The United Methodist Church is built upon the foundational leadership and teachings of John Wesley. Wesley was born in 1703, studied at Oxford University, and was ordained a priest in the Church of England. While insistent on maintaining his connection with the Church of England in his hope to reform the church, Wesley’s formation of small groups outside the Church of England, which focused on accountability and discipleship, took on a life of their own. Wesley appointed itinerant, unordained evangelists to travel and preach and to care for these small covenant groups.
The movement Wesley began took root in the newly formed American colonies, which rejected any connection to the Church of England. Wesley knew the Methodist groups in the colonies needed direction and guidance. He also knew the Church of England was not interested in sending bishops to supervise the church in the colonies. So, in 1784, much against his desire (he preferred to stay connected to the Church of England), Wesley ordained Thomas Coke to be a superintendent of the Methodists in America.
In December of 1784 the Methodist connection in America held its first assembled conference at Lovely Lane Chapel in Baltimore. At the Christmas Conference (as it was called), and at Wesley’s request, Thomas Coke ordained Francis Asbury to be a co-superintendent, and the Methodist Episcopal Church was officially establishment. Wesley was 81 years old at the time.
During his life, Wesley preached some 40,000 sermons, and as he died in 1791, he left behind a library of literary work to teach and instruct the church in its understanding and knowledge of the Biblical text. Along with his Notes on the New Testament, we still have about 150 of Wesley’s sermons in publication today. Through July, we’re going to be looking deeper into six of Wesley’s sermons, all based on scriptural text from the Epistle of Romans. While Wesley wrote in an 18th Century vernacular, we will attempt to re-write the sermons in today’s tongue to give new life to the words of the founder of the Methodist movement.
Justification by Faith
June 25, 2017

Justification is pardon from both the guilt and power of sin, made possible by faith, the only necessary condition of justification.

God’s Love to Fallen Man
July 2, 2017

All of humanity became sinners because of the disobedience of one man (Adam); yet all receive the gift of holiness and life eternal because of the obedience of the one man (Jesus).

The Original, Nature, Properties, and Use of the Law
July 9, 2017

The Lutheran faith is built upon a balancing act – a dialogue – between the law and the gospel. We often tout the law as the base of our faith. But what is the law? Where did it come from? And why does it exist?

The First Fruits of the Spirit
July 16, 2017

Even those who are the most faithful – those who seek Christ and are led by the Spirit – will have faults; we will fail. But in our love of God and at the responsive love of God for us, we may continue to live faithfully, even though we continue to sin.

The Witness of the Spirit: Discourse One
July 23, 2017

Our faith is not a matter of subjective opinion, but of belief instilled by the Spirit. The sermon makes the distinction between ways in which we feel the assurance of God (subjective belief) and the objective grounding of the movement of the Spirit. Wesley takes a both/and solution – stressing personal consciousness and the prevenient work of the Spirit.

On Predestination
July 30, 2017

“The almighty, all-wise God sees and knows, from everlasting to everlasting, all that is, that was, and that is to come, through one eternal now. With him nothing is either past or future, but all things equally present. He has, therefore, if we speak according to the truth of things, no foreknowledge, no afterknowledge.” What does that even mean? Come and find out!

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*Childcare is provided for infants – 5 years old each Sunday morning from 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.