Kevin Watson has an interesting post responding to Rachel Held Evans’ argument that we cannot overcome sin.
Watson argues that the Wesleyan teaching of holiness is often rejected precisely because people are persuaded by arguments such as Evans’. The point Wesleyan Christians have made consistently is that we cannot overcome sin, but that Christ can. If we are growing in holiness by working out our salvation, the Holy Spirit does, in fact, have the power to overcome sin. It is along journey for many, but it is not impossible for God.
In response to Evans’ claim that sin is inevitable, Watson writes:
This is not the fullness of the gospel. The gospel proclaims that Jesus was the Son of God, he was crucified, died, and raised again on the third day. Jesus faced the very worse that sin and death could do. He entered fully into the reality of death. And he conquered sin, even the grave!
Which leads to his strong statement about God’s grace:
Here is what it comes down to: Which do you believe is more powerful: sin or God? If you believe that people are not able to “go and sin no more,” then you believe that sin is more powerful than God. If you believe that God is more powerful than sin, which I think is the conclusion Christians must come to, then you may need to take a closer look at the reflexive excusing of the reality of sin in the lives of those who have taken on the name of Christ that is prevalent in contemporary American Christianity.
Kevin Watson has a three-part series of posts up right now about “holy conferencing,” a buzz phrase that gets thrown around a lot in United Methodism. (Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.)
The first part of that series notes that John Wesley never used the phrase “holy conferencing,” or at least we do not have any record of him doing so.
Watson lists links to other posts he’s written about things Wesley never said. Some of them might be familiar to you.
“personal and social holiness”
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can …”
“I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn.”
“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
Kevin Watson extends his conversation about class meetings in the 21st century by offering some suggestions and cautions about online class meetings. The post includes his thinking on the best way to conduct such meetings, but his hesitation about going online is worthy of careful consideration before making the leap to online:
Before I sketch what I think would be the ideal way to organize an online class meeting, I want to make one qualification. One of the values of the class meeting is that it was a way to ensure that every person who was associated with “the people called Methodists” was connected to a community of people who were seeking to be saved from their sins and would watch over one another in love. A concern I always have when discussing online class meetings is that it will be a way for people to play it safe and join together with those they are already comfortable with, rather than risking inviting people around you to try something new. In early Methodism, the class meeting was one of the major pieces of the early Methodist movement. Better to start a class meeting in any form than not start one. But in my mind, it is even better to start one with people in your local church, to invite and encourage them to grow in their love and knowledge of God. I believe that a return to a form of small group practice like the class meeting is one of the best hopes for Wesleyan faith communities, but can only bring renewal to local churches to the extent that they are connected to local churches.
Check out the full post here.
I also have collected Kevin’s previous posts in the series on a page here.