Friday, November 13, 2020

Celebrating Phineas F. Bresee

 

 
Today is the commemoration (or "Feast Day") of Phineas F. Bresee, principal founder of the Church of the Nazarene.  As a means of celebration, I have re-printed the hagiography for Bresee which was published in For All the Saints: A Calendar of Commemorations, Second Edition.  The book was 
published by the Order of Saint Luke and edited by Heather Josselyn-Cranson.  I was privileged to have written the following piece on Bresee (the prayer was written by Daniel Taylor Benedict, Jr.):

Phineas Franklin Bresee was born to Phineas and Susan Brown Bresee in Franklin, NY, on December 31, 1838.  At 16, Bresee experienced his own "warmed heart" through a personal faith in Christ.  Soon thereafter, he sensed a call to ministry and was granted a Methodist exhorter's license.  He was ordained a deacon in 1859 and an elder two years later.(301)

In 1867, in Chariton, Iowa, Bresee "entered into the blessing of entire sanctification."(302)  Bresee had been struggling with doubt.  The altar call after his sermon that night produced only one seeker; Bresee, himself.  ". . . [A]s I cried to [the Lord] that night, he seemed to open heaven on me, and gave me . . . the baptism with the Holy Ghost . . . it not only took away my tendencies to worldliness, anger and pride, but it also removed the doubt."(303)  That experience of Christian Perfection would have a huge impact on Breese's ministry.

Bresee served rural charges, and then large, urban churches in Iowa(304) and, after 1883, Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA.  He was appointed presiding elder in West Des Moines (1864)(305) and in Los Angeles.(306)  Further, Bresee served as a delegate to multiple General Conferences.(307)


Me, behind Bresee's pulpit with
my Bresee bobble head
 Education was important to Bresee, as was seen by his serving on the board of Simpson College(308) and the University of Southern California.(309)  Later, Bresee became the president of Pacific Bible College (now Point Loma Nazarene University).(310)

By the mid-1890's, Bresee's commitment to the message of holiness led to his role as vice president of the National Holiness Association (NHA).  The experience of holiness also brought a passion for the poor.  The Church's first miracle after baptism with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was upon a beggar, and so, Bresee reasoned, the priority of a Holy Ghost-baptized church ought to be the poor.(311)  This passion led him to withdraw from the MEC's appointive system in 1894 to serve with the Peniel Mission.  However, while away, preaching for the NHA, Bresee was ousted from the Mission.  he was now left without the Mission or a MEC appointment.(312)

Thus, at the request of a number of southern California's Holiness people, the Church of the Nazarene was organized on October 20, 1895 as a "Christian work, especially evangelistic and city mission work, and the spreading of the doctrine and experience of Christian holiness."(313)  Bresee was the general superintendent of a growing holiness denomination.  A series of mergers with other regional holiness groups established the church as a national denomination in 1908 at Pilot Point, TX.(314)

Bresee served as the denomination's senior general superintendent until his death on November 13, 1915.  He left behind his wife, Maria, six children, and what would become the largest denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness wing of Methodism.

Common Prayer for Pastors, Bishops and Abbatial Leaders

Gracious God, our Shepherd, we thank you for raising up Phineas Bresee as bishop and pastor in your church.  Remembering his faithfulness and care, fill all shepherds of your church with truth in doctrine, fidelity in Word and Sacrament, and boldness and vision in leading the people, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever.  Amen.
__________________________________________________________
301 Ingersol, Stan. Nazarene Roots: Pastors, Prophets, Revivalists & Reformers. Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City. 2009. p. 87-88.

302 Bangs, Carl. Phineas F. Bresee: His Life in Methodism, the Holiness Movement, and the Church of the Nazarene. Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City. 1995. p. 71-73, 77.

303 Girvin, E.A. Phineas F. Bresee: A Prince in Israel. Kansas City, MO. Nazarene Publishing House. 1916. p. 50-52.

304 Ingersol. p. 88.

305 Kostlevy, William C., Ed. Historical Dictionary of the Holiness Movement. Lanham, Maryland, and London. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 28-29.

306 Bangs. p. 286.

307 Ingersol. p. 88-89.

308 Ibid. p. 88.

309 Kostlevy. p. 29.

310 Ingersol. p. 91

311 Ibid. p. 88-89.

312 Kostlevy. p. 29.

313 Bangs. p. 195-196.

314 Kostlevy. p. 29.

Sanctified by Faith: Acts 15:8 & 9

 


I have started reading my devotions using The Wesley Bible: A Personal Study Bible for Holy Living.  It is out of print, now, and it was only made available in the New King James Version, but the notes are very good for those who stand in the Wesleyan tradition.

