i was raised in the Free Methodist church, and proud to be a son and grandson of Free Methodist church ministers. i believe that they were upright and honest men, teaching the truth as they understood it, to bring those in their church, to a better understanding of how to live.
Unfortunately, like many other churches, the FM church has fallen on hard times.
While “loitering” in the foyer of the “Growing up a Free Methodist” facebook pages, i noticed a question…..
“What are your ideas of why the FM church has stagnated in the USA?”
Well, the FM church in Canada has also stagnated, almost to oblivion, so i thought i would write my two pence as to why it has fallen out of grace… and out of members.
i do sense that what was taught when i was a youngster, was taught in all honesty, and came from a long background of honest and loving people.
But as nothing can remain the same, our understanding of the universe around us, and our emergence out of superstition and into science, together have brought us to a juncture (actually a juncture of about 50 years ago). It was at that time that a fear of sliding down a slippery slope, and succumbing to a devilish plot towards a loss of faith, that there has been a stubbornness on the part of North American evangelical churches to update their teachings to reflect more realistic views. They felt that to update would be to betray the faith….
This is a short exchange on the new views and the traditional views…….
This discussion was on “Growing up Free Methodist” pages of Facebook, and i decided to participate.
Again, the discussion question was:
“What are your ideas of why the FM church has stagnated in the USA?”
After about 300 posts, i wrote this post, which i had hoped would be taken for food for thought…..
Wow, this topic really got alot of interest. Good and honest folks talking about what seems to be missing in the church these days.
i would like to comment, and please take it with a grain of salt….. the questions i used to ask many many moons ago, at Aldersgate College were met with the professors reply of “ummm… good question…. next question?” (pointing at the next person with their hand up)…… so i had to wander, looking for answers outside my upbringing…… because i didn’t find what i was looking for there and was unfed …… please don’t be offended… i am sincerely wishing to make a constructive comment….
After many years wandering, i have come to the conclusion that ……..
From my humble point of view, the problem with the North American church in general, is the teaching of what i call “chasm theology”. This means that they all believe in a separation between the Potter and the pot……. this puts God outside our inner experience (unless we meet some sort of criteria for him to indwell us). This concept stems from our misunderstanding of human beings relationship with the Creator. If the Free Methodist church awakened to the fact that all humans are born children of the Creator, and started to teach that our relationship with God is one of firstborn birthright, and not an adoption, from some sort of “second essence” which the Creator made; … a family and birthright which every human is a part of, then it could be an instrument for healing the wounds which humanity is suffering from (such incredible suffering these days from the approving and rejecting of fellow brother and sister humans, which we have become so adept at) . This birthright is much closer to the original understanding which came from the Jewish background which Christianity came from.
(Kay, I’m done now…)
The person which replied became a bit defensive, and started quoting bible verses, and made a very distinct separation (chasm) between believers and non-believers (children of the devil)
1 John 3: 1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
So is everyone really born “a child of God” or is that something that comes with salvation? since the world does not know us –[as children of God, I presume?] Jesus also referred to some as the children of their father, the devil.
Yes, that is the chasm theology we were taught. But Jesus was referring to the church leaders who twisted the facts to their various uses. All the best to you.
Yes, the Bible teaches a “chasm theology.” that we are separated from God by sin–and thus, we die. We must be born again of the Spirit to be redeemed.
My apologies, I didn’t really mean to begin a theology debate here, and I am sure that it is not the purpose of this “Growing up Free Methodist” group. As the moderators of these pages will likely be wondering how long this discussion will continue, i am just stating here that i am going to answer this question, and then not speak to this subject here after that …..
All this is all based on what a persons worldview is.
If a person believes that the Creator built a perfect universe (that He said it was good) which immediately could be subverted and taken over by a “Satan”, and that all His children would be
damned to hell except for the ones who were lucky enough to be “redeemed”, then what you say is consistent with that view……
All this when those same folks believe that God is Omnipresent (but absent from the substance of the universe???) and Omniscient (knew all this “evil” would transpire before he made the universe) and Omnipotent (all powerful)….. (all of which seems a bit inconsistent???)
If a person can swallow those huge fallacy pills, then they are comfortable to damn all those who they consider not to be born of the Spirit to eternal damnation.
But the universe is not fallen, and we are not fallen, and the Spirit is born into each human when they are born as it was from the beginning. (There is no life without the Spirit animating it…. states this right in the same scriptures).
But admittedly, humans are prone to fall into darkness, thru greed anger and ignorance…. that is true. And we all need to constantly bring ourselves back to the light by opening ourselves to it.
This is completely in tune with the scriptures if they are not interpreted, as the churches doctrines were by the Catholic church (and in the FM book of discipline), that there was one sin (the doctrine of original sin) and it was visited on all humans (which likely your pastor does not even believe).
Having the traditional worldview allows humans to do things which hide their own motives, and allow them to treat anyone who is not in their club, to be a “child of the devil”.
(I will likely be asked not to write here anymore, or be punted, but figured it was worth it to speak some truth here)
All the best in everything.???
One thought on “A set of comments and replies on the Worldview taught by the Free Methodist church”
Interesting! Including the back-and-forth … wise not to get into theology arguments, I think.