Catholic Spirit and Methodist Doctrinal Commitments

A Call for Doctrinal Specificty

Vital Piety

Why do Methodists so often emphasize the need for a “Catholic Spirit” when we come together for internal conversation as Methodists?

More than two years ago, I wrote a post about Wesley’s sermon “Catholic Spirit,” and the ways it is often misused in contemporary Methodism. Writing that post got at part of what has concerned me about recent appeals to this particular sermon. But there was something else that continued to bother me that I am just starting to try to articulate.

Why is it that when Methodists come together for Annual Conference and General Conference, meetings that are by definition for insiders, so often the focus is on what it means to be Christian, broadly speaking, instead of focusing more specifically on what it means to be a Methodist Christian?

Why is it, for example, that we often seem to instinctively appeal to “Catholic Spirit” instead of “Scripture Way…

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