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One day I was talking to a member who was rather upset that the church no longer did anything for children. That really got to her, and she started thinking.

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In a few months she was able to come up with a Sunday school program that made use of her talents in the arts. Seeing the kids gather and get excited about learning the faith allowed the church to see that it had a future. I think progressive Christians have to do a better job of fusing evangelism with social justice. Evangelicals are better at personal faith and holiness than we are. Ross Douthat recently got a lot of criticism from progressives when he wrote a column questioning the viability of liberal Christianity.

He was saying that while we are outward focused which is a good thing , faith has to be inward focused as well—and we are terrible at that. For some reason neither evangelicals nor progressive Christians in this country seem to be able find the sweet spot when it comes to social justice and evangelism. I hope this will change.

That brings to mind the Wesleyan notion of two kinds of holiness, personal and social. What resources from your own tradition can you draw on to push for this kind of change? Barton Stone, cofounder with Alexander Campbell of the Restoration movement of the early 19th century, believed that Christians should live as if the kingdom of God were here now.

For Stone and his followers this meant living a countercultural life: eschewing greed, materialism and slavery. Stone thought we humans were too flawed to usher in the kingdom but that we should try to live Christlike lives regardless. Can we live in a way that makes people want to know more about God, a way that makes them want to join our countercultural movement?

How can we practice our faith in a way that becomes a witness to the world? An answer to that question will include living a life that is both inward focused and outward focused, one that fuses justice with holiness. I did my clinical pastoral education at a transitional care facility in Minneapolis. The words had meaning to me for the first time. At that moment, church was about being fragile and finite and yet able to worship in the presence of God. A fine article detailing many of the pieces of pastoral life and the challenges facing the church these days.

I took exception to the following: " I think progressive Christians have to do a better job of fusing evangelism with social justice. Only because there was a time when this was my mantra, too. But in recent years, I've come to see this as flawed - yes, evangelicals have done well with numbers in the last 50 years, but what does that prove? And are the numbers favorable to discipleship, or are numbers just that - so many numbers; folks brought into the life of the church, perhaps with hands raised and lots of "Jesus wejus" prayer, mission trips and small groups.

But in the last few years, these numbers have been shaken by a lot of fallout: failed evangelical churches, evangelical pastors wrangling and "sinning," and a decline in such numbers, as the American culture continues its shift away from organized religion, and Christendom, in general, continues to dissipate. For the last 50 years, evangelicals have rubbed numbers into the liberal face, and for much of the time, liberal Christians have been apologizing for their failures. But is this accurate?


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Have liberals, while dealing well with social issues is this true? Have liberals done a better job on this? The fact that "liberal" churches are filled with members who are happy to exclude LGBTQ persons and prefer the economic ideology of the far right raises serious questions about just how effective liberals have dealt with the social issues of the day.

And the fact that evangelical churches have been rocked to the core by scandal, witch hunts, heresy trials and decline raises questions, too, about their disciple-making.

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Time will prove that liberals have done a remarkable job with disciple-making, but not numbers to keep the institution going - in many respects, the megachurch phenomenon is the last gasp of the American institution to keep itself alive, and while the effort was dressed up in the costume of the Great Commission, and all of that, the king, of late, has been more naked than dressed.

Of course we do, no more or less than the first disciples! But Jesus said it well in Luke Being a disciple implies giving rights in the sense of treating people with respect but reserving rights, such as marriage really a systems of benefits and honors , in a way that reflects the way God made men to exercise their particular psychological influence on children and women the same, that is, not blurring the criticial distinction.

Jump to navigation Google Tag Manager. We grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of God through Christ, an intermediary and intercessor who ultimately reveals the heart and mind of God. Wesley was clear that all Methodist activity should be founded in Christ, be derived from Christ, grow in Christ, and lead to Christ.

These do not exhaust the topic of holiness in the Wesley Study Bible. I could easily add several more topics that touch on holiness in some way — especially if we expand the concept to cover sanctification, perfection, and salvation.

From reading these topics, I draw two conclusions. First, the editors of the Wesley Study Bible are attempting to move readers to a much more robust sense of holiness — one much closer to the traditional Wesleyan conception. Second, I am pretty muddled about how to act upon that knowledge in a pastoral setting. The simple fact is that much of United Methodism has all but stopped talking about holiness. And where that holiness is lacking, it is a sign of a need for further growth?

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Church of the Nazarene - Wikipedia

It is great to hear people who are passionate about holiness without which no one shall see the Lord. Keep up the good work friends. My book has just been published on the contribution of holiness Churches to justice in the public square and promotion of human dignity. Skip to content After my last post , I decided to dig out my Wesley Study Bible to see what the editors had to say about the contemporary Wesleyan meaning of holiness.

It is in the preaching of the Word, the celebration of the sacraments, the public reading of the Scripture, the singing of hymns and choruses, corporate prayer, and the presenting of our tithes and offerings that we know most clearly what it means to be the people of God. It is in worship that we understand most clearly what it means to participate with God in the work of redemption. The Great Commandment Matthew and the Great Commission Matthew move us to engage the world in evangelism, compassion, and justice.

