All posts by Victor Scott

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, and author. I am an avid Cubs fan and a lover of Chicago-style Deep Dish pizza.

The Reformed Wesleyan, Part 1

Enjoying the Journey

Last year (2010) I was invited by a friend to attend a minister’s meeting in another town. It was an interesting assortment of folks. This group was made up of pastors in our local area. I was the only participant from the Wesleyan tradition. All the others were senior pastors of their churches and I the sole youth pastor. Did I mention that they were all Baptists? The name on the front of a church has never really mattered to me, but it is amazing how these distinctions can create boundaries between people.

I felt (and still do feel) a strong affinity to those guys because I grew up the eldest son of a Baptist minister.  He was also a military chaplain which imprinted in my mind an informal concept of church structure that has always remained.  I may talk about this in later posts, but for me the hierarchical nature of the military appealed to me as I was growing up.  This led to me feeling very comfortable and “at home” within the Methodist church when God opened that door in the fall of 2006.  While the structure of the Methodist church appeals to me, its principles and theological history has also been instructive over the last few years. (Which is why I bring it up and why I see myself as a Methodist.)  John Wesley was an amazing individual. I will definitely be writing about him and what he had and has to teach the Church of today.

I think, that to a large extent, we all are the products of our experiences.  We should not be governed by them because some of them may not have been healthy, but they do inform what we believe.  The hard part of this is that there are events, circumstances and experiences that color our perspective and our perception that may need to be amended. By this I am thinking of both positive and negative experiences. What we should do is to take the time to consider and evaluate the impact these experiences have on our choices and beliefs.  Being raised Baptist there are certain “Baptist” traits that I carry with me, i.e., preaching a certain way, primacy of the Bible for faith development, generally more conservative, etc.  But, with each new experience new opportunities for growth happen.  This is the case for me as I have moved out of the Baptist tradition into the Methodist/Wesleyan tradition.

This change has brought some interesting and needed changes to what I believe.  I have realized that I was not as accepting as I once thought.  I jokingly told a friend that, “I used to be judgmental.”  That is just a silly thing to say, but I was trying to describe how my capacity to receive people as they are before I decided how to feel about them has changed. Another area is in the practical application of Gospel convictions.  While I am not saying that Methodists get it right and others don’t, I have found a “structural and organic” approach to living out what one believes in the Methodist church. This is part of the DNA of the church, even if not lived out perfectly everywhere and at all times.  One critique that I have is that there is a lot of emotion, but not enough affection in this work, but that is another subject for another day.

The Worst Methodist Ever!

This brings me back to the conversation that I had with my group of brothers.  We were talking about something and one of them looks me straight in the face and says, “You are the worst Methodist ever!”  Now, how do I take that? I said, “Thank you.” Every opportunity that you have to break through someone else’s perception of you is a good opportunity.  I am thoroughly Wesleyan.  I, however, do not take that as a whole-sale endorsement of everything that may be considered “Wesleyan” and yet may not fit what I have come to understand in the Bible. There are overarching principles and assumptions that the Wesleyan tradition has made and makes that, for me, accurately represent what I find in the Bible and in my faith journey.

Does that make them right, perfect or prescriptive for others? No.  It does however provide me with a framework to work within so that as I engage the world, others and God I am not just randomly putting together belief’s and doctrines to suit me.  These principles and assumptions do point in a particular direction.  They do lead somewhere.  It is one way of arranging the facts of the Scriptures.  While for some there is a definite order for all the facts, that assumes too much (as far as I’m concerned) about my ability to discern and know what was going through God’s mind when He did what He did (I think that’s a third subject for another day).

If this makes me “the worst Methodist ever,” I am really not sure. As I strive to live my life in light of God’s word and in his presence I have come to the conclusion and conviction that God’s word must be the standard for anything and everything that I do in my life.  The main reason we as Christian’s talk about the canon of scripture is because the word “canon” speaks of a measurement or standard that had to be met in order for a book of the bible to “make it.”  Why should we hold each other to any less a standard.

I am a follower of Christ first. I have chosen to make my home within the Methodist/Wesleyan tradition because I believe that it helps me to organize my thoughts and beliefs in a consistent way.  I have not thought everything through, but I am working on it.

