FM History & Polity – Assignment 3

Post a reflection based on your reading of the first three chapters of the 2015 Free Methodist Book of Discipline.  Don't forget to come back and share observations on at least three of your fellow classmates' posts.

56 Responses to “FM History & Polity – Assignment 3”

  1. Eric Brown says:

    I found the reading of the first few chapters of the book of discipline helpful in some ways. Mostly chapter 3 for me personally, because of the way the principles of the Christian journey are simply summarized.

    Chapter 1 is basically a rundown of the basics of Biblical Christian belief. It contains a brief summary of some theological terms and lays out some guidelines and requirements concerning membership.

    Chapter 2 just numbed my brain. It is mostly the political procedures of the Free Methodist church as an institution. Honestly, I think it would have made more sense for me had I read it backwards. I tend to understand authoritative structure better if I can see the progression from the top down. Nevertheless, politics isn’t my thing. While I fully acknowledge and respect the importance of the political institution, I tend to learn it better as I interact within it rather than reading about it. But I again, I do honor the gift of those who are able to institute all the necessary policies to protect the institution and it’s healthy functioning.

    Chapter 3 was a sort of in depth exposition and expansion of chapter 1. The beliefs and convictions of the Free Methodist church were more clearly defined. This was helpful for me, because even though I understand these terms, it’s helpful to see them in simple and brief summaries. One article I found I was a bit confused on, however. Paragraph 3331B says “we claim exemption from all military service for those who register officially with the church as conscientious objectors to war”. Just a little unclear about what that means, if you’re not permitted to join if you’re involved in the military or what.

    I think that at least the first chapter ought to be well reviewed and agreed upon by those considering membership to the church, and chapter 3 should certainly be read over to ensure that a potential member’s convictions line up with that of the whole. Paul encouraged the Corinthians that they all be of one mind and speak the same things. As a means of attaining to that standard, I think that chapter 1 and 3 would be very useful in bringing all members in with a solid and common foundation of belief.

    • Sherry Brzezinski says:

      I agree that the first and third chapters were much easier to read and comprehend, and I can appreciate those that have the mind set to write out those policies and the political end of the church. It makes me recognize and appreciate even more that God made each one of us so different and gave us all different and unique gifts. When we can all work together in the Lord using our gifts the church functions the way God intended. Sometimes I wish that I could be more knowledgeable in certain things or have certain gifts but then I am reminded that God made each one of us with a purpose in mind and gave us the gifts we needed to accomplish that plan.

      • Brenda Libreatori says:

        I was confused too about the statement about the military. Maybe that is something that we will discuss in our class this weekend, and get some clarity on.

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I too was confused by the statements in paragraph 3331B concerning military service and objections to war. I thought that meant that the Free Methodist Denomination were Conscientious Objectors and I hadn’t realized that. My pastor explained to us that it means that we do honor those in service or even members who feel called to service and also our Nation’s right to declare war, but a statement like this gives us the right to come alongside those of our members who do feel a conviction to opt out of military service and support them as well. I hope that helps, I know it cleared things up for me.

    • Michael Ratchford says:

      i hear you when you say that you learn the structure better as you interact with it. Reading the procedure was dry and it would be helpful to see that whole chapter in action. But, I’m glad we read it, hopefully we’ll be able to retain some of the reading and be able to recognize different policies in action when they do happen!

    • Marne Mcavoy says:

      At first, I too was a tad confused about military service, but I found that clarified when I read chapter 3. I think that is a common spot for confusion.

    • Tina Phillips says:

      Eric, I agree that chapters 1 & 3 should become a part of membership to the Free Methodist Church. I don’t know how many member know much of this. I didn’t until I had to read it a while back.

