Letters to the Editor for November/December 2011

Making choices

The article on heaven and hell by William Reeves in the September/October 2011 issue of Good News was informational and helpful to me as a Christian. I have always believed that a Christian could make choices that were either right or wrong, and then doing so, would pay the consequences. I did not have the scriptures to back my theology up, except for those fiercely contested by the Calvinistic church of my youth.

As a retired public school principal, I have seen this happen several times to students, especially after entering college. I always respected their right to do as they pleased, but was glad when they made the right choices in their lives (according to biblical teaching).

I hope this article will help others to think, and that even Christians need theological guidance. Good News is not afraid to point this out.

Bruce Tonkinson

McCook, Nebraska

 

Responsible churches

I don’t understand why the retired bishops want us to have homosexual pastors. Don’t they realize that this might split the church? Even if there is a split, I for one, would take my membership out, and I think there would be many other who would do the same.

I think the reason United Methodism has been losing membership for many years is because our church has not followed the Bible’s restriction on having homosexual pastors. God only honors and blesses churches who follow his laws. Look how the Bible churches are increasing in membership. They are not afraid to read the Scriptures from the Bible which speak to this issue.

God blesses those who hold the church responsible. Thanks for all you have done.

Opal C. Huettner

Hales Corners, Wisconsin

 

Face boys

I find it interesting that Rob Renfroe would use the example of Jesse Owens and the context of Nazi Germany to call on United Methodist Bishops to be “face boys” in confronting what he calls “the most controversial issue facing the church.” The Nazis cultivated a growing nationalistic fervor aimed at saving their struggling country by choosing certain people groups, labeling them as the villainous root of all the nation’s problems and then directing their energy into banding together in their hate for these people. They, of course, accomplished this by becoming masters of propaganda.

Today, the UM Church is facing the culmination of decades of decline, and people throughout the denomination are trying to find those persons or people groups on whom the blame can be placed. Good News claims to be a voice and vehicle for renewal in the denomination and could call on the leadership (both clergy and lay) of the denomination to embrace renewal through commitment to the person, character, words and actions of Jesus Christ. Sadly, instead of being the brave “face boys” who confront the true issues directly, Good News has become little more than an anti-homosexual propaganda rag.

As I peruse my issue month by month, I find very little “good news.” The staff instead uses the magazine to “stir the pot” of a nasty debate which all too often reflects nothing of the character and spirit of Christ. Those who disagree with the prevailing opinion of the Good News staff of writers are seldom written about in a loving, respectful way. Instead, they are portrayed as an active force determined to divide the Church. The truth is, the majority of people who disagree with Good News and their stance on homosexuality are people who want to see the church simply live out the call to love God and love neighbor.

When are we going to stop demonizing homosexuals and blaming them and their supposed “agenda” for ruining the church? The growing irrelevancy of the UM Church cannot be attributed to the sexual lifestyle of a certain group of people, or even to growing secularism or the loss of morality in the church. Instead, the church has become irrelevant because it has not been faithful in actively loving God and others in the model and spirit of Jesus Christ. You claim to be centered in the written Word of God, but what about being centered in the character of the living Word of God? Perhaps we will all see renewal in the UM Church when we are active in such a pursuit and when we stop trying to cultivate religious fervor founded upon the hate, discrimination, scapegoating and demonizing of a segment of the population.

Josh Bizzell

Inglewood United Methodist Church

Macon, Georgia

 

Aldersgate

First and foremost I would like to thank you for the article in the September/October Issue on the Aldersgate Renewal Ministries conference that took place this July in Dayton, Ohio. My wife our three children (ages 10, 7, and 8) four members of our congregation and myself attended this amazing conference. As a local United Methodist pastor, I went to this conference with a dry and weary spirit. One could say that spiritually I was running on empty due to day to day demands of being a pastor.

Yet what I experienced during the conference simply transformed me from the inside out, God though the Holy Spirit did an amazing work on me. Like I said I went there dry but I came home saturated and dripping with the Holy Spirit. Every person that came with us was touched and changed in ways that words cannot start to describe. Especially our children, they learned more and experienced God in ways in the four days that they spent at the Aldersgate Conference than they will in one year of Sunday school.

The thing that amazes me about all of this is that the people of The United Methodist Church are crying out for our church to change so that it will be restored and the cries are the same from the laity as it is from the clergy. Those in the leadership within our districts and conferences are telling us to attend various workshops so that we can transform the local church. However, the conference that we need is the Aldersgate National Conference on the Holy Spirit.

After returning from the conference we have shared our experience with many people in the local church, I have told many of my pastor friends about it too. After we tell them about the great presence of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of the gifts and the fruits of the Spirit the very first thing out of their mouth is, “This is a United Methodist event?”

The UM Church needs to return to the book of Acts and be the church that was birthed on the day of Pentecost. The hope of restoration and revival of The United Methodist Church can only be found in the Holy Spirit. Our denomination needs to return to Holy Spirit and be the church that Jesus has called us to be. We will be returning to the 2012 Aldersgate National Conference in West Virginia, and I pray that many more will be there too and experience the living Spirit of God who is the only true hope for the restoration of The United Methodist Church.

Mark A. Kuhlman

Wayne United Methodist Church

Wayne, Ohio