Gleanings: Accountability

In his sermon “Salvation By Faith, ” John Wesley wrote, “Our commission is to ‘Go and preach the gospel to every creature.’  If anyone twists it, or any part of it, [he does so] to his destruction.”

I am grateful that I came upon these words early in my Christian walk.  What seem at first to be harsh words, actually end up being saving words.  We are never coerced to believe anything.  There’s not a single doctrine we can name that we are forced to believe.  But once we step into the circle of Christian faith, there is a gospel already established that does require us to believe certain things. 

Wesley’s point is simply that the gospel is not waiting to be defined by what we happen to think about it.  We don’t enter the room to be a tie-breaker.  The vote has already been cast; the essential elements of Christianity have been established.  Our commission is to go and preach the message that we have been given.  We don’t have to do this.  We can believe whatever we like.  But if we claim to be Christians, there is a faith awaiting us, not waiting for us.  We do not define the gospel; it defines us.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Gleanings: Accountability

  1. Leslie Foos says:

    Thanks, Steve. You always keep me thinking!

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