  2. Sherry Brzezinski says:

    My Response to the 2015 Book of Discipline, Free Methodist Church

    The first chapter in this book was more familiar then the second and third chapter. It basically laid out the beliefs that I have as a Christian and member of the Free Methodist Church. I also remember reading most of it when I became a member and took the membership class within our church.
    The second chapter I am less familiar with the rules and policies in the basic makeup of the church. Some of it was familiar such as pertaining to delegates and annual conference because I have been to conference and have participated and served as a delegate. Another interesting point is that I am glad we read about B.T. Roberts first because I can see why many of the rules put forth in Chapter two came from the problems that erupted in the Episcopal Methodist church that Roberts was expelled from. Banning membership to secret societies and other organizations that are only religious by face and not by heart. This would insure that the member was only true to God and the church and not have another agenda to drive the church away from God. I can appreciate and understand why chapter two is necessary for the safety and function of the denomination.
    Chapter three was a great lay out of how to take the foundational beliefs in chapter one and apply it to every aspect of our daily life. I do think that we as a church should review regularly and use this in our outline for leaders in the church and even to teach after someone becomes a member. It gives people a blue print for how we strive to live to honor Christ in all things.A few things that were a bit confusing to me. The part where they speak of the military I am not sure if that means you are able to join or not or what that means if the military goes to war. The other issue that confused me was the part where it was okay to have an abortion if it meant saving one’s own life. This brings the question is it not murder regardless of the reason the act is being committed. Does this align with if you are defending one’s own life from an attacker? I am a little unclear on all of those issues as a God fearing believer and member of the Free Methodist Church
    .Works Cited
    2015 Book of Discipline, Free Methodist Church

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I too was confused about the statement concerning the military. Here’s my comment to Eric above, maybe it will help:
      “I too was confused by the statements in paragraph 3331B concerning military service and objections to war. I thought that meant that the Free Methodist Denomination were Conscientious Objectors and I hadn’t realized that. My pastor explained to us that it means that we do honor those in service or even members who feel called to service and also our Nation’s right to declare war, but a statement like this gives us the right to come alongside those of our members who do feel a conviction to opt out of military service and support them as well. I hope that helps, I know it cleared things up for me.”

      • Michael Ratchford says:

        I love this! When I first read it, I thought, “How can we support and appreciate our veterans if we don’t support or appreciate what they do?” But this makes a lot of sense! All the policy is doing is opening up the door for the Holy Spirit to move! It’s a lot easier to let that up to the Holy Spirit rather than trying to control it through policy. God’s hands are a little more capable in directing us. Thank you Zoe!

    • Eric Brown says:

      Reading the B.T. book definitely helped put some of chapter 2 in context. You can tell by reading the book of discipline alone that it was intentionally written through coming out of a time of political divisions. I notice they gave extra weight to the policy of never expelling a member without a fair trial.

  3. Brenda Libreatori says:

    Pastor Brenda Libreatori
    2015 Book of Discipline: Free Methodist Church
    Chapters One to Three
    14 October 2019
    My Personal Reflections on the 2015 Book of Discipline: Free Methodist Church
    I had never considered becoming a part of the Free Methodist Church. What is ironic though is every week I parked in the parking lot of a Free Methodist Church, while I went to an exercise class in another building for years. I would often joke that I should send that Pastor some money for parking in his lot. I would never have guessed in a million years that I would be asked to minister at this church or become the pastor. I say it is ironic, but honestly, only the God that I serve could arrange this. When God put in mine and my husband’s hearts some years ago to start attending Dubois Light and Life FMC, we had no idea where this would lead us. So, here I am reading the Free Methodist’s 2015 Book of Discipline and deciding what to write about it.
    As I read how the Free Methodist Church was organized in 1860 by a convention of lay ministers and members due to theological liberalism, unhealthy compromise on pressing social issues, and the loss of spiritual fervor, I thought hmmm, this sounds very familiar. Even though many things have changed in our society, such as the definition of marriage and no moral absolutes, just to name a few; there are churches that have gone with this cultural shift, because they believe they are being relevant. I was relieved to see that the Free Methodist Church has continued to stand by their conviction that “the Bible is the supreme rule of faith and life.” In my

