Reflect Holiness in a Polarized World
18 September 2020
Dear Pastors and Leaders,
We live and minister in a world that is increasingly polarized. We see a widening of perspectives from the varied countries of the world, and from individuals on issues that impact our lives. The polarity we face reflects differing opinions on what we value most, and we are being urged to live into extremes. At the same time, the way of the center, or the moderate position, has been re-characterized as “a sign of weakness.” This is certainly a challenge for a church that has been defined by the via media (middle way) of Wesleyanism, and we ought to make a conscious effort to reclaim our space.
The word of God, and our theological heritage encourage us to embrace a Spirit- filled life in which our beliefs, actions, and affections flow from a right heart. This would be a good time for all of us to re-evaluate our own lives in light of Wesley’s criteria for a right heart:
1. Do you believe in God? In His wisdom, power, justice, mercy, and truth? Do you walk by faith and not by sight?
2. Do you believe in Jesus Christ and are you found in Him?
3. Is your faith filled with the energy of love? Has love for God cast out love for the world?
4. Are you doing the will of God with an attitude of “not my will, but Thine be done”?
5. Is your heart right toward your neighbor? Do you love your enemies?
6. Do you show your love by your works?
A right heart is also to be a full heart. This is the life of the entirely sanctified and results in a heart filled with the right motivations for our actions. Our intentions matter when it comes to the ways in which we respond to one another and to what we encounter in the world. When we have a full heart, we are motivated to respond out of a desire for good because our goal is to reflect the heart of Christ in everything that we do. This is why we continue to emphasize our mission statement, To Make Christlike Disciples in the Nations.
As Christlike disciples we are to take up our cross and follow Jesus in this world. Jesus’ cross was one of suffering on our behalf, and our ministry should be one where we pour ourselves out on behalf of those who cannot save themselves.This is our biblical mandate and therefore we must feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit the prisoner, let the oppressed go free, and proclaim the year of the Lord. As Wesleyan-Holiness people our motivations should always come from the heart of Christ resulting in truly Christlike behaviors.
Dr. Bresee, first general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, often quoted a well-known phrase, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” This statement reflects the love of Christ that ought to be at the center of the life of holiness. Love of Christ will continually draw us toward God’s holy love, resulting in holy practices. These practices do not pull us to extremes but become the via media where Christ’s love, time and again, fills us with love for God and love of neighbor. The via media is the space where God’s people find themselves consumed by the desire to reflect the holy love of God to an increasingly polarized world. Let’s reclaim our space!
Grace and Peace,
Board of General Superintendents, Filimão M. Chambo, Eugénio R. Duarte, David W. Graves, David A. Busic, Gustavo A. Crocker, Carla D. Sunberg
Filed Under: Communicator Published: 09/23/2020