The Body of Christ can't be reduced to a series of zeros and ones. This is why a nursing home resident may watch sermons on their television but still ask to be wheeled down to the weekly worship service in the multipurpose room. This is why that same resident may request that their pastor bring them communion occasionally.
I think the deepest appeal of Wesleyan theology is that is heartily affirms a God who is truly good and sincerely loves all persons. God does not determine, God empowers, enables, encourages. And the message that God loves us and wants to empower us to love him back, as well as each other is a message of great hope. No one has been “passed over” or determined by God for eternal misery and damnation. To the contrary, there is hope for everyone, and the resources of grace are available to transform even those persons who may seem most hopeless in our eyes.
The first name given in creation was Adam. It means humanity. The Scripture story tells us that God, through Jesus Christ, created all of humanity in his image and breathed into us the breath of life. I thought of Adam when I saw the first hashtag given to Aylan’s story: Humanity Washed Ashore.
Sociologist, historians, and theologians suggest that we are living in the midst of a paradigm shift. Young adults inhabit a different world than that of their parents.
The Lord took Peter, James, and John to a high mountain apart. It was essential, for their effectiveness, that He reveal facts about Him they did not yet know. It is important to note that they were separated from the others and it is not by accident that they journeyed to a high mountain apart. He had something to show them and needed their total attention.
It is the Prophet Isaiah who stood in the gap for 40 years declaring to a people that we might be in some miserable times but God is still mighty. It’s hard sometimes to tell people who are dealing with hell, haters, and hypocrites that greater is coming. It’s hard sometimes to tell people who are dealing with problems, pains, and predicaments that greater is coming. You can’t allow your misery to strangle out your miracle, strip you of your joy, or rob you of your future. Because we serve a Mighty God even in miserable times.
Both Wesley and Whitfield were tremendous preachers, who were fully capable of gathering great crowds. Many came to faith as a result of their preaching. Wesley, however, knew that consistent and intentional discipleship was essential if the Wesleyan movement were to survive. Whitfield neglected this, and as a result his people were like “a rope of sand.”
You will face situations in your life that will leave you uncertain as to what actions you should take. In some circumstances, there will be no one that can offer sound counsel. The key is to know that if you ask, God will respond. He has the right answer for every situation, do not hesitate to inquire.
Another factor in baptism pertains to ongoing spiritual instruction and development after the actual baptism. While not limited to infant baptisms—since post-baptismal nurture is important for any person regardless of that person’s age at the time of baptism—this factor has particular significance in the case of infants who are baptized.
Jesus does not divide the sacred from the secular. Instead, He takes the secular and redeems it, thus making it sacred. There is no divide as we understand it, because Jesus stands in the gap reaching with one nail-pierced hand to each side, uniting all of creation into one holy Kingdom.