    opinion, this book is very clear and concise on where the Free Methodist Church stands with every addressed issue. I believe, whatever we raise the standard to, people will rise to it. As a whole, the church has lowered the standard and we, Christians, have been backed into a corner because of fear. We have a fear of being called judgmental and a fear of being labeled un-loving and narrow-minded. However, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). The thought that kept coming to me was how many pastors are leading by the standard that is in the 2015 Book of Discipline? I pray many! Are we leading by example in our own lives and admonishing people to come up to God’s standard of holiness? Are we teaching people to pray, study the word, and live holy lives? Or is it all about church entertainment to get people in the doors? I believe, whatever the spiritual temperature is in the church, it will be in our society. God’s plan is that the church is to affect the world around us and make a difference. Unfortunately, it has become the other way around. From reading this book, I am convinced that is what the Free Methodist Church had in mind too. They were willing to take a stand against slavery and against the wealthy being able to rent pews in the church. They rose up against the status quo. They didn’t just “curse the darkness,” but put action to it. I am sure it took a lot of courage to get out of the boat and leave the comforts of what they had known, to do what they felt was right in the eyes of the Lord. May we have the courage and conviction to do what is right in the sight of God, no matter what society or “religion” says!
    As we continue on our journey of faith in Christ, our ultimate goal is to be more and more like Him. We know that salvation is just our starting point, then begins the journey as we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. It begins with trust, complete trust, in a God who loves us and has our best interests at heart. Many Christians struggle with trust, so it is hard

    for them to believe that God will really do what is best for them. Maturity is necessary in our Christian walk, so that the Lord can use us to help others. It takes work to learn to trust God and have Christ-like maturity. I believe, if we understand righteousness and holiness, then everything else falls into place. We will be quick to repent, we will live a sanctified and consecrated life, and we will have self-discipline. Righteousness is being on the right standing with our Father, but it is also a right way of doing things. Holiness is not our outward appearance. However, if my standard is what God says is holy, I believe, it will show up on the outside in how I dress and present myself. It is not my will, but His will that should guide every area of my life. Show us your heart, Lord, and change ours to line up with it. May the Holy Spirit bring conviction to us, so that we live holy lives before Him and this world. And, most of all when He speaks we would obey, even in the smallest things. So, it really is a journey. It takes a lifetime and sometimes it seems that we have to go back to square one when we have forgotten the lessons we have previously learned.
    When I began to read the Free Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, I thought, thank the Lord for creative, smart people who love Jesus and, I believe were anointed to write down disciplines for us to follow all these years later. In this world of chaos and constant change, it is good to know that there are still godly people who have set a standard according to the Word of God that can be followed by whosoever will.

    Works Cited
    “2 Timothy 1:7.” Bible.
    2015 Book of Discipline. Free Methodist Publishing House, 2016.

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I love hearing your story of how you came to pastor at an FM church, God’s ways are higher than ours and it is neat to see it unfold! I also like your paragraph on the Christian journey, I think it sums up Chapter 3 very well. I too am grateful we have people gifted with words and administration in our denomination to put together such a comprehensive guide to our faith!

    • Michael Ratchford says:

      “I believe, whatever we raise the standard to, people will rise to it.”

      This is awesome, and in experience, so true! We keep setting the bar lower and lower to get more people involved, but we are sacrificing quality. The more we let slide passed the Biblical standard, the less people are going to want to seek after the Biblical standard. By having all the standards of Christian life written out in the Book of Discipline, the Free Methodist Church is ensuring that people still strive and stand for what B. T. Roberts originally stood for.

    • Marne Mcavoy says:

      God is good!…I too find it encouraging to see the strength of the Free Methodist beliefs even as culture shifts. We do not have to embrace sin to be relevant. God’s love is relevant!

    • Tina Phillips says:

      I really like your observations about the Book of Discipline. One of the things that kept speaking to me also was about living holy lives. We are a continual work until our last breath to become more like Christ. Thank you Jesus!!

    • Eric Brown says:

      I agree, it was refreshing to see how uncompromisingly it was written concerning our Christian moral values. I’ve been to churches where even if they claimed you stand against things like abortion or homosexuality, they definitely kept more quiet about it or intentionally softened the language some in denouncing it. Having the history of standing for what is morally right in God’s eyes in spite of what culture says is one more reason that I respect the Free Methodist denomination.

