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Holiness and the Catholic Spirit - Uniting Methodists

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Holiness and the Catholic Spirit
Holiness at theCenter
Vision Statement:Uniting Methodists is a movement of Christ-centered, hope-filled, holiness-seeking United MethodistsSpreading scriptural holiness over the landHoliness at the core of his theologyA recovery of holiness as core to Methodist identity is crucial to our future vitality.Wesley’s wrestling with issues of theological conflict is in the context of holiness.
What on Earth do we mean by Holiness?
The Core of Holiness is loveLoving GodGiving God the primary loyalty in all areas of our livesMaking God’s agenda our agendaObeying God’s commandmentsLiving in constant fellowship with GodSharing your lives in all their complexity with God
What on Earth do we mean by Holiness?
Love for our NeighborsCommitment to the comprehensive well-being of othersTo all people – friends, strangers, enemies, undeserving, enemies of GodTo pervade all dimensions of our livesParticular concern for those who suffering, rejected, despised
What on Earth do we mean by Holiness?
Holiness of heart and lifeHeartFundamental orientationInner motivationsCharacteristic attitude and responsesEmotional responses
What on Earth do we mean by Holiness?
Life (Conversation)Inter-personal relationshipsWordsProfession, politics, recreationOur whole bodily existence - sexuality
What on Earth do we mean by Holiness?
Transformational Holiness is personal and responsiveHoliness does not begin with our effortHoliness arises out of the amazing grace of GodA personal transformative relationshipGod wants to permeate your life with lovePersonal means it is responsiveMeans of GraceSmall groups
What on Earth do we mean by Holiness?
Holiness is relational and dynamically new“The is no holiness but social holiness”“Faith working through love”Active interacting with and relating to other peopleFeedback loop“Holiness” that is not embodied in relationships of love is not holinessHoliness is always developing in new and unexpected ways
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
Catholic SpiritMutual recognition of the transforming work of God in each other’s livesMutual recognition of God’s work through each otherMutual respect for the sincerity of each other’s convictionsMutual respect for each other’s freedom of conscience before GodMutual seeking of as much cooperation and visible unity as possible
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
Mutual support for each other’s ministryMutual commitment to the holistic well-being of each otherMutual viewing of the other in the best possible lightA conviction of the truth and correctness of one’s own theological and ethical ideas and practicesA commitment to the importance of the issues on which one disagrees
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
Human fallibilityAll human beings are finite and fallible creaturesAll our knowledge is subject to limitations, ignorance, errors and confusion.Ethical judgments are subject to a triple problemFallible interpretation of God’s will,Fallible interpretation of the ethical problemFallible relating of God’s will to the problemMistakes in theological ideas lead to mistakes in practiceRegeneration and sanctification do not change this situation
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
Sin and Responsibility before GodSin properly so-called, is a willful violation ofthe known will of GodSin not properly so-called – actions which we are convinced are the will of God but from God’s perspective are wrongGod is just and does not require the impossible from usGod requires that we act in on what we believe to be God’s willSin not properly so-called is forgiven in ChristMistaken actions can have serious consequences
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
The law of loveGod does not requiremistakelessobedience to moral lawGod requires that we act out of genuine love even if we are mistakenThis does not mean we can do what we likeMotivated by cruciform loveGuided by scriptureMeasured by their consequences
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
Freedom of Conscience before GodWe are all responsible before God for how we liveNo one ought to compel another to act against their conscienceA person’s conscience is influenced by numerous factorsAll have “liberty to choose our own religion, to worship God according to our own conscience according to the best light we have”Loving reasoned arguments and not compulsion is to be used to persuade others
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
Theological ideas have major significanceNo LatitudinarianismThe significance of theological ideasSeek true ideasWe must hold our ideas with convictionArgue for the truth of our convictions in love
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
The church is to be a community of loveThe distinguishing mark of the church is loveTo embody love as much visible unity as possible yet respecting freedom of conscienceTheological conflict and the abuse that often goes with it is:Contradictory to loveA denial of the identity of the churchDestructive of the mission of the church
Holiness and the Unity of the Church
Theological diversity as a means of graceTheological diversity can be a context for growth and mutual correctionLearning to embody love for those we disagree with can be a way of growing in loveDemonstrating love in the midst of disagreement is a witness to the world
“To separate ourselves from a body of living Christian, with whom we were before united, is a grievous breach of the law of love. It is the nature of love to unite us together; and the greater the love, the stricter the union. And while this continues in its strength, nothing can divide those whom love has united. It is only when our love grows cold, that we can think of separating from our brethren. And this is certainly the case with any who willingly separate from their Christian brethren. Thepretencesfor separation may be innumerable, but want of love is always the real cause; otherwise they would still hold the unity of the Spirit in the bound of peace.”
John Wesley “On Schism”

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Holiness and the Catholic Spirit - Uniting Methodists