Sources of theological authority

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Based on Methodist theological and on the EMMI African United Methodist 

The Wesleyan tradition’s defence has normally exercised four sources of authority rooted in the tradition of the Church of England: scripture, reason, tradition, and experience. Although these authorities represent only a construct of Wesley’s theology, the principles can be clearly identified. (Jonn Wesley)

 

Scripture

Wesley insisted that scripture is the first authority and contains the only measure whereby all other truth is tested. It was delivered by authors who were divinely inspired. It is a rule sufficient of itself. It neither needs, nor is capable of, any further addition. The scripture references to justification by faith as the gateway to scriptural holiness are well known to true

Wesleyans: Deut. 30:6; Ps. 130:8; Ezek. 36:25, 29; Matt. 5:48; 22:37; Luke 1:69; John 17:20-23; Rom. 8:3-4; II Cor. 7:1; Eph. 3:14; 5:25-27; I Thess. 5:23; Titus 2:11-14; I John 3:8; 4:17.

 

Reason

Although scripture is sufficient unto itself and is the foundation of true religion, Wesley wrote:”Now, of what excellent use is the reason, if we would either understand ourselves or explain to others, those living oracles!” He stated quite clearly that without reason we can not understand the essential truths of Scripture. The reason, however, is not a mere human invention; it must be assisted by the Holy Spirit if we are to understand the mysteries of God. With regard to justification by faith and sanctification, Wesley said that although reason cannot produce faith, when impartial reason speaks, we can understand the new birth, inward holiness, and outward holiness. Although reason cannot produce faith, it can shorten the leap.

 

Tradition

Wesley wrote that it is generally supposed that traditional evidence is weakened by the length of time, as it must necessarily pass through so many hands in the succession of ages. The although other evidence is perhaps stronger, he insisted:”Do not undervalue traditional evidence. Let it have its place and its due honour. It is highly serviceable in its kind, and in its degree” Wesley stated that those of strong and clear understanding should be aware of its full force. For him, it supplies a link through 1,700 years (now over 2000 years) of history with Jesus and the apostles. The witness to justification and sanctification is an unbroken chain drawing us into fellowship with those who have finished the race, fought the fight, and who now reigns with God in his glory and might.

 

Experience

Apart from scripture, the experience is the strongest proof of Christianity:” What the scriptures promise, I enjoy”. Again, Wesley insisted that we cannot have reasonable assurance of something unless we have experienced it personally. John Wesley was assured of both justification and sanctification because he had experienced them in his own life. what Christianity promised (considered as a doctrine) was accomplished in his soul. Furthermore, Christianity (considered as an inward principle) is the completion of all those promises. Although traditional proof is complex, the experience is simple: “One thing I know; I was blind, but now I see”. Although tradition establishes the evidence a long way off, experience makes it present to all persons. As for the proof of justification and sanctification, Wesley states that Christianity is an experience of holiness and happiness, the image of God impressed on a created spirit, a fountain of peace and love springing up into everlasting life.

 

Church Authority

What We believe

  1. The Bible is the infallible Word of God, inerrant in the originals.
  2. There is one God, eternally existent in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  3. Jesus Christ alone is Man’s Redeemer and is the only way to salvation and everlasting life. Furthermore, we believe in His full deity, virgin birth, atoning death, bodily resurrection, heavenly ascension, and imminent return.
  4. Salvation is by grace through faith in the atonement and merits of Christ, appropriated through the repentance of sins and a lively trust in Him.
  5. The Biblical account of creation and all other supernatural acts of God recorded in the Scriptures are true.
  6. The man was created to be a free moral agent and remains so all the days of his life, with the God-given freedom to embrace or reject God throughout one’s life in response to God’s offer in prevenient grace.
  7. The believer can be cleansed from all sin through the sanctifying power of the blood of Christ applied to the heart of he who believes by the work of the Holy Spirit.
  8. There is to be a resurrection of both the saved and the lost, the saved to everlasting life and the lost to everlasting damnation.
  9. Christ has given His Church two sacraments — Baptism (mode of choice) and the Lord’s Supper.
  10. Additionally, we believe also in a free America. We love and respect our nation, its leaders, its laws, its flag, and its Constitution.
  11. Concerning marriage:”Christian marriage is the covenantal union before God of one natural born man and one natural born woman to live together as husband and wife”.
  12. The Eric Michel Ministries International hold their bishop as high authorities, after the House of Bishop, the Archbishop as the conventional overseers and ultimately the Symposium, Disciples of Eric Michel Ministries International keep their pastors in check with the Bible.
  13. The Eric Michel Ministries International have high standards in dress, music, modesty, manners, parenting, marriage, dating, though some do have more Christian liberty. Many are trying to find the balance between both.
  14. Not all Eric Michel Ministries International are the same. Some are deeply liberal and some are ultraconservative. You cannot judge a single church and generalize all churches like it. The Canadian IUM do not rule the Assembly of Churches and their statement of faith have no authority on the Assembly.

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