    • Sherry Brzezinski says:

      Isn’t it interesting the parallels of the church division of B.T. Roberts time and today making the Book of Discipline a very important tool in our denomination. I can not imagine being the one who had to originally write out those first three chapters let alone the whole book. But I am sure glad that we have the scriptures as our moral line and use scripture to back everything we believe in. I too appreciate and am so thankful for the dedicated men and women that made a standard for us to follow.

  4. Zoe Hatcher says:

    In reading the 2015 Free Methodist Book of Discipline, I thought it was going to be a dry list of rules and organizational structure, but I found quite the opposite. It is a living document filled with a description of the church and its people.

    I was glad to read about our distinctives of the Free Methodist church, I wasn’t 100% sure what they were previously. Our beliefs of the believer’s entire sanctification from the view of Arminian Protestantism, worship in simplicity and freedom of the Holy Spirit, consecration of all power and possessions to the service of God, the call of God on men and women in His service and leadership, preaching the gospel to the poor and simplicity in our lifestyle truly set us apart in the body of Christ as a whole.

    In Chapter 1, the Constitution is a comprehensive statement of our doctrine regarding God, scripture, man, salvation and the church followed by pages of scriptural references on each topic, which is such a helpful resource to pastors. The content on membership lists the requirements and the rights of Free Methodist membership. The Membership Covenant includes understanding of the privilege and responsibility of membership, the confession of a believer and commitment to the church as regards to God, ourselves and others.

    Chapter 2 lists the structure of the organization as a whole and the conference itself. Chapter 3 on the Christian journey is a comprehensive description of the life of a Christian and instruction on almost every area possible that Christians may face. This section is an invaluable resource for pastors guiding their people through many issues or really any Christian in their walk. It covers the goal of our walk with Christ, guidance for growth in Him, and warnings against societal pitfalls like the misuse of entertainment, sex, substances and money. It also has instructions on engaging culture and our government in a way that upholds and affirms our beliefs on issues such as the sanctity of life and the institution of marriage.

    I appreciated reading and knowing that I have the Book of Discipline as a resource. Obviously scripture is our number one go-to as we lead, but having this overview and history of the Free Methodist church and also a comprehensive description of life in Christ and the believer’s relationship to God and to the church is invaluable.

    *from 2015-Book of Discipline-The Free Methodist Church-USA

    • Eric eliason says:

      I’m with you Zoe this is a great resource I’m glad I know about now! I would have never looked into it had it not been for this class so it’s paying off already!

  5. Carey Pifer says:

    I found the 2015 Book of Discipline fascinating. It was a nice surprise. I love having a structured list of rules for most things in my life but I thought this would be boring to read. I understand more about the structure of the Free Methodist denomination. It is important for an organization to have rules and structure but I learned much more. I really appreciate how the scriptures are a key factor in the operations of our church.
    Chapter one covers the basics of doing life with God and what that means. It defines the biblical concepts that we as Free Methodists believe. It covers what we believe about God, scriptures, man, salvation and church. It also covers the privileges and requirements of membership in the church. There was a lot of scripture listed to support why we do church the way we do.
    Chapter two covers the organizational structure of the denomination. Most people would zone out on this part but I really enjoyed this part. The “business” side of me loves the structure and it’s fascinating to know more about the organization on a global level.
    Chapter three dives in deeper to the Christian life. It explains concepts in the scriptures that we need practice in everyday life. It gives the goals we are to attain, what we should avoid, and how to help others along the way. It not only helps do life as an induvial but together as a church.
    The 2015 Book of Discipline is a valued resource for leaders in the church. I know I will be referring to it often, when questions arise. I also appreciate the better understanding I now have of the Free Methodist church.

    • Eric Eliason says:

      I am most ppl because I zoned out on chapter 2 lol. Glad we have folks like you who love that stuff for sure!

      • Eric Brown says:

        Amen to that! If someone put me in charge of putting something like that together we’d be in trouble! Our political structure would be about 1 page long and open to all sorts of interpretation and confusion.

