A group of 60 Methodist Theologians has signed a statement of faith to revisit the riches of the Wesleyan tradition and help solidify the world's largest Methodist denomination (the United Methodist Church), which is currently facing division over sexuality.
The document is titled "The Faith Once Delivered: A Wesleyan Witness", a 62-page document that serves as hope to shape the future of Methodism, revisit Wesleyanism, and help Christians to grow and be restored by God's grace.
This document was brought up and came about in a gathering of 50 Christian scholars at the Next Methodism Summit held last January 2022 in Alexandria, Virginia. Wesleyan Scholars Ryan Danker, Jonathan Power, and Kevin Watson revised the final document.
The document is divided into six sections: The Attributes of God, The Image of God and Creation, The Scripture and its Authority, The Nature of Salvation, The Church, and The End Times.
The United Methodist Church Split Due To LGBT Issues
According to Christianity Today, The United Methodist Church (UMC), which comprises 31,000 congregations in the US is divided due to LGBT issues. In 2020, the denomination had agreed to have a division plan but was delayed because of COVID-19 concerns.
Last May, some part of the conservatives could not wait any longer and decided to launch the Global Methodist Church. CBN News cited that the Global Methodist organizers would allow women to serve all levels, seek membership, and would adhere to "the traditional understanding of Christian marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman and as God's intended setting for human sexual expression."
The Document Leaves Hope and Retrieval of Historical Riches
Kevin Watson, one of the three scholars who revised the document had an interview with The Christian Post, saying that "the Wesleyan-Methodist tradition needs to retrieve the riches of its own doctrinal heritage." Watson added that there is an ongoing "crisis of identity" in many parts of the Wesleyan-Methodist tradition.
"This document," Watson adds, "is not seeking to speak a new word in support of a current cultural moment. Rather, it is seeking to retrieve the basics of the faith that has already been given to us,"
The document is not only to be used as a signpost, but it is also designed to be used in churches. The document consists of short sections and is accompanied by numbered paragraphs. The document can be used in Sunday Schools for reading and revisiting John Wesley's sermons, Charles Wesley's hymns, and Bible references in the text.
Lane Davis, an ordained elder at the UMC Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference and one of the people who signed in the document said in an interview that "There are many of us that we have those foundations in the doctrinal documents of Methodism. I signed 'The Faith Once Delivered' because I believe it is a faithful, concise, summation of those core Wesleyan tenets,"
"The Wesleyan tradition has a rich theological and doctrinal heritage, and yet Methodists as a whole have not done a great job of communicating and forming our congregations in the particulars of that tradition," he adds.
"The Faith Once Delivered: A Wesleyan Witness" is a signpost of hope, love, and making a stand through faith, cherishing the basics of faith that have been passed down through generations.