“Both And” Vs. “Either Or”

Methodism at its best has long been known for its ability to hold competing approaches to the faith together at the same time. In theological circles, we’re known as “both/and” people as opposed to “either/or.”

Historically, you see this in Methodism’s emphases on . . .

1. Both evangelism and good works as vital to a healthy congregation.

2. Both personal piety and servant ministry as vital to a healthy Christian.

3. Both human free will and divine sovereignty as descriptive our relationship with God.

4. Both an intellectual grounding behind faith and a warm expression of faith.

5. Both salvation from the power of sin (for holiness) and from the penalty of sin (from hell).

Those are but five of many I could choose as representative of the Methodist approach to Christianity.

Last Sunday, I gave our church an address that spoke about some other “both/ands” that are somewhat unique to Good Shepherd:

Both culturally connected and charismatic. We try to speak the tech-heavy language of 21st Century America while also holding on to passionate belief in the ongoing power and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Both “out there” and “in here.” We do our best to balance our burden for people who don’t yet know how much they are loved by God with our calling to care for those already in the flock.

Both accepting and challenging. As I said on Sunday, we “do” accepted much better than we “do” challenge. I sense God is calling us to make 2011 a year in which that dynamic becomes more in balance.