    • Ana Acosta says:

      I wasnt sure about the books in general that I have had to read, beginning with John Wesley and B.T Roberts along with the book of discipline. It is a great feeling for me to know about these men of God whom the Lord chose to start a denomination that is structured according to biblical principles. The latter book was challenging for me overall, just that the second chapter wasnt clear at times .. Im sure i will learn more as i grow in this wonderful body of christ along side of brethren.

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I too appreciate clear structure but was not looking forward to reading this. It was nice to be pleasantly surprised by it’s usefulness!

    • Marne McAvoy says:

      I like how relevant chapters 1& 3 are to daily living. also prefer to have rules and solid guide lines. I will reference it also to help explain to those who have questions or need extra biblical explanation. I too thought it would be a dry read, but enjoyed reading it! 🙂

  6. Michael Ratchford says:

    I surprisingly enjoyed reading the 2015 Book of Discipline! I was really expecting it to be a general legal document of the “do and don’t”s of Free Methodism, but what I found was a wealth of wisdom and experience that has been passed down through the generations. So much time, effort, love and struggle has gone into this document and I only read the first three chapters! Each detail has been carefully picked through and prayed over and I really appreciate the detail! A lot of what I was reading already seemed pretty self explanatory. But, having it written down is so important as a reference. If these things were not written down, it allows for so much “spiritual wiggle room” that I’m sure the Free Methodist Church would be a completely different organization with in a few years, or less! The following are a few take-away’s that I got from each chapter.

    Chapter one was more or less what I had been expecting of from the Book of Discipline. It is a legal document and it reads like one too. That being said, I think this might be the most important chapter of the three. It’s simplistic in the idea that the foundation to a house is just cement, but if you did not have that foundation then the house would crumble. Looking back on it, chapter one is like a dictionary. It lists out and defines the most important building blocks of Christianity, what their importance is, and how it applies to what we do as Christians. I particularly appreciated the paragraph 109 that talks about the “Authority of the Old Testament”. I feel like a lot of people now a days what to write off the Old Testament by saying that it doesn’t really apply to us any more. Where in reality, the Old Testament builds the entire case for Christ. It makes the point that all of history culminates in Jesus. The Old Testament is critical to understanding who Jesus was, and why he came to earth. Plus the New Testament would not exist without an Old Testament, they were both written with purpose and intended to be read in association with each other.

    Chapter two was policy and procedure. This chapter was also pretty hard to read because I don’t have any reference for what it was talking about. I don’t have a whole lot of experience dealing with church procedure, so I didn’t have anything to compare. However, this chapter is also incredibly important because it gives accountability to the whole church. The organization wouldn’t make it very far if there wasn’t any unity. chapter two builds the structure for unity all across the Free Methodist world. I really appreciated the idea of conferences, where everyone from a particular level of leadership would get together and hash things out for the region they cover. I think it is vital to understand that we are all on the same team working towards a common goal. Conferences allow people to get together to plan and pray towards that common goal.

    Chapter three was my favorite to read because it really got into the nitty-gritty details of what it is to live for Christ as a church. I love that “The Christian Journey” was broken into the four elements of God, Ourselves and Others, God’s Institutions, and The Church. I think it summarizes what we as Christians deal with every day and seek to impact with God’s love! How we think about God is so important. In paragraph 3103 it talks about “Awakening to God”, saying that we have all fallen short of God’s glory regardless of how we view ourselves, “…but God in His grace reaches out to every sinner” (Pg. 39). I love that the word “every” is in there! there are no exceptions! God reaches out to everyone and it’s a choice to reach back. Under Ourselves and Others, there is a section dedicated to “Sexual Intimacy” (paragraph 3215, pg. 47). I think it’s really important to note that “The Scriptures speak explicitly against homosexual intimacy”. In our world, and especially with the teenagers that I minister to, there is the idea that God never talked about homosexuality where in reality he did. 1 Timothy 1:8-10 perfectly sums the whole conversation up by including “those who practice homosexuality” in a list of sinners who desperately need the gospel along with liars and perjurers. The gospel is for everyone and we need to see ourselves and others through that lens.

    There was a ton of stuff that I learned from reading the 2015 Book of Discipline, and a lot more that I want to include in this reflection, but I don’t want to crowd the page! I’m glad to know that the Book of Discipline exists and is a widely encompassing reference guide to what we as Free Methodists believe.

