A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby KeithE » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:44 pm

William Thornton wrote:This is interesting. The liberal One Church, lgbtq friendly UMC is non-Southern Americans. These would jettison their African UMC colleagues if that is necessary to have one United church that is lgbtq friendly?

The data here found in getreligion.org

There is no interest in “jettisoning” the African UMC (or the WCA for that matter); they only want to be One Church, united. It is in their name “One Church”. My son just said he has heard of no plans to jettison anyone (he just dropped his kids off with us on his way to Birmingham for a meeting of progressive UMC Methodists). He thought some of those who voted for the One Church plan would like to see the prohibitions against homosexuality removed including himself. He could not stay long - his meeting in Birmingham is at 3:30. No time to ask about reactions at his or Christy's church this morning or current plans.

No it is usually the cons that get up in arms and prone to jettisoning people (ala the Pharisees and Saul).

There was no DATA that supported William’s claims at https://www.getreligion.org. Just a few textual opinion pieces. No quantitative vote results (or polls about what cons or libs would do for various outcomes).

An embedded link did have this info:

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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Sandy » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:22 pm

I haven't heard much about "jettisoning," I've heard a lot of "let's wait to see what happens."

It is interesting that in spite of the fact that the UMC is an American-based church, it accords equality in the decision making processes to all of its parts. There's no patronizing of the non-Americans, no hoops to jump through or prominence which must be earned before being considered legitimate and apparently no attempts to manipulate votes or perspectives. It is what it is and there's a genuine recognition of it. If there is political maneuvering and attempts to wield influence and power, and no doubt there is in any religious organization, it's not having much of an effect on the way the UMC makes decisions, at least, not on the way most of the American leadership wanted things to go.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby William Thornton » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:32 am

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion ... ated-equal

This was the GetReligion story that I thought interesting. It's a delicate moment for the UMC seems to me, with the danger of rich, white, liberal Americans lecturing their poorer, nonwhite, African colleagues on morality.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby KeithE » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:58 am

William Thornton wrote:https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2019/2/28/question-as-reporters-look-ahead-how-many-united-methodists-are-there-are-all-created-equal

This was the GetReligion story that I thought interesting. It's a delicate moment for the UMC seems to me, with the danger of rich, white, liberal Americans lecturing their poorer, nonwhite, African colleagues on morality.


Two things:

1. How does this link (which I did find) make your point that:

William said:
This is interesting. The liberal One Church, lgbtq friendly UMC is non-Southern Americans. These would jettison their African UMC colleagues if that is necessary to have one United church that is lgbtq friendly?

The data here found in getreligion.org


2. It is common internet etiquette to make it clear what your are referring to. Here I had to find the data you were referring to (inappropriate as it was to your point). Perhaps you saw the weakness of the data in making your point and you were just lampooning my typical reliance on DATA and facts. If there is some particular point in that link, that drove you believe the One Church supporters were eager to jettison their African colleagues, then quote that paragraph that supports your point. It comes across as wishful musing on your part, brother.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:17 am

William Thornton wrote:https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2019/2/28/question-as-reporters-look-ahead-how-many-united-methodists-are-there-are-all-created-equal

This was the GetReligion story that I thought interesting. It's a delicate moment for the UMC seems to me, with the danger of rich, white, liberal Americans lecturing their poorer, nonwhite, African colleagues on morality.

I have to say that like Keith, I didn't find any particular support in the article for what you say you saw. The closest it came was the sentence "I am sure there are liberal United Methodists who would like to send the Africans and Asians packing." I very much doubt that the desire is to send the Africans and Asians packing any more than they would like to send their white Alabamian and Georgian brethren away in like manner. But the reality is the opposite. The threatened outcome is that the traditionalist portion of the church, a majority, may send the liberal Western and Northeastern American jurisdictions (and perhaps, I don't know, Timothy's North Central jurisdiction) packing.

The One Church plan was not to impose American liberal sexuality notions on the Global South and exclude those who did not agree. Rather, it seems to me anyway (I haven't read any of the underlying documents) that its goal was to make it possible for each conference (and perhaps within each conference, each subordinate jurisdiction--how far down the ladder I don't have a clue) to determine its own practices with reference to the ordination and the marrying of the nontraditionally gendered. There is a Wesleyan principle out there that each side in this controversy is applying. If I can find it, I'll post it. Something ending in charity, I think.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:25 am

There certainly are parallels between the UMC situation over the last couple decades and the status quo obtaining in ABCNW prior to the creation of the Evergreen Region.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Sandy » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:18 pm

William Thornton wrote:This is interesting. The liberal One Church, lgbtq friendly UMC is non-Southern Americans. These would jettison their African UMC colleagues if that is necessary to have one United church that is lgbtq friendly?

The data here found in getreligion.org


If you look at the information Timothy provided, and the membership of the various American conferences, it would have been difficult to come up with 67% of the American support without a significant portion of Southerners involved.

