Press Statement: Regarding the Future of The United Methodist Church

A group of leading pastors and theologians released a progress report on their considerations regarding the future of The United Methodist Church. Hailing from all five jurisdictions, the more than 80 pastors and theologians have engaged in sober and prayerful conversations via conference call over the past two months. The discussion was launched because the group believes that our denomination is facing a crisis regarding 1.) covenant, 2.) organizational discipline, 3.) authority of Scripture, and 4.) discipleship.

Maxie Dunnam

Rev. Maxie Dunnam

The group believes that it is “time to recognize that traditionalists and progressives are pursuing divergent paths as we try to follow Christ and be faithful to what we understand to be the Gospel.” Their statement asks if “it is not time for persons of good faith, representing the spectrum of theological positions within The United Methodist Church, to begin discussing ways to create a ‘win-win’ scenario for the mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of everyone involved?”

“We can no longer talk about schism as something that might happen in the future. Schism has already taken place in our connection,” said Dr. Maxie Dunnam, retired pastor, author, and seminary president. “There are conscience-bound persons who find it impossible to live in The United Methodist Church as we presently define ourselves in relation to human sexuality. Others could not live in The United Methodist Church if the present position of the church on human sexuality were changed. Forty years of wrestling with the issue is enough, and has proven the solidity of the belief systems of the two groups.”

The group lamented the irreconcilable differences that have been manifest over the last four decades within the denomination. At the same time, they agreed that a peaceful parting could be in the best interest of United Methodists.

Charles Savage

Rev. Charles Savage

“It occurs to me that we can learn something from the destructive nature of the separations that other denominations have experienced,” observed the Rev. Chuck Savage, president of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation. “I don’t think we will ever agree on the issues that deeply divide us, however, it is my hope that we will agree on a plan of separation that will serve both traditionalists and progressives well. My opinion is that if we can reach agreement on such a plan both progressives and traditionalists will emerge stronger.”

The idea of separation was not an issue that the pastors and theologians wrestled with casually. The group concluded, however, that the denomination was hemorrhaging energy and members over the emotional issues that divide United Methodists and leaders needed to offer a vision for the future.

Rev. Larry Baird

Rev. Larry Baird

“Those who know me best know that I reluctantly come to a decision that it is time for The United Methodist Church to move forward and out of our present irreconcilable ecclesiastical reality,” said the Rev. Larry R. Baird, a former district superintendent and currently pastor of Trinity Church in Grand Island, New York. “We must do so in as faithful, forthright, and compassionate a way as possible. To continue operating as we are is more of a disgrace to the Body of Christ than our inability to resolve the presenting issues and make a common statement of faith that results in compatible directions in ministry and mission.”

Although the issues surrounding marriage and human sexuality have been the presenting issues that have caused the divisions in all the other mainline denominations in addition to our own, the group agreed that the real division is theological.

“Ten years ago, Lyle Schaller wrote of the division of The United Methodist Church in his book, The Ice Cube Is Melting,” said the Rev. Dr. Tom Harrison, pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Is authority located in ‘Scripture and Tradition’ (‘Team Jerusalem’) or ‘Reason and Experience’ (‘Team Athens’)? He expressed that the division was so severe that separation seemed unavoidable. Our gap has widened since he wrote his book. I’m looking for the best ‘win-win’ resolution for both sides to this issue.”

Rev. Tom Harrison

Rev. Tom Harrison

The group expressed its desire for United Methodists of goodwill to be unsaddled by the current controversies in order to “give each other the freedom to pursue our understanding of God’s will.”

“The energy of the Church that should have been spent on our mission has been focused on this debate,” concluded Dunnam. “There is no viable ‘third way,’ or ‘compromise,’ so why not be Christian and civil, valuing each other, and work out a separation that will allow both groups to serve the Kingdom with the kind of commitment and passion essential for any powerful witness we wish to make.”

Those on the conference calls look forward to working with others of differing theological perspectives in creating a “way of parting that honors the sincerity of those with whom we differ and no longer brings pain to persons made in the image of God.”

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To read the group’s full statement, click HERE.

