I love Jesus most, but while participating in a recent General Board Meeting of The Wesleyan Church (my 20th General Board session), I realized how much I love the church of my youth. There are many facets that make up a denomination. I suppose some would rather be a member of an independent church because they might feel like they are closer to the heartbeat of a simpler entity. Yet, there is great strength in being a part of something bigger than an individual can do on his or her own while having the possibility of global impact for Christ more than any single church.
As I listened to reports covering the past year as well as upcoming, worldwide gospel initiatives, I quickly jotted down three reasons why I love The Wesleyan Church.
I love our commitment to God’s Holy Word. The fact that we have the Bible to base our decisions and policies upon is a great source of confidence and comfort. The Bible is our source of truth. It is God’s truth and The Wesleyan Church has long held the position that it is God’s inspired, inerrant word for all of life and living. Without it we would ultimately be lost in the sea of personal opinion. God’s word is our core foundation for what we are to think, say, decide and live in our personal lives and our churches.
I love The Wesleyan Church’s commitment to Jesus. Yes, Jesus is the Word that became flesh (John 1). The Wesleyan Church holds to a firm stance that Jesus is, indeed, the Savior of all who believe in him. We believe the witness of the Scriptures that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was betrayed, unjustly tried, crucified, and resurrected from the dead. We believe Jesus ascended into heaven (May 29 is Ascension Day this year) and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. We believe Jesus’ first coming to earth was at Christmas to save people from their sins. We believe Jesus is coming again on an unknown day to judge the living and the dead. Jesus is our Savior and Lord. He is our example for holy living and our representative. Through his Holy Spirit, Jesus is our guide and comforter. I love The Wesleyan Church because we love Jesus.
I love The Wesleyan Church because we are committed to grace. We hold a strong belief in the optimistic grace of Jesus Christ. We believe the Scriptures when it talks about the fact that “whosoever” may believe in Jesus. We are a denomination that should look at others with “not yet eyes.” There is hope for everyone. Each person who has ever lived is made in the image of God. And we believe that all men, women, boys, and girls have the opportunity to repent of their sin as well as be reconciled to a personal, ongoing, and holy relationship with Jesus. This type of grace compels us to share our faith in Christ. It also gives us eternal hope for the total transformation of lives, churches, and communities. It gives us a true foundation for compassion, justice, and mercy toward all people. This optimistic grace also gives us the proper viewpoint toward others as we witness to them by speaking the truth of God’s Word in love. The Wesleyan Church’s view of grace is not a cheap, weak grace. It cost Jesus everything. It asks for our all as well.
You and I could list more reasons, I’m sure. Regardless, my prayer for Wesleyans and The Wesleyan Church throughout North America and around the world is: May we always be committed to God’s Word; to Jesus, his Son; and to his wonderful, optimistic grace toward all people everywhere.
Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.