June 22, 2009

John Edwards

Bill Tammeus on his Faith Matters weblog suggests this is a good historical date on which to ask this question: What should be the membership requirements to join a community of faith?


Why today? Well, it was on this date in 1750 that the famous colonial preacher Jonathan Edwards (depicted here) was dismissed from his pulpit at the Congregational Church in Northhampton, Mass. He had served there 23 years, but had gotten himself on the wrong side (according to those who dismissed him) of an argument over requirements for admission to full membership in the church. Edwards wanted more restrictions than his opponents did. He lost.

Edwards had succeeded his maternal grandfather as pastor of the church, and his grandfather's policy was to encourage all baptized parishioners to receive Holy Communion. Edwards, however, wanted to give the sacrament only to people who, he felt, met a high standard of proving they really were Christians.

read the entire post

Note to pastors: Church conflicts and congregational political struggles are not new.