continuing active participation in the social concerns of the day. Although issues change. from their early days. Within this context. Their outspoken action against the institution of slavery and the class distinction inherent in the rental of pews to the wealthy demonstrated the spirit of true Methodism. they had a sense of freedom in worship that would be plain with no instruments and choir. the sensitive social conscience remains.
personal and social holiness. 4. 2. Free Methodists have gone across the street. continues to expand around the world through missionary outreach. a deep devotion to Bible study and discipleship. since its inception. authoritative Word of God is the basis of our faith. into the inner city and around the world with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. employing a wide variety of worship styles but always devoted to the concept that the heart of worship is to glorify God and receive biblical instruction.) Being students of the Bible. Local churches.) Witnessing as the goal of Free Methodists is to know Jesus Christ and make Him known. 5. We do this both through the way we live and in sharing the gospel s good news with others. Through regular study of the Scriptures we seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of God. 3. emphasizing faithfulness to the biblical message. 6. universities and
.Methodism with its warm-hearted. the inspired.)Worshiping Free Methodists seek to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23).) A personal relationship with
Jesus Christ and an obedient walk with Him characterize Free Methodist Christians. and a conservative outlook that translates into active concern for the poor and lost everywhere.
The Free Methodist Church. Free Methodism today continues to follow in the footsteps of its founders. exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and live disciplined lives in accord with the Bible s teachings. and a coordinating world organization. followed by the denomination s Christian colleges. the development of additional general conferences. biblical message and lifestyle. Free Methodists seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Some characteristics of Free Methodist Devoted to Christ include: 1. Along the same lines.) Globalminded is taking seriously Jesus Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).) Living holy lives as a people.
is a loaded statement but one that must be taken to heart in every local Free Methodist Church. and undying loyalty to a holy cause. we follow His example in caring and generosity. In a changing world of technology. and continue to share life with others. train and equip men and women for Christian ministry at home and abroad And finally. Only as the past lives in its continuing present. weather. That we are all perfectly positioned in someone s life to influence them in their faith. selfsacrificing service. CACORKE. The need to constantly raise up new leaders. and governments we see transformation
What I took away from this book was that the church is constantly changing. To be able to generate a culture in our churches where lay people are responding to being fisher of men/women. nationally and internationally. we have little to offer in the exceedingly competitive church world of America. 7. will the Free Methodist Church succeed in being relevant. ideas. Without those distinctiveness we shall rapidly lose our distinctiveness and rapidly become irrelevant indeed. By mandating this it will allow for direction and vision. The new initiative by our bishops.
The values of the past for our church lie not in reviving old methods so much as in recapturing the enduring principles and ideals that inspired generations of devout living. Our track record of compassionate outreach is seen locally. Apart from those principles for which our forefathers stood. time. Creating A Culture of Rapid Kingdom Expansion.) Being generous because we love the Lord. We as a church will continue to begin the work with the end in mind. understand society but not become blended (Romans 12:2).
I think we need to stay up to task as leaders. We need to look back at history but continue to look forward to new ideas.
.are around us. concepts and philosophies while not losing the Message.