 

Comments

  1. Daniel Niederhofer says:

    I think a separation is way past due and cannot happen soon enough for me. The vocal minority among us has been guiding the perception of the church in a direction that is not true to what he majority of the church believes in and it is doing great harm to our true goals ,they would have us believe that the bible is flawed in respect to issues on sexuality ,it is the word of God and it is either right or wrong their is no grey area .God is not directing us that as morals decline that that our understanding of the meaning of scripture should shift in a new direction .We as Methodist are lead by the scriptures and the spirit and my spirit is screaming it is wrong. I do believe we should not exclude gays from our church ,just from leadership positions in our church it is a sacred position of trust. Moral decay is a form of rot and rot can only be stopped by removing it before it spreads.

    • Mona Darnell says:

      I agree Daniel, as Paul said we must not compromise to the world. But at the same time we must love one another. We should never turn anyone away from church because they sin, if we do we would have to exclude ourselves. Leadership is sacred and important. We cannot accept homosexuals in leadership positions because they knowingly are going against the Word of God and think they are doing the right thing. I also feel the same about those committing adultery.Revelation talks about the 7 churches and the wrongs committed. We, first of all as Christians, then second as United Methodist must not allow Satan in our midst as we worship our Lord.

      • Dolly says:

        Wow…separation…hum……what would Jesus think of that? How about agree to disagree. The Bible is a gift that, in my understanding, inspires. And because of the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit we can live in the 21st century and be a part in the building of the kingdom… 750BCE or 1 century life styles were different from ours… it is God who is steadfast not us. I do not agree that the bible is black and white… with that attitude than God does not inspire anymore and we should just fall in line and do what we are told by… by… by… sexuality does not make one righteous, it is the blood of the Lamb. And that is a gift for all and leadership is part of discipleship.. I guess we need to ask…have I been on my knees asking God to bless us and bind ALL of us together in the power and Grace of Christ.

        • Chingachgook - Last of the Mohicans says:

          “Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.” ~ Matt 21: v18-19

          “Sexuality Does not make one righteous…” – indeed true but sexuality that dishonors what the Lord hath made is a sin and thus we are made un-righteous by our sinful ways.

          You wish us to state that homosexuality is not a sin which is an impossibility to a “traditionalist”. You would also state that all are sinners something the progressives don’t really believe as they do not call it a sin because if they did they would believe that they needed to repent but this is not the case. And BTW it is specifically the PRATICE of homosexuality that is sinful.

          P.S. – please do not use the term “with all due respect” it is a condescending colloquial term meaning “kiss my a$$”.

          Let us depart as friends as the article suggests.

          • Mark says:

            The Bible is not always as clear as we would like to be on all subjects, but homosexual practice is not one of them. And, while the Spirit may still move today, It will not contradict Itself, otherwise we ascribe to a capricious faith with no real foundation (with our feet planted precariously in midair).

            You make an important point regarding the PRACTICE of homosexuality. We may not choose our predilections (as God surely understands), but we choose how to respond….to proclaim otherwise is to deny reality.

        • Kenny says:

          Dolly: Agree to Disagree is a condescending tone also. The Holy scripture is inerrant and
          and true. Don’t be part of the problem but one on the solutions.
          It would be really wise to read the Romans 12 passage again .
          Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    • Dolly says:

      with all due respect it is Christ who saves and inspires us to love one another.. Jesus did not say divide and conquer but to live in peace with one another. Heterosexuality doesn’t make one a righteous leader it is the blood of the Lamb. Anyone who is a disciple in the UMC should be allowed to serve. There should be no difference in your sex, or sexuality when it comes to the love of others. I know plenty of heterosexual’s who gossip, control, fail to love others etc. Satan is the lord of division… So let us seek to live at peace with one another and out due one another in love…”All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” each one of us are “to work out our salvation with fear and trembling” holding anyone back from the full glory of God is a sin..

      • Michael Dillon says:

        Dolly:

        Parts of what you say are accurate. We have people who are gluttons, gossip, and have lack of love.
        We are not saved by what we do read John Wesley’s sermon “On The New Birth”

        The practice of the sin of homosexuality, along with other sins listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 disqualifies from inheriting God’s kingdom.

        The so called progressives want us to ignore the truth of God’s word.

