“In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
According to some scholars, these words commonly attributed to St. Augustine (354–430) may have originated with Lutheran theologian Rupertus Meldenius (1582–1651). The quote is also sometimes linked to Methodist founder John Wesley (1703–1791), who had a lot to say about Christian unity and the need for a Christian to be “fixed as the sun in his [or her] judgment concerning the main branches of Christian doctrine.”
The Free Methodist Church – USA, the publisher of LLM, is one of many branches of the Wesleyan movement. Free Methodist founder B.T. Roberts had his own saying about what’s essential: “Free churches are essential to reach the masses.”
This issue explores what Roberts meant by “free” and also looks at the significance of church membership.
I sometimes meet people who faithfully attend a Free Methodist congregation and actively serve in its ministries without officially becoming church members. Like a man and a woman who certify their commitment to each other with a marriage license, these people should consider certifying their commitment to their church through membership.