Warm hearts. Holy people. Guarded doors.

A few days ago I said that I’d blog some reflections on our reading of Methodist history, some serious, some less serious. This is the less serious one.

Today, the popular slogan of The United Methodist Church

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.

That slogan came to mind when we read a statement that the first bishops of American Methodism, Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury, wrote in their Notes to the Discipline of 1798

It is manifestly our duty to fence in our society, and to preserve it from intruders … We will have a holy people or none.

While this one statement doesn’t speak for all of early Methodism, I thought it might suggest a slogan such as …

Warm hearts. Holy people. Guarded doors.

What do you think? How do you explain the difference?

2 thoughts on “Warm hearts. Holy people. Guarded doors.

  1. It shows a definite shift in 200 years. Where they used to seek to build holiness in people, now they struggle to just have people. It also reflects the UMC’s drift into liberalism. The early Methodists saw salvation as an exclusive thing. You were saved or you weren’t and woe on those who weren’t. Now, universalism has crept in and taken over. All paths lead to God and nobody will be excluded.

  2. I think both statements can be misconstrued (including the earlier one).

    The earlier one expresses, as you mention, an emphasis on holiness, and certainly, high expectations and accountability for members.

    Even today, though, among some small group ministries, some are closed (they value authenticity and accountability) and some are open (they value evangelism). Both have their value, I think.

    The current slogan expresses important values, too — hospitality (a core value of the “primitive church,” which Wesley sought to restore/emulate), open-mindedness (another Wesleyan value, agreement in the essentials and charity in the non-essentials).

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