So in good Methodist tradition: Join the Journey!

Next Time:
Where did the idea of The Reformed Wesleyan come from?


Where to Begin…

A Year for the Ages

I guess that the best place to start any story is in the beginning.

The year 2010 was for me one of the most spiritually vibrant, challenging and devastating of my entire life.  It was vibrant because I experienced so many points of growth that I am not sure that I can count them all (or even remember them).  I am not talking about major moments of radical transformation, even though a couple of these took place.  I am talking about my ever increasing awareness of God’s moving in and around me.  The ever increasing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading has grown in ways that I cannot explain.  Have I perfectly walked in all of this… Not even close!  But I have found myself growing in areas I have long wanted to see it in.

This period has also been challenging and devastating.  I have seen that I still have areas of my life that I have not fully surrendered to God.  When you see this, as I have, you come away from these confrontations of conscience and, if you are honest, you know that you will never be the same.  I attended a spiritual retreat in February 2010 that, as far as I am concerned, broke the dam of God’s renewing purpose for my life.  I would not realize what God did that weekend until the year had come to an end.  But, as I look back that was the point that I can identify where God broke through to me.

An Unexpected Friend

Connected to this event was the convergence of two lives. God brought a man into my life that would become my brother. He gently demonstrated the love of Christ to me and prayed with me and for me.  He discipled me and taught me what discipleship could be and should be. The lessons that I learned at home from my father specifically, and my family in general served as the underlying foundation that God has used to bring me to where I am right now. This is a process. In no way am I trying to say that I have arrived at anything. If anything I have come to realize that any talk of arriving is to miss the point all together.

If I had to summarize what is different today from one year ago I would say that I no longer see my faith as something to be serious about.  Being a disciple of Christ is something serious and if it is serious then there must be an equal sign between my life and my talk.  Faith = Life = Speech.

A New Desire

Basically, what I believe has to find expression somewhere in my life.  Otherwise I am only playing lip service to what I read in the Bible. This has been the cumulative effect of what God has brought to my attention this past year.  As a result, I hope to share some of those lessons here.  These are not the perfected statements of an academic.  At times they may resemble the ramblings of a searching soul. In the end, I just want to put what I am learning in a place that I can come back, reflect, pray, correct and try again.

Faith, like a fire, must be fed properly and stoked to keep the winds of doubt, fear and error from siphoning the life God has promised away from us. I am tired of being frustrated at God, when the truth is, many times, I am the source and root of my anemic and feeble faith.

Father, I ask that you would be with me, as you always have been.  But, now allow me the strength to not see the circumstances of my life as coincidences or happenstances. Father, you hear your children.  What I ask is that I might pray in such a way that your name would be foremost in my mind and in my heart.

Remove distractions that would hinder me from seeing you.  Renew desires that are pleasing to you and replace the ones that I have lifted up out of selfish and fleshly motives.  You alone are worthy of attention and affections.  May it be true of me.   Father, help me to practice this each day, leaving the future in your sovereign plan.

Father, may anybody that reads these and future words be challenged to turn to you. For you are supremely, uniquely and solely worthy of our praise, worship and honoring. May we all seek to lift your name up higher above all others. Amen.

A New Chapter

Here We Go!

Welcome to my new blog.  I have been posting on my Christian Dojo blog over the last few years.  The idea of the Christian Dojo was to provide “training” in what it means to be a Christian.  I have not given up on that idea totally, but I feel that I am heading in a different direction in my faith journey.  I want to look more closely at what I believe and why I believe it. I want to dig into what it means for me to actually do what I am saying I hold to.  I don’t want to move onto something else until, as much as is possible, what I say and what I do are the same.  I will be investigating what it looks like to be a Christian that has committed everything to God.  I am not interested in having the right words.  I want for my life to be right before God.

The concept of this blog will be the focus of the first few posts. I will provide some history of what God has been doing. The blog will be part study, part theological reflection, part devotional expression and even a few random ramblings that come across my brain.  All-in-all, what I want to do is not take the Bible or my beliefs for granted.  I want to take a look at what I see in the Bible and in my own life and make sure that I have not just incorporated something without processing and integrating it into the whole. This may get messy, but that is what new beginnings are all about.  I hope you can come along for the ride.  Either way, I am going!