Mt. Bethel UM Church Withholds Apportionments

By Walter B. Fenton –

One of the largest congregations in The United Methodist Church withheld over $200,000 of its apportionments in 2014 in response to what it believes to be “wholly unsatisfactory” inaction on the part of the Council of Bishops to recent controversies within the denomination. The congregation will make no further payments in 2015 without the explicit approval of the church’s administrative council.

Mt. Bethel UM Church, located in Marietta, Georgia, is one of the largest UM congregations east of the Mississippi River and is part of the North Georgia Annual Conference. The church, widely known for its local, national and global missions programs, and for Mt. Bethel Christian Academy, a K-12 Christian school, operates three campuses in the Marietta area.

Its administrative council voted to place its apportioned funds in an escrow account until the Council of Bishops (COB) fulfills the requests made in the “Integrity and Unity Statement” published by over 120 leading pastors and theologians, and endorsed by nearly 8,500 clergy and laity across the UM connection. All bishops received a copy of the statement in July 2014 and it was formally presented to the council at its November 2014 meeting in Oklahoma City.

Mt. Bethel UM Church

Mt. Bethel UM Church

“The administrative council’s decision was unanimous,” said Ferrell Coppedge, lay leader at the nearly 10,000-member church. “We thought the silence from the Council, especially after some pastors and even a bishop openly broke their vows, was inexplicable, unhealthy and unwise. Their lack of response to the ‘Integrity and Unity Statement’ was wholly unsatisfactory given the gravity of the issues it addressed and the reputations of the leading pastors and theologians who presented it.”

In 2012 delegates to the UM Church’s Western Jurisdictional Conference adopted a resolution stating that its clergy and churches would engage in ministry as if the passages regarding the practice of homosexuality and the prohibition against clergy presiding at same-sex services were no longer applicable.

Since then, UM pastors across the connection have openly presided at same-sex services. Most notably, Bishop Melvin Talbert presided at a service celebrating the marriage of two men at a church in Birmingham, Alabama in October 2013. Thus far, breaches of the church’s covenant have been met with few or no consequences.

Not long after Bishop Talbert performed the service in Birmingham, congregants at Mt. Bethel expressed their dismay to church leaders, and some decided to leave the church in the middle of a building campaign. “It became apparent to us,” said Coppedge, “that the [COB] does not recognize how these very public acts of defiance, like Bishop Talbert’s, undermine the health and vitality of churches like Mt. Bethel. Surely, they will have some understanding and appreciation for the measured actions Mt. Bethel has taken in good faith.”

On December 30, 2014, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky announced that the complaint filed against Bishop Talbert had been resolved. The complainants, Bishops Rosemarie Wenner and Debra Wallace-Padgett reached a “just resolution” with Talbert. Talbert expressed “regret for felt harm and unintended consequences that his actions caused,” but he also claimed in the resolution that “his actions were just and right.” He was not required to acknowledge that he had broken the covenant he had required other pastors to uphold when he was an active bishop. The reaching of a “just resolution” allowed him to avoid further investigation and adjudication of his case, and therefore any penalty that might have been administered had be been found guilty of presiding at a same-sex service.

The COB will meet again this April and not long after their gathering many annual conferences will begin electing delegates to the 2016 General Conference. “We hope and pray,” said Coppedge, “that the General Conference will reaffirm our Biblical stand on these matters and that bishops will fulfill their responsibility to hold pastors and their colleagues accountable. We are praying for the future of the church.”

Walter Fenton is a United Methodist clergyperson and analyst for Good News. 


  1. Bob Brooke says

    Mt. Bethel is leading the way here. We all should follow suit. I’ve shared the story with my connections here in Oklahoma. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    • Jim Milligan says

      I guess the Methodist are like the pine trees in Carolina.
      They die from the top down

      • Prentice Worley says

        You are exactly right!

        • This is the vow that every Methodist minister took upon ordination, bishops are always first ministers under vows:

          Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church,
          accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline,
          defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word,
          and committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you,
          and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry?

          The good bishop is a rat.

      • Sonja LeVan says

        Not when the roots are firmly planted in the fertile word of God!