    • Eric Eliason says:

      I was pleasantly surprised as well with chapters one and three! Chapter two was a snoozer but totally Necessary to have written up, I love the Bible wears attached to everything!

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I love your reminder that though people today don’t believe that Jesus addressed issues relevant to today such as homosexuality, but He did! And it’s great to have all the references to back it up.

    • Carey Pifer says:

      I loved chapter 3 as well and how it continued to point us to the gospel. It’s not just a list of religious rules. I like how they broke down certain principles. I like that you said that the structure of chapter 2 helps us plan and work towards a common goal.

    • Becca says:

      I agree with you Michael and all the comments. Zoe your so right that he did speak on cultural hot topics but I think people assume he didn’t or they are more interested in what church a lines with them instead of what Jesus actually said.

  7. Eric Eliason says:

    Reflection on The Book of Discipline

    I love chapter one the Articles of Religion. Namely the sections on the Holy Spirit and his relationship with the church “He is the church’s life and witnessing power”. The clear definition of “Good Works” being a fruit but not able to save as salvation is by faith! I like the definitions clearly laid on on the topics of Justification, Regeneration ,Adoption, Sanctification, and Restoration, what a great resource. The fact that there are the scriptural references to go look up exactly what God has to say for everything listed is awesome! Chapter 2 was tough for me to read as it’s more of a rules and regulations review as they apply to the distribution of authority throughout the conferences and how to handle issues correctly, good to know where that information is but tough to read about. The Christian Journey in chapter three is much better to read and actually exciting to see written out like it is. Great resource just like chapter one, love it! It’s good to be able to look something up both in the book of discipline and have the chapter and verse to compare with so we can easily see exactly what God has to say.

    • Ana Acosta says:

      My thoughts on this book… I too enjoyed reading up on chapter 1 and 3. The third chapter was better to read, i agree with you. I think chapter two would be good to discuss during a conference meeting with others. It would be alot more interesting .

    • Eric Brown says:

      I agree about chapter 1&3. It is really nice to have those theological concepts defined so succinctly. I feel like we should all be able to explain the bigger theological concepts clearly and it’s a good reference to help sum them up. Sometimes those terms aren’t so easy to explain in a few words to people who dont understand them if you haven’t deliberately sat down and tried to define them like they are in the book.

  8. Becca Hanke says:

    I thought this was going to be a lot dryer than it was. I actually enjoyed certain areas. I think chapter 3 was my favorite. I didn’t know that it laid out some of the things that we normally always end up talking about, the “big” sins at the end of chapter 3. I found chapter 2 terribly boring, hahah. But informative. I also found that at the end of chapter 3 it mentions quickly secret societies, a nod back to B.T. I would assume. I have always wondered what some of the stances were on certain things in the FM denomination and now I understand what they are. I do think that they are important to convey to a body of believers in a membership style class. I think the thing that was so profound to me and I believe really because I have never seen it written so eloquently is the paragraph on the church. Copied below.
    “The church is created by God. It is the people of God. Christ Jesus is its Lord and Head. The Holy Spirit is its life and power. It is both divine and human, heavenly and earthly, ideal and imperfect. It is an organism, not an unchanging institution. It exists to fulfill the purposes of God in Christ. It redemptively ministers to persons. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it that it should be holy and without blemish. The church is a fellowship of the redeemed and the redeeming, preaching the Word of God and administering the sacraments according to Christ’s instruction. The Free Methodist Church purposes to be representative of what the church of Jesus Christ should be on earth. It therefore requires specific commitment regarding the faith and life of its members. In its requirements it seeks to honor Christ and obey the written Word of God.”
    I love the phrase; it is an organism, not an unchanging institution. This paragraph is everything the church was meant to be, not the stagnant churches we often see today. Jesus died for us, for the church, we must give it our all. It is a fellowship of the redeemed and the redeeming. It is the earthly beacon of hope that many seek. We must be ready to show them that the everlasting hope comes from our father!

