Monday, May 11, 2009

Methodists and Education

This morning I wrote a newsletter article about someone who is a "son" of Bethel, Spartanburg. Dr. D. Moody Smith who is the George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Duke Divinity School is going to preach at Bethel on May 24th and lecture on the Gospel of John on May 25th. Many know Moody Smith as an expert on the Gospel of John and the Epistles of John. I have benefited from having him as a teacher at seminary and also as a leader of seminars and lectures across the church. My Associate is Moody Smith's son and through that connection I received a copy of his latest book, inscribed. I treasure it because it came from Moody himself.

As I was writing my newsletter column I was thinking about the Methodist connection to education. Remember that Methodism began as a movement at Oxford University. John Wesley, our founder, was an Anglican Priest, and a professor at Oxford. While John Wesley professed to be a man of "one book", the Bible, of course. He was rich in his study of the classics.

We United Methodists inherited John Wesley's love for study and reflection and education. While we have "warm hearts", we also value informed minds. We United Methodists are not afraid of thinking. Our four guides in our faith are: scripture, tradition, experience and reason. Scripture is absolutely primary for us. But, we also believe in study and understanding as gifts of God.

In most cases, find people who are really concerned about education and you'll find United Methodists. While education won't save your soul, necessarily, education is a way to improve and enhance life. Education is something that we all value.

It's not about money. It's about being educated so as to be able to better live and serve others. The Baccalaureatte speaker at my college graduation, though a Lutheran, spoke like a Methodist. He said: "You didn't learn English for your own sake; you learned it so that you could serve others. Everything that you learned here was learned so that you could live and serve others faithfully..."

In our town alone, we have Wofford College and Spartanburg Methodist College, two good examples of Methodism and education working out faith in the world. Scripture calls us to love God with heart, and soul, and mind.

Dave Nichols

1 comment:


Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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