A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, April 16, 2012

United Methodists and Doctrine

Check out this post from the UM Portal. Andrew Thompson is spot on!
There should be few things more offensive to Methodists with regard to their tradition than the oft-repeated and vacuous claim that it is "not doctrinal."

This ill-informed opinion (often spoken by other Methodists) is flatly wrong. And given that we are on the verge of a General Conference—where doctrinal decisions are made in abundance—it's helpful for us to look at just how central a role doctrine plays in our church.

My guess is that the resistance to the idea of doctrine is rooted in a misunderstanding of what the word means.

Many people seem to think of doctrine in negative terms, as an oppressive and boundary setting notion that limits freedom of thought and action. That is an unfortunate misunderstanding that fails to see doctrine's true meaning.

The term doctrine comes from the Latin cognate doctrina, which means refers to teaching, instruction or training in a certain area of knowledge or practice. The Christian understanding of doctrine was given classical expression by the great Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas. In the opening of the Summa Theologiae, Aquinas refers to "sacra doctrina" or "holy teaching" to describe the truths about God that pertain to humanity’s intended end in God.

Doctrine in this sense is about providing the framework for the whole Christian life. It is not limiting but rather life-giving. Embracing doctrine means embracing the good news that we don't have to make up the Christian faith on our own.

Wesleyan Doctrine...

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