Rob Renfroe’s Inspiring Address

There were many memorable moments during the July 18 meeting in Atlanta that spurred more than 100 leading pastors and theologians to issue the statement “Integrity and Unity.” For the participants, the most inspirational portion of the day was when the Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, delivered a stirring presentation on what it means to him to be an evangelical United Methodist. Because of the number of requests from those present for a copy of his address to share with friends, Rob’s address is now available below and on YouTube.


  1. Well said, Rob. Each time the question was posed: “I wonder if you’re like me,” two recurring thoughts coursed through my mind. First, I hope and pray there will be tens of thousands of United Methodists (and others) who will say, “yes.” Secondly, while your invitation through the repeated questions, should find lodging in every heart that has (with apologies to William Shakespeare, “a mind bent to holiness,” our prayer together should be that God will raise up godly, young leaders to carry on the banner of holiness. I would expect the original audience receiving this good word contained far more white and gray hair than brown or black.

  2. I AM like you Rob. I AM a Christian first, United Methodist, Texan, US citizen, in that order. I believe I will be held accountable for what I have done, what I have said, what I have thought. I know I have fallen short time after time and I believe that Jesus will know me when I am before God. I also want Peter, John and all the others who have gone before me to be proud of me.

  3. David Barbaree says

    Rev. Rentro, did I just hear you say that this is a fight between Christians like you, and all the United Methodists who lack any religious integrity? Did you say that all pastors and bishops who, like you, have devoted their lives to Biblical scholarship should honestly admit that their understanding of the Bible’s teachings match yours exactly, but that now some have simply rejected it, and have abandoned their faith in favor of following a trendy new cultural climate? Are saying that, even though they may be sincere, you absolutely know that their interpretations are inconceivablly wrong, and that you require them to defer to your dogma for the CORRECT understanding? I’d think that you wouldn’t be so offended, dismissive, or patronizing of them if you’d make a respectful, sincere, and humble effort to listen to their reasons for their honest and informed convictions. Perhaps as the dialogue continues, you’d even stop trying to characterize them as faithless cowards, in comparison to yourself. Has that been tried yet?.

    • Mr. Barbaree,

      I would not assume I could respond for Pastor Renfroe; however, for many UM’s who have watched our church biblically compromised and spiritually weakened by those pastors and bishops you reference, I would respond. For decades, some UM church leaders, in lock-step with other main-line protestant compatriots, have sought to pursue an “I’m O.K.; You’re O.K.” theology. We have allowed abortion to be “laundered” as a woman’s choice issue. We have allowed greed to be softened through our drift toward prosperity theology. Now we are attempting to embrace homosexuality in the church by defending it as a civil rights issue. On the issues of abortion, greed or homosexuality, the Bible stands firmly. It does not equivocate or stutter; it does not seek to hide in the shades of gray that some seem to prefer; it does not desire to modernize itself or become acceptable to today’s style or trends. No; the Bible stands, as it always has and will, against sin. Scripture speaks with clarity and conviction. Those seeking to compromise the truth of God’s word and the conviction of Wesleyan theology speak with the language of compromise and capitulation. Our mission of winning this world for Christ will never succeed by aligning ourselves with society’s prevailing winds; rather, only by focusing on Christ and his Word, will we prevail. We do not wish to become socially acceptable; we wish to become spiritually indispensable.

      • David Barbaree says

        So, in other words, “Yes. It’s a fight between people of faith and people who have sold out their faith for social acceptability”? I know that’s what a majority of Good News members believe, butt I’d like to hear Rev. Renfroe acknowledge that himself. From my perspective Rev. Rentfro isn’t inspiring anything so much as demonization and dismissiveness of his UMC brothers and sisters who sincerely and faithfully disagree with him. Both groups,conservative and progressive, agree on major Christian principles, but progressives believe that the “language of compromise and capitulation” began on this issue when mid-twentieth century translators translated some obscure Greek words as “homosexual” instead of their actual Greek meaning. Why won’t the Good News Methodists consider, for even a second, that this might be a valid criticism of those translations?

        Your reply has me wondering about the direction of the UMC’s future if one faction wins the power to punish and defrock other United Methodist who disagree with them. As you know our denomination does not have a ban on abortion, but holds a freedom of choice position. Will that be the Good News Movement’s next target? Will we see the day when pastors will be excommunicated for “condoning” abortion?

