How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?

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You do not know your Methodist history

Early Methodism came into existence because John Wesley insisted on doctrinal purity. Doctrinal purity is what led him to leave the Fetter Lane Society and move to the Foundry. During his lifetime, he kept a close reign on what was taught at the Methodist societies under his supervision. But in another sense, Wesleyan doctrine was not so pure because he started with Reformation theology, and then stirred in what he viewed as the best of other faith traditions including Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox and the German piety movement! This melding of multiple faith traditions is what draws me to Wesley. Because Wesley's thoughts are spread out across a plethora of writings, including letters, it is the height of folly for anybody--other than those that have devoted their lives to understanding Wesley--to assume they have a correct take on Wesley and what he did. It is entirely possible that the different factions within the UMC are at odds with each other because each is working from an incomplete understanding of one piece of the whole pie Wesley assembled! The church is most definitely dead wrong when it comes to understanding Wesley's teaching re the catholic spirit; he never intended it to be used as justification for multiple theologies to be running rampant in one church. I have personally found the lack of doctrinal purity to be toxic. Like you, I am a good, loyal, lifetime Methodist/United Methodist. Ultimately all that got me was a muddled understanding of who God is and who I am. I finally became so broken, lost and confused I was forced to distance myself from church and that is when I finally discovered the existence of a triune God worth worshiping. And in good Wesleyan fashion, my teaching came from an interesting assortment of teachers who crisscrossed denominational lines, including Wesley. Interesting thing is, on the other end, I was grounded in a purely Wesleyan understanding of who God is and who I am in relation! The lack of doctrinal purity is what is killing the UMC! It is also entirely possible that the different faction are at odds with each other because they have and incomplete understanding of one piece of the whole doctrinal pie that Wesley assembled! The botched understanding of the catholic spirit is only the beginning of how the Methodist/United Methodist Church began losing its way over a century ago!

Betsy more than 2 years ago

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