As The United Methodist Church tries to find a way forward to satisfy everybody on the homophobia issue, I think it is worthwhile for Methodists to see what our “founder” thought Methodism should be, and by extension—especially for you if you are a non-Methodist—what this major religious figure thought the church should be…
From John Wesley’s Journal, Sunday, June 18, 1888, ten days before his 85th birthday:
“The Methodists alone do not insist on you holding this or that opinion; but they think, and let think. Neither do they impose any particular form of worship; but you may continue to worship in your former manner, be it what it may. Now, I do not know of any other religious society, either ancient or modern, wherein such liberty of conscience is now allowed, or has been allowed, since the age of the apostles. Here is our glorying; and a glorying particular to us. What society shares it with us?”
There are other “religious societies” now that claim to share such, and there are certainly now Methodist sons and daughters of Wesley who do not share in this particular glorying, but I find it helpful to know that when the founder of my “society” was an old man--an age I share with him, almost--130 years ago, he believed in open doors and open minds and open hearts. That’s not a new thing.
John Robert McFarland