Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
- Weekly Pastoral Message -

"Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42

Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 27th July 1997

From the Pastor: Conscience IV

One of the great moments of history is Luther before the assembled Diet or Council at the German city of Worms. When demanded to recant his writings he replied in words which have become famous: "Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds and reasoning - and my conscience is captive to the Word of God - then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God."

The modern generation loudly proclaims "freedom of conscience" in all sorts of ways, but alas, it is a "freedom" to set aside the Scriptures, repudiate accepted conventions of religion or morality, and boldly venture into "new directions". If not a deliberate set purpose of mind then it is a drift by a series of rationalizations such that the voice of conscience no longer speaks. In the first case what we have is a perverted or defiled conscience (Titus 1:15), and in the second a seared or de-sensitized conscience (1 Timothy 4:2).

True Christian freedom of conscience is when we are delivered so as to serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives (Luke 1:74-5). The paradox is that we are truly free only when we are "captive to the Word of God". This paradox is well expressed in the old hymn:

    Make me a captive, Lord,
    And then I shall be free

    My will is not my own
    Till Thou hast made it Thine;
    If it would reach a monarch's throne
    It must its crown resign.

    (Methodist Hymn Book, Hymn 596)


Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
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