'Missional Manifesto' Draws Thousands Online

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These are all excellent and thoughtful responses to the Missional Manifesto. Since the document is still very much a work in progress, I hope that these readers will reproduce their comments on the missionalmethodist.org website for the benefit of the writing team. In particular, the issue of "churchy" and "archaic" language has been raised already in other online conversations, so the response given here can help move that revision along. Thank you.

Cynthia Astle more than 5 years ago

Missional Manifesto

I read the Manifesto, and most of it is good. However, there is something that troubles me.

I would have no problem saying "United Methodists assert that God’s love is the most important truth we know and the starting point for the story of salvation."

But I do have trouble with saying "United Methodists assert that God’s love, NOT OUR SIN, is the most important truth we know and the starting point for the story of salvation." The downplaying of the reality of sin is a serious error. Such a statement makes the book of Romans incompatible with Methodism - just read the first three chapters. There is no understanding of God's love unless we first understand that we are sinners. There is no scriptural holiness unless we understand sin.

The best statement of God's love I know is Romans 5:6-8: "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This manifesto sounds great, and nearly all Methodists can affirm it. The problem is that it is nebulous enough to mean something different to all of them."

Somehow that passage seems out of step with the Missional Manifesto, or vice versa.

Mike Childs more than 5 years ago

Dismay at Missional Manifesto

When I read the “Missional Manifesto for the People Called United Methodist,” which is being proposed by a group of UMs, it made me want to cry. I was even more dismayed when I read that thousands of UMs are endorsing it.

I was dismayed by its use of masculine language for God, and by its literalist reference to “the return of Christ.” But most of all, I was dismayed by its advocating the use of John Wesley’s General Rules as a “common rule of life” for United Methodists in 2012.

You can read the General Rules on the UMC website at http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1658. According to this official UMC website, they were written by Wesley in 1735, nearly 300 years ago now. They are expressed in the language of 1735. While many of the rules call for behavior that some Christians still consider admirable, all of it is described in ways that are, to say the least, quaint for 2012. Some of the “evils” they require Methodists to avoid seem totally unrealistic today: “the putting on of gold and costly apparel,” for example. And to say that being a Methodist requires “a desire to flee from the wrath to come” seems totally unlikely to make any of today’s people want to join us.

Although John Wesley was an admirable Christian and an innovative and forward-looking one for his time, his time is now long past, and much has been learned about the Bible and Christian history since his time. For this reason, I am dismayed to see today’s UMs being asked--and especially to see many agreeing--to specifically “affirm the teachings of John Wesley” as the current Missional Manifesto asks. What seems vastly more appropriate for Christians in 2012 is to affirm and practice the teachings of Jesus as our best discernment leads us to understand and express them and to see them applying to today’s world.

Barbara Wendland more than 5 years ago

Missional Manifesto

Although John Wesley,in his Journal's and Diaries would often comment on the increase or decrease in the membership in the societies, he was much more interested in the ideals of the statements put forth by the Manifesto of spreading social holiness, preaching the love and grace of God and proclaiming the kingdom of God.

Rev Dr. Kathy Haley more than 5 years ago