The Rev. Rob Renfroe, President of Good News, shares his thoughts on the recent Judicial Council decision and how the UM Church should move forward from here.


  1. So we wait and see what the Commission comes up with. I see one of three possible paths.
    1. Full inclusion of LGBT with all that entails
    2. Maintain the same policy we have now
    3. Allow regional or local policies to prevail wrt LGBT
    Option 1 is unlikely to pass GC since we have enough opposition to that when we include our African brothers and sisters.
    Option 2 might pass GC and will leave us with the squabbles we have now unresolved. One faction or another will be compelled to leave.
    Option 3 might pass GC as it will be sold as a do this or we all will perish kind of desperation sales pitch. Of course this completely undermines our Methodist connection and there will be unforeseen consequences if we go this route. Try and picture bishops who are recognized by some conferences but not others. Over time there will be a sorting of elders and lay and we will have a bi-furcated church. Again the LGBT advocates will not be happy as they seek full legitimacy across the entire connection.
    While we wait our unresolved tensions will continue to inhibit mission and ministry across The UMC.

  2. Kevin’s Option 2 will likely result in an unofficial option 3. And option 3 will not work because of the reasons Kevin listed. In the case of a liberal conference and jurisdiction, the conservative congregations will be forced to accept pastors who may be very liberal until we end up with option 1… at least in the US. Short of a clear division, which the Commission seems to want to avoid, there doesn’t seem to be a way forward.

  3. I agree with JoAnn. It is time for the Commission on the way Forward to recognize that they have no options to keep progressives and traditionalists united. Why prolong the decision and wait for 2019 to settle this issue. The Way Forward should forget about any more dialogue and get down to business about drawing up a plan for separation. There were very logical petitions presented to the 2018 General Conference and allowed churches to separate from their annual conference with their church property intact without a lot of lawsuits. These petitions need to be reinstated and presented to the called General Conference and that not be in 2019 but before the end of 2017 or at most early in 2018. Any further delay will mean more church members will be leaving the church to join the Free Methodists, Weseyan Methodist or the Church of the Nazareen. JUST DO IT NOW!

  4. This event is another reason to end the Episcopacy. There is no need to give this power to people.
    Second, why are we not calling for Oliveto and her supporters to repent and return to Scriptural truth?

  5. The Episcopacy needs to be re-defined in regards to lifetime appointments to the Episcopacy and the extent of their authority. This system of a Bishop not having any accountability to the laity. Absolute power like the Bishop’s have now corrupts absolutely.

  6. Dave there was a time when ordaining women and allowing them to preach was seen as counter to scriptural truth. There was a time when a divorced person was not allowed to be clergy any longer and was forced to surrender their credentials, yet this is no longer the case. As we learn and understand more about the scriptures it is often the case that what we once understood as scriptural truth begins to shift.
    So when you articulate that you wish for the return to scriptural truth I am curious:
    1) How far back do you wish to go?
    2) Is it the case that you are holding some scriptures up as more true than others?

  7. Our Bishop problem: I recently read “The Rise of Theological Liberalism and the Decline of American Methodism” available from It was an enlightening read in the sense that it confirmed my own suspicions that Bishops have become too used to keeping multiple theological balls in play. According to the book somewhere in the neighborhood of 97 years ago a set of Bishops made the well-intentioned decision that theology/doctrine was unimportant as long as the church engaged in Christian endeavors–there was a certain amount of logic to their decision based on the context of the time they were living in. Now fast forward to 2017. In the aftermath of the Judicial Council’s decision, I have noticed how focused the Bishops are on what the church is doing/its “mission”. What I am realizing is that unity has become the be all to end all idol of our well-meaning Bishops and this current generation is probably operating under the premise that structure does not matter as long as we stay together. One set of Bishops–with all good intentions–jettisoned theology. The current set of Bishops–with all good intentions and following the lead of their predecessors–are willing to jettison our structure/how we function. There will be nothing left!

  8. I left out that the first set of Bishops thought that not embracing a specific theology/doctrine would insure the survival of the church. The context of that decision was that the church had just gone through the “holiness wars” during which many people left the denomination and local churches were ruptured. Hard on the heels of that liberal theology arrived on the scene….

  9. That would be Plan B when their unity plan gets rejected. I would hope that it would contain enough detail to prevent legal fights.

  10. The opening remarks of the statement pretty much sums the whole thing up. The book of discipline states that living your true life, if it is homosexual, equals guilt. It’s a simple as saying the Methodist church continues to judge others for simply being themselves, particularly if they happen to have the blessings and faith of committing their entire life to the church. I am ashamed, truly ashamed of the church and it’s book of discipline.

    When will people judging other people end? I don’t think it will be in my lifetime.

  11. It is guilt.

  12. And where is the scripture that “requires” ordination? As someone who has been in the church my entire life, why do you think a couple years at an overly expensive school gives you sole power to do the sacraments? There is NO SUCH LAW.

    Jesus clearly stated marriage consists of a man and woman. But he NEVER explicitly said you couldn’t have more than one marriage, did he?

  13. What if your true life is having multiple sexual partners and /or partners? THAT actually has Biblical precedence.

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