In Morning Prayer, the second reading was from Acts 15:1-21.  That page included the following "Focus Note":

   Wesley emphasized that God's sanctifying power, which purifies the human heart, is received by faith.  In an extended description of this faith, he writes: "But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified, - saved from sin, and perfected in love?  It is a divine evidence and conviction, first, that God has promised it in the holy Scripture . . . 

   "It is a divine evidence and conviction, secondly, that what God has promised He is able to perform . . . 

   "It is, thirdly, a divine evidence and conviction that He is able and willing to do it now.  And why not? Is not a moment to Him the same as a thousand years?  He cannot want more time to accomplish whatever is His will.  And He cannot want or stay for any more worthiness or fitness in the person He is pleased to honor . . .

   "To this confidence, that God is both able and willing to sanctify us now, there needs to be added one thing more, - a divine evidence and conviction that He does it . . .

   "If you seek it by faith, you may expect it as you are; and if as you are, then expect it now.  It is of importance to observe, that there is an inseparable connection between these three points, - expect it by faith; expect it as you are; and expect it now.  To deny one of them is to deny them all; to allow one, is to allow them all."

Happening Soon: Interview with Winfield Bevins

 


Join us Friday, November 13 at Noon for an interview with
Winfield Bevins
on his new book, Simply Anglican. Please register for the event at asbury.to/simplyanglican. If you register before November 11 and attend the interview, you'll receive a free copy of the book!.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Know Your Disease! Know Your Cure!

 Know your disease!  Know your cure!  You were born in sin; therefore "you must be born from above" - that is, "born of God."  By nature, you are completely corrupted; by grace, you will be wholly renewed: "As all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ."  You "who were dead through your trespasses, Christ has made alive."  God has already given you a prescription for life:  "We live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us"!  Therefore, let us go on "through faith for faith," until your whole sickness be healed, and "the same mind is in you that was in Christ Jesus."

-  John Wesley in Sermon 44, "Original Sin"

Friday, July 17, 2020

Twenty-Four Years in Holy Orders

Twenty-four years ago, today, in Evansville, Indiana, I entered into holy orders as our (then) jurisdictional bishop (general superintendent), the Rev'd. Dr. Jim Diehl, in the company of all of the elders of the Southwest Indiana District, laid hands on me and ordained me an elder (presbyter/priest)* in the Church of God according to the Church of the Nazarene.

As I reflect on the years of ordained ministry, I am thankful for God's call and the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to celebrate the sacraments of the Lord.  By God's grace, I have served as pastor to five churches: Greencastle Church of the Nazarene (where I was serving when I was ordained), Grace Church of the Nazarene (Evansville), Centenary United Methodist Church (New Albany), Heartland Church of the Nazarene (Floyds Knobs) and Main Street United Methodist Church (New Albany).  -  I am thankful for the good people of God in all of these congregations; for their love and grace toward me and my family.

I like the ordinal that was used in our circles for a period of time (though it was not used during my ordination).  It included a place for elders to give the following address to those about to be ordained:

As a prophet, you are to boldly proclaim the gospel and call persons to be authentic expressions of the kingdom of God.  You are to speak truth to the people of God, calling the church to be an inclusive instrument of peace, justice, and compassion.

As a priest, you are to lead the people of God in worship, to administer the holy sacraments, and to be an instrument of God's benediction in the church.

As a shepherd, you are to love and serve the people of God, to be present with them in the experiences of life, and to live as a model of holy love.

Those are good words, and I hope that I have done that, by God's grace, over the years.

We are living in a new day, to say the least.  Further, I am currently in transition, serving the Main Street Church part-time, and looking for a "full-time" ministry (however that might be worked out).  -  It can become rather stressful, to tell the truth.

And yet, I have in recent times come to be attracted towards seeing life in terms of pilgrimage.  The thing about pilgrimage is that the journey may indeed have stretches of mundane-ness, or stress or danger and "uncertainty."  One can see this in the story of The Hobbit, which can be viewed as pilgrimage, as well.  It is during these stretches of the journey that God, indeed, desires to shape us . . . though, again, it may not seem pleasant.

A couple of verses that I hang onto that capture the concept of pilgrimage are Jeremiah 6:16 (a life verse for me) and Isaiah 30:21.  The Jeremiah verse says:  Thus says the LORD: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.