The idea of jettisoning colleagues because of a difference in theological perspective on an issue is much more representative of Baptist thinking than of the Methodists, at least from what I've observed. Both congregations mentioned in this thread are having meetings and discussions about their future plans. If they were Southern Baptists, a small group of hardheaded, self-appointed "leaders" would tell the church what it has to believe, not allow women to speak as part of the discussion, claim that "the bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!" and head out to a buffet for lunch.

In general, most churches and denominations never really gave this issue the consideration and discussion that they should have done in order to figure out how to provide ministry to people in circumstances that were mostly hidden from society during the post-war years when the church was focused on ministering to families that were, by definition, two parents, two kids, two cars a dog and cat and lived in the Cleaver's neighborhood. Like most theological and moral issues among American Christians, we've divided into warring camps to defend the perspective we've developed rather than actually search for real answers and find genuine transformation. Personally, I don't think the perspective that the more liberal Methodists have taken on this issue is consistent Christian theology. But I don't think attempting to push this outside the church by declaring LGBT persons as predestined reprobates is consistent Christian ministry either. At least the Methodists are talking.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:02 pm

William Thornton wrote:This is interesting. The liberal One Church, lgbtq friendly UMC is non-Southern Americans. These would jettison their African UMC colleagues if that is necessary to have one United church that is lgbtq friendly?

The data here found in getreligion.org


I'm not familiar with the group you are referring too, unless I'm just not picking up on the name.

I don't think anyone wants to jettison Africa. But if there is a split it is likely that Africa will want to go with the Wesley Covenant Associate crowd as that is whom they agree with theologically. However, to be honest, the more liberal UM churches last I knew send them a lot more mission dollars.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby William Thornton » Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:57 am

Like I wrote, I don't have a dog I this fight. The getreligion reporter looks to me to be providing a bit more infor than the usual non-religion us reporters.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:09 pm

William Thornton wrote:Like I wrote, I don't have a dog I this fight. The getreligion reporter looks to me to be providing a bit more infor than the usual non-religion us reporters.


I'll take a look for it.

All the circumstances around these decisions remind me just how much polity effects the choices a denomination can make. A lot of our structures evolved over time and no one thought of the consequences of creating an international denomination if we ever got to a point were our diversity was too much to agree on something.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Sandy » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:56 am

The UMC isn't the only denomination having issues with polity built as structures were created and evolved.
https://baptist-blogger.com/2019/03/02/ ... e-part-ii/
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:58 pm

Sandy wrote:The UMC isn't the only denomination having issues with polity built as structures were created and evolved.
https://baptist-blogger.com/2019/03/02/ ... e-part-ii/


Either autonomous congregationalism is the New Testament model for church governance, or it is not. But if it is the way Jesus intended to govern his church, then autonomous churches are the best way to protect children, not the worst.


If he really means this, it is a poor argument.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:28 pm

Maybe the NT doesn't prescribe a particular model of church polity and governance. But I think it's a good principle that Jesus is not in favor or a system that hurt the children.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:28 am

Haruo wrote:Maybe the NT doesn't prescribe a particular model of church polity and governance. But I think it's a good principle that Jesus is not in favor or a system that hurt the children.


Yes. I don’t care if a denomination is congregational. But I don’t believe any exact system was prescribed in the NT and that congregationalism is a very western centric model (as is the polity of the UMC too by the way.) I also believe if a model is hurting children you better look at a revision.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:40 am

To paraphrase the gun rights bumper sticker writers, church polity models don't molest children. Child molesters molest children. If congregationalism is outlawed, only outlaws will be congregationalists.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:11 am

Haruo wrote:To paraphrase the gun rights bumper sticker writers, church polity models don't molest children. Child molesters molest children. If congregationalism is outlawed, only outlaws will be congregationalists.


LOL. Well you don't have to outlaw congregationalism to, for example, create some denominational oversight for clergy. The ABC/USA, UCC and the Disciples of Christ all have that.

The UMC flaw is thinking that we could maintain an entire world under one set of rules which came out of a very Anglican anglo-western way of thinking. I still like being in a denomination with some rules. But I just don't believe the same thing will work in Russia or Africa that works in Iowa. At least not for everything.

The UMC has discussed in the past having a much small global Book of Discipline that everyone would follow and then a regional Discipline that had rules that fit the context of the country it is being used in. Unfortunately, our discussion of that should have come sooner. It would have helped.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:21 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
Haruo wrote:To paraphrase the gun rights bumper sticker writers, church polity models don't molest children. Child molesters molest children. If congregationalism is outlawed, only outlaws will be congregationalists.


LOL. Well you don't have to outlaw congregationalism to, for example, create some denominational oversight for clergy. The ABC/USA, UCC and the Disciples of Christ all have that.

The UMC flaw is thinking that we could maintain an entire world under one set of rules which came out of a very Anglican anglo-western way of thinking. I still like being in a denomination with some rules. But I just don't believe the same thing will work in Russia or Africