On “A Catholic Spirit” in Resolutions

Whereas: John Wesley defines “catholic or universal love” as “embrace(ing) with strong and cordial affection neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies.” (“A Catholic Sprit,” III.4)

And

Whereas: Wesley defines as “essentials” of Christian doctrine:

1. The Trinity

2. Christ’s deity and humanity

3. The Resurrection

(Reclaiming the Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today, p.110)

And

Whereas: Resolutions on contemporary issues of contention within the United Methodist Church concern “opinions” about theology and church preactice rather than “essentials” of Christian doctrine.

And: Whereas many of those resolutions use wording that is inflammatory, divisive and not reflective of Love for God and Neighbor that is the goal of Christian Salvation as taught by John Wesley

Therefore Be it Resolved:

That Resolutions presented for consideration by the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church reflect a spirit of generous Christian love

and:

That such resolutions avoid language that is divisive, inflammatory or disrespectful of Christians holding other “opinions”

And: That the authors of resolutions presented to this session of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church that do not reflect such a spirit of “universal love,” as defined by John Wesley and that use inflammatory and divisive wording be encouraged to voluntarily withdraw them from consideration.

Jonathan Altman, Elder, Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church

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