Petition 81121

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Scripture (81121-FO-¶104)

   Add sentences to ¶ 104 (Our Theological Task) as shown:
    1. Add at the end of the paragraph beginning “The developing communities of faith...” (p. 79):
    This model precludes the assertion, expressed or assumed, that Scripture is primary, but elements of tradition, experience, and reason can be combined to outvote and nullify the plain teaching of Scripture. Wesley taught and our doctrine maintains that when Jesus Christ said, “Scripture cannot be broken,” this means that “nothing which is written therein can be censured or rejected ” (Wesley, Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament, on John 10:35).
  
    2. Amend the paragraph beginning “This ‘new life in Christ’ is...” (p. 81):
    This “new life in Christ” is what United Methodists mean when we speak of “Christian experience.” It is not the ordinary experience of the unregenerate or the unbeliever. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s guiding the believer’s and the Church’s reflection on Scripture and the realities of Christian living. Christian experience gives us new eyes...sensitive moral judgments. But, because it proceeds from the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scripture, but it will never nullify or supersede the plain teaching of Scripture.

Rationale

This is a revision of a petition sent to the 2004 General Conference to overcome the weaknesses and misreadings of Our Theological Task (¶ 104) that theologian William J. Abraham identified in Waking from Doctrinal Amnesia (Abingdon, 1995).