Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

All Mankind Will Come And Bow Down Before God

Isaiah 66:23

“all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.

I grew up the son and grandson of Methodist pastors. I was raised on Wesleyan theology – which is not Calvinist or Arminian exactly – but for me a mixture of the two (the best parts of each). I was raised during a time when we were told to date within our denomination – because it would be easier raising the children – better for a unified home. I didn’t always follow that path – dating a Catholic girl – a Baptist girl – an Episcopal girl – a non-denominational girl and a few others. I also dated a few Methodist girls. I eventually married a Methodist girl (young woman) – who would love to be non-denominational I think. All were Christian – just from different branches of the faith.

I raised my daughters to marry boys who were Christian – the denomination was secondary. I told them they should look for three things in the young men they dated – 1) a strong Christian faith – 2) a strong love for them – and 3) a strong work ethic. Although I was still biased toward those who thought Wesleyan theology was on the right path – I believed that most Christian faiths could have the core beliefs that would create a strong marriage and family.

I might have some of the same thoughts for my 5 granddaughters. The focus first is to find a life partner who loves Jesus – loves them – and has a good work ethic (I expected this of my daughters in reverse as well and expect it of my granddaughters as well).

Now that I am 63 and nearing retirement – I’m thinking of where we will worship in retirement. In some ways the United Methodist Church seems to have left some core Wesleyan beliefs behind and the next few years may show me how far they have strayed. I hope they hold onto their orthodox beliefs – their core values – such as their view on marriage.

What I would like to do in retirement is better understand today’s passage and passages like it. We may not settle in one church in retirement but visit several – because we believe that Christ is the one we seek – not a denomination. Today’s passage says – in part – “all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all Christians – all who follow Christ – could worship together! That is not a question as much as a statement. I am an Elder in the UMC and have been in the UMC or the Methodist Church my whole life – yet I long for the day when we can breakdown denominational walls and worship Christ together. I know there are theological differences – but maybe we could agree on the core Christian values and simply worship God. I know that is a pipe dream because even in the UMC we might agree on some core doctrines but are finding other core and lesser values coming between our unity.

At some point we all must make decisions about our faith and where we will worship. Over the years a number of strong Christian brothers and sisters have left one denomination for another denomination or non-denominational church because they could no longer support some core value or doctrine of their present church. I have asked several that I have known if they were more in line with their new church’s values and at times the answer is yes and at times it has been no. They thought by changing churches they might find a better fit for their understanding. If we’re looking for a perfect church – the minute we find it and join it – it will be imperfect – because we will be there (LOL).

So what are the core values? What are the core values or doctrines we should be looking for in a church (IMHO)? That will be the subject of future devotionals. Stay tuned. I do look forward to a time or the time that all will come before God and bow down to worship Him.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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May 16, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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