  2. rev peter McGuire says:

    I’ve been a umc pastor since 1997. There is no win win. The reality is, both sides of the debate are fighting not for a beachhead from which to grow, but for a plot with a few in the graveyard of the Mainline. Methodism has been in decline since the 1870s or 1880s. The debate about sexuality is merely one more way the once great Lady continues its self-deception that we might still be relevant. Sadly, we are not and there are few within the leadership who seem aware. At best, we have 20-40 years left without a top to bottom cleansing and reorientation.

    • Lucinda Featherstone says:

      Just curious, what does “top to bottom cleansing and reorientation” mean, exactly? In your estimation, what does the church look like and how will we function differently after such an action is taken? Who would govern such a process? Since these 80 leading pastors, leaders, theologians, and laity et al have neglected to include even a sketch of this amicable separation they are recommending, I would really like to hear it laid out by someone. Many thanks to you–please know that my response is written with respect and genuine curiosity.

    • jpfeil says:

      I agree that this debate is largely a matter of self-deception. Our denomination is in trouble and neither splitting nor uniting will solve our issues. The death tsunami is coming. The real issue is not who is right about human sexuality but about our fidelity to the core of the gospel of radical welcome in the Reign of God.

      I’d love to be part of a conversation about what “top to bottom cleansing and reorientation” might look like. That would be a denomination wide conversation worth having.

  3. David W says:

    For much of the church’s history marriage was not seen as a priority. In fact, the church did not even have wedding liturgies until around 1100 a.d. It is odd that it has somehow become the most crucial issue for the Church. Who is Christian and who is ordainable should not be determined by a set sins deemed the most egregious according to contemporary cultural lens, but instead by the candidate’s embrace of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we are creating a list of prohibitive sins there seems a more crucial list than sexual orientation–a list that would include, for example, greed, exploitation, divisiveness, indebtedness. These are the sins that are destroying the church, not the monogamous sexual habits of our sons and daughters.

    • It is not that some sins are worse than others, it is the UNREPENTENT sin that makes homosexuals unfit for leadership positionsl I would take anyone who admits thier sin , whatever it is , and repents any day as a leader. We all fall short ,and it is not my place to judge , but when someone does not want to acknowledge what they are doing is sinful, and more than that insists that everyone els embrace it , that is where I draw the line.

      • Mindi says:

        By this logic, it would seem that a divorced person (unless the divorce was attributed to unfaithfulness) who lives in a second marriage also lives in unrepentant sin. There seem to be rather a large number of folks who are on second, third, or fourth marriages. And many of the divorces were not a result of adultery. How then should Matthew 19:9 be addressed?

        • H. Howard says:

          As sin. There are some mitigating circumstances. Just like there is a difference between same-sex attraction, homosexual orientation, and gay identity. Same-sex attraction is not a sin, and the church should recognize it. The assertive gay community is wrong to insist on shoving people who are attracted to the same-sex into homosexual behavior and gay identity. The church should be listening and loving to those who are struggling, not insisting on a light-switch mentality. The assertive gay community is wrong in its practice of recruitment, and the church should not be a party to it.

  4. Mark says:

    It appears to me as a former United Methodist that they have never over my 25 years known or understood they idea of covental community or the covenant of grace as described in the Book of Hebrews. Family is a foreign concept to them. I have had UM staff tell me that they do not value the covental community that Jesus died, rose and ascended to to fulfill. Promised in the OT realized in the birth of Christ but not valued by the UM.

  5. The summations expressed in this article actually present the most hopeful scenario for the future I have heard in a long time. It is time for resolution. Indecision and lack of consensus regarding the greatest of theological convictions have created more distrust and volatility than we recognize. I believe the future begs for courageous leadership.

    Barry K. Carpenter

  6. Van O'quinn says:

    These issues are why I left the Meth. Church, went to the Church of Christ by pure chance looking for pure bible teaching. I read what each preacher had to say, yes it is a disgrace of the teaching of Christ. It is best the church split befor more soles are lost to false teaching. May God bless you all.

