Christians need to initiate a social grace movement. Jesus declared, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me and he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord!” These words have inspired a multitude of social justice movements – abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, right to life movements.
I’ve heard it all my life. “The Civil War was not fought over slavery.” I was NOT taught that in grade school in south Georgia. But I’ve heard it from those seeking to honor the memory of the Confederate States of America. Every time racial strife heats up in the USA I hear this refrain over and over again, “The Civil War was not fought over slavery.” Well let’s look at the ugly truth.
The Civil War rages. A long cultural Cold War seems to be reigniting old prejucides and animosities. Violent extremist on left and right just want to see the world burn. I am a Christian extremist protesting for peace and understanding. I suggest that we listen to the words of wisdom from two old Civil War generals – General U. S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee.
You’ve seen it everywhere – social media, bumper stickers, TV commercials – “People learn to hate.” This is most often used as a challenge to racism. But, it’s just not true. The truth is that hate is a consequence of the fallen nature of humanity and is common to all.
Jesus was notorious for dining with sinners. I find his practice to be an act of grace because he has reserved a seat for me (and you). If Jesus is willing to sit at the table with us, then maybe we should consider sitting at the table of fellowship with each other, and with sinners, heretics, and everyone else with whom we disagree.
A review and reflection of The Rise of Theological Liberalism and the Decline of American Methodism by James V. Heidinger II (Franklin, TN: Seedbed Publishing, 2017).
Every Pentecostal has heard the warning that formal theological education leads to liberalism and the decline of the church. James Heidinger has presented a compelling case that the decline of Methodism is a direct result of liberal theology that has been espoused in Methodist seminaries. So, we must ask, “What does Aldersgate have to do with Asuza St.?” In other words, is Pentecostalism endangered by encroaching liberalism in higher education? The short answer is “Maybe.”
David and Jonathan were natural rivals – they should have been enemies. They both aspired to be king and Jonathan was the legal heir to the throne. Instead, they were like brothers. They loved each other with a self-giving, self-sacrificing love. We are told that Jonathan loved David “as himself” and stripped himself of his princely robes, armor, and weapons and gave them to David. Essentially, Jonathan was surrendering his claim to the throne of Israel in favor of David.