To this end we are committed to inviting people to faith, to caring for those in need, to standing against injustice and with the oppressed, to working to protect and preserve the resources of God's creation, and to including in our fellowship all who will call upon the name of the Lord. Through its mission in the world, the Church demonstrates the love of God. The story of the Bible is the story of God reconciling the world to himself, ultimately through Christ Jesus 2 Corinthians The Church is sent into the world to participate with God in this ministry of love and reconciliation through evangelism, compassion, and justice.

Both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment are central to the understanding of our mission. They are two expressions of a single mission, two dimensions of the one gospel message. Jesus, who directs us to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" and to "love your neighbor as yourself" Matthew , 39 , also tells us to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" Matthew The mission of the Church in the world extends to all humanity, as all people, being created in the image of God, have ultimate value.

It is our mission to love and value people as they are loved and valued by God, who seeks to bring them peace, justice, and salvation from sin through Christ. It is our mission to have compassion upon and to care for those in need. It is our mission to oppose social systems and policies that devalue or disempower people. The mission of the Church extends to the whole person. God has created us as whole persons, and it is our mission to be ministers of God's love to people as whole persons-body, soul, and spirit.

Our mission of evangelism, compassion, and justice is a single integrated mission, engaging people in their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The mission of the Church in the world extends to all humanity because Jesus Christ has come into the world to save all who call upon His name. As the people of God, it is our privilege and responsibility to share the good news of the gospel with all who will hear.

Whether in public services or in personal one-on-one witnessing, our passion is to take every opportunity to invite people to faith in Jesus Christ. The mission of the Church in the world extends to all people because the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was poured out upon all humanity Acts 2. It is our mission to present the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ to every person on earth. We are empowered by the Spirit to go into the world proclaiming the Kingdom and participating with God in the building of the Church. It is with a spirit of hope and optimism that we engage our God-given mission in the world.

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It is more than an expression of human concern or human effort. Our mission is a response to God's call. It is our participation with God in the Kingdom mission of reconciliation. It is the Church's faithful witness to and expression of the love of God in the world in evangelism, compassion, and justice. It is our faith in the ability of God's grace to transform the lives of people broken by sin and to restore them in His own image. With this in mind, we are committed to providing the means Sunday School, Bible studies, small accountability groups, etc. We understand discipleship to include submitting ourselves to obeying God and to the disciplines of the faith.

We believe we are to help each other live the holy life through mutual support, Christian fellowship, and loving accountability. John Wesley said, "God has given us to each other to strengthen each other's hands.

It is the process of learning how God would have us live in the world. As we learn to live in obedience to the Word of God, in submission to the disciplines of the faith, and in accountability to one another, we begin to understand the true joy of the disciplined life and the Christian meaning of freedom. Discipleship is not merely human effort, submitting to rules and regulations. It is the means through which the Holy Spirit gradually brings us to maturity in Christ.

It is through discipleship that we become people of Christian character. The ultimate goal of discipleship is to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ 2 Corinthians By studying and meditating on the Scriptures, Christians discover fountains of refreshment in every thirsty valley on their discipleship journey.

Truth & Lies : The Justice of our God

Invigorated by the washing of the Word, refined by immersion in the Word, drinking deeply the truths of the Word, disciples discover to their happy surprise that they are being "transformed by the renewing of [their] mind" Romans The Christian way opens before them like a high and open road. Nerved by God, they proceed on a way of life that eclipses mere human and cultural values. Refreshed by the fountain of the Word, disciples give their lives away in self-transcending service. We affirm the life-giving value of the classic spiritual disciplines in the training of women and men as disciples of Christ.

The disciplines of prayer and fasting, worship, study solitude, service, and simplicity are at the same time natural expressions and intentional commitments in the life of the believer. Discipleship requires mutual support and loving accountability.


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  • On our own, few of us will develop the spiritual disciplines that lead to Christian maturity. We believe that we are to encourage the mutual support provided through such means as Sunday School classes, discipleship groups, Bible study groups, prayer meetings, accountability groups, and Christian mentoring as necessary to our spiritual formation and maturity. Recognizing the role of accountability in the Wesleyan class meetings encourages us to support its place within the contemporary Christian congregation.

    In our seminaries, Bible colleges, colleges, and universities, we are committed to the pursuit of knowledge, the development of Christian character, and the equipping of leaders to accomplish our God-given calling of serving in the Church and in the world. Christian higher education is a central part of the mission of the Church of the Nazarene.

    In the early years of the Church of the Nazarene, institutions of Christian higher education were organized for the purpose of preparing women and men of God for leadership and Christian service in the global spread of the Wesleyan-Holiness revival. Our continued commitment to Christian higher education through the years has produced a worldwide network of seminaries, Bible schools, colleges, and universities. Our mission of Christian higher education comes directly out of what it means to be God's people.

    We are to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind. We are therefore to be good stewards in the development of our minds, of our academic resources, and in the application of our knowledge. In this light, we are committed to the open and honest pursuit of knowledge and truth coupled with the integrity of our Christian faith.