Isaiah 30:21 says: And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."  -  I recall one of my favorite professors, Dr. Paul Bassett, highlight this verse as he focused on the roots of my own denomination.  And just the other day, my district superintendent, Dr. Tim Crump, presented me (and the pastors on our district) an appreciation gift; a compass with that very verse engraved on it.  -  I have to say, I find that gift to be very meaningful!

So, as I continue on this pilgrimage of life, and as I look toward the future in ministry as an ordained elder/presbyter/priest* in Christ's Church, though the path may not seem clear and certain, nevertheless I listen to the voice behind me and look back to the ancient paths, and I trust that God will continue to faithfully lead.

Thank you, Lord, for your call into Christian ministry and for my ordination 24 years ago!  May God be glorified!

___________________________________________

For an interesting article about the language of presbyter/priest/elder, check out this 2015 post: "How Both New Testament 'Presbyters' and Old Testament 'Cohenim' Became 'Priests' in English"

Friday, May 8, 2020

Misunderstandings of Perfection

I have been using The Wesley Study Bible during my devotional reading.  The Old Testament reading for Morning Prayer (according to the 2019 BCP) was Deuteronomy 9.  Turning the page to chapter 10, I noticed that the notes contained one of the "Wesleyan Core Term" articles.  (This, along with "Life Application Topic" articles, are features of The Wesley Study Bible.)  This particular article was on "Misunderstandings of Perfection."

The doctrines of Christian Perfection and Entire Sanctification are a distinctive emphasis within the Wesleyan tradition, and especially within the Wesleyan-holiness wing of Methodism where my own denomination, the Church of the Nazarene, is situated.

I thought that it was a good and helpful article for those who might not understand clearly what the doctrine teaches and what it doesn't teach.  And so, I thought I would reproduce it for the readers of this blog (as well as commend The Wesley Study Bible to anyone looking for a new study Bible):

     The terminology Christian perfection, or entire sanctification, is easily misunderstood in the
     following ways. First, purity of heart does not entail perfection in knowledge.  Even the entirely
     sanctified must continue to study and prosper.  Second, Christian perfection does not issue in
     freedom from infirmities, that is, from slowness of understanding, confusion in thought, or 
     mistakes in judgment.  Third, Christian perfection should not be described as "sinless perfection,"
     lest the pure in heart conclude that they can be free from any violation of the perfect law of God,
     voluntary or not.  Fourth, perfect love does not eliminate temptation.  Fifth, there is no state of
     grace so lofty that one cannot fall from it; that is, heart purity can be lost.  And finally, Wesley
     rejected the idea of static perfection that did not increase in love and grace; he cautioned that a
     pure heart increasingly grows in the love of God.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Singing of Scripture

This morning, as I was praying Morning Prayer, I sang Come, Holy Ghost, Our Hearts Inspire.  This hymn presents the way that Wesleyan Christians approach Scripture.

As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of a section of hymns that take up this theme in
The Works of John Wesley, vol. 7, "Collection of Hymns for the Use of The People Called Methodists" (Bicentennial Ed.) The section is titled "Before reading the Scriptures." There are three hymns, in particular, on pages 186-85 that I would like to share.

As you read (or sing!) these hymns, notice how different the Wesleyan approach to Scripture is from fundamentalism, on the one hand, and ultra-liberalism, on the other. Notice the affirmation of the inspiration of the writings of Holy Scripture, but also the necessity for the Holy Spirit to inspire them afresh and anew to us. Notice also the goal of going to the Scriptures, viz., to know God.

85
1. Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire,
Let us thine influence prove,
Source of the old prophetic fire,
Fountain of life and love.
2. Come, Holy Ghost (for moved by thee
The prophets wrote and spoke);
Unlock the truth, thyself the key,
Unseal the sacred book.
3. Expand thy wings, celestial dove,
Brood o'er our nature's night;
On our disordered spirits move,
And let there now be light.
4. God through himself we then shall know,
If thou within us shine;
And sound, with all thy saints below,
The depths of love divine.

AND
86
2. While in thy Word we search for thee
(We search with trembling awe!)
Open our eyes, and let us see
The wonders of thy law.
3. Now let our darkness comprehend
The light that shines so clear;
Now the revealing Spirit send,
And give us ears to hear.