    • Linda Grubb says

      May God continue to encourage and strengthen those Methodists who are still committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God that is our ONLY textbook. I have shared this article with my Facebook friends and those on my e-mail list. We have a new pastor at our church who has chastised me for my conservative stand saying that the church is “evolving” and we must embrace the views of others in a loving and inclusive manner. This is the same old liberal playbook that is destroying our denomination and our country. I have been encouraged by fellow Christians around the world who have applauded me for my courageous stand. I do not want applause or accolades. I only want to be pleasing to my Lord and to hear Him say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. It is not about US, it is about HIM.

      • Nathaniel Shell says

        It’s ideas like espouse that are the reason more Americans now are part of the UNCHURCHED. They say the church only teaches hate and isn’t anything it says it is. Here in Dallas, a few years ago, one of the largest UMC churches in our conference say this happen. The Sr. Minister was asked by a lesbian couple to baptize their baby, and he did. More conservative members of the church left in protest and unrest soon developed between the differing sides. What was once one of the Big Three UMC’s in Dallas has dropped from membership of thousands with a huge staff and many ministers and one of the best and biggest choirs around to just this past Easter only having about 200 in there huge sanctuary and a choir of 28. The church is now the picture of infighting and hate and people stay way in droves. More middle of the road churches are growing. You tell me? Growth and bringing people in to hear the good news, or pushing people out and killing the church all together. The teachings of Christ were all about Love and that love was for God and for one another.

        • Sonja LeVan says

          Here in the NE church membership is dropping because of the invasion of the LGBTQ….Mega Church’s are leaving because they say they just want to go back to preaching the Gospel Message not convert to wordly ways!!!!…More will do this!

  2. Sonja LeVan says

    Praise God for Mt. Bethel……I am going to suggest it to our congregation at First United Methodist Church in Sch. Haven, Pa. 17972…..I hope we vote to withhold our apportionment……

  3. Disappointed in the action of Bethel’s leadership. This is not how our polity works.

    • You call it a “polity”. An appropriate word for politics. A form of government. Really? What happened to “Church”? Christian accountability? I am thankful for Mt Bethel’s stand that they have taken. It’s may just be the modern day equivalent to Martin Luther’s 95 thesis.

      • Linda Grubb says

        Amen, Dean. It seems to be all about money to the church. Maybe it is time for another reformation or Great Awakening. We must pray without ceasing and share the Word. There too many sitting in our local pews who have no idea what is going on outside their own church. They do not know that they are being controlled with an apostate church hierarchy.

        • Gregory Norton says

          Amen, LInda, The heirarchy still has to confess that Jesus is Lord and Christ, even if they’ve been baptized at one point. You still have to confess to have the new birth, regardless if you grew up in church or not, was baptized or not. Also, we need to start asking theological questions at the interviews for ordination because we have too many Methodists that are Chritain and Methodist only on paper but are not really Christian and Methodist when they come to proclaim, articulate, and stand for. Yes, apostasy is the word.

    • Jeff Kimbrell says

      Erosion of our values isn’t progress. Mr. Bethel is right on and thank God for them taking a stand!!! My dollars won’t support this turning a blind eye

    • Prentice Worley says

      I suppose your polity is to let the by laws and constitution of the Book of Disciple allow for open violations by liberal bishops and lop officials with in the UMC, huh?

    • The “resolution” is not Biblical. We do not resolve sin, we confess sin. Mr. Talbert has not confessed his sin, so that God can forgive his sin. Nothing has been resolved. These three bishops need to be confronted for their excuse of sin. In addition, they need to be defrocked. If they don’t, the Holy Spirit will direct a cutting off of conferences from the UMC.

    • Duane,
      This isn’t how our church works but our church isn’t working, and it is due to our lack of leadership. So, now we no longer hold Bishops accountable for being blatantly disobedient to the Bible and the Book of Discipline. We have agencies that are openly supporting abortion on demand and you say that withholding apportionments isn’t the answer? It is the truest vote and gives us the best representation we can possibly have in the UMC today! I ask all churches to begin to vote by withholding their apportionments from the General Conference! Do it now!

