Meta-4 is an Agapeist Church (a new denomination)
Agapeism is a new Christian Denomination founded on February 14th, 2017 by the Rev. Dr. Mark Dowell and Rev. Brenda Dowell. We have served in mainline protestant churches for many years but always felt something was missing and a burning desire longed in our hearts to start something anew. Fear and comfort, along with caring for 3 daughters, kept us from ever taking the proverbial plunge. After 20 years of service in the United Methodist church (UMC) and a series of conflicts within ourselves and the leaders of the UMC, God led us to a barren place, and we knew what we were supposed to do. In our grief and at one of the lowest periods in our lives, we decided to finally surrender our jobs, comfortable lifestyle, and give up everything we had ever worked to achieve. Rev. Brenda resigned her orders from the UMC and with tears in her eyes shipped back her provisional elder status. She gave up all her rights as a Reverend after graduating as an awarded seminary student at Sewanee with quite a substantial student loan. Dr. Dowell, chose to take early retirement. We amassed all we could and took the step of faith into the unknown. The first step of the Agapeist faith (Meta-4 Principles) is surrender. We felt if we could not surrender everything to the “Way of Christ” how could we call others to do the same. We know God has great things in store and wants seekers to come journey in this love affair of faith with us. We believe with all our hearts and years of training we can help shape others on their path as we discover, together, the joys of journeying with Jesus.
In the Greek language, there are three main words used for love in the bible: There is brotherly/sisterly love which is “Philia”, sexual or erotic love which is “Eros”, and God’s unconditional love which is “Agape.” We believe that Christianity has achieved wonderful and beautiful things throughout its history along with some tremendous missteps. What we see now is a need for a change. The Agapeist faith will be based on the teaching of Jesus with a focus on the earliest Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. We will provide “Reimagining Jesus” in our Life Group classes offered in small groups during the week. We believe that the earliest teachings of Jesus were about lifestyle and wisdom rather than a system of “do this” and “do that” to be saved. Thus, we will not use the typical religious language that one is accustomed to hearing. We will talk about a total commitment to the “Way of Christ” which is the “Way of Love”
“Everything’s a Meta-4”
The bible and all faiths tell their truth in stories. These stories our painted with powerful metaphoric brush strokes. Therefore, all our churches will be named Meta-4 in the Agapeist faith, for we hold dearly that truth does not come from dogma but finding oneself in the story and a belief in the resiliency of human beings to “Write a New Story.”
Be Part of History in the Making
An Experience Like No Other
Concluding Remarks of Hope
The Rev. Dowells’ will boldly proclaim that every act of loving kindness no matter what, belongs to God, and is an act of the “Christ Mind” available to all. Know when we say “everyone” that means “everyone.” It was Jesus’ commitment to challenging the status quo of Roman power, religious institutions, social injustice, or any demeaning of humans or human dignity he encountered on “his way,” that led to his ultimate demise. It was Professor Dr. Frank Stagg, a now deceased scholar, that spoke these words with such honor and dignity, “To ‘exclude’ someone in the name of Jesus is not of Jesus at all.” In this denomination, all people are unapologetically welcome at this table. If you choose to sup with us, we promise you will be treated with respect and love no matter who you are. We take the words in the ancient texts seriously, “To love God with all your soul, strength, mind and our neighbor as ourselves whole heartedly.” (Paraphrase Luke 10:27) We wish you most of all peace and wellness in all aspects of your life. We hope we can join together in love and make your life, our communities life, and the world a more peaceful place for all humankind.