Friday, August 5, 2011

Wesleyan-Holiness Mergers Not Taking Place Anytime Soon

Nazarene Communications Network (on Tuesday) made the following announcement on their facebook page:

"The Board of General Superintendents recently met with several sister denominations. Of interest was a special facilitated session to explore the many issues involved in a possible merger. We can report the group voted to not pursue merger at this time. However, leaders of these denominations are working on a global alliance. More information will be posted when made available."

No information was given as to the specific denominations involved in this special facilitated session.  Hopefully we will be able to find that information in the near future.

I have to say, I like the idea of a global alliance.  It is a step in the right direction.

As many of you will know, I sent a resolution to the last Nazarene General Assembly that would call us to approach The Wesleyan Church and then the Free Methodist Church in order to pursue possible merger.  The G.A. committee amended the resolution so as to no longer talk about merger, but rather closer partnering.

I would still like to see merger talks for two theological reasons.  First, I think we must take seriously Christ's prayer that we be one.  Second, I think it drastically undermines the holiness message when so many (relatively) small denominations claim "perfect love" as our distinguishing doctrine, and yet we cannot seem to get together.

However, rather than try to put forward another resolution for merger (especially in light of these recent developments), I would like to see the Church of the Nazarene, The Wesleyan Church, and the Free Methodist Church work together to develop a united set of Articles of Faith/Religion, a common preparation process for ordination, and a common ordinal (with recognition of each other's clergy) with a goal of having our General Assembly/Conferences declaring that, while we remain separate organizationally, nevertheless we understand ourselves to be essentially one church.

(I have specified the three denominations because we The Wesleyan and Free Methodist churches are most like the Church of the Nazarene.  We share, not only a Wesleyan-holiness commitment (like other Wesleyan-holiness denominations), but also similarities in government/structure, as well as a strong Methodist heritage.  All three of these denominations share membership in the National Association of Evangelicals, the Christian Holiness Partnership, the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium, and the World Methodist Council.)

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