Separating Christian Doctrine from Practice?

Juicy Ecumenism | 5/22/2019 | UM Voices
lukealukea (Posted by) Level 4
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Timothy W. Whitaker is a Retired United Methodist Church bishop who served the Florida Area.

UM Voices is a forum for different voices within the United Methodist Church on pressing issues of denominational concern. UM Voices contributors represent only themselves and not IRD/UMAction. This post was originally shared by Bishop Whitaker in an email. It is reprinted with his permission.

Doctrine - Christians - Discipline - Christians - Doctrine

It is often implied that doctrine (what Christians believe) and discipline (how Christians live) are very distinct. So we may be orthodox if we assent to the doctrine of the Trinity and the person and work of Jesus Christ, even while rejecting disciplines that the church since the times of the apostles and fathers also declared orthodox.

Supposedly disputes about discipline should not divide the church since discipline is not on the same level as doctrine. But if the law is a Christological issue, as John Wesley taught, with the church’s apostolic and catholic tradition, then downplaying the status of discipline is misleading.

Heart - John - Wesley - Standard - Sermons

At the heart of John Wesley’s Standard Sermons are three sermons about the laws’ meaning: Sermons XXIX, XXX, and XXXI. These three sermons immediately follow his sermons about the Sermon on the Mount, advocating a rigorous Christian life striving toward perfection in love in heart and life. Wesley explains the relation of the law and the grace of God, against antinomian motifs of the “evangelical” preachers and groups of his day.

Wesley’s three sermons on the law are implicitly Trinitarian. The first sermon explains the nature of the law, and Wesley interprets the law as the “image” of the being of God. The Father is the principle of the deity of the triune God, so this first sermon primarily concerns the Father. The second sermon, focused on the Son, argues God’s law is established by faith, explaining how the Christ’s preaching entails...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Juicy Ecumenism
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