    • Delia Halverson says

      I agree. I was once a member of Mt. Bethel, but glad not to be now. Apportionments are important to our ministry, not to be used as a weapon!

      • Delia, the apportionments are used against churches and pastors all the time. Especially if your church is below the 150 mark. If a church can’t pay then they are told how other churches will have to pick up the slack. Apportionments are a double-edged sword sometime used as a back stabber.
        Is it wrong to withhold apportionments? Is it right to have to pay them? Think of the money that could be used for the local church and community outreach, esp. in small, rural churches!!!

    • Please communicate that to the Council of Bishops, the Connectional Table, the Western Jurisdiction, the Judicial Council , Bishop Talbert, Rev. Schaefer, the Bishop Talbert “just resolution” signers, et al — once they all follow our polity, bet Mt Bethel will dissolve that escrow account.

    • Duane-

      I am glad you read Good News. Please enlighten us on how our polity works. I seriously doubt you will want to engage in actual dialogue or be challenged by people who think differently than you.

    • This is the vow the good bishop took before God, according to Methodist polity:
      Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church,
      accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline,
      defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word,
      and committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you,
      and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry?

      Mt. Bethel has not redirected apportionments, they have put them into escrow to make a point. The bishop is acting according to the world (mammon) so Mt. Bethel is speaking mammon language to get some attention. Looks like a sound policy against heretic polity to me.

  4. Because most of their apportionments are used within conference, they’ll hurt their own conference (who tend to be on the same side of the issue) much more than they’ll hurt the GC (where the decisions they’re upset about are being made). If an AC made the decision not to send apportionments to GC, that would be a different matter.

    Still, if a full congregation is so unhappy with the UMC that they refuse to keep their part of the covenant, it’s time for them to hand over their property and stop being UMC.

    • Is that really what makes us Methodists? That we give our money to the bureaucracy? If we don’t do that then we’re not Methodists?
      Tell me, what are those who are sickened by what happened with Bishop Talbert and countless other acts supposed to do? Sit there and take it?
      And is this the same Teddy Ray who did not want to become an elder because he didn’t believe that he could submit to the iteneracy? I’m right there with you because I just don’t believe that our bishops are that in tune with the Holy Spirit to know where to send pastors. But it seems like you have some issues with the system yourself.
      I do understand what you are saying and I really don’t like the idea of churches withholding funding to influence the upper crust. And yep, it’s going to hurt the local Georgia conference the worst. But hey, maybe this will influence the whole NG conference to withhold funds from the General Conference. All I know is that this denom. is a mess, I am doubting myself whether I will go on through with ordination after graduation, and I am getting more ashamed every day to be a part of this. The manipulative actions of the libs/progressives as well the cowardice of the “company men” in the UMC sicken me.

      • Josh,
        I wish you the very best. I hope your seminary advisor has come clean with you about the prospects of being ordained in the NG Conference. With relation to this schism in our church, the silence of the NG Conference on these issues speaks volumes, and scares the heck out of me. As a member in that conference, I have no clue where our Bishop stands. I have no idea where our District Superintendent stands. I even have questions regarding my own local pastors. But, I sure do know loud and clear where these liberal conferences stand. They make no bones about their positions. They made no bones about their true position in the Talbert case. So, Mt Bethel has stepped up to the plate and taken an open, public position with no apologies. Anyone that would call their action inappropriate has not been paying any attention at all to what the liberals have been doing to the UM Church the last 40 plus years.

      • Sharon Alderton says

        I have redirected my tithe to the outreach Program in our local church. We were able to provide school clothes for 28 children last fall, and with a large response from the congregation, we provided Christmas presents for 8 local families. Not many agree with me, but I feel that I am doing the right thing. I don’t think my church would vote to withhold apportionments.

        In response to another comment by Teddy Ray that we should stop being UM, I would say that those who are no longer following the Discipline should be the ones to walk away and find a denomination that more closely agrees with your beliefs.

      • Rev. Michael M. Hayes former UMC Pastor says

        That’s exactly why I left Josh. After 19 yrs. in the ministry I was tired of the same old stuff from every General Conference. More studies and caucases and wasted time and money. They all thin k they will wear the Evangelicals down or run them off so they can do what they want. I salute MT. Bethel for their efforts. May there tribe increase.

      • Hi Josh,

        I’ve responded below to yours and all other comments in this thread.

    • Gary Carruthers says

      if I agree with your statement concerning a congregation and “time to stop being UMC,” I would also support a similar position that if a pastor or Bishop is unable to uphold the standards of their office outlined in the Book of Discipline it is time for that person to relinquish their credentials and stop being a leader in the UMC

    • So you would threaten to “take” their property because you don’t think bishops should be held accountable? This is another thing grossly wrong with the UMC. Property rights (deeds) should be held by the local congregation. After all they are the one’s that pay for it. At my UMC, the deeds have always been in the name of our trustees. Our congregation would rather split from Methodism than to give up their property rights.

      I APPLAUD MT BETHEL FOR THEIR STAND !! This is what has to be done when no one is listening. And it is our right to withhold support from those that would destroy us.

      I guarantee that if every local church did this in 2015, their would be no money for AC to send to the GC, and no money for bishops salaries, much less raises…Maybe then some real leaders will emerge.

    • If we leave, we take our property and cash with us. Since the COB ignores parts of the Discipline they deem inconvenient, I guess we can ignore that part. You can sue yourself into bankruptcy the way the Eppiscopal Church did over the first divorced homosexual bishop.

    • Teddy, if churches, bishops or ministers would rather not obey the written, present doctrine of the UMC, (as it is currently stated in the book of discipline) I would suggest that it is they, not those upholding the doctrine that might be in a better position to leave the UMC. The book of discipline is clear on the matter. It would seem to me that you are overlooking a breach of covenant and doctrine and blaming those that are demanding that the doctrine be upheld.

    • theenemyhatesclarity says

      Teddy Ray, what covenants are ok to break and what covenants must be kept? And by their silence, haven’t the Bishops already declared everyone should make that decision for themselves? The genie is out of the bottle.

      In Christ,

      The enemy hates clarity

    • Bill Bowdle says

      If leaders in the highest offices of the UMC feel free to operate outside the mandates of the Discipline, I suspect they will lose the moral right to chastise local Admin. Councils for making stern choices regarding how they will exercise their stewardship over resources entrusted into their care by congregational donors. The affirmation of UMC polity ought to be modeled at the very top by our Bishops, of all people, but they are systematically demolishing the trust of local parishes in the validity of Disciplinary restraints by their outright defiance, or willful overlooking, of clearly mandated Disciplinary stances affirmed by our UMC for decades in multiple General Conferences. Though your disappointment is very real, I think the verdict that “This is not how our polity works” is a judgment call that deserves to be charged first against some of our bishops.

    • Prentice Worley says

      If bishops and pastors can not abide with the by laws of the UMC, isn’t it time they hand over their credentials and step down from their highly salaried positions?

    • If this is the case, why would this church do this if it will not be helpful but hurtful to their own conference? Surely they know structure…

    • Brandon Fulmer says

      I’m sorry. I think there is an issue of accountability within any covenant made. This is the means this church has to try and make their voice heard. We don’t know what they gave to their district and annual conference. A church the size of Mt. Bethel probably gives $200,000 to the General Church, apart from conference and district giving. By your logic the Bishops who have broken the covenant should have surrendered their credentials and stopped being United Methodist. Maybe if they had done so, Mt. Bethel wouldn’t have had to withhold funds.

    • Jim and Judie Smith says

      We didn’t have any property to relinquish but we sure did relinquish our memberships in UMC. Homosexuality is not an act it is a genuine state of being. Wake up!

    • Ok! Let us hand over the property! What will you do with it then? Will you be able to fill the pews or replace the funds that go to support the Bishops who are blatantly disregarding the Bible and The Book of Discipline and no one is taking any action. So, this is the result not of the local church but the result of inaction on the part of our Bishops! If you want to point the finger, don’t point it at the local church for withholding apportionments. It is the only voice we have and I encourage all to vote by ending apportionments. And the UMC agencies support of Abortion is far worse than the homosexual issue. Yet no one is allowing our Church to even take a vote at General Conference in 2012 to end our affiliation with the RCRC. We have been hijacked and I believe it is time to stop funding the hijackers! I am for withholding apportionments. If the UMC wants to take the buildings, let them have them!

