10 Reasons Why I Am a Wesleyan (Carolyn Moore)

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1. Wesleyanism celebrates lavish grace.

This includes prevenient grace, justifying grace and sanctifying grace.

2. Wesleyanism celebrates holiness.

In fact, Wesleyan doctrine can be summed up in two words: grace and holiness. That’s our great claim. Our tradition isn’t primarily about a form of worship (though we have written thousands of songs to God). It isn’t primarily about getting people out of hell (though Wesley preached that we should flee the wrath to come). It doesn’t claim to be charismatic, though we honor the gifts of the Spirit. It isn’t doctrinally heavy, though we certainly consider ourselves creedal. At its core, Wesleyanism is about claiming a free gift of salvation then working it out daily with fear and trembling. It is a call to live a holy life.

3. Wesleyanism celebrates the will made free by the work of the Holy Spirit.

We refuse any attempt to limit the work of Jesus to only those who are in the “up elevator,” and we stand by our right to get saved … again.

4. Wesleyanism celebrates the Bible.

We love and study the Word of God. We are people of the Book, and recent decisions made within my Wesleyan denomination at the international level make me more confident than ever of our denomination’s ability to honor the integrity of scripture.

5. Wesleyanism celebrates diversity.

Frankly, I’m helped by being in a tradition that doesn’t require me to believe everything it believes in order to be in fellowship. And while some issues are deal-breakers for me, there is a great deal of latitude for which I’m grateful. I can be a low-church, charismatic with a strong preference for baptism by immersion and still be Wesleyan, without having to embrace any one of those spiritual preferences as a salvific issue.

6. Wesleyanism celebrates practical acts of mercy and justice.

We are do-ers of the Word, and we double-dog-dare you to show us authentic faith without works. We are committed to service that leads to salvation and we are particularly fond of healing in all its forms. We love 12-step programs (heck, we invented grape juice!).

7. Wesleyanism celebrates the Trinity.

We seek balance in our love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We honor our Creator as we live the teachings of Jesus and strive for intimacy with God through the Holy Spirit.

8. Wesleyanism celebrates accountability.

Even though I lament it more than I celebrate it, it is a fact that our theological connection is a strength. I’m not a free agent out there under a tent abusing people in Jesus’ name. I’m also not totally responsible for knowing when I’m effective and when I’m not. In my tradition, there are people keeping watch over my ministry who will let me know when its time to move on without booting me out on the street because the fit isn’t right.

9. Wesleyanism celebrates the sacramental life.

We love baptism and have a renewed passion for the Eucharist. We trust in the means of grace and believe God will show up in practical acts of piety, but we see those acts as servants, not masters of our life with Christ. We passionately pursue a personal relationship with Jesus and are not bound by forms of religion.

10. Wesleyanism celebrates me as a person.

Without embracing liberalism, we can embrace God’s call on every life and celebrate gender equality. I am deeply grateful to the people called Wesleyan for not only allowing me to fully express my call to preach and lead, but encouraging me to do so. That has been the greatest gift and I serve out of gratitude for a tribe that loved me to Jesus, then loved me into leadership.

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Carolyn Moore is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. She was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia and graduated from the University of Georgia (B.A. – Religion, 1985) and Asbury Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity, 1998). In June of 2003, she was appointed home again to the Augusta area, where she and her family were given the joy of birthing Mosaic United Methodist Church. Mosaic focuses on reaching people in the margins. In more than ten years of weekly worship, Mosaic has seen more than 130 baptisms and hundreds of professions of faith. A satellite ministry serves adults with disabilities in downtown Augusta.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Great post, but some Wesleayns (myself included) are charismatic – not necessartily Pentecostal, but definately charismatic. We use the gifts not in a display of emotionalism or showmanship, but with humility and love.

    • Jason– thanks for the comment, but I would have read Carolyn’s post as affirming what you say here. Did you read it differently?

      • No, I think we are talking about the same thing. I guess I am thinking semantically about the word “charismatic” and if there is a way to salvage it from the emotional/showmanship excesses that have too often been associated with it. In the Vineyard movement, we use the term “empowered evangelicals” but I would like to see the word charismatic maybe recovered to describe those who take a Biblical – I Corinthians 12-14 – approach to the use of the gifts in ministry, and especially in public worship.

        • Jason, I give you full permission to begin right now reclaiming the word as it was intended. I am charismatic, not pentecostal. I embrace the gifts of the Spirit and am empowered by them. I use the term “charismatic” because it is closer to the biblical text.

    • As someone who’s heard a years worth (or so) of Carolyn’s sermons I can promise you that she definitely embraces all that God will grant including what many would call “charismatic.”

      • I don’t doubt that at all. Again, as I said above, I am just wondering about the semantics of the word charismatic. Craig Keener has some interesting comments on this at the beginning of his book “The Gifts and the Giver” – which I think is a must-read in terms of developing a full-orbed Biblically grounded view of the gifts.

  2. Carolyn, Simply put, I love it! Great post. Two years ago while visiting family in Michigan my niece asked why chose to be a United Methodist pastor instead of a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) like my mother had raise me. I tried to explain the best way I knew how – the next morning I attended worship with her in a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) Church and was denied Communion. Now, I have been baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), but as her pastor put it, I had chosen a different path! I looked at my niece at that moment and said, “That is why I am a United Methodist!!!” “Christ our Lord invites to [HIS] table all who love him and earnestly repent of their sin.” Needless to say, even though I knew in my heart of hearts that I was and am worthy, I felt unworthy or at least that I was being told I am unworthy of the Lord. I am truly proud to say, “I am a United Methodist and I pray I will never be the instrument that makes another person feel unworthy of our loving Christ.” Thank you for this inspiring post.

    • Charles, did they pass you by at the Altar?? How sad is this….I didn’t know the Lutheran church did that, I am shocked!! I grew up in the Episcopal Church and am married to a Methodist Pastor and thank God we can go back to my home church and receive Communion.

      • No Mary Beth, they did not pass me by at the Altar. My niece went and asked her pastor prior to the service because she saw the note in the bulletin advising it was a closed Communion. He told her because I had taken a different path, became a Methodist pastor, I could not receive Communion, even though I had been baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. If she had not done that I would have gone to the Altar just like everyone else.

  3. Your 5th. Reason celebrates diversity, however you don’t dare touch the diversity that is splitting the umc. Escape from reality of what’s going on in the denomination.

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