        • Carl Black says

          There are a lot of good people in our UMC’s that have done nothing worse than hold fast to that which they have always held to be true. Good folks that, contrary to media hype, have reached out to all sorts of people and have offered them love, acceptance, and the forgiveness of Christ. I have done so for over 40 years, befriending gay and lesbian friends who want to know more of God and Jesus.
          So if you can, consider this: for 50 years these good Methodists have been systematically marginalized by an increasingly permissive society and those within the church that subscribe to the sexual revolution. And now that they want to say “Enough is enough!” that is alienating? That is considered intolerant and bigoted? Are we only allowed to use the word “marginalize” in appropriately approved applications?
          I am grieved at how narrow our vision has gotten over this issue and how it has reduced us to self-focused rants while a broken and hurting world cries out for a savior. I confess my frustration and ask my progressive brothers and sisters to first practice love in the body. If we can’t get it right here, why should the world come to church?

  4. Rob, thank you for sharing your heart and passion in such an inspiring way.

    As United Methodists we have a unique doctrinal heritage that the world needs. Our heritage is a belief in the grace of God available to all through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, a grace that not only justifies but also sanctifies and transforms lives, freeing people from the guilt and the power of sin. Our heritage is a belief in the primacy of the Scriptures, of being a people of one book, the Bible.

    It breaks my heart to see that so many United Methodists are so willing to throw this away by ignoring and re-interpreting Scriptures, all for the sake of accommodating a culture that not too many years ago believed that homosexual practices, if not sin, were at least a deviation from the norm, a mental illness, an addiction.

    If we really believe in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, then let us tell unrepentant homosexuals the truth, that they can be transformed, and that they need to be transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ just like any other unrepentant sinners. We do LGBTQ persons no favors when we fail to share the saving and transforming grace of God with them, but tell them their sin is not only not wrong but good.

    And we do our church, TUMC, no favors when we shortchange the grace of God and what God can do, and when we shortchange God and His word by declaring that He has said things that He has clearly not said.

    In 2 Pet 1:19-21, God tells us that no Scripture is a matter of or subject to one’s own interpretation.

    I pray that instead of deciding for ourselves what God has said, or that what God has said is wrong, we will listen to what God clearly tells us in His word, and that we will obey, living holy lives in the power of The Holy Spirit Who sanctifies us and guides us in all truth.

    • Bill Willis says

      I really hate to say such a rude thing against such a devoted Christian but I have to say that unfortunately this is shear nonsense. To sugesst that everything in the Bible is God’s word is a horrible lie. To tell people that a wife who is found not to be a virgin should be stoned to death, or that a wayward son should be taken to the town’s edlers and have them stone him to death, or that if we find that a man had lain with another man we should kill him, and on and on I could go

      It is horrible to attribute such inhuman statements to a righteous and holy God!

      • A holy and righteous God cannot abide sin. Why God said those things in the OT I don’t know, I don’t claim to know the mind of God, nor do I claim to speak for Him and try to declare what He did or did not say. What I do know is that things like those you mentioned were changed or completed/fulfilled in the NT. Just because something is in the Bible doesn’t mean we are supposed to do it. But we also don’t have the right to say something in the Bible is not His word when the Bible itself says all Scripture is inspired by Him (2 Tim 3:16); it also says it (the Scriptures) are not subject to our opinions and interpretations (2 Pet 1:20). So before you declare that what I say is sheer nonsense, and declare that I am spouting a horrible lie, you might want to know to check yourself by the word of God, Bill Willis.

  5. The Living Word has not changed, we have! says

    I am wondering how the leaders of the anti-gay movement have had “holy conferencing” with those they disagree on the topic homosexuality? Brother Renfroe’s address concerns me that he is taking a “literalist” approach to God’s Living Word. When we study, using the historical critical method, I don’t believe the Living Word has changed, but we have. Literalism is a new phenomenon in Western Civilization (only 300 years old). God’s Living Word did not change on the issue of slavery, but we did, eventually, through holy conferencing we discovered a better way. I believe Bishop Carcoño’s address on holy conferencing, calls us to do this. again. May we seek again the Living Word on this important issue that is impacting so many in our churches.

  6. John Heller says

    Thank you!

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