  7. Barbara Cowan says:

    The Church is a place for sinners–to come an repent of their sins. There are many sins, which are named in the Bible. To list a few of those written in the Bible are: adultery, lying, cheating, prostitution,, as well as, homosexuality. I’m saying these are some of the sins listed in the Bible. It is not for us to judge whether any of these are sins; they are so stated in the Bible. It IS our responsibility to repent of sin, help others to repent, and live as is taught in thee Bible. It was Jesus who said, “those with sin, throw the first stone” when a group of people were going to stone to death a prostitute.. Again, the Church should accept all sinners in there congregation and teach the way of repentance. I’m a member of a United Methodist Church. I believe that homosexuality is a sin; however, they should be welcomed into the United Methodist Church, along with the other sinners, and teach all sinners the way to repentance. How many “sinners” are not selected to serve in a ‘sacred’ position in the Church because they committed a sin? Each “sinner” should be treated as a human being with a need to repent. I know I am not without sin, but I have asked God’s for forgiveness and to lead me away from sin.

    • Barbara Cowan says:

      I need to make a VERY important correction. Where I quoted Jesus as saying “those with—it should have been WITHOUT sin, throw the first stone. I tried to

  8. Jerry P. Kulah says:

    What would have John Wesley done if he were alive today? If we pursue this part of “Amicable Separation,” are we heading for two separate denominations bearing the same name or different names? What becomes of the investments of the “United Methodist Church”? What becomes of the Central Conferences, especially of Africa? May God’s plans and purposes for the people called United Methodists Come to pass. Amen.

  9. Rev. Mack McKinney says:

    My prayer is that we can effect a de facto split without one faction exercising the need to bury the other. In my experience, those that have consistently preached charity and tolerance to me have been, at the same time, poster children for an old Robert Rimmer book. The theological considerations appear duly obvious to me. I quake at the task ahead, for I fear a nasty bloodletting. Yet, Thy will be done, O Lord.

  10. Duane Anders says:

    We are better together.

  11. Susan says:

    It seems to me that the only way the UMC can survive is for the traditionalists and progressives to amicably part ways. As for me, I have felt compelled to part ways recently as I could no longer continue to compromise my faith by belonging to a church which in trying to stand with everyone, stands for nothing. I felt I could not fulfill the call to “go make disciples” when I would be gathering them into a church lacking direction. While the main issue is that of full inclusion of homosexuals into the life of the church, there are many other issues which are similarly concerning: subliminal acceptance of alternate deities under the guise of inclusiveness, the sanctity of life issue, the introduction of Chrislam in some congregations, and the acceptance of many paths to God. In being so concerned with pleasing everyone are we forgetting we are to please God? and please Him first? Have we not become a lukewarm church which Christ will spit out of his mouth.

  12. debbie noble says:

    The bible hasn’t changed. Yes God forgives sin. He abounds with mercy and grace. His grace is aways to escape sin. It’s our call as christian to teach the word, that souls may be saved. We will be acountable to God if we stray from preaching and teaching the whole truth of God. You as me why? Because its in his word. God tells us to teach the truth that souls maybe lead to Christ. My fellow christian that none of us lead his people astray with false doctrine. It’s not our word but his…God help us!!! I pray not only for myself but everyone to pray for the lost souls and our country. And that none of us lead people astray. People want the truth and its in the word!!!

  13. Rev. Mike Childs says:

    I agree. It is time to end the 40 year war over homosexual practice, ordination, and marriage. The only way to do so is by separating. For God’s sake let us do so with kindness and respect – like Abraham separating from Lot. In the words of Amos the prophet, “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?”

  14. Aybido says:

    A huge amount of energy has been spent dealing with these issues, energy that could have been directed outwardly in mission. The conflict has almost become a raison d’etre for both sides. I wonder how long it will take to find a truly missional vision. And I wonder what will be the glue that holds the orthodox/conservative group together. Though I believe the progressives are misled they are likely to stand united. On the other side the reformation principle/dynamic may precipitate fragmentation. The UMC has no instrument of unity comparable to the Anglican’s BCP and Canterbury, and now GAFCON. They also seem to lack leadership at the international level. Can they find a unifying vision strong enough to bind them together. UMC ecclessiology has always been wobbly at best. Take away the bureaucracy and what do you have left? I fear it is not much more than pragmatism (church growth) and piety of a rather sentimental type. UMs tend to avoid theological reflection which will make a confession difficult, and their is no unifying worship tradition. What and who will hold them together and send them out in vibrant enthusiastic mission. Will the children of this divorce carry with them a crippling guilt and uncertainty, or a strident impulse to prove themselves. The progressives have little to worry about in regard to unity. Their vision is clear. Its the orthodox that I most worry about.

