Free Methodists Humbled Forever

Regulars know that the leadership of Salem Chapel draws minimal inspiration from the Methodist Church, though John Wesley it holds in high regard. Consequently, his ‘Covenant Prayer’, which he adapted from the puritan Richard Alleine, we repeat each first Sunday of the year. Its words are mightily powerful and help remind us from the outset that obedience to God’s will often involves a denial of ourselves, a humbling and a laying aside. Prophet Adam Arsden and his gang of prosperity-preaching charlatans, take note.

The older version, which we used, reads thus:

Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You,

Exalted for You, or brought low for You;

Let me be full, let me be empty;

Let me have all things, let me have nothing;

The UK Free Methodist Church, a sounder break-away from Methodism (and the denomination in which I was raised) quoted a modernised form of the words. Unfortunately, the one who attempted to modernise and make a little more poetic made an error:

Let me be employed wherever, set aside whenever, lifted up however, humbled forever.

This line is rather pleasing in its rhythm, but its last clause is nonsensical. Does not the gospel exalt the believer magnificently, after his death?

Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:30, NKJV

We should not let a cute turn of phrase or tidy pentameter distort God’s promises. Those in Christ will be exalted gloriously- not because of their works, but Christ’s. We might be humbled for a season, but we shall be glorified for eternity. Be careful what you modernise. Be careful what you read aloud. The Methodist Church has no monopoly on dumbing down the tried and tested.