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I too loved the paragraph statement on the Church, it was a beautiful description of the Body’s purpose and mission.

    • Tina Phillips says:

      I love the section you quoted in its entirety. I leaves no room for doubt as to who we are to be!!

    • Carey Pifer says:

      I love the paragraph you quoted. It lays out what a church is suppose to be. I’m glad we aren’t a stagnant church.

    • Sherry Brzezinski says:

      I think many churches today are missing the part you quoted, “the Holy Spirit is its life and power”. I know growing up the church we attended was more about the do’s and don’ts and less about letting the Holy Spirit do what He does. I am glad to be part of a body of believers that lets the Holy Spirit lead us.

  9. Tina Phillips says:

    Reflection on the Book of Discipline 2015.

    I am probably going to be the anomaly here and say that I really liked all 3 chapters.

    Chapter 1 giving us our biblically based foundation from which everything to follow is filtered through. I have read it before..because I had to!!…..and it show me the WHAT we stand for. ¶105, 106 & 107 – The Holy Spirit is so well explained. I grew up in a different church and new next to nothing about the Holy Spirit.

    Chapter 2 explains the HOW we function as Free Methodists. As a business minded person, it explained the structure of how the FMC works. This chapter is B.T. Roberts!!

    To me chapter 3 explained the WHY. It broke down chapter 1 into more detail. This chapter is explained in language that can be undersood…very Free Methodist huh?….so that there can be no room left for interpretation. It is the practical application chapter.

    I sometimes get stuck in the why are people not healed when they believe, why do the innocent become terminally ill…why, why why???…..¶3222 Sanctity of Life, paragraphs 4 & 5 “God meets us in our suffering, to comfort us, to shape a Christlike character within, and to make us instruments of his healing. Chronic disease, diminished physical capacity or ongoing disability do not constitute the end of life and need not compromise one’s trust in God. For the Christian, death is not the end of life, but the transition into eternity. Therefore, physical death is not the ultimate enemy, but part of our journey. God’s love sustains us in our suffering. He ministers to us personally and through the healing environment of Christian community. Divine wisdom in the face of suffering comes to us through scripture, prayer, godly counsel and the work of the Holy Spirit. As we are comforted, we are called to extend God’s comfort to those who suffer.”

    I am glad I had to reread this book. I got so much more out of it this time!!

    • Ana Acosta says:

      Tina, for me the first chapter and third were refreshing to read since its been a while that i revise biblical principles. I learned them long ago…I hope to better understand the function of the Methodist Church in time, chapter 2 was challenging for me…but like you i often ask the same question regarding the innocent who become terminally ill ? or chronic diseases that debilitate life.. I know that Jesus took every single infirmity on the cross and by his wounds and stripes we are healed. I believe it but struggle at times when our love ones are not healed. He comforts us so that we may comfort others. I know one day he will restore everything new and there will be no more pain or sorrow or tears, but until then , we have to wait on him and his promises.

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I’m so grateful you’re an anomaly Tina! We are blessed to have people with passion and giftings for administration among us. It is such an necessary part of the body! I love your takeaway on healing and suffering. That was a powerful explanation of God’s grace being sufficient for us.

    • Marne McAvoy says:

      I am grateful that is God is faithful to meet us in all the circumstances of this life and that this is not our end. We have eternity to look forward too.
      I love your business mind! Such a blessing! <3

    • Carey Pifer says:

      I’m with you, I like all 3 chapters. Business minds unite.

