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Commentary


UM Member Responds to Call for Tolerance of Bishop Sprague's Heresy


Commentary

UM Member Responds to Call for Tolerance of Bishop Sprague's Heresy

While the Bishop is entitled to his opinion, he has taken an oath and vowed to propagate the Doctrinal Standards of the UMC.  Obviously, he stands in violation of that oath of office and has shattered his vows by writing, espousing and disseminating the heretical theories written in his new book.  Under this circumstance, we who uphold the time-tested confessions and doctrines of our church fathers are under no obligation to show tolerance for such heresy.  On the contrary, we are under scriptural admonition to resist and denounce such heresy.

As I understand Biblical teaching, any and all children of God (those who have been spiritually reborn of the Holy Spirit and who Jesus Christ as permanent resident in their hearts) will receive Spiritual Illumination (understanding) when prayerfully reading and studying together with other disciples within their local community of believers.  Whereas, there is adequate scripture that indicates that the time of Spiritual Revelation (read DIVINE) of which you spoke, was ended with the death of the last Apostle.  I find no Scripture that lends credence to or indicates any further "revelation" from God would be forthcoming.  This includes the so-called prophet, Muhammad and John Smith and his unsubstantiated angel, Mormi.  There is a huge difference between  responding to the urgings of or indications from the Holy Spirit and a revelation from on High!  Surely, you would not contend that Joseph Sprague has received special enlightenment that could be considered a "divine revelation" as was given to the OT prophets and the Apostles and writers of both the OT and NT?

What all of us should understand is that we disciples (followers) should pray for the illumination of the Holy Spirit in studying and learning about how Christ expects us to live out our daily lives.  Such an approach certainly includes "rightly dividing the Word of truth".  And The Truth lies within "The Word" and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, son of man and offspring of God the Father, Almighty!  The truth has been laid out for us in the pages of the inspired word of God.  "The Truth" never changes, for the truth is in God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Only our understanding of truth is subjective.  We need never to add-to or subtract-from God's truth as He chose to reveal in "The Word".  Let us pray for the illumination of the Holy Spirit that we may understand what has been written, but let us forevermore shun the idea that various interpretations that stray from the very name of Jesus, could ever lead to anything other than utter confusion and blasphemy.  The Word was made manifest to all who listen when God sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, who was "The Word".  The Messiah came in fulfillment of prophesy to rescue you and me from certain punishment for our sins by the Father's grace and through our faith in the Son's blood atonement so freely given that we might live.

As to the type of tolerance that you call for, Mr.Ptantz, may I quote Leo Strauss in Liberalism Ancient and Modern, "Absolute tolerance is altogether impossible; the allegedly absolute tolerance turns into ferocious hatred of those who have stated clearly and most forcefully that there are unchangeable standards founded in the nature of man and the nature of things."  You see, some folks' view of tolerance is, to quote Mr. Strauss, "a partisan philosophical perspective with its own set of dogmas...... intolerant, and coercive, for it asserts that there is only one correct view on certain issues".  And it seems that Strauss was calling our attention to anyone who sets forth an assertion, then calls for tolerance from those who would oppose!

Methodism may have grown in times past, but has surely lost ground in membership when statistically weighted by population increases.  Could it be that we have lost our way by paying too little attention to propagation of the Gospel around the world and too much attention to the cymbals and brass of some who would call themselves theological leaders?

Mel Ingram
meling@mc.net
 

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