AND AGAIN
87
1. Inspirer of the ancient seers,
Who wrote from thee the sacred page,
The same through all succeeding years;
To us in our degenerate age
The spirit of thy Word impart,
And breathe the life into our heart.
2. While now thine oracles we read
With earnest prayer and strong desire,
O let thy Spirit from thee proceed
Our souls to waken and inspire,
Our weakness help, our darkness chase,
And guide us by the light of grace.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Worship Via Facebook Live March 15

If your church is not gathering to worship Sunday due to the coronavirus, you can join Main Street United Methodist Church via Facebook Live.  -  Here is the post I made on our Facebook page:


As most of you know, with the Covid 19 coronavirus, we have decided to cancel our gathering for Sunday, March 15. However, we are still going to worship! If you will come back to our Facebook page at 10:00 AM, Sunday, I will be broadcasting a Facebook Live service (the Lord willing!).
The service will follow the Morning Prayer service from the 2019 Book of Common Prayer. It will include a sermon and a couple of songs, as well.
So that you can participate more fully in our worship, I am providing for you the Scripture readings for the service, as well as a link where you can download the Morning Prayer service. You can then either print it off, or perhaps have it on a split screen. (Your part will be in bold print!) - And, if you are able, I would encourage you to embody your worship by standing, sitting and kneeling at appropriate times.
The Scriptures are:
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42
You can find the Morning Prayer Service at this link.

I hope to see you in worship! (Well, I hope you see me, and you should be able to "like" or comment to let me know that you are there!)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

More Holiness Hymns

I am still in the "Holiness" section of the hymnal (cf. previous post), and I thought I would share all three of the hymns for the day.  The first two are classic Charles Wesley hymns, and the third is by the American Methodist hymn writer, Lelia N. Morris, 1908. 

You will notice a marked distinction between the older, Wesley hymns and the one from the American Holiness Movement.  The former look toward or anticipate (in this life!) the experience of that "second rest" of "perfect love."  The latter is a celebratory testimony of God's "saving, sanctifying pow'r" and an invitation for others to "Boldly cross the Jordan's tide."  -  Both are very much a part of our heritage and identity in the Church of the Nazarene.

I hope you enjoy the hymns, and I hope that they prove to be a blessing to you!

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav'n, to earth come down!
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling;
All Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion;
Pure, unbounded love Thou art.
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter ev'ry trembling heart.

 
2. Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
Into ev'ry troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be.
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

3. Come, Almighty to Deliver;
Let us all Thy life receive.
Suddenly return, and never,
Nevermore Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.

4. Finish then Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heav'n we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.



Jesus, My Strength, My Hope
 
1. Jesus, my strength, my hope,
On Thee I cast my care,
With humble confidence look up,
And know Thou hear'st my prayer.
Give me on Thee to wait
Till I can all things do;
On Thee, almighty to create,
Almighty to renew.

2. I want a godly fear,
A quick-discerning eye
That looks to Thee when sin is near
And sees the tempter fly;
A spirit still prepared
And armed with jealous care,
Forever standing on its guard
And watching unto prayer.

3. I want a true regard,
A single, steady aim,
Unmoved by threat'ning or reward,
To Thee and Thy great name;
A jealous, just concern
For Thine immortal praise;
A pure desire that all may learn
And glorify Thy grace.

4. I rest upon Thy Word;
the promise is for me:
My comfort and salvation, Lord,
Shall surely come from Thee.
But let me still abide,
Nor from my hope remove,
Till Thou my patient spirit guide
Into Thy perfect love.



Sanctifying Power
1. There is sanctifying pow'r,
Like a sweet, refreshing show'r,
Waiting for each consecrated heart:
Pow'r to cleanse us from all sin,
Pow'r to keep us pure within,
Pow'r for service which He will impart.

(Refrain) I'm so glad, I'm so glad
For this saving, sanctifying pow'r!
Waves of glory o'er me roll;
Peace abides within my soul.
I'm so glad for this sanctifying pow'r!

2. I'm so glad it reaches me,
All unworthy tho' I be,
Overcoming grace made freely mine.
Since the Comforter abides,
And within my heart resides,
I am walking in the light of divine.

3. This God's will for you and me,
That we sanctified should be,
Dwelling in this land of plenteousness.
Fling your doubts and fears aside;
Boldly cross the Jordan's tide,
And your heritage in Christ possess.

4. Songs of praises let us sing
To our blessed Lord and King
For this great salvation rich and free:
Ev'ry needed grace supplied,
Ev'ry longing satisfied,
Saved for time and for eternity.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Holiness Hymns

 I have mentioned it before, but I tend to sing (usually three) songs when I pray the Daily Office.  I am currently singing through the Nazarene hymnal, Sing to the Lord, once again.  Today, I was in the section on holiness.  In fact, among the three that I sang was one of my three favorite hymns, Holiness unto to Lord.  (My other two are And Can It Be? by Charles Wesley and The Love of God by Frederick M. Lehman and Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai.)

