Why the Traditional Plan Doesn't Convey Grace

A Non-Exhaustive Primer on the Plan's Inconsistency with Methodist Theology



Comments (6)

Comment Feed

Methodism includes active repentence

It's my understanding that Wesley and many of those who came after him didn't mean to imply that Prevenient and other forms of grace will succeed in changing a person's salvation; each person must actively respond to given grace. So within a traditional understanding of Methodism (which doesn't recognize the Quadrilateral), practicing homosexuals must actively consider scriptural truths and pray for discernment regarding the possibility that their behaviors and choices are sinful.

David more than 2 years ago

The Cost of Free Grace

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis at the end of WWII for helping people escape Germany and helping the German resistance, wrote in “The Cost of Discipleship” that there is no grace without repentance. All you get is what he termed “Cheap Grace.” What you want is “Expensive Grace,” so go for that.

Skipper more than 2 years ago

Grace is a Free Gift, but . . .

Jesus began His ministry with "repent." There is no way around that. If you want to receive God's grace, you must do as Jesus ask. We need to be willing to follow Christ. The Old Testament lets us know how important it is to obey God. Everyone will not be willing to turn from sin because Jesus said many will take the wide road that leads to destruction and few will take the straight and narrow way.

Skipper more than 2 years ago

Has communion really been for all in more recent history?

The invitation as written in The Methodist Hymnal, 1966 which spells out specifically who was to take Communion:

"Ye that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and ar in love and charity with your neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking henceforth in his holy ways: Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort, and make your humble confession to almighty God."

My own personal understanding about the concept of the open table within the Methodist/Wesleyan tradition is that it is reserved for all professed Christians regardless of which branch of the holy catholic/universal Church you are a part of.

Currently there is more that separates us than unifies us.

betsy more than 2 years ago

In response to...

This statement: "The hallmark of Communion in the Methodist tradition is that it is open to all. The grace is “real and sure,” as noted by Charles Wesley, founder John Wesley’s brother, and the first and most prolific hymn writer of Methodism. We participate in a powerful, mysterious sacrament, but we circle the table wide and make it open, not just to members, but to all who seek Christ."

Retired Bishop Willimon also expressed his concerns about the exclusionary nature of the Traditional Plan, claiming that it did not express historic American Methodism. Scott Fritasche, who writes at "Unsettled Christianity" and is not associated with any unofficial caucus group within the UMC debunked that notion with this:

"The misnamed Traditional Plan—little in the 200-year tradition of American Methodism justifies such punitive, exclusionary measures—

Since he was specific to American Methodism, I will comment mainly on that, but will point out that both Saint Paul and Saint John called for not only exclusion of those who were not believing in the proper manner, but also expulsion of them. We can quibble over what should be grounds for expulsion of exclusion, but you can not say it does not exist. Allow me to quote sections of the Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church in America 1798.

"Quest. 3. How shall we prevent improper persons from insinuating themselves into the society?

"Answ. 1. Give tickets to none until they are recommended by a leader, with whom they have met at least six months on trial.

"The tickets here refer to the ability to receive the Eucharist. Yes, exclusion from the Eucharist. No ticket, no juice and crackers for you. Pretty exclusionary.

"Quest. 5. What shall we do with those members of society,
who wilfully and repeatedly neglect to meet their class?

"Answ. 1. Let the elder, deacon, or one of the preachers, visit them, whenever it is practicable, and explain to them the consequence if they continue to neglect, viz. Exclusion.

"2. If they do not amend, let him who has the charge of the circuit exclude them in the society; shewing that they are laid aside for a breach of our rules of discipline and not for immoral conduct.

"Did you catch that? Expulsion for a breach of the rules of discipline even if it is not ‘immoral conduct’.

"...If we are going to talk about the history of American Methodism, we need to talk about the reality of it, not some idealized glossed over version we create to try and support an inaccurate point."https://unsettledchristianity.com/a-retired-bishop-weighs-in/

I have spent a fair amount of time with the writings of John Wesley. I do not claim to be an authority but nevertheless I am stunned that when it comes to understanding Wesley, Asbury and early Methodism, how uninformed the UMC is.

Problem is, we are operating from different understandings of love : https://juicyecumenism.com/2019/03/15/methodist-traditional-plan/

betsy more than 2 years ago

Around the same time...

..as that of the Wesleys, George Washington expired at the age of 67 two years after leaving the Presidency. His relatively early demise - in contrast Adams and Franklin expired as nonagerians, Jefferson as an octogenarian - was due in part to his being treated to "bleeding" for his ailments by another Founding Father, Dr. Benjamin Rush, among the most knowledgeable physicians of his day. Rush's complicity in Washington's demise by following the convention of his day is as relevant as the Wesleys', umm, let's say "written rules" which were certainly there on paper but seldom applied. A church with those "practices" a you documented today would properly be called "a cult." In some ways, religious fervor is cultlike by nature. Thankfully we've moved beyond such foolishness.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago