Good News finds present UM situation untenable

GN-Compass-Cross-Logo-GoldAt their board meeting ending March 28, 2014, Good News staff and board members discussed at length the present reality: many of our bishops are unwilling to enforce the Book of Discipline and the covenant we have agreed to live by. Widespread disregard of that covenant, the will of General Conference, and the Council’s own promise in 2011 to uphold the Book of Discipline demonstrates the deep division and conflicting worldviews existing within The United Methodist Church.

We see the present situation as untenable. We are aware of conversations taking place among leading pastors and other groups around the country to examine what options are available for those of us who are biblical Christians and who have agreed to live by the Book of Discipline. Those options include sweeping reform of the church or the creation of a different kind of future. If we are one church, we cannot act as if we are two. If in reality we are two churches, it may not be wise to pretend any longer that we are one. Many are discussing the wisdom of churches continuing to fund a denomination that is unwilling to live by its policies and whose chief officers do not enforce its beliefs. Some have already curtailed their financial support in protest. Concrete and dramatic actions are likely to come out of those conversations in the next few months.

The Good News board and staff request prayer for The United Methodist Church in the midst of the present crisis. May God grant us wisdom in finding a way forward that would preserve the church’s commitment to Scripture and United Methodist doctrine. And may we treat one another with grace and respect as we seek to create a faithful future.

Comments

  1. Pudentiana says

    Today as I shared Bible study time with other women we discussed the meaning of the word “morality” as compared to “righteousness”. After several minutes we agreed that morality can change, but righteousness is eternal and comes from Christ. I regret to say that the “morality” of the United Methodist Church has inhibited our righteousness. After attending several UMC conferences I have realized that the discussion our little Bible Study had would have proven “immoral” to the bean counters of the UMW and “immoral” to the “community activists”. Christian unity has some absolutes which the UMC seems to have sacrificed for “worldly standards”. We may stand on the edge of “ichabod”.

    • Ed Allred says

      I agree with all my heart. I cannot understand why the UM Council of Bishops ( the ruling body) cannot make clear and decisive decisions regarding these Bishops and Pastors who choose the “break the rules”!!!

  2. John Newsome says

    The late Bill Hinson floated the idea of an amiable separation in which we go our own separate ways and agree to disagree while keeping our property and perhaps jointly maintaining our health insurance and pension plans. I see that as a reality with the ecclesial disobedience we are seeing today.

  3. Greg Van Dussen says

    Thanks very much for this update. We have come to trust Good News for its grace, honesty and wisdom. Within and beyond the particular issues at stake is our need as evangelical, orthodox Wesleyans to have hope for our church. The longer and deeper our denominational malaise, the more difficult it will be to maintain our motivation and energy. The decisions and work ahead are serious and difficult, but we need the hope that can prevent both defections and demoralization.

  4. Gary Bebop says

    Good News courageously speaks openly of what others discuss in secret. The hour has come upon us because disobedience is INCREASING not abating. There is no “natural” remedy for the epidemic of disobedience aside from the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. How much disobedience can you stomach??

  5. David Trawick says

    It’s past time for us to recognize the reality we live in. Constructive dialogue is not longer possible because some will not be honest in the language they use. (Ex. How can we make rules about “who we can love”? It’s not about who you love, but who you have sex with! Ex. the constant chants of “homophobia,” “hater,” and “bigot.”), who do not uphold the Bible as divinely inspired and authoritative, and will not keep the covenant promises they made when ordained and/or made bishop. The constant arguing and blatant disobedience is hindering ministry and tearing at the fabric of the body of Christ. I see only two options: 1) legislation that forces compliance with the Discipline in all jurisdictions, or 2) separation into two new denominations. I’m praying for God to guide us through to whichever resolution he wants, so the church can be what he wants it to be and do all that he wants us to do.

  6. I agree.

  7. theenemyhatesclarity says

    Further legislation won’t work. New laws will not convince lawbreakers to change there ways, and they will be unenforceable in many jurisdictions. Why delay the inevitable any longer?