This hymn holds special meaning for me, not only because of its content, but also because it is sung at every ordination service in the Church of the Nazarene.  -  It is unfortunate that, with so many churches moving exclusively to more modern songs, the message of this and several other holiness hymns has been lost for those congregations.  This is also the case for the theology of other classical Wesley hymns, as well as those that belong to the larger Christian Church.  -  I am not opposed to contemporary songs.  In fact, I like many of them.  However, if that is all we are singing, we are probably missing something import.

Holiness unto the Lord was written by Lelia N. Morris in 1900.  Mrs. Morris was a Methodist who wrote more than 1,000 gospel songs, including a number of holiness hymns; this being among them.

Holiness unto the Lord
1. "Called unto holiness," Church of our God,
Purchase of Jesus, redeemed by His blood;
Called from the world and its idols to flee,
Called from the bondage of sin to be free.
(Refrain) "Holiness unto the Lord" is our watch-word and song;
"Holiness unto the Lord" as we're marching along.
Sing it, shout it, loud and long:
"Holiness unto the Lord" now and forever.
2. "Called unto holiness," children of light,
Walking with Jesus in garments of white;
Raiment unsullied, nor tarnished with sin;
God's Holy Spirit abiding within.
3. "Called unto holiness," praise His dear name!
This blessed secret to faith now made plain:
Not our own righteousness, but Christ within,
Living and reigning, and saving from sin.
4. "Called unto holiness," bride of the Lamb,
Waiting the Bride-groom's returning again!
Lift up your heads, for the day draweth near
When in His beauty the King shall appear!
 
In addition to Holiness unto the Lord, I also sang Glorious Freedom.  Again, so many Nazarene churches are missing out on these songs that re-enforce our Wesleyan-holiness emphasis on entire sanctification.

Glorious Freedom
 
1. Once I was bound by sin's galling fetters;
Chained like a slave, I struggled in vain.
But I received a glorious freedom
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.

(Refrain) Glorious freedom! Wonderful freedom!
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus, the glorious Emancipator -
Now and forever He shall be mine.

2. Freedom from all the carnal affections;
Freedom from envy, hatred, and strife;
Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions;
Freedom from all that saddened my life!

3. Freedom from pride and all sinful follies;
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger;
Glorious freedom, rapture untold!

4. Freedom from fear with all of its torments;
Freedom from care with all of its pain;
Freedom in Christ, my blessed Redeemer -
He who has rent my fetters in twain.
 
 
One might ask, what if my experience does not match the freedom that this hymn describes?  Indeed, it would be likely that there would be plenty within a congregation that would not claim this testimony.  But in that case, I would paraphrase the advice once given to John Wesley when he was searching for assurance of faith.  Sing it until you experience the grace described in the hymn, and then you will sing it because you have experience that grace!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

An Article of Interest

Today, I read an article linked to Facebook that I thought was worth sharing with those who read this blog.  The article is entitle "Living in the Liturgy: My Anglican Journey."  It was written by Lisa Syner and has been published on the Anglican Pastor site.

Many who come here may well be comfortable in what is often called "liturgical worship."  However, some may be here who are just exploring the liturgy.  For you, especially, I thought that it might be good to read someone else's testimony of the power of God at work through the liturgy; a liturgy similar to the one that John Wesley left those of us in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition.

Now, I say, "similar," because the worship described is based in a version of the Book of Common Prayer, and John Wesley gave to the Methodists in North America a version of the prayer book, as well.  Nevertheless, it is unlikely that one would have smelled incense during worship in Wesley's service, nor would you likely have seen anyone genuflecting during Wesley's day (though, perhaps, there would be the bowing of the head).  Some of those kinds of things were recovered in the Anglican tradition after Wesley's time.  -  In any case, the author of the article describes her first experience of this kind of worship, and expresses how God has used it in a powerful way to shape her life.

Wherever you fall in your experience of worship, I hope that you find the article helpful.  It can be found, here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A Wesleyan Understanding of the Real Presence

I just finished shooting a video for my YouTube channel on the topic of a Wesleyan understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  -  I am trying to get the hang of how to do YouTube!  -  Anyway, I want to encourage you to take a look using the W/A YouTube link in the sidebar (though I am going to go ahead and embed the video, here).  -  If you do take a look via YouTube, be sure to hit the like button!

