“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
This biblical truth is all-encompassing for Free Methodists, and it has been that way since our inception. On a summer day in 1860, the reminder of and call to true freedom regained a voice, resulting in a collision between societal norms of the day (within the church and without) and the character of God.
How did our forerunners make a mark? Donald N. Bastian summarizes their impact in “Belonging: Adventures in Church Membership”: “It was named Free Methodist Church because the adjective ‘free’ reflected the issues in its origin. It was to be marked by freedom from slavery, freedom from secret societies, free seats in all churches, and the freedom of the Spirit in worship.”
They confronted both societal and ecclesial ills fearlessly and shamelessly to proclaim and reclaim the holistic gospel for which our Lord Jesus died — thus anchoring our corporate identity in a meaningful, four-letter word: free.
Fast-forward 154 years. How are we doing at cultivating the seeds of our denominational DNA? How does freedom mark our personal and corporate lives, as well as our ministry goals? Dynamics of church and society have changed, but the essential call to freedom remains.
Freedom encompasses multilayered dimensions. It requires personal commitment to grow in grace in such a way that we are not only released from our own bondages but also willing to confront the bondages that permeate our world.
We were born free for a purpose. May God find us faithful in living and declaring the foundations of our heritage. Free is more than our name; it is our life call in the body of Christ.
Joy M.O. Ireland is a Free Methodist elder who resides in Wilmore, Kentucky.
DISCUSSION: Where do you need to experience freedom in your life?  How can your experience of freedom in Christ engage the culture around you?