"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
An on-line guide for study and action.
The United Methodist Publishing House is pleased to make available again this signal work of our Council of Bishops. While the course of history has moved on since its original publication date in 1986, and different countries in different situations are faced with the issues of war in a nuclear age, the basic questions continue to be well stated by this important document.
The text of In Defense of Creation (the Foundation Document) is available for purchase through Cokesbury. The study guides are available here as free downloads.
The original study guide had options of 13 one-hour sessions or 6 one-hour sessions. We have offered the latter option here, so you will be accessing sessions 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 11 from the original study. As history has moved on, so has technology. What follows had to be scanned exactly from the previously produced sessions since we can no longer access the original files from which this was printed. Consequently, not even minor updating has been attempted.
You will want to note: You can use the United Methodist Hymnal instead of the Book of Hymns in sessions 5 and 8 as follows:
Also, you will find "The General Rules of the Methodist Church," used in session 11, on pages 71-74 of The Book of Discipline, 2000.
We hope that you will continue to find this work challenging and helpful as you seek to lead in congregations and small groups as we grapple with the implications of our faith for our witness in the world.