    • Mendy says:

      I fear your reflections on UMC may be misguided. If you go through the ordination process as a UM then you know how strongly steeped we are in theological reflection. There are certain theological standards we as UMs share. That is what all of this is about.
      It is about what God has spoken about connecting as believers and what that means in a covenantal community. It is about the importance of Scripture and interpreting Scripture. Our theological doctrine is spelled out in the displine. One of the most important things we inspire in our congregations is theological reflection. Our Bible studies are used by many denominations. In general the importance of Scripture is strong.
      The Discipline of the UM church is very comparable to the Anglican Church. (We did after all start out Anglican (John Wesley never left the Anglican church), and many of our worship aspects in our Book of Worship are still Anglican today) Our issue is not that we don’t have a unifying discipline or a unifying council. It’s that the humans on the overall leadership don’t want to follow the unifying discipline. The doctrinal standards and theological understandings are very sound and solid. The loud few are the ones not reading what is there and are trying to act against what is in the discipline of the church. The issues here is that there are clergy who are acting completely out of order in the church. The minority are working to change what unifies us and that is a foundation in Scripture. They want to change not just general rules and order, but they want to change the doctrinal statements found in the discipline.
      Those “progressives” you talk about have one thing to unite them and when there is nothing to fight against because everyone has left they won’t have anything to unite with and will fall. When the “orthodox” as you call them stand where we belong with Scripture. I don’t see how we cannot be unified. We actually have something to unify us. The quiet majority in the UM church live their lives by Scripture and are unified across denominational boundaries with other churches in their communities. We believe in connection and Scripture and in holding one another accountable to Scripture.
      The ones actually going out in mission are those you call “orthodox”. The “progressives” are yelling so loud about their pet topic that they don’t even reach out to those hurting people they claim to be fighting for. We are the ones who have always gone out in mission. We are the ones who see social issues around us and work for change. The “progressives” see one issue and don’t strive for loving connections and trying to understand, but instead try to force everyone to agree. I’ve lived, worked, learned, grew, and now I pastor in the United Methodist Church and with great fear and trembling I’m looking at next year. Next year might make official the split we know is already here. At that point I may ask myself the question I ask myself at conference every year, “Do you believe in the doctrinal standards as they stand in the United Methodist discipline?” and not hear the answer I’ve always said. The answer might become no and I in good Conscience will likely have to leave.

  15. Stephen Burkhart says:

    The comments confirm again the dilemma. Division exists. Let it not deteriorate over a childish fight over property and pensions, but let each part of the schism take responsibility for their own Spiritual and Financial future, Without a “Separation Strategy”, the separation will occur by exodus by laity and pastors, escaping the weight of a dysfunctional connection where polity is a shallow idea, and accountability does not exist..

    • Mendy says:

      Stephen,
      This is true. I know many who are leaving because accountability no longer exists and our polity appears shallow in the face of so many church leaders vowing to act against it.

  16. BENNIE SPEAKE says:

    the bible says homosexuality is a sin God said it was a sin so how can we see it any other way are we now going to change our book of discipline as our govt changes our constitution I for one will ever agree that we go against GODS word I would hate to leave the UMC but if the conference bends to these changes I will have to look elsewhere where only the BIBLE GODS word is believed and taught

  17. Israel Alvaran says:

    I’m wondering why such an important statement is cloaked with secrecy and anonymity. Organizing by press release is not a form of dialogue. Conversations happen in our annual conferences and local churches – churches invested in our connectional structure, and not mega-churches whose pastors don’t really itinerate. The threat of schism is real, but the roots are not fully exposed. I even wonder if these 80 or so leaders have LGTQ friends or family that they have spoken with or in relationship with. Have they had honest-to-goodness conversations with the persons they agree are people of sacred worth without having one hand of fellowship extended and the other brandishing a machete just in case the conversation got a bit rough and divisive? Breathe, pray, witness. This statement is an acknowledgement that its leaders have closeted concerns about the efficacy of graceful, personal engagement and would rather cut their losses and take what they can before the wall of discrimination starts crumbling down.

