Theological Focus

We are the people of The United Methodist Church

1. We believe in:

2. We live by two kinds of holiness:

3. We follow three simples rules:

4. We work in four areas of focus:

We are the people of The United Methodist Church

umc.org/1234

 
 
 
Theological Framework
  
Traditional United Methodist Tenets
 -   United Methodists share a common heritage with Christians of every age and nation:

  -  God created humanity to live in covenant with God.

  -   As sinful creatures, we have broken that covenant and stand in need of redemption.

   -  Because God truly loves us, God acted through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to bring us salvation and the hope of eternal life.

  -   God's love comes alive in us by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works in both our personal experience and the common life of the church.

  -   We are part of Christ's universal church. We enter the church through Baptism. In Holy Communion, we celebrate the presence of Christ and
  find strength for Christian living.

  -   We believe that the reign of God is a present and future reality. This prospect gives us hope in our present actions.

   -   We believe that Scripture containseverything necessary for salvation.

    -  We believe in justification by grace through faith in Christ and in the general ministry of all Christians.

    -  We believe the church is one in Jesus Christ. We express our unity in hymns and liturgy, in the historic creeds, and in the belief in one holy, catholic, and apostolic church

 Faith and Deeds
 
  James 2:14-26
 
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

 Pastor Karl Eastlac

Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church

( www.easternhillschurch.org )

The meaning of the term "discipleship" for members of this church would evoke many different ideas with varying levels of commitment. This is a church that, like most United Methodist Churches, finds it preferable to express their discipleship through action rather than through words, through mission rather than through evangelism.

On Saturday evening, at the Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church ( www.easternhillschurch.org ), Pastor Karl Eastlack preached the second in a three-part series on "Both/And." The first message was Truth and Love. (Truth without love is harsh. Love without truth is cruel.) The message I heard was Faith and Deeds from James 2:14-26. ("It is a kind of good deed to say well, but words are not deeds." - William Shakespeare)
 

The nuggets from the message were:

1. Real faith isn't just something you say. (v. 14)

2. Real faith isn't just something you feel. (v. 15)

3. Real faith isn't just something you think. (v. 18)

4. Real faith isn't just something you believe. (v. 19)

5. Real faith is just something you do.
 
The examples of Abraham and Rahab that James uses are examples that real faith is "not determined by what I do, but is demonstrated by what I do."
 
This controversy or the tension, or some would say Scriptural paradox, between faith and deeds has been around for awhile. In fact, many scholars have felt that Paul and James absolutely contradict each other in this area. I am reminded that my Asbury Seminary professor. Dr. Joseph Wang, wrote his doctoral dissertation (Emory University/Candler) on the consistency of Paul and James on faith and love. He shared with us that when he submitted his topic to the committee, he was told that what he was attempting to do was impossible and was warned as he proceeded that if he failed to make the case, he would not get the degree. Well, the Ph. D. behind his name is the rest of the story.
 
 
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