Calvin vs. Wesley

William Willimon reviewed Calvin vs. Wesley, a new book that might be especially interesting to people who attend a Presbyterian/Methodist Union church.

The book sounds like something a Calvinist like myself would enjoy reading, despite this bit (from the review, not the book):

I do wonder if his critique of Calvin — arguing that Calvin’s theory of the faith is bested by Wesleyan’s practice of the faith — is critical enough. What if Calvin’s pompous, overwrought systematic theology was not only too narrow, too systematized, and too static to do justice to biblical faith, but also wrong about God?

Something I was interested to see (in the review but apparently based on the chapters of the book) was a set of antitheses between Calvinism and Wesleyanism:

  • Love vs. sovereignty
  • Bible as Primary vs. Sole Authority
  • Grace as Prevenient vs. Irresistible
  • Salvation as Unlimited vs. Limited
  • Ministry as Empowering vs. Triumphal

I wonder how many of them I could explain briefly, much less describe how they relate to Wesleyanism.

Incident at Anchorage First Presbyterian

Some of you may have heard about an incident this past week at First Presbyterian Church in Anchorage where a native Alaskan was (reportedly) turned away. That isn’t what actually happened, according to the people involved. They have issued a joint statement explaining what happened, which I’ve excerpted below:

The Facebook posting which led people to believe that the First Presbyterian Church of Anchorage engages in discrimination against Alaskan Natives, or people of any other nationality or ethnicity, needs to be corrected. It was a misunderstanding. … this member of First Presbyterian Church intended to be helpful…. First Presbyterian Church of Anchorage truly wishes to encourage effective ministry and fellowship among all peoples. Everyone is welcome.

You can read the full statement at Curt’s blog.

(If this incident touched a nerve in you, by the way, you may also be interested in Curt’s reports on the Gambell mission our Presbytery undertook back in March.)

One Future for the Church

I admit I haven’t followed the UMC Conference as closely as I probably ought to have. I’m still learning, well, pretty much everything about the United Methodist side of Jewel Lake Parish, and denominational activities aren’t at the top of my list. Still, it’s something I have some interest in, so I tried to pay at least a little attention to news about the conference.

Here is a video that was shown as part of the GC2012 Connectional Table Presentation:

(The program is about three quarters of an hour, so unless you’re really interested, I’d recommend you scrub forward and watch the two minutes that begin at 40:15. Or you can go directly there by clicking this link.)

The video is concerned especially with the future of the UMC, or one possible future for the UMC, but it could be about the PC(USA) just as well.

That doesn’t have to be the future of the church, but for two many congregations, it will be. God is doing amazing things in the world—not just overseas, but in our country as well. But God won’t force it on us. If we refuse to be part of it, God will use other churches. So the question for us, and really every church, is whether or not we are willing to move forward into God’s great adventure.