Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Discussion: Christian Perfection and the Global UMC

Kevin Watson recently posted a piece on his blog Vital Piety about the doctrine of Christian perfection in which he examines a John Wesley quote about the importance of Christian perfection (also known as entire sanctification or holiness) for the early Methodist movement.  Watson asserts, "Wesley believed that there was a particular reason for Methodism. Methodists existed because God had given them a particular corporate calling – to spread the teaching about the possibility of full sanctification."

As Watson notes, there was dispute about the importance of holiness even in Wesley's day, and Christian perfection has fallen by the wayside in much of contemporary United Methodism.  Thus, to say that the doctrine of Christian perfection is the reason for the existence of The United Methodist Church would probably fall more into the realm of normative than descriptive statements.

Moreover, while the doctrine of Christian perfection may provide a reason for Methodists to exist and to exist around the globe, it does not answer Dr. Pieterse's question from a previous blog on this site as to why United Methodists should exist as a global denomination.  Other Methodists share this doctrine; indeed, it has remained a more important doctrine in some other churches.

Share your thoughts: Does the doctrine of Christian perfection still have anything to do with why God is raising up the people called United Methodists throughout the world?

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