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Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS

Bishop James Swanson, Jr., preaches on May 18 at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore


It’s all right for you to disagree with me; it’s not all right to hate me: Bishop Swanson

PORTLAND, Ore.––In a May 18 sermon, Bishop James Swanson told delegates, “It’s all right for you to disagree with me, but it’s not all right for you to hate me.” We should not “use the weapons of Satan against the people of God.”

“We have disagreement," said the president of the General Commission on UM Men, but “we shouldn’t be in disagreement about God. Are you dependent on your political maneuvering or on God?”

The bishop addressed an unlikely text in which Jesus describes an unclean spirit who leaves a house and later returns with seven other spirits (Matthew 12:43-45).

“Jesus makes us aware that evil is personal,” said Swanson. “If evil can operate in me, it will pollute everything I touch.”

He noted that just as the evil spirit returned after being cast aside, sanctifying grace must follow justifying faith, or evil will again “set up shop” in our homes, and it “will come back in a pack.”

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