    • Mendy says:

      I have many LGTB friends that I strongly value and love. I still theologically understand the Scripture to say something different and they know that and respect it. There are private conversations going on with every group in the church. There are press releases sent out by every group on all sides of the arguments over this and the many other issues that are being presented here. You seem to be concerned that these leaders are being discriminatory. Just be aware that discrimination exists on both sides. Both sides need to reach out and try to compromiise. We do need to come to the table and talk. I’m afraid though that the “liberals” for lack of a better word are not sitting at the table. They are yelling discrimination and not listening to what is really being said.

  18. John Dallas says:

    It reminds me of a couple thinking they should get a divorce because they want to stop wasting time.
    They have no clue how long it is going to take to fully get over the divorce. They also don’t realize it won’t get that much better when they are divoreced without them changing.

    Focus on reaching people for Christ instead of spending evangelism money on lawyers and wasting time on working out the divorce.

    • Gary Bebop says:

      Some posters would have you believe (the cliche) that divorce is so painful people never recover their lives. But the opposite is often true. The rebuilt life after divorce is often MORE productive than before, as childish ways are put aside. Let’s be careful with our language. “Divorce” (if you want to call it that) will NOT be the end of life and health and happiness and productivity for Methodism. The separation caused by the infidelities (disobedience) of pastors and bishops, will NOT dictate the future of Methodist ministry. Count on it. God is not dead.

      • Aybido says:

        This is a good caution about the over-use of metaphors. You are right. In spite of some similar dynamics, it is not a divorce. It was never a marriage. It is not a schism in the historical sense, because the UMC is not a Church, but a denomination, one of 1000s. In the early days it was more like a mission society and a revival m,ovement. We need help with framing the issue with helpful precision. For example, the UMC is not itself the bride of Christ (nor the owner of her gown). That title belongs to a much larger reality. What is the UMC, really, and what categories should be used to describe the recommendation to allow its fundamentally disagreeing members to find another configuration within which to operate? Could a solid Christian sociologist help us? If we keep using divorce language (and I have done it myself) it could lead us to accept litigation as a necessary evil, and truly make the matter worse. I hope we can approach this as an organization seeking to restructure in order to be more effective in its mission. Let’s beware of loaded language and keep mission focused.

    • Mark says:

      While both sides are imperfect, if one side intentionally and habitually breaks the “marriage” vows then what is one to do? Ignore it? What kind of public witness does that portray? Dysfunction unremedied only begets more dysfunction. How much—energy, money, misplaced priorities, etc.—has this already cost the denomination?

  19. Bob says:

    Our mission is simple, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”. Our Discipline states that “We implore families and Churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.”

    We’re all sinners. We’re born into it. There is no escaping it. Hate is murder (1 John 3:15). Lust is adultery (Mt 5:28). James 4:17 says that “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins”. Pretty tough stuff. Fact is, we’re all sinners and we all need Jesus. To focus on sexual orientation as a determining factor of how we’re structured is just wrong. Sin is sin, and we’re polluted by it – regardless of sexual orientation.

    We are all knowingly going against the word of God in one way or another.

  20. Evelyn Anne Neal says:

    The answer to me is simple…Are we the United Methodist Church…or are we the United Methodist Social Club with bilaws based on what the world deems politically correct. The church is a group of people who love the Lord and have a deep desire to come together to worship Our Lord. Through faith we take theBible as God’s word. God is the same today as he was 2000 years ago. Sin is sin. The church is made up of sinners so we love the sinner and hate the sin. Don’t mold God into our image. We were created in his image. The Bible is our plumb line to show us how to live. Amen.

  21. Susan norman says:

    I continue to read about “80 ministers” who are suggesting this split. Who are the 80?

  22. Phil says:

    I’m seeing a pattern in the titles of trackbacks to your page. Maybe the Group of 80 will reconsider their proposal in light of the reaction from the denomination’s rank and file.

  23. Phil says:

    Today I was at the Tennessee Annual Conference where 1,360 delegates (680 clergy, 680 duly elected laity) passed a resolution to continue dialogue and prayerful engagement on questions of human sexuality “together” in spite of differences of opinion. Today an annual conference in Dunnam’s own backyard, the buckle of the Bible Belt, declared their continued allegiance to The United Methodist Church and to all remain United Methodist. I don’t know whose interests the 80 signers thought they were representing when they released this statement, but wasn’t Tennessee.

