Finding a Faithful Way Forward

By Thomas Lambrecht –

“Here we are today, unable to face the reality of a deeply divided church that can no longer function in a healthy way in unity. And we are unable to consider an option that graciously and respectfully allows congregations and clergy to go their separate ways to pursue ministry that they believe honors God,” said the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, vice president of Good News, in his address to the Wesleyan Covenant Association of the Iowa Annual Conference.

“Instead, we have a proposal for separation within the church, which is the Connectional Conference Plan. And we have two proposals for separation from the church – a “One Church Plan” that separates out evangelicals and a Traditional Plan that separates out progressives.

“So we are left with no choice but to fight – and fight to win. Our battle is not against people, but for the Gospel. We fight for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). We are not in this battle alone,” said Lambrecht, a member of the Commission on a Way Forward.

“There will be a Traditional Plan put forward at General Conference. It will retain our current biblical position on marriage and sexual ethics, and it will make it easier to enforce that position across the church. And the Traditional Plan will graciously open the door for those who because of conscience cannot live within the boundaries set by our church, setting them free to follow the leading they have from God.

“This plan is a faithful way forward,” Lambrecht concluded. “It is faithful to the Bible. It is faithful to 2,000 years of Christian teaching. It is faithful to the more than seven generations of men and women who built the church that we now call home. It is faithful to a global church that overwhelmingly holds to a traditional understanding of morality and biblical interpretation.

“We can and we must fight for this faithful way forward. We owe it to ourselves and to those who come after us to take our stand on the truth of the Gospel.”

Click HERE to watch Rev. Lambrecht’s complete address.

Thomas Lambrecht is a United Methodist clergyperson and the vice president of Good News. 

Comments

  1. But will the traditional plan even get a chance to come up for a vote? I hope so but I would not bet the farm on that.

  2. “So we are left with no choice but to fight — and fight to win”.

    This has been in the works for over 40 years — an incredible thing.

    Traditionalists have done all that could have possibly been done in hopes that those in defiance would see their errant ways and repent. It’s not too late, but it’s not looking likely.

    It is coming more and more into focus that the only plan to save the UMC is a Traditionalists Plan. All others would split it.

  3. I wonder if Thomas and the other conservative leaders have reached out to Renewal ministries or others on the progressive side and see if they could work out a “third way” that allows for a peaceful separation between the two sides. I would like to know if this has been attempted and what was the result. Without a plan for peaceful separation we have no choice but to fight. We are on the side of God and we cannot abandon him. Unfortunately the progressives feel the same way which will ensure a bloody civil way in the UM similar to what the Episcopal church is going through. How many millions will be wasted, that could change people’s lives so that there may be a winner. But if we must fight to preserve the church, then so be it. By I keep thinking of “Blessed are the peacemakers”.

  4. Seminaries have gone from places where the Bible was studied and honored to a place that is more concerned with social movement du jour. The faithful Bible believer enters seminary and unlearns what they knew growing up. The Bible is the basis of the church or the church fails. Christianity is not meant to be overly complicated. The Bible was written so that people with limited education could still understand it. The way professors often justify their place in academia is to make the simple and direct messages complicated. St. Paul brought Christian teachings to the Gentiles. Gentiles were not experts in Jewish law. Paul was an expert due to his upbringing and schooling. Paul knew that Christianity needed to be able to be understood and received by people with very little or no understanding of Jewish customs. How could a Greek become a Christian? They had to believe in Christ. How could a Jew become a Christ follower? They had to believe in Christ. There are a lot of people who are interested in other agendas besides “the great commission”. If disciples is what Jesus desires then discipline in faith is required. A faithful disciple who has little formal education is greater than an unfaithful but well educated pastor who teaches contrary to scripture. Keep it simple and sell more people on Christ. Be Holy and don’t be worldly. When tempted, do what Jesus did. Use the Word from the Scripture to refuse the temptation. The Enemy is clever, but The Word is all we need to be led not into temptation and be delivered from evil.

  5. Very insightful speech! Thank you for providing the “behind the scenes” perspective! I was particularly heartened to hear how the Judicial Council decision has changed the focus for GC2019 back to the full Commission’s report with legislation being submitted for all three plans and the Bishops’ recommendation simply being included as an appendix!

    • I agree, this is “Good News,” indeed!

      The only question is, why aren’t we hearing this reported in the “mainstream” Methodist media? And being from Minnesota, I can confirm what Tom said about how Bishop Ough presented the plan here: there was absolutely NO MENTION of the change from the Bishop’s proposal to a proposal from the Commission on a Way Forward. Very disappointing.

  6. Just a follow up regarding what will actually be presented for action – and by whom – at the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis:

    A recent article sent out to churches in the Minnesota Annual Conference still makes it appear that the Bishops are bringing the One Church Plan for action, and the other two plans are not being considered:

    https://www.minnesotaumc.org/newsdetail/a-way-forward-the-three-plans-and-resources-for-churches-11499165

    This is disturbing: I don’t know if Tom or anyone else from Good News can comment on this…

  7. Joe Webb says:

    An outsider looking in, but we worship with the Methodists (very blessed with traditional music, worship), and my view is simple, traditional, Wesleyan Methodists must not be forced out of the church of Wesley. Let the progressives go back to the Anglicans, or the Unitarians, where they will be free to carry on a form of religion with little power, but dearly loved by a godless culture.

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