To the editor of the Wesleyan Christian Advocate:
I submit the following letter for publication and urge your favorable consideration. It eluciates clearly a great divide among United Methodists (and in other denominations as well) which has not fully been understood and grasped before, namely between the liberty of the so-called Gentile Christian (or strong in faith) and the self-imposed bondage of the so-called Jewish Christians (or weak in faith) who seek a degree of self righteousness in works of scriptural law. Once this is clarified, it will then be possible to consider ways of unifying these two quite different traditions of followers of one and the same Lord. This recognition is inevitable and I pray that now is the time to bring it to a head, for the sake of a unified Church. I am sorry that the letter is so long, but I don't think that editing can be helpfu. The letter now follows:*
[* in the place of this preface, the following was used in the letter to the
section on "Faith and Values", namely: I have composed another letter for your consideration as suitable for publication. In its defense I wish to point out that this letter, and some others like it, are the first descriptions of a great, conceptual clarificatoin which will take place amongst the Christians of Atlanta and the world, namely the clear differentiation of the strong in faith (Gentile) and the weak in faith (Jew) which will have startling consequences, e.g., the mass promotion by religious bodies of homosexual unions as a positive and honorable contribution to the health and wellfare of this world through a reduction in the birth rate. I am sorry that the letter is so long, but subtraction can only cloud the issue at stake. Perhaps you could entitle it: a call to Gentile Christians, or something like that. The letter now follows:]
I call to those who come to Christ in the footsteps of Paul, namely the Gentile Christian. The reason that we are not bound by any law of scripture, including its awesome taboo on blood, is because we have exchanged all that for the heart and spirit of Christ, and which we can experience in us daily. With that heart and with that spirit as our guide we have no need of any law whatsoever. Even when the governor tells us to do this and that, we consider it as merely an insightful grasp as to expedient rules which make life more bountiful for people, and so comply by reasons of conscience, and not in fear of punishment. For our new principle is to love all we can in all the places we can and in all the circumstances we can, etc. And we live in the hope that we will come increasingly to love doing good as a second nature, a gift of Holy Spirit; and the blessed among us have already seen evidence of this fact.
Now in our own, lawless reflection of this spirit of Christ, we may find ourselves engaged in lives which are offensive to Christian siblings of the Jewish tradition, i.e., those who find laws in scripture which must be obeyed. This self-same spirit of Christ moves us not to offend through public displays these weaker in faith who have need of self righteousness through works of law to some degree, but rather to spend our time together, Gentile and Jew alike, in mutual edification and encouragement, and without discussion of the particulars of the sin, alleged or real, of any member of the faith. For the Lord is able to make any of his servants stand, and who are we to judge the servant of another?!