      • Thomas I so agree with you. One of the things that hurts me most about this overkill emphasis on so-called homosexual rights in TUMC is that the people who really are the most helpless and defenseless, who need for us to stand up for them the most, are being abandoned to death, and even encouraged to be put to death.

        What homosexuals have a “right” to is the right to hear the truth from us, the Gospel, Jesus’ message of repent and believe. That is their “right”, that is what they need, just like everyone else.

    • Interesting that the individual church congregations pay for their buildings but the conference claims ownership.

    • John Worsham says

      Thanks for this recommendation — that we ACT through our annual conference!

      As for your suggestion that Mt. Bethel and other congregations with similar views should “hand over their property, etc”, perhaps that’s what many (like you, perhaps) would like.

      I have been a Methodist all of my life, and personally I choose to remain and contest this matter even though it sounds as though you might prefer that I leave.

    • At the suggestion of someone who had seen it more recently, I just returned to this thread for the first time since January. It appears that people have taken my statement for more than it was meant, expecting that I’m turning a blind eye to the many others who have broken their covenants.

      This is more a case of “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Or “just because others break covenant doesn’t give you permission to.” If you see most else of what I’ve written, you’ll see that I’ve had plenty of problems with the other pastors and Bishops in the UMC who have broken covenant. I just don’t think that provides justification for a church to do the same. Mt. Bethel has given up any authority to speak to people about covenant-keeping.

      As to my decision not to be ordained — I think that proves the point, rather than contradicting it. I have decided not to take elders’ vows because I’m not certain I can uphold them (and yes, I’d like to see some things done differently in our system, but I’ll play within the rules to advocate those things). I expect those who take vows to keep them, even if others break them to no consequence.

  5. What do you do with Bishops who won’t do their Jobs?

    Give them a 3 % raise…

  6. S. Wesley Mcgranor says

    The phony A.C.N.A. split with homosexuality as a rouse, but nothing else of the Progressive agenda was mentioned. Now sure they will sight inerrancy of Scripture with their Dual Covenant and Ecumenist bologna, but it is a postmodern fraud wrapped in conservative ideology. Everything from the spirit of 60’s should be purged. (I have some radical concerns regarding Americanism as well but i willl leave that alone).

  7. Jesus preached love. Helllloooo people – anyone listening???

    • Jesus also preached of those who would not inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus preached about the consequences of unrepentant behavior — and he was emphatic. Of course Jesus preached love — the kind of love that was a consequence of being born again and made new through his grace. And, he never preached that love meant acceptance of anything and everything – just the opposite of that. Trying to make Jesus into the image of man is the anthetisis og the Good News message.

    • Sharon Alderton says

      If I saw someone I love standing at the edge of a precipice, not knowing he is about to fall to his death, I would be frantic to save him. Loving all humans of all genders, beliefs and lifestyles unconditionally as we are called to do, wouldn’t I be showing more love by shouting a warning?

  8. In our conference, rebellious churches in the bigger cities pay their apportionments in full, some pay $200K or more. That may explain why Conference higher ups look the other way when these churches continue to openly marry same sex couples, in conflict with our Discipline’s longstanding faithful teachings and healthy covenantal boundaries.

  9. Thomas A Smith says

    Dear Mr. Ray,
    if you understood covenant at all, you have two sides to cut a covenant. In mine and many others observation the UMC broke there side of the agreement first by violation of the scripture. The church needs to review why it is in existence.

  10. Steven Zinser says

    It only makes sense. If any of the rules can be ignored, then all of the rules can be ignored. IOW, the only thing holding people to a covenant is their acceptance of it. When acceptance ends, then a covenant falls apart until it is repaired or replaced. Adherence to principle is a rule. But so is funding.

