01 Jun 2021

Methodist Circuit Riders in Old Ontario

Several times I have wondered what it would be like for aliens to learn about jazz through textbooks. If they knew anything about music theory, they could probably comprehend the basic characteristics as well as common elements like the Mixolydian mode and the triplet rhythm on the ride cymbal. With some historical study, they also might be able to understand, if only vaguely, the origins of jazz and its place in cultures around the world.

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20 Oct 2020

William Temple’s Vision for a Truly Catholic Church

Anglicans and the Catholic Church There is often confusion about the meaning of the word “catholic” within the Christian religion. Used as a common adjective, the word simply means “universal.” This seems to be what the Apostles’ Creed refers to when it speaks of the “holy catholic church.” It is also the meaning that Protestants tend to prefer when they use the word. On the other hand, throughout most of church history, Christians have also

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13 May 2020

The Turbulent Life of Canada’s First Methodist Missionary

At some point in the early 1750s, travelling preachers visited the small Irish village of Drummersnave (now Drumsna), in County Leitrim. They were affiliated with an organized religious movement called Methodism, which at that point was not a denomination but rather a society that primarily sought religious renewal within the Church of England. It was characterized by strong preaching, often carried out by itinerants; the encouragement of personal piety and surrender to God; and involvement

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27 Nov 2017

Protestant State of the Union (Part II)

This is the second article in a two-part series on Protestantism. The first article can be found here. When the Augustinian monk Martin Luther penned his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, it can be argued that Luther never intended to start a movement that resulted in splitting the unity of the Western Church. Given that Luther was excommunicated by the Church, I have met Lutherans who do not personally identify as “Protestant.” Luther never left the

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24 Feb 2017

In Defense of Paedocommunion

You can find my previous “In Defense of…” post on passing the collection plate here. As a deacon in a small Anglican parish in Lynchburg, Virginia, one of the highlights of my week is getting to serve Communion to those who are sojourning with us. Serving people the Blood of Christ while pronouncing, “The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation” is an immense privilege. In some Anglican circles, ours included, there is no First

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12 Dec 2016

The Backdoor to House Church

I am the assistant pastor of a network of house churches.1 On Sunday mornings, we meet in two locations—one in a northern suburb and the other in a southern suburb. Throughout the week, we host Bible studies and small groups in private homes located in several different cities scattered throughout the greater region. My duties primarily involve preaching, leading worship, teaching Bible study, discipleship, and pastoral care. In addition to my pastoral work, I am

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22 Feb 2016

Is Sprinkling the Best Way to Baptize?

Here in the Bible Belt, sacramental Christians sometimes feel like the nerdy kid on the playground when it comes to explaining our practices of baptism.  In many Baptist, Pentecostal, and nondenominational congregations, baptism is only done “as John the Baptist did it.” That means getting dunked like an early morning cruller in hot coffee. For many in my part of the world, baptism means one thing: immersion. United Methodists actually aren’t against immersion (which is

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17 Nov 2014

John Wesley and the Imitation of Christ

One of the most significant debates during the centuries surrounding the Reformation (15th-18th centuries) concerned salvation, grace, and human works. It is an oversimplification to present a dichotomy between Reformation Protestants believing in salvation by faith alone and Counter-Reformation Catholics believing in salvation through faith and good works. In fact, as this article will examine, John Wesley, who founded the Protestant denomination known as Methodism, emphasizes the imitation of Christ as key for salvation. This

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