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The Importance of Inerrancy to the United Methodist Church

Below is a link to an article on the importance of inerrancy to the United Methodist Church. It is clear from the writings and sermons of John Wesley that he affirmed inerrancy. Many Methodist today want to deny such. I had a good friend who was a UMC pastor before his salvation and after his salvation he begin to preach the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and he begin to preach the necessity of the new birth (John 3:3-5). His church called the local Bishop to try to discipline him (this was in the early 1980’s by the way). He and Bishop debated for hours over Wesley, Scripture, Tradition, and Experience and whether all these are how God speaks to us today.

I publish this because recently I e-mailed a local large United Methodist Church in my area to simply find out where they stood on various theological issues such as inerrancy, eternal punishment, justification by faith, and social issues. A female pastor e-mailed me back and sent me some information about their church by mail. In essence, they are a conservative church but they do reject inerrancy. She said that they hold that the Bible, tradition, experience, and the community of faith (the church) all speak for God to us.
Does it? I assert that such a view offers nothing to build upon. Jesus said that we were to build upon Him and His Word (Matthew 7:24-27; John 8:31-32). Jesus said that the Scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35) and that not the least stroke of the pen would pass from the Law until all had been accomplished (Matthew 5:18). Throughout the Gospels and into the book of Acts we find reference after reference from the Old Testament affirming the Lord Jesus and His ministry. Jesus based His own resurrection upon the Scriptures (Luke 24:27). When the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 we find Peter quoting from the Old Testament prophets to affirm both the coming of the Spirit (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21) and Jesus’ resurrection (Psalm 16:8-11; Acts 2:25-30). In fact, read the book of Acts and mark how many times the Apostles quote from Scripture. Where did they learn this? Certainly the Holy Spirit but also the Lord Jesus Himself (John 14:26).
Why is this important? Because when we build our case for God, His Son, His salvation, and His Church upon the authority of the inerrant and infallible Bible then we are building upon a sure foundation (2 Peter 1:16-21). When we reject the Bible as inerrant or infallible, we are in essence saying that we don’t know if God has spoken or not on this issue or that. We can waffle on nearly any issue when we reject the Bible as the Word of God. Now we can read a map wrong and still arrive at our destination but a doctor dare not slip his pen when writing out a prescription for his patient lest he add the wrong drug and the patient die. How much more valuable are the souls of men and women when it comes to preaching the truth? Dare we not know the way of God to eternal life when souls are in danger of going to hell? We must stand upon the truth of God in His Word for souls to be saved.
You can find the article here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/10/2010 at 12:17 AM

9 Responses

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  1. It sounds to me that this pastor is confused with what is known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. This is a term invented by United Methodist theologian Albert Outler. This term is Outler's description of how Wesleyans are supposed to interpret Scripture. One starts with Scripture as the inerrant word. When there is controversy or confusion concerning what Scripture actually says on a given issue, then three sources of possible enlightenment are consulted: tradtion (what has been the historical position of the Church on this issue), reason (rational interpretation)and experience (what has been the personal experience of the individual on this issue). Scripture, tradtion, reason and experience, in this order. Scripture is to be honored as God's inerrant Word to us, while the other factors are to be aids in interpretation of the Word, not a substitute or a source equal with the Word. Outler later came to regret this formulation. Its a pity that his formulation is being mangled to undermine the doctrine of inerancy.

    Mr. Guthrie

    06/10/2010 at 4:21 AM

  2. Thanks Mr. Guthrie. If you were the pastor of this Methodist church in my area, I am sure that it would be a solid place to seek God at. Sadly, this church attracts many to itself and sadly they are not being taught the truths of Scripture.

  3. The gender of the pastor is relevant because . . . ?

    Pastor Barbara

    06/10/2010 at 3:18 PM

  4. Barbara, its not. It could have been a man and it wouldn't have changed the story. I was simply telling the story and she was female by her name, Carolyn.

  5. I knew that the UMC was liberal but had no idea that it was way out there! I have relatives that are Methodists so the info you presented is helpful to know.Committed Christian

  6. Committed, not all UMC churches or members are the same. I know that the UMC is largely gone liberal but the link provided is part of the "confession" movement within the UMC that seeks to return her to her roots that John Wesley started. There are some good UMC churches out there and people so don't get me wrong and think that all UMC churches are liberal. They are not.

  7. Rest assured that not all United Methodists have gone liberal. In fact, the Evangelicals are slowly gaining hold- especially in Africa.

    John Wilks

    06/10/2010 at 8:52 PM

  8. Good to hear that John. I knew that not all UMC churches had embraced liberalism. In college I was actually recruited by a UMC pastor to help him try to bring conservative theology and revival back to the UMC. He is serving today in California and he is very conservative in his theology and is passionate about Jesus.

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