Methodist Heritage: Spirit May Join Many Protestants

By Louis Cassels, United Press International
April 6, 1967
Published in The Ledger & Times (Murray, Kentucky)

The ecumenical spirit has persuaded Protestants and Catholics to accent one another as brothers in Christ.

Perhaps it can now achieve a similar miracle within the Protestant family by overcoming the antagonism and mutual contempt which have so long characterized relations between liberals and fundamentalists.

That hope was voiced this week by a prominent Protestant liberal Methodist bishop Gerald Kennedy of Los Angeles.

He contributed the lead article to a new magazine called “Good News” which was launched to provide a forum for evangelical or fundamentalist views in the Methodist Church.

“I am convinced that the main obstacle which faces us is not our differences, but the spirit in which we hold them,” said Bishop Kennedy.

“I have known some fundamentalists so narrow and bitter that it was impossible to talk to them  … I have also known liberals who were so dogmatic and unbending that they could put the fundamentalists to shame.”

Bishop Kennedy acknowledged that “it is hard for a man with a great conviction to believe that a man who differs with him is honest.

“But this is one of the miracles which Christ works for us, and we ought to pray that he will touch us with his grace….

“We need each other Instead of merely putting up with somebody who is different than we are, let us thank God that he gives us an authentic witness from the other side of the hill.”

Is Grateful

As a liberal, he said, he is grateful to fundamentalists for their “emphasis is on the unchanging and eternal verities of our faith.”

He asked fundamentalists in turn to respect the Christian motivation of liberals who “feel so strongly about the relevancy of the church that they want to find ways to make it speak to the modern world.”



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