A New Way Forward or: Why Our Mission Statement is Incompatible with Christian Teaching

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The Role of Church and Pastors

I cannot say I agree with every point made here but I do agree that the mission of the UMC has become muddled at best. The mission that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28 has been abandoned for a social gospel theology that has manifest itself in a social justice movement that embraces even sinful actions ((sexual immorality (manifested in bi-sexual practice, homosexual practice, and fornication) and abortion rights). The UMC has become a progressive activist group pursuing a progressive theology born out of the liberal-fundamentalists debate of the early 1900s. This activism has crept into the pulpit from clergy attending liberal arts colleges with seminaries. And those pastors have forgotten or abandoned their charge. Jesus told us to “go and baptize” and to teach the new coverts to “keep his commandments” (Matthew 28:16—20. We go longer go and we only baptize the babies and we never teach. Particularly, we never teach anyone to “keep His commandments.”

Pastors have many roles. A pastor we must first identify “the reason for the existence of the church and, thus, the reason for the existence of Christian ministry” (MacArthur 2005, 48) and John MacArthur has written a useful text in his “Pastoral Theology”. In describing the function and purpose of the church MacArthur states “the ultimate purpose of the church is the worship of the one who called it into being” (MacArthur 2005, 51). “The second grand purpose of the church is to evangelize a lost world. The church is to be a community witnessing to the saving grace of Christ” (MacArthur 2005, 53). Jim Putman declares that “The church’s primary mission is to create disciples who create disciples” (Putman et al. 2013, 127). Thirdly, according to MacArthur, “the purpose of the church is to build itself up through the interworking of various members of the body of Christ” (MacArthur 2005, 54). Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey have identified the local church is the primary means where baby Christians grow and mature into disciples of Jesus Christ (Earley and Dempsey 2013, 39). Thus the primary tasks of a pastor are presented.

First, preach the Word of God (2 Tim 4:2).

Second, teach the Word of God such that disciples are created and equipped (James 3:1, Eph 4:11—12) to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt 28:16—20).

Third, working with local church leaders, create a vision for and opportunities for service evangelism toward fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Fourth, shepherd the flock providing for their spiritual needs and protecting against false teaching. And administer the sacraments of the church.

And five, selecting church leaders (elders) with the necessary qualifications and skills to support and execute the purpose of the church (Titus 1:5—9, 1 Tim 3:1—13).

Jeff Lucas 82 days ago

christ said...

Christ said to go and make disciples of all men. Church mission statements and mottos do no take precedence over Christ. Methodism is truly a lost denomination if we are more concerned about needing a mission statement than we are about sharing the gospel.

td 83 days ago

Mission statement

Wesley in a sermon stated that acts of mercy(helping people). took precedence over acts of piety. Our mission as Methodists is to love/help our neighbor. Wesley also said to help and to share our joy IF ASKED. Time to follow Wesley if we are going to call ourselves Methodists.

Marilyn Davis 84 days ago

Wesley never set out to transform the world

He set out to transform his own life by seeking to understand what a Christian, God-centered life looked like. And he did it in the company of others. That is the roots of Methodism. And as Methodism evolved, he never lost sight of Priority #1: The connection of individuals to God and to each other in a life transforming relationship. He never once approached the poor with a social justice initiative, he approached them with a gospel message rooted in historic Christianity. And as people responded, a structure evolved to support Priority #1. That is how John Wesley transformed himself, the church and ultimately the world--one person at a time beginning with himself. He is the proof of this quote from C.S. Lewis because he began by occupying his mind with heaven:

"Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither."

betsy 84 days ago

Aim at Loving Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself.

If we do as Jesus commissioned us to do, we will love our neighbors as we love ourselvesl That translates to me into do not care who your neighbor loves, that his his or her business. Concentrate, instead, on what they do. Is your neighbor kind, considerate, and compassionate? Is your neighbor non judgmental? You are a man and therefore should not have anything to say about abortion, either Pro-Choice or Anti- Choice, because, sir, you will never become pregnant. Do not presume to judge a woman's choice to keep or terminate her pregnancy, as you do not know the road she walks.
I was glad that it was a Methodist who put an end to the slave trade, but racism is sitll a large issue, here in the US. Don't spend your time worrying about heaven, instead make life better, here on Earth, for your fellow human beings.

Carla and Robert Skidmore 79 days ago

So,so-wrong

It is called Tough Love, telling someone something they don”t want to hear because it is in their greater good. Not to mention that to teach otherwise is to separate others from God’s word.

As for not telling a woman she can’t have an abortion- her right to choose ends at the moment another human is conceived. Upon conception, her choice must be weighed equally with that of the fetus, with laws standing in to act as the voice of the fetus. Whether I am a man or a woman, I have every right to speak up for the unborn. Abortion is murder, not a choice a woman should be allowed to make. She has plenty of “choices” to prevent a pregnancy before it ever happens.

Steve 78 days ago

I'm not a lot of things

I'm not a murderer, nor a thief, nor an adulterer, nor a pedophile. By your reasoning, I have nothing to say about them. I should never serve on a jury, nor express any opinion about any of those matters, by your line of reasoning. I've lost too many children in the womb to spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) than to have much stomach for elective abortion. That doesn't mean I have no appreciation for the fear, apprehension, and sense of hopelessness that many women and teens face when confronted with a pregnancy... those emotions are real and often overwhelming. But the church has no godly business encouraging elective abortion, especially when so many alternatives exist.

John Wesley once exclaimed, “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God!” Although "a man of one book," he was extremely well-read; he was laser-focused on the primary source of his theological understanding. In a similar fashion, he was laser-focused on preparing his fellow disciples for the next life; much of that preparation entailed assisting the "least of these" around them. Hence, "aim at heaven and you'll get earth 'thrown in'; aim at earth and you'll get neither."

John 78 days ago

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