From the Chairman of Headway (Ireland) Methodist Evangelicals Together.
Dear Members and Friends of Headway (Ireland),
We greet you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The greatest ethical teacher the world has ever known spoke to the crowds: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
These words of Jesus can be applied evangelistically and ecclesiastically, to individuals and to churches. John Stott expounded this passage under the headings: two roads, two crowds, two destinations and two gates. These words are counter-cultural in our western world today where the mood is relativism. The world calls us to a broad road. Jesus calls us to a narrow road through a narrow gate. Unlike the broad road of tolerance and permisssiveness, the narrow road is hard, fenced in with boundaries and clearly marked. “Its narrowness is due to revelation and restricts the traveller to what God has revealed to be true and good” (Stott). There is pressure on the individual Christian as well as church bodies to opt for the broad road where all views are equally welcome. We do well to reflect on this command of the Lord Jesus.
Sometimes, evangelical groups, like Headway, can give the impression of being defensive or negative. We want to be positive in promoting a focus on biblical literacy. We are grateful for reports of well-attended bible study groups in Circuits and we aspire for this to be the norm. Likewise we are encouraged to hear of examples of expository preaching in pulpits. We are intent on encouraging our Methodist Connexion in promoting bible-based ministry and life-style. Our Ministers and Local Preachers are well placed to give us the lead. God forbid that “The hungry sheep look up and are not fed” (John Milton Lycidas).
Headway is supportive of efforts to tackle the decline in our church by encouraging personal evangelism. The message is getting through, that each one can reach one, and we commend the lead from our Home Mission Department. We will be glad to hear from our members of helpful resources for personal witness and outreach.
We are unimpressed by the report of the British Methodist Church; God in love unites us, currently being discussed by British Methodist Circuits. Traditional, biblical teaching on the nature of marriage and chastity is being disregarded.Christian holiness is unmentioned. The Bible is being side-lined and its authority questioned. The report is a good example of signposting a broad and trendy road and not the narrow road of God’s revelation.
We also note what Rev Dr William Abraham describes as “the unravelling” of North American United Methodism where there are serious negotiations about a split in the denomination on the matter of the nature of Christian marriage. We pray that God will bring good out of this sad state of affairs and that God will be glorified in all things.
The Church of England has published a statement which holds the line along the road of traditional, biblical teaching concerning Christian marriage and chastity.
We pray vigorously for our own Faith and Order committee in their deliberations on human sexuality. Headway (Ireland) has early presented its findings. Members and circuits have been asked to discuss the matter and report to the working party on human sexuality. It is important to do so. Here are some dates for your diary.
On Wednesday 22nd April 2020 D.V. in Seymour Street Methodist Church, Lisburn at 7.45 p.m. We look forward to the visit of Rev David Hull. David is Chair of “Share Jesus International” and Chair of Methodist Evangelicals Together in Britain. He will speak about:
“Living Biblically in the Church and the World”
David has experienced serious negative feedback since he made a speech at the British Conference in 2019 when he contended that Marriage is between a man and a woman and that chastity before marriage is the Christian standard. We are grateful that David has agreed to address our Spring celebration. All are welcome.
AGM of Headway (Ireland)
The AGM of Headway (Ireland) will be held on Friday 5th June 2020 at 7.30 p.m. in Seymour Street Methodist Church, Lisburn. All are welcome. At this meeting we will reflect together on God’s road of travel for Headway (Ireland). Your suggestions will be important.
We also will survey some of the issues to be raised at the next Methodist Conference.
Why not join with us?
As a member of Headway (Ireland) you will be kept informed of our work and be able to contribute to it. Membership involves an annual subscription of £20 and as part of that you will receive copies of the British Methodist Evangelicals Together magazine. Please send your enquiry or details to the Headway Secretary, Rev Ken Robinson at 15 Springfort Lodge, Dollingstown, Craigavon BT66 7BE (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Headway Breakfast at Methodist Conference 2020
This will be held on Saturday 13 June 2020 in Lisburn. Mrs Hazel Loney the newly–installed Lay Leader of the Irish Methodist Conference will address the gathering. All are welcome.
Please feel free to share with us your suggestions and concerns as together with Headway (Ireland) we seek to glorify God and faithfully conserve traditional Biblical values in a changing church and society.
May God bless you.
Rev Ken Todd
Chair of Headway (Ireland)