Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
August 23rd, 2016 by Joel Watts

Some Musings on the need of the Wesleyan Covenant Association

34969b07-04af-4a37-9c0c-06c6a0bc138b-4I am not convinced that we have to abandon The United Methodist Church — not while we still have thinking, knowledgeable, and article believers (even if they disagree). One such example is Dr. Bill Arnold (I still think it should have been the W and A plan…) who has a guest post on Teddy Ray’s blog. There, he speaks to they “why” of the WCA, from his context.

I want to focus on one key point:

The accountability of our polity is broken. Our Book of Discipline is no longer accepted as an agreed upon form of administration, holding our Church together as one.

Be sure to read his entire post.

He’s deadly accurate – and, if Christian Tradition is to believed — such accuracy creates ecclesiastical issues, something I’ve touched on before. I know some hold to the heresy of free churcherism, wherein the more democratic and congregational a denomination is, the better — but Wesleyans aren’t that. Indeed, we have a distinct theology in regards to the connexion – well, distinct among Protestants as it were. Rather than being metropolitan, we are a cosmopolitan connexion.

Your bishop is my bishop; your pastor is my pastor; your church is my church; I am your lay member. We belong to one another, in one way or the other.

I hope you can understand this, but the lack of understanding is what troubles the UMC.

But, let me turn to the WCA. This is not an organization meant for separation.

Granted, I do believe we are near the time when we can turn to John Wesley’s act of appointing Coke and Asbury to lands without episcopal borders. If you will accurately recall the history of the Christmas Conference, you will get the sense of what I’m saying. Wesley ordained neither Coke or Asbury, but following 1700 years of Christian Tradition appointed them to an area without bishops with the mission of furthering the Gospel. He did this because he recognized that the Church of England no longer had authority as a civil and ecclesiastical body over the American Methodists. The Church of England had abandoned them and in reality, could not administer rule over them because of the Revolution of 1776.

In the absence of ecclesiastical structures, I follow Wesley and those before him, in suggesting that there are times necessary for the appointing, and the taking of ordination, so that the Church may rise.

Can the WCA provide such a rule if necessary? Not sure. It hasn’t technically been formed yet, and in the promised formation, are those who believe we must uphold our vows and the Book of Discipline must be upheld.

I am one of them. I continue to believe that real unity can be achieved and must be, but it has to be a unity based in historic Wesleyanism.

That brings me to another point. I see a lot of falsehoods about the lack of a distinct theology in the Wesleyan movement — all the while expending apportionment dollars to insure that we have songs that eschew Calvinism and the color white. In fact, early Methodist history was filled with Wesleyan theologians, arguing for Arminianism. We are Wesleyan-Arminians. What we lack as a distinction is anything except the essentials to believe. We do not require a specific confession on Justification/Atonement to join, only that an atonement was necessary and achieved by the blood of Jesus. We also lack a distinct worship requirement. We can be high church, low church, charismatic, or dead.

Maybe that is why the WCA appeals to me — because it is seeking to restore the Wesleyan vision to The United Methodist Church (note, to the UMC, not to a different group).

So, why the WCA for me? To sum:

  • I believe it will help us remain a Church
  • I believe it will restore to the UMC a strong sense of Wesleyanism

None of this means I do not have reservations, only that I am hopeful for the future of the UMC

You can and should register here.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

3 Responses to “Some Musings on the need of the Wesleyan Covenant Association”
  1. Here is the church
    Here is the steeple
    Open the doors
    And see all the people.

    If they are gay
    There is no debate
    The BoD says
    Fish or cut bait

    No marriage for you
    Nor Bishop ordained
    You’ll spend your whole life
    Celibate and blue.

    🙂

  2. Richard Hunter says

    If it looks like a duck…

    Is the Conservative Evangelical* Wing
    Plotting Another UMC Coup Attempt?

    “I do not know if the WCA [Wesleyan Covenant Association] will become the foundational framework for a new denomination. I do know that we are committed to our originating purpose — to advance vibrant, scriptural Christianity within Methodism.” ~ Rev. Jeff Greenway

    Organizers regard United Methodist teachings on homosexuality as biblical orthodoxy and support the denomination’s ban on same-sex unions and the ordination of “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.

    One of the goals is to respond to any recommendations put forth by a special commission the Council of Bishops is appointing to review church policies regarding gays and lesbians… Depending on what the commission does, the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s direction could change.
    ___

    New group aims to boost [conservative] evangelical voice
    http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/new-group-aims-to-boost-evangelical-voice

    *Conservative Evangelical Coalition: Good News, IRD UMAction, Confessing Movement, Methodist Renewal, Transforming Congregations, LifeWatch, Wesleyan Covenant Association, Methodist Crossroads, Renew Women’s Network, Mission Society, Seedbed Bristol House, and Asbury Seminary.
    ___

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