Monday, January 26, 2015

As a General Rule...

In order to become an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, there is a lengthy process that one must endure navigate.  The conference's Board of Ordained Ministry grants the final recommendation and then all of the clergy in that conference give the final approval by voting for the candidate at the clergy executive session of the conference.

Within this session, the Bishop asks John Wesley's historic questions of the candidates.  

One of them is, "Do you know the General Rules of our Church?" followed by "Will you keep the General Rules of our Church?"

These are rules that every Methodist used to know by heart.  They are not hard and there are only three.

The first is to do no harm.

The second is to do good as one has the opportunity.

The third is to attend upon all the ordinances of God.

This last rule would define ordinances as prayers, devotions, worship, Bible study, fasting, etc.  

It's not difficult to buy meat today that hasn't
been offered as a sacrifice to an idol.
These aren't that difficult but I would guess that the majority of Methodists don't know them or that they should have these as rules for their lives.

As I look toward the final three Sundays before the Lenten season begins, the lectionary texts allow us to really examine these three General Rules. This Sunday, we'll consider "Do No Harm" as we consider 1 Corinthians 8:1-13.  I would invite you to read this passage and make your own connection.

It sounds easier than it really is.  I think as we dive into the text and then see how this relates to issues of the day, we'll find that we may need God's help in keeping this rule on a daily basis.  Of course, that's where rule three comes in which we'll get to on Transfiguration Sunday. 

In Christ,


Photo by Alx 91 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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