In the video, I reference one of the Wesley Eucharistic Hymns, and I have printed it out, for your convenience, below the video.  In the United Methodist Hymnal, the tune is "Stookey," and the alternate tune is "Amsterdam." The latter is the tune used for "Celebrate Immanuel's Name."




O the Depth of Love Divine
 
1. O the depth of love divine,
the unfathomable grace!
Who shall say how bread and wine
God into us conveys!
How the bread his flesh imparts,
how the wine transmits his blood,
fills his faithful people's hearts
with all the life of God!

2. Let the wisest mortals show
how we the grace receive;
feeble elements bestow
a power not theirs to give.
Who explains the wondrous way,
how through these the virtue came?
These the virtue did convey,
yet still remain the same.

3. How can spirits heavenward rise,
by earthly matter fed,
drink here with divine supplies
and eat immortal bread?
Ask the Father's wisdom how:
Christ who did the means ordain;
angels round our altars bow
to search it out, in vain.

4. Sure and real is the grace,
the manner be unknown;
only meet us in thy ways
and perfect us in one.
Let us taste the heavenly powers,
Lord, we ask for nothing more.
Thine to bless, 'tis only ours
to wonder and adore.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Upcoming Conferences (#1)










I want to keep everyone up-to-date on two opportunities that are coming up.  I will address the first meeting in this post, and I will address the second in a separate post.

On March 6-7, the Wesleyan Theological Society will be having their annual meeting.  This year it will be held at my alma mater, Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.

The WTS originated as a commission of the Christian Holiness Partnership, but it seems to have long outlived the CHP.  -  From the WTS website we read this description:

     The Wesleyan Theological society (WTS) is a scholarly society that exists to encourage the 
     exchange of ideas among Wesleyan-Holiness theologians. We hold a yearly academic conference
     devoted to the topics of systematic theology, biblical studies, philosophy, missions, historical
     studies, and pastoral theology. In addition, the society publishes a scholarly journal twice a year,
     and stimulates scholarship among younger theologians, pastors, and inquiring laity who are
     invited to participate in the society’s meetings and activities and publish in the journal.

I have been a member of the WTS since the '80's, and I encourage other Wesleyan-Holiness pastors/theologians/scholars to consider membership.

However, the more particular reason that I want to draw your attention to this meeting is that there are related societies that fall under WTS's larger umbrella that will also be meeting in Kansas City on March 5, the day prior to the main meeting.  Specifically the Wesleyan Liturgical Society will be meeting. 

The WLS is a relatively new society.  I think this will be our fourth(?) meeting.  Up until this year, I have served on the oversight committee for the WLS.

During this year's meeting, I will be presenting and leading a discussion on World Wesleyan/Methodist Worship.  -  This topic flows from an assignment taken up by the Worship and Liturgy Committee of the World Methodist Council.  -  I have served on that Committee since 2016, when the Nazarene General Secretary appointed me to the WMC.

I was one of three people on the WMC Worship and Liturgy Committee tasked with producing a document, which the Committee will use to discuss the essentials or characteristics of Wesleyan/Methodist worship.  The hope is that the Committee will produce a document to give to the Council and through the Council to member denominations. 

My work has been based on my doctoral dissertation that focused on John Wesley's criteria for authentic Christian Worship.  (Versions of this work may be previewed using the links at the top of the sidebar.) -  I presented a version of this work at the recent meeting of the North American Academy of Liturgy in order to gain feedback from them.  I will be doing something similar at the upcoming WLS meeting.

So, if you have particular interest in Wesleyan/Methodist (or Anglican) worship, or if you have a background in the study of this topic, I would love to see you at the WLS meeting!  -  Information for registering for the meetings of the Wesleyan Theological Society, the Wesleyan Liturgical Society, and all of the other auxiliary societies can be found, here.

I hope to see you in Kansas City!  (And, if you are a member of the Wesleyan Anglican Society and are planning on being at WTS, let me know.  We may try to plan an opportunity to get together!)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Life Verse

If you are a preacher, and if you are using the Lectionary, you will notice that the Psalm for this coming Sunday is Psalm 27 (though that is not the case for the ACNA's Lectionary!).  This Psalm contains one of the two verses that I have seen as "life verses" for me*, and so, I wanted to share the verse with those who read this blog.  Perhaps you will resonate with you, as well.

Psalm 27:4

One thing I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in his temple.
 
 
 
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* My other "life verse" is Jeremiah 6:16 (minus the last line).