It has been said that change is only hard for those who resist it. I suppose that is true but what is important to me is the type of change. There are some things that should never change because they are the very foundation of what we believe are God’s will and for the purpose of this blog what I believe to be the foundation of that belief. With that in mind let’s look at Webster’s definition of faith.
Simple Definition of faith
- :strong belief or trust in someone or something
- :belief in the existence of God: strong religious feelings or beliefs
- :a system of religious beliefs
In two of the dots above we see the word religious used twice in reference to feelings, beliefs or system. While this may be a bit radical and I know many will disagree but I view religion and faith to be two separate things. I believe that religious feelings and beliefs along with established systems can and will be changed from time to time. At the same time to me God’s will and word are the foundation of the “faith” and are not meant to be changed to meet the changing mores and social agenda of the politically correct. If you detect a bit of frustration with this, you are correct. I believe the Methodist church, which by the way is not the only denomination involved in this, is debating an issue that belongs in the secular world as I consider the gender question to be of a social type of thing. For lack of a better example give unto Caesar that which is Caesars and unto God that which is his. By faith we as Christians are charged to love everyone and welcome them to the fellowship. The key here is not to pre-judge. We are not bound by earthly laws to accept those things which God has rejected or amend the “faith” to meet the changing mores of the day.
If I am confusing you I am sorry but to me the path is clear enough. Those things that prevent people from living a holy life as God commanded, are not to ever be set aside using inclusiveness, relevance to today’s world and declining membership as reason for such a change in those things that are of the very foundation of the “Faith”. As a layman in the pew I can only go on what years of scripture study, guidance of the ordained elders and the statement of those things which we as Methodists have held to be the beliefs of our faith as taught by John Wesley. Each generation brings with it their own reasoning. Sometimes that reasoning is the product of study and debate about the issues of the day. What I am saying is when scripture says “and God said, or God told….” these are not policy items or doctrine that is open for debate. When I study scripture or prepare a Sunday school lesson I will read several different commentaries by respected scholars and seek a common thread among them to help me understand and share God’s word with the class. I have not burdened you with numerous scripture quotes but seek to keep it simple. As Methodists we are debating a number of issues which will soon come to a vote. The very nature of a debate requires that someone lose, and only one opinion can stand. I firmly believe that these issues are facing us because of societal pressures and those who seek to push the idea that our statements of faith are unfair to a segment of our society. I reject that reasoning. The foundation of our faith is not open to public debate, it is God’s word and can’t be changed to meet the needs of changing morals. I would say to these people what is said before every communion table; The Lords table is ready and all are welcomed to come.
I will welcome you, respect you, love you, pray with and for you and not judge you. I would hope you would understand that I try hard to live a Holy life as God has commanded me, do not ask me to do any less.
I also seek others comments and welcome them. You may reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org