Since General Conference 2012, I’ve been reflecting on what needs to happen for The United Methodist Church to experience transformation (see “The Recovery of a Contagious Methodist Movement”, a review of George Hunter’s book, and 4 Strategies to Transform The United Methodist Church). One thing that must happen is a recovery of Wesleyan theology!
Over a year ago, I wrote about Wesley’s Historic Questions (incidentally, it’s the second most popular post on the blog from the past year and fifth most popular of all time). The list includes nineteen questions bishops ask candidates prior to ordination at annual conference. After the first question (“Have you faith in Christ?”), the next three deal with Christian perfection …
- Are you going on to perfection?
- Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?
- Are you earnestly striving after it?
Knowing the right answers make the first two questions possible to answer without much thought. But the final question in this series of question puts you on the spot: Are you earnestly striving after it? (see my post, Earnestly Striving After Perfection).
Going on to perfection is a belief, an expectation, and an attitude that ought to lead to action (“earnestly striving”). I’ve long believed the biggest hindrance in the church is apathy. Apathy is an attitude that essentially believes the present condition is good enough or that growing in Christ isn’t necessary or worth the effort.
If United Methodists were earnestly striving after perfection, there would be much less decline and much more vitality in the UMC! The attitude of going on to perfection challenges us to grow and to keep moving forward!
Are we going on to perfection or settling for good enough?