The Methodists are the best

So says Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, in a recent RTE interview on The Meaning of Life. It was a really intriguing interview. Gerry says that some time ago he resolved to remain a Catholic, but admits that some of his beliefs are a bit “Protestant”. He doesn’t think he needs a middle man when it comes to God and he hasn’t gone to confession for years. And when asked if the host at holy communion is the real body of Jesus Christ, he replied, “Who knows?” He thinks the Methodists are the best. I have a lot of friends who would agree with him on that point! But he likes the democratic nature of Presbyterianism. And the fact that Christian denominations are divided he reckons is “madness”. “I like the gospel. I think that Jesus Christ was a mighty man,” he said.

It was the final question of the interview that really intrigued me. “So what if it’s all true and you have to stand before God at the Judgement Day. What will you say?” He replied, “I’ll say, “I did my best. Here I am. Take me in.” I really wanted Gay Byrne to ask Gerry a supplementary question: If doing our best was enough to get us into heaven, then why did Jesus die on the cross? If doing our best is enough, then the death of Jesus seems strangely unnecessary. The fact is, our best is just not good enough. That’s why we need a Saviour.

9 Replies to “The Methodists are the best”

  1. I think Gerry likes modern Methodism so much because it, like the Roman Catholic church is Arminian….as long as you do this….God will do that…on the condition that the sinner “does” something…God will give that sinner life. This is “works” and “merit” religion, and in my view can only lead to false conversion, thus giving the unregenerate sinner a false sense of security.

  2. Dear JJT
    Are you suggesting that no one other than those with a full understanding of irresistable grace can be born again? Does previent grace mean an Arminian could receive grace without beleiving they merited it?
    Stafford, thank you so much for your blog. I really love it. I found your good Friday reflection particularily inspiring.

  3. @Paul
    Paul, no I am not at all suggesting that only those with a full understanding of irresistable grace can be born again. The great John Wesley was Arminian, but what a mighty man of God he was! What I am saying is God does not respond to man, but man responds to God. What comes first? Faith or life? Life of course. Think of the thousands of people across the world that are told to put their hand up and make a decision at gospel meetings…Billy Graham loved to use this method, called decisional regeneration. The sinner decides to be born again, and upon the sinners decision…God gives life. This is indeed works religion. Some arminians do believe that they receive grace without believing they merited it, but you ask other arminians how they got saved…and they say i decided of my own free will to be born again.

    Every evangelical arminian on his knees is a calvinist. One thing you never hear an arminian praying is: Dear Lord, help that poor sinner to help you help him save himself!

  4. i saw that interview and it was a very interesting insight into him – it was interesting that it was actions initiated by ‘a calvinist’ moderator /politician when he was 16 that led him into a life of republicanism [as well as family influences] keep up the blog! its great and i hope you will be able to continue it in this busy year ahead of you

  5. Thanks for that clarification JJT. Also sorry about a couple of spelling mistakes in my previous comment (including getting ‘prevenient’ grace wrong). I actually have no huge desire to defend Arminianism and I would suggest that some who call themselves Arminians have an understanding of free will that has more to do with the enlightenment than the teaching Jacob Arminius and John Wesley.
    I’m not trying to start a debate on your thoughts about decisional regeneration, but what role does the decision play in God’s bringing people to faith? For example Joshua calls people to make a decision (‘choose you this day whom you will serve’, Joshua 24:15), and the apostle Paul calls for a response (‘Repent and be baptized’, Acts 2:38).

  6. @Paul
    Paul, first of all,Romans 8:7 clearly shows the impossiblility of an unregenerate man doing anything to please God or originate good. Decisional regeneration is unscriptural and illogical because it presumes that in his unregenerate state fallen man is not so depraved that his will is morally incapable of originating spiritual good. The scriptural refutation is plain. Regeneration precedes faith – it does not follow it. 1 Peter 1:2. (The obedience of faith follows the work of the Spirit.) Regarding Joshua and the apostle Paul (who was a calvinist), they did indeed call people to make a decision and response. Can a dead and depraved sinner respond and obey the gospel? No, but he ought to. And we are to go into all the world and preach the gospel and command sinners everywhere to repent. While saving faith does include a decision or choice to have Christ as Saviour – it is the decision of the new man, not the old man. The new man is the product of the regenerating act of the Spirit.

    How did we ever get from the depravity of Gerry to decisional regeneration? 🙂

  7. Dear JJT

    Thanks for your answer. I agree with you. I suppose my thought was simply ‘what place does asking for a decision have in our evangelism?’ ‘Surely Billy Graham was write to ask for a decision?’ Of course that decision can only be brought about by the prior work of the Holy Spirit. Also, I should have said Peter in my referance to Acts 2.


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