    In Christ,

    The enemy hates clarity

  8. J. Keeton says

    The Methodist Episcopal Church split off the Methodist Episcopal Church South amicably prior to the Civil War, but not before losing some of their abolitionist members to the Wesleyan Methodist Connection. Now it is not slavery that divides, but homosexual marriage. Some have already left the denomination for other churches. It appears inevitable that change is coming.

  9. I had the privilege to meet Christ and become grounded in the Faith, as a young EUB “preacher’s kid.” At the time of the Methodist-EUB merger in the late 60’s, our relatively small Erie Conference was quite conservative and evangelical in identity. It was discussed openly, among many of our conference churches, as to the wisdom and right-mindedness of withdrawing the entire Erie Conference from the proposed merger. Though withdrawal was sought and championed by many, there were two or three specific reasons it did not occur: 1) the issue of ownership of local church properties and assets 2) the disposition of the retirement resources of our ministers and church officials 3) the lack of a forceful, tireless leadership counsel to recommend and advise. I believe this is an accurate reflection of the circumstances; however, there may have been other factors involved. Some churches split away, regardless, and went into the Evangelical Church of North America. As this was also about the same time as the founding of Good News, many of our conference ministers and parishioners believed that our evangelical, holiness principles would be championed through this organization. And though Good News has been a dependable voice for Christ during these intervening 40+ years, we again find ourselves in the midst of a spiritual coupling, in which we are “unequally yoked.”
    I pass along this brief “look back” to suggest a couple of points: 1) We currently have two distinct “camps” in the UM church; those who want to reconcile the church to those of the 21st century and those who want to reconcile those of the 21st century to the Word of God. The time for indecision and capitulation are over and there remains no tenable middle ground. 2) The fantasy of pluralism can no longer exist within the UM church. For those who wish to participate in an “I’m O.K., you’re O.K.” spiritual journey, I would recommend exploring the Unitarian church. 3) There are things much worse than a split in the church. If those wishing to continue to identify themselves with traditional Wesleyan theology, supported by belief in the inerrant Word of God, speak out clearly and firmly, God will bless us. As we confront the genuine possibility of continuing down divergent paths, let us do everything in love and respect for our church leaders, those holding different opinions and for the sufficiency of God’s wisdom and counsel. Perhaps in the fire of fraction, God will temper and prepare us for greater things ahead.

  10. Michael Foy says

    I agree with the Good News. We are headed for a split of the Bible focused church and the one’s who do not want to follow the Bible, the Discipline and Social Statements.with out enforcement the rules mean nothing and the world sees us as no different . With that being said why should anybody want to be a United Methodist and join the split. It must happen soon befor all the members go else where to find harmony
    and peace.

    • Bible Centered VS Christ Centered says

      Michael,
      I interpret your statement above to mean that if one does not follow your ideology, you are not a “Bible focused church. As one who affirms the gift of homosexuality given by the Creator, I can assume I’m not a Bible focused disciple of Christ. I want you to know that I am completely ok with this. Here’s why, it’s my desire to pastor a Christ-centered church, where Scripture is viewed through the lenses of Jesus. Through these lenses, my church has discovered the message of unconditional love and we have been able to join God in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As a devoted United Methodist, but first a Christ Follower, I pray and advocate for the UMC to become a church that worship’s the risen Christ and not merely the book that tells only the story. I don’t desire a split, but perhaps it will come to this- a church that worship’s the Bible or a church that worships the living Christ. I choose the later and advocate for the BOD and our Bishops to the same.

  11. David Ray says

    So many of us have already left the UM for the exact same reasons GN is now outlining. From our perspective very little is happening now that wasn’t happening 10 to 15 years ago. Though I’ve been out for over a decade, I still pray and grieve for the once great denomination. I have no regrets about leaving, but that doesn’t mean that some of us wouldn’t consider coming back if there was a healthy move to cleansing.

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