Uniting the Two Long Divided, Evangelism and Social Justice

Ponderings on the 2019 General Conference: Eight Months Out



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social justice

2 main comments: First, Christ and His Church should be concerned with justice. "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Justice, mercy, love, and forgiveness are all part of His Kingdom. We pray and work that it is done here on Earth as well. Conservatives (and I am one), are not as active as we should be when we see injustice. Our justice system is supposed to be color-blind, gender-blind, money-blind, etc. so true justice wins. We have some work to do. And, this work IS part of the Church's mission.

Second, social justice does NOT happen as individual liberty is encroached upon. Socialism is the most injustice form of government. The right of private property is the greatest tool known to man to keep dictators and oppressive governments at bay. Social justice needs to work ALONGSIDE individual liberty and the Church needs to get away from using and advocating governmental force in seeking justice. The effect of the Church on society declines during socialism.

One can embrace the individual liberty - indeed each man is judge on his own merit - and justice. In this environment, the Spirit of God will work in the hearts of man and our efforts in evangelism will grow the family of believers.

Henry Bartlett more than 2 years ago

uniting the two

As a 'traditional-conservative-evangelical-whatever' I offer some reassurance. Active embrace of the Great Commandment, both parts, were a core metric for Wesley on whether or not a person was truly Christian, truly Methodist, truly on the way to Christian Perfection. Whether his tract on THE CHARACTER OF A METHODIST or his tract on CHRISTIAN PERFECTION, love of neighbor was and is indispensable as a witness that the person 'gets it' and truly is a Christian. So Wesley was the first major religious leader in England to call for the abolition of the slave trade, in addition to other acts of social justice and love for the poor. So both-and is very evangelical, though some have not been faithful to that balance by leaning all one way or the other.

Bob more than 2 years ago

Evangelicals versus United Methodists on Evangelism

As a former United Methodist now a non-denominational Evangelical, I have these thoughts: First, I left the United Methodist Church for many reasons of which three are of primary importance. First, United Methodism (UM) approach to discipleship is complelety without substance; second, evangelism is non-existent, and; third, the social justice focus results in limiting freedom and the promotion of socialism. Being free of the bondage of UM I have become more widely read than before. Besides the fact that UM has abandoned Wesley's teachings and certainly abandoned his example, I see evangelism differently. Everyone should read Carl F.H. Henry. According to Jerry Ireland "Henry unapologetically called the church to uphold the 'most urgent task' of world evangelism." Henry believed that the primary task of an evangelical is to preach the gospel because "in the interest of individual regeneration by the supernatural grace of God. . . divine redemption can be recognized as the best solution of our problems, individual and social." Furthermore, "Henry believed that evangelism and social concern constitute vital components of biblical Christianity." To Henry, supernatural regeneration by the Holy Spirit meant that social concern was not optional. Most mainline protestant denominations have abandoned biblical Christianity for a form of social activism leading to the institutional and legal acceptance of biblical sin. Evangelicals seem to focus on "right living" from a biblical perspective and evangelization of the individual while progressive Christians march around holding signs and rainbow flags.

Jeff more than 2 years ago

What I see

and have experienced in The united Methodist Church is that in pursuits of social justice, the spiritual health of the individual in the pew has been ignored. Just because I was blessed with some physical comforts did not make up for the fact that I spent the bulk of my life in a spiritual never never land unable to find peace with God or the world--and John Wesley nailed it when he said that is a very miserable place to exist. John Wesley did not set out to transform the world. He set out to transform himself which led him to the encounter with the Moravians where he learned that true Christianity begins with a sense that God loves me as an individual and has forgiven me as an individual. The kingdom of God does not come into existence through social justice initiatives, it comes into being one person at a time. All this social justice initiative without making sure all individuals are in good standing with God is Methodism becoming unhinged.

betsy more than 2 years ago

Thanks Betsy. . .

Betsy, thank you for that response.....very accurate!

Jeff more than 2 years ago

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