“I must urge you to contend for the faith delivered once and for all to God’s Holy People. Such is the task of preaching,” asserted the Rev. Dr. Joy Moore, who addressed more than 2,500 people in attendance at the 2018 Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association on November 3. Moore prayed that God would “raise us unashamed from our watery graves shouting ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ so that the world may see [God’s] presence, know [God’s] power, and put their hope in [God’s] promises.”
Rev. Dr. Moore is the lead pastor and ecclesial storyteller at Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan. Moore previously served on the faculties of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and the Divinity School at Duke University, and on the staffs of Asbury Theological Seminary and Adrian College.
Moore declared, “Preaching scriptural holiness means being unashamed in a post-theistic world to say ‘there is a God’ and this God is still concerned with forming a people with whom His Spirit so evidently abides that the world will take notice – not of that people – but because of that people will take notice that He is!” “Our job,” Moore implored, “is not to start a revival. Our job is to be those who are revived because we have encountered the Holy Spirit.”
Celebrating the reality that God has invited us to be part of a story that He is writing, Moore observed that preaching scriptural holiness is our task “because we have this scriptural imagination to be a counter-cultural community, a community that does not look like anything we have seen in the world so that the world will know what it is not. The world cannot be just because you cannot have justice without Jesus. The world cannot be good because there is none that is good but God. The world as we know it has never been a demonstration of godliness because to be like Jesus is to be full of grace, practicing justice, favoring kindness, and living in a way that is so humble that when your name is forgotten, your name is glorified. We are partnering with Him to set captives free and to form a transformed community. That means we must be able to speak truth to power, even when that power is the tribe we think we are part of.”
Moore urged those attending the Global Gathering to “preach the word and be ready to do it whether it is convenient or not – in all circumstances, suffering, difficulty, hardship, in times of discomfort, in moments of anguish, when things don’t go your way, when the spouse walks out on you, when the bishop assigns you there, when your children go away, when the laws of the nation contradict the laws of God, when the denomination looks more like the nation than the people of God, in all circumstances.”