  10. Marne McAvoy says:

    Reflection on our Free Methodist Book of Discipline:
    I found much comfort as I read the first 3 chapters of our Free Methodist Book of Discipline. The world around us has changed so much over the decades and continues to do so. Culture has begun to redefine the meaning of things like marriage and even right and wrong, but our Free Methodism has remained consistent with the word of God, our number one resource. So many other denominations have been swayed by the pressures to conform to culture, but our forefathers took a stand against such ungodly world views and behaviors, and we continue to do so.
    Habakkuk 2:2 came to my mind as I read, ‘ Then the Lord replied, “ Wright down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald my run with it.” ‘ I find the BOD a beautiful work of God given vision written down to help maintain clarity, instruction, order and procedure. Helping guide his people to function in a Christ like manner in day-to-day living and to maintain biblical order to a large community of His people.
    I found chapters 1 and 3 complementary to one another, taking what seemed to be rules and regulations and transforming it into a beautiful picture of the christian journey. Being very thorough and helpful in answering questions in areas that many individuals seem to have questions, especially in our day and age; gluttony, same-sex marriage, use of addictive substances, divorce, remarriage, abortion, sex outside of marriage, and the like. It even addresses relationships between the christian and other Christians, the church, those who do not know Christ, the state, the military and so forth. In my opinion, the Book of Discipline helps eliminate a lack of knowledge on important subjects and conduct and enlightens areas of confusion, which I find very helpful. I love the biblical view of the BOD on such intricate subjects of our christian walk such as spiritual gifts, divine healing, loving others, church life, stewardship, prayer, study of the word, and so on.
    While I am not as interested in chapter 2, the second part of our constitution, I can appreciate its value and find it necessary. Laying out strategy and procedure to maintain order is of utmost importance. I can say that the BOD, or at least the first 3 chapters, is well written, and I admire the gifts of administration exhibited in this chapter. 🙂
    In closing I understand and value the necessity of an authoritative resource to assist in governing on a global scale . I very much appreciate the time and effort our predecessors put forth while writing this work.

    • Brenda Libreatori says:

      I also appreciate the time and effort that has been put into this book! We are able all these years later to come along and see exactly where the Free Methodists stand on issues.
      I’m glad they have been and are consistent.

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I love your reference to Hab. 2:2, God was just speaking this to me the other day! We can see that displayed here, the vision of our church is written very plainly so we can RUN with Him!

  11. Ana Acosta says:

    In response to the book of discipline 2015

    I never thought i would become a member of the Free Methodist Church. I didnt know anything about where they stood or believed , but I checked with my former Pastor from N.Y. and he said i was in a good place. I now see why, ..we have and believe in the same Biblical Doctrines as per the Holy Scriptures tells us how we should imitate Christ and follow in his footsteps. Chapter one was on Biblical Doctrine and principles for christian living being transmitted to us thru wesleyan tradition….and having a personal relationship with God and effective evangelism to advance the kingdom.

    chapter 2 I was somewhat confused. Coming from the Reform Church and being ordained , we would have many of the meetings mentioned in the book, I am hands on and im sure that with frequent meetings i will have a better understanding.
    and chapter 3, I was familiarize with, the beliefs ….coming from the Reform Church , there was alot of familiarity with the Free Methodist Church. I have to say that in page 3222 , with the abortion issue , there is an area that i struggle with and that is that if a female gets rape and becomes pregnant, is she obligated to carry the child who has no fault to full term ? I understand that when women do abortions as a means of birth control or for conveniences, that would be considered selfish and or malicious, but one cannot pass judgement on another human being if they were forced and on account of the situation becomes pregnant. It is a very delicate and sensitive matter.
    would like to further discuss the matter…

    • Brenda Libreatori says:

      Just wanted to give my thoughts on the rape and abortion.
      I know a family that adopted a baby who was a product of rape. The woman was a single mom with three children and felt she couldn’t care for another child. She gave him up at birth, the family she gave him to has been very blessed to have him. So I feel two wrongs don’t make a right, and the courage it took for her to carry him to full term. And even though he was a product of rape God has a plan for his life. But, your right it is a VERY delicate and sensitive matter.

    • Zoe Hatcher says:

      I agree, you’re in a good place in the FMC! I also agree with Brenda’s thoughts on abortion and rape. We as believers need to come alongside the victims with compassion and support no matter what.

  12. Becca says:

    I will also comment on the abortion and rape because I have had an abortion. I do agree with Brenda that that child can be adopted at birth. With counseling I truly believe that the life of a child is more profound than the action in which it happened. But it is a sensitive matter, the first step is to love that woman and to just be there for her. Cover her in prayer and to aid her in any way possible but every life is uniquely created by our Lord even in the face of sin. Only God can take something so vile and produce from it a true blessing.

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