    • Keith Lucy says:

      Sadly, the United Methodist is not united and hasn’t been for several years. If those who desire to separate, they would be wise to settle the issue of women as pastor/ presiding elders. Women in those positions of leadership is not biblical any more than support of homosexual “marriage” is. The other option is to join or form an independent methodist Church.

      • Keith Lucy says:

        Correction: For those who desire…not “if”. Independent Methodist should be capitalized.

      • Phil says:

        I’ve been a part of a denomination that ordains women my whole life and some of the most godly pastors I know are female. I am closer in my relationship to God because of many of them, and thankful everyday that I’m in a church that celebrates that. I would never feel at home in a church that doesn’t allow one half its members to pursue God’s calling in their lives.

  24. Michael Snow says:

    There is no ” ‘win-win’ scenario ” but rather a clear choice between apostasy and faithfulness. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/love-basics-heresies-divorce-homosexuality-church/

  25. Phil says:

    I’ve been a United Methodist my entire life. I have friends and family on both sides of this issue. I’ve sat in prayer and sung hymns with both reconcilers and confessors, and I believe I and the church are better for it, not matter what you say. I will take my denomination formed in humble confusion over one composed of arrogant purity. I hear talk of schism and my heart aches for if the United Methodist Church splits in two, I would feel like a child being asked to choose between two parents. I am angry when I hear talk about schism, not because I hold any ill-will toward those who speak of it, but because if that day should come they will be able to follow their heart with their choice, whereas for me that will be impossible unless I were somehow able to split myself in two in order to try to remain in fellowship with the only church I have ever known.

  26. linda says:

    The split has already come for us–we’ve taken the children and split. That is, we found another church in a faithful to the Scripture Wesleyan connection.

    We’d love to still be Methodist, but not until the denomination experiences a real revival of scriptural holiness.

    If you stay, do not pay. Perhaps a pocketbook hit deep enough will end the schism.

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  2. […] the recent release of a press release from a group of 80 large congregation pastors and theologians, I thought it instructive to look at […]

  3. […] News Magazine released a statement today from 80 United Methodist pastors and theologians who agree it’s time to formalize a schism […]

  4. […] republishing this in light of the Good News’ statement yesterday regarding the schism within the UMC and the divide which seems imminent and because of a comment […]

  5. […] and politics, calling for the schism in the United Methodist Church. This statement was followed by a press release from Rev. Maxie Dunham, Rev. Charles Savage, Rev. Larry Baird, and Rev. Tom Harrison supporting […]

  6. […] group is the UM College of Cardinals) has titled a press release naming their own concerns, “Regarding The Future of the United Methodist Church,” indicating that they feel entitled to determine that future on their own – and […]

  7. […] Forty years of wrestling with the issue is enough, and has proven the solidity of the belief systems of the two groups. (Dunnam quoted in Good News Magazine) […]

  8. […] this week I wrote about the recent proposal by the Gang of 80 to split the United Methodist Church. In my response I talked mostly about the […]

  9. […] United Methodist leaders had concluded that the way forward for the Church was to split. To quote Maxie Dunnam, one of the known signatories, “We can no longer talk about schism as something that might happen […]

  10. Anonymous says:

    […] Originally Posted by Kenny64 I do attend the UMC church here in Md. This message should be taught and not used to split a church. Kenny, I fully agree that it would be sad to see the split or demise of the UMC. But for that to be avoided, you must have unity within the denomination. And in order to have that unity, you MUST have a message that is grounded in God's Word to refocus the denomination and rally it. As long as a large part of the leadership of this denomination does not see truth in God's Word, there is not a starting point for the rally and unity to begin. I would ask you this question. If the truth and inerrancy of the Scriptures are not going to be at the very center and core of this rally, then what would you have the denomination unify around? And if they did unify around anything but this, do they meet God's definition of what a church should be? I think you might find this article interesting, as it states quotes from many of those ministers who are disgruntled with the UMC currently. Press Statement: Regarding the Future of The United Methodist Church […]

  11. […] for the health of the Bride of Christ that is usually not evident in those who seek to tear her to shreds in order to get their […]

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