  11. You can be sure that this senior pastor will be brought up under charges and face very serious consequences.
    A bishop who conduct a gay wedding in clear violation of the Discipline is a hero and a brave civil rights warrior standing up against the supposed bigotry of our system. The bishops all circled around Talbert and protected him from any repercussions at all. But, this pastor will face the full wrath of our “judicial” system.
    Support gay “marriage” any way you want and the bishops won’t bat an eye. But you better not mess with our money!

    • Linda Grubb says

      Dave, you are so right. Our new liberal pastor chastised me for sending him “negative” emails. Those messages concerned the embracing of Islam in some of our churches, the denunciation of Israel, the Women’s Division support of illegal immigration, abortion rights, and gay marriage, and the director of the Board of Church and Society making fun of pro-lifers at the Rally for Life in DC by carrying a sign saying, I Support Sandwiches. He told me that if I send any more “negative” messages, he would be forced to block me. We were once a large congregation but now only average slightly over 100 between two services. Our budget is in the red by thousands of dollars and people continue to leave. He and other liberals still don’t get it. Baking apple pies and monthly spaghetti dinners will not fix the problem. Only following the Word of God and bringing others to Jesus Christ. We are not even allowed to have an altar call. No longer needed according to the hierarchy. Just loving acceptance and welcoming spirit.

  12. God sent a born again ex catholic to preach in front of Green St UMC in Winston Salem NC to rebuke them for their pro gay stance. They have stated that they will perform no more weddings until gay weddings are allowed in the UMC.

  13. There seems to be no other way to get the bishops to do their job.

  14. When I am asked what denomination I am I tell people that I am “a Methodist in exile, the progressives stole my church”. , and this is exactly why.

    The most common criticism of the Methodist church that I hear is “they don’t know thier own theilogy”, I agree, and that is precisely how a thin, watered down, simplistic interpretation of of the extremely deep statement “God is love” cauuses such trouble in the denomination.

    From what I have read, the Wesleys be very ashamed of how the church bends what Christ and the Apostles said to fit there own desires.

    I say “Go Bethel,” preach Christ, demonstrate the love of Christ calling us out of our sin! Even if the people you must preach it to, are your leaders.

  15. Thank you Mt. Bethel; our beacon in this dark night!

  16. milton rhodes says

    It’s a shame that Jesus’s message of love and concern for all, including the oppressed, doesn’t extend to some members of the United Methodist Church when it comes to gay people.

    How many more gay kids have to grow up feeling marginalized and end up committing self harm or suicide before we wake up to what is happening to them. I pray that hearts may be softened and eyes may be opened.

    • So you “love” people by lying to them and telling them the sin they are committing isn’t sin, and they don’t need to repent? What kind of love is that? It sure isn’t the love Jesus preached. He said if you love me you will keep my commandments. His message is repent and believe the Gospel. Sharing that message is how we love people, homosexual or not.

  17. Mickey Hunt says

    Our church, old Brashiers Chapel UMC has been withholding all funds for almost two years for the same reasons as Bethel. Sad, but this appears the only thing that gets the attention of the council. Most UMC folks are fed up with the unholy teachings and actions that have been accepted in recent years. The UMC is losing members because of these actions.

  18. Alan Jackson says

    Ok, they are going withold funds for doing ministry because the Bishops did not act they way they wanted? Sounds like a group of southen baptist… they will be changing the locks if they disagree with their pastor?

  19. I’m sorry for those folks… Poor leadership and not much following Jesus and a lot of following a pervasive negative cultural view. God help them to hear “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest!”

    • Actually, this church has amazing homeless outreach. Their commitment to the tired and burdened starts at the top with a pastor that is willing to be radical in their outreach. That’s his leadership. Sorry that the church feels it has no only resort to communicate their frustrations and that is taunting your view of them. If they’ll get any response from our episcopal leadership, that escrow will be dissolved and their apportionments will be paid.

  20. Jesus spoke nothing of homosexuality or gay marriage, but he did speak about adultery and other marriage sins. I just have to wonder if this church allows the re-marriage of divorced persons or if they just pick and chose which scriptures are convenient.

    • Jesus spoke about homosexuality when He spoke about marriage as between one man and one woman. Homosexuality is just another form of adultery, or fornication. Speaking of picking and choosing Scriptures.

