Letters to the editor
I was recently in a Sunday school class (not Methodist) where the notion of predestination was presented as absolute biblical fact. As someone who is passionate about overseas missions, I obviously don’t cotton too well to the idea that our salvation was decided even before our birth.
So, I was so glad to read Professor Longden’s article, “Wesley and Predestination” (May/June 2009). This idea of predestination seems oddly uncharacteristic for the God who loved us enough to send Jesus, the God who loved us enough to weave his entire story throughout centuries of the Bible, the God who urged us to choose life, not death.
Blessings and again, thank you, Good News and Professor Longden.
New Braunfels, Texas
Misrepresenting the UM Church
I am writing in response to an article in the September/October 2009 issue. The article, “Evangelicals respond to Mississippi controversy,” by Steve Beard really upsets me. When will you realize the slogan we have of “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors”? I do know exactly what the Discipline states about homosexuality, however, we are a denomination that accepts all persons so that we may lead them to the Kingdom of God.
Your magazine misrepresents the UM Church and in particular this article. We may not agree with two women who are partners, however it is the ministry of the UM Church to accept all persons and to bring them the love of God through Jesus Christ.
In fact, Jesus never refused anyone. Jesus confronted persons but they ultimately made the decision not to follow Him nor accept the grace of God. We are not to judge anyone but in fact we are to accept everyone so we may expose them to Jesus Christ. I firmly believe that when we present Jesus to all people, it is Jesus then who makes the change in all of us sinners.
Homosexuality is but one sin of many that we encounter in ministry. It is my responsibility to preach, live and extend the love of God through Jesus Christ to everyone who enters into the church. It matters not their lifestyle, place of origin, persons of color, ethnic background, rich or poor, or any other item of concern. What matters is their heart.
I think it is about time that Good News and the evangelical movement begin to live the life they so proclaim to possess. It is God who is the final judge. When anyone refuses to show and share the love of God they will be judged accordingly.
Keith A. Michaels
First United Methodist Church
The General Rules
Even before General Conference 2008, a men’s study in which I participate agreed to study The General Rules (“A closer look at Three Simple Rules,” by Les Longden, September/October 2009). We chose to use Kevin Watson’s A Blueprint for Discipleship: Wesley’s General Rules As a Guide for Christian Living (Discipleship Resources). My pastor also gave me a copy of Bishop Job’s book. I read both and would recommend Watson’s book for anyone who wants a serious approach to the standards of these simple rules and the accountability they are intended to engender.
San Antonio, Texas