Monday, January 4, 2010

Go and sin no more...

Good morning God,

I have a problem..
If the writer of the first epistle of John is correct then Wesley was right in his insistence that Methodists do not sin. To quote:

'Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. ' (1 John 3:9)
So why does almost every act of worship include a prayer of confession for sin?
Where does the Church's emphasis on sin come from - who keeps fueling it and why?

Could it be  (and this has got to be the worst explanation possible!) that nobody has been born of you God..?

Methodism once proclaimed the gospel of freedom from sin coupled with accountability before you and your people for their growth in grace and holiness.  They took seriously the commandment from Jesus to 'Go and Sin no more'.. trusting and believing that Jesus meant this literally, that it was and is possible!

But form and Liturgy say otherwise!
There is almost always a prayer of confession following a prayer of adoration at the start of worship.. with many people claiming that they cannot proceed to receive the Word unless and until they have been absolved of their sin.
Which begs the question for me God:
Have we in our need to be 'Church' and claim our share of the riches of the great liturgical movement, fallen into the trap of  unwittingly promoting the sort of cheap grace which makes no demands on the recipients and offers no hope of a permanent cure for the sickness of sin?

Are there many Methodists left who still believe that we cannot sin once we are saved?
Full marks to Maria Briggs for her succinct proclamation of this doctrine..
How many more Methodists are there who still think this is one of our best doctrines?

1 comment:

  1. Come to the US where, at least in the congregation I'm attending, confession only happens at communion services.

    I'm unfamiliar with Maria Briggs' argument (the link only gives us a short bio of who she is). I'm sure you know Wesley much better than I do but did he REALLY think we don't need to confess our sins? Not from what I know of him.

    I'm steeped in Ignatian practice where The Examen is part of prayer practice. As far as I'm concerned, my "regrets for the day" may often be sins and I want to ask forgiveness for them. Far from meaning that I don't want to change, it means I do want to change.

    I, for one, miss having confession at weekly worship. And I'm not convinced that it is omitted because people are achieving sinlessness.

    I wouldn't mind a bit more elaboration of your thinking?