    • Excellent point. Jesus spoke of diveorce and adultery because he wanted to clarify the law. If he had a view of homosexually at odds with the prevailing understanding, he would have most certainly not been shy about saying so. Jesus saw no need to spend time on beastiality, pedophilia, necrophilia or any other perversion in which the prevailing understanding was correct and just.

  21. Homosexuals are either ill or rebellious or OK. If they are not OK, then neither are left-handed people, who then would also be either ill or rebellious, and thus call for either treatment or punishment; and should otherwise be as rejected as the homosexuals.

    • Being left-handed is not a moral issue, whereas, human sexuality is. The Bible nowhere condemns left-handedness, but repeatedly forbids same-sex behavior. There is no proven genetic or biological cause for same-sex attractions. One cannot fairly compare homosexuality with left-handedness.

      • That it is not a moral issue is a relatively recent development in the civilizing of humans. Check out the origin of “left” or “left-handed”. You will find that the Latin word for left is the root of our word “sinister”. In some countries today it is an extreme affront to eat with one’s left hand. And while there is no outright condemnation in the Bible, the goats were put on the left side and not the right side where the sheep were placed. And many people living today remember having their left hand slapped when they tried to use it to write. And how about “raise your right hand” to swear to tell the truth; and “right hand man” and “left-handed compliment”. In fact I think God gave us left-handed people to lead the way and open the door to the homosexual. For it is certainly “queer” that about 10% of the world’s population has been left handed for the last 30,000 years (per the analysis of some cave paintings of that time).

        Some day we will look at gay couples like we do left handed people, i.e., we will hardly notice anything and we will not remember the horror they had to go through.

    • How easily we forget that until 1969 the establishment, in the form of the American Medical Association, listed homosexuality as a mental illness that needed to be treated. Where were all the brave “prophets” and “civil rights leaders” advocating for homosexuals before 1969, before it became politically correct to do so?

      And no I’m not saying homosexuality is a mental illness. It’s called sin. Twisting and re-interpreting the Scriptures that say so won’t change that. Jesus’ Good News of repentance and faith can change it, thanks be to God!

  22. This is what happens to Methodist Churches who decide to use the Bible to justify their unjust, sinful mistreatment of gay people:

    The handwriting is on the wall for UMC: start treating gay Methodists with full justice or go extinct. There is no other option.

    • The Council of Bishops should have known they were opening up a big ugly can of worms when they made this so-called just resolution. Why should they expect others to follow the rules if they won’t? How can they justly discipline anyone who breaks any rule for any reason, now that they have clearly defied the Discipline and broken the covenant?

      If the Council of Bishops has the right to break the rules because they don’t agree with them, or for the sake of circling the wagons and protecting one of their own, then why don’t pastors and churches have that same right?

      The Council of Bishops has called down chaos on TUMC. Thanks for nothing.

  23. The simplest approach is to simply decide that that the communion is broken beyond repair. Churches that are more progressive should simply stop paying apportionments and form a new communion. This leaves the South East US and rural churches to go it alone with their international counterparts and for those of us who attend progressive churches to get on with our mission. We really should just give up on this communion as it stands now. Its not a failure its just that we are at a point where we need to move in different directions. I even see us still working together on issues like UMCOR but at least we in the Cities in the North, East and West can get on with our lives. If the rest of the church wants to get together at GC and protest go ahead.

  24. Brian Holle says

    I hate to say this, but I believe the UMC is going to be required to do what Lutherans did: split. There seems to be no room for compromise on this within mainline protestants. I believe the Presbyterians split along these lines. Maybe others. But this is clearly unlawful activity in that its sterile and self loving. I encourage Methodists to investigate the recent formation of the North American Lutheran Church for a pattern for breaking away into a new fellowship.

