Bishop Swanson: ‘Evil is going, too.’

Translate Page

“If you are going to go, there is a shadow figure that follows you also. You need to know that while you go, evil is going also,” Bishop James Swanson Sr. told the delegates to General Conference 2016 in his sermon during May 18 opening worship.

The Mississippi Episcopal Area bishop said that those living out the General Conference theme of “Therefore go” should remember this.

Swanson preached on the passage of Matthew 12:43-45 about an unclean spirit wandering through the dry places in search of a place to rest, then returning home and bringing seven other evil spirits with it.

They go in and make their home there. That person is worse off at the end than at the beginning. This is the way it will be also for this evil generation,” he said.

Based on this passage, Swanson suggested, “The scripture gives us warning that there is a counterforce at work in this world that seeks to destroy, to bring destruction, to impede, to disrupt, to take over your very soul and thus turn you away from following obediently in the footsteps of Jesus.”

All have sinned and all are in need of cleansing and no one is exempt from actions that are inconsistent with God’s desire for them, Swanson said.  He also preached that evil is always looking for a home and people should be mindful of that.

“Evil is not content to be by itself. Evil loves to party and you can’t party by yourself, so evil runs in a pack,” he said. “When evil finds a home that is hospitable, evil goes and gets its crew.”  

In a passionate conclusion, Swanson acknowledged there are disagreements within the Church; however, the Church should not be in disagreement about God.

“It’s all right for you to disagree with me but it’s not all right for you to hate me. It’s all right for you to plot to win, but never use the weapons of Satan against the people of God,” cried Swanson.

Duane Anders of Boise, Idaho, reflected on Swanson’s word. “I think it is always good to be reminded of God’s gifts in each one of us, especially when we feel wounded by the other. It is really easy to dehumanize each other and not see God in each other and to feel like a loser or winner,” he said. 

Elizabeth Schindler, a reserve delegate of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, spoke about her appreciation for the timing of Swanson’s remarks.

“I was so thankful for the energy for which he brought the message, particularly on a day when people came with a lot of anxiety and there was a lot of stress,” said Schindler.  

Smith Jeuitt is a communications specialist in the Mississippi Conference.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Faith Stories
Donald Reasoner (front), then coordinator of language interpretation services for The United Methodist Church’s Board of Global Ministries, is welcomed to the Icolo e Bengo United Methodist Church in Luanda, Angola, site of the 2006 West Angola Annual Conference. Reasoner, the son of missionary parents, has spent more than 30 years providing interpretation and translation for the denomination. To Reasoner’s right is Kathy L. Gilbert, a writer for UM News, now retired. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

A ministry of interpretation

The son of missionary parents, Donald Reasoner honed his communication skills by translating and interpreting for English-speaking visitors to Brazil.
General Church
With some congregations considering leaving The United Methodist Church or just wondering about its future, Ask The UMC offers a series of questions and answers to help clear up some common misperceptions or misinformation around disaffiliation. Graphic by Laurens Glass, United Methodist Communications.

Ask The UMC: Is The United Methodist Church really... ? (Part 5)

Do we have to choose between The UMC and the GMC? What happens if an elected delegate disaffiliates?
Judicial Council
Bishops process into worship at the 2019 special session of the General Conference held in St. Louis. Amid increasing church disaffiliations, bishops are speaking out to address misinformation they say is being spread about The United Methodist Church’s future. File photo by Paul Jeffrey, UM News.

Bishops push back against recruitment tactics

Bishops are trying to set the record straight on misinformation being spread about The United Methodist Church’s future. They also are working toward building a church where traditionalists, centrists and progressives will all feel they belong.