Four Aspects of Our Beliefs #6 – Illustrated
Absolutes, distinctives, convictions, preferences – four aspects of our beliefs. Let me illustrate.
From our own tradition, from its inception, the Christian & Missionary Alliance was interdenominational in its fellowship.
Beginning in 1883, a group of dissimilar people were intent on a common purpose. Henry Wilson was a scholarly Episcopalian pastor. Kelso Carter was an active, militant leader in the Salvation Army. Albert Funk was a stable Mennonite. Stephen Merrit was a well-known, jubilant, old-fashioned Methodist. Albert Simpson himself was a Presbyterian.
Soon the circle of the Alliance included support and leadership from strong Baptists, Congregationalists, Plymouth Brethren, and other enthusiastic women and men from many different creeds and names who differed on a variety of issues.
In his 1912 annual report to the growing Alliance movement, Dr. Simpson wrote about learning “to be adjusted to one another and to all the varieties of religious opinion and experience that must arise in so varied a work so far as they are not incompatible with our faithfulness to evangelical truth and the true spiritual life.”
He went on emphasizing unity in Christ and avoiding quarrels over differences in understandings of sanctification, practices of water baptism, Arminian and Calvinistic views, and the expressions of spiritual gifts.
He added: “God has called us in the Alliance not to a thousand minor points of testimony, but to stand for certain great essentials, principles and aims – the fullness of Jesus, the evangelization of the world, and the hastening of His coming.”
Simpson was convinced that making Jesus king in our lives was sufficient for enabling us to serve together with one heart and mind.
That’s our identity and calling. Holding to the absolutes while staying focused on our primary purpose.
The Church is called to be a global movement, bringing together a diverse group “from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9). As we work through our beliefs, let us work together that others may believe.
~ Pastor Dave