  25. Is it not accurate to state that we a divided church? Despite ecclesiastical proclamations and hand-wringing, we are one denomination which honors two very different theological positions. One group accepts many basic concepts within the Wesleyan tradition, but seeks to augment this tradition by modernization and social integration. For the purpose of convenience only, let me refer to them as Progressives. The other group holds fast to the same Wesleyan tradition, while rejecting attempts to compromise either church discipline or scriptural record. Again, for purposes of convenience, let me refer to them as Traditionalists.
    Why would a local UM church populated with Traditionalists financially support a general church government which rejects the principals and doctrines that they hold dear? While I understand the concept of unity, it has been apparent for some time that the UM church is already divided by a theological chasm. The bishops other church leaders can sing songs and preach long-winded sermons about unity, but they themselves have brought the church to the precipice of schism. Their disregard of church law and discipline, together with their arrogant lack of response to their the clergy and membership, has shown clearly that they are not fit to be trusted leaders in the church. I believe that it was Ben Franklin that suggested that ” a fish rots from the head down.”
    The solution, while painful and financially challenging, is not hard to discern. The majority of UM bishops should establish a new church, largely composed of churches from the Pacific coast and the Northeast. I would assume they will continue to build their flexible doctrine around the societal conventions of the day. Those remaining from the Traditional branch of the UM church will be free to express their foundational beliefs as rooted deeply in the Wesleyan tradition and Holy Scripture. The most complicating factor to be faced in this division is shared assets, properties and missions. Those of good intent and holy mindedness should be able to deal with these issues without causing undue harm to either group.
    The time is NOW…and it is long overdue. Let the UM church and its’ people seek a fair and equitable solution, embrace each other in love and pray for each other as we go our separate ways. Indeed, “the fields are white unto harvest”; we cannot delay any longer in setting right this issue and “being about our Father’s business.”

  26. Melanie Stanley-Soulen says

    This is religious extortion. The same stripe of Christians who resort to condemnation and judgment that is anti-Gospel. I wonder what John Wesley would think of the kind of self-righteousness. It’s certainly not living a holy life.

    • Melanie,

      What do you mean by “religious extortion”? Should not a church follow the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in combating what it sees as blatant hypocrisy from its leadership? Is it not the duty of a church to shine forth the light of Christ in a dark and sin-filled world? Is it not the duty to stand up against forces of darkness, even if I dare say so, they happen to be the church leadership that has been swayed by worldly influence? I believe John Wesley would be appalled by the liberal forces afoot in the UMC today. The very ones who are more interested in social gospel actions, rather than leading people to Christ’s salvation. This is not “resorting to condemnation and judgment” per se on the actions of the church, but standing up to namby pamby leadership that ignored the Bible.

  27. It’s funny to see how many people are excited about this church violating the Book of Discipline, because the Book of Discipline is being violated. Talk about irony.

  28. The UMC has become the “Untied” Methodist Church, quickly headed toward a schism at an alarming rate. I don’t see any other way to resolve things as the two sides are so diametrically apart in theology and beliefs. I applaud the actions of Mt. Bethel’s leadership to stand up and take a stand against the heresy and apostasy of the UMC administrators who allow unholy actions to take place, and God’s holy name to be dishonored by these so-called “bishops”. If withholding funds is what it takes to get their attention, I say so be it! Already as has been previously stated, many of the conservative, Bible believing Christians within Lutheran, Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches have already “left the building” and joined denominations that preach the whole Word of God and not some watered down version, as well as Christ crucified and salvation from sin. Praise God! I for one, am tired of hearing social gospel messages on Sunday mornings. I believe in helping those less fortunate than myself, but the church should also be about evangelizing, teaching believers how to live victorious Christian lives and preaching the whole Word of God to all people. We are all in need of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to seek and save the lost! Amen!

  29. Thank you !


  1. […] The Methodist magazine Good News recently published a report on Mt. Bethel’s Administrative Council’s decision to withhold apportionments. Here is the article, or you can visit their website: […]

  2. […] I recently read an article regarding Mt. Bethel UMC (One of the largest UM churches in Georgia and east of the Mississippi River) in Marietta, GA withholding their apportionment giving because of their disagreement with the United Methodist lack of response to Bishop and Pastors breaking their ordination vows and flagrantly violating the Book of Discipline.  You can read one of the articles by clicking here. […]

  3. […] just too much collateral damage to good ministries and works to defund the UMC in this way. Indeed, as Teddy Ray comments on the Good News article: Because most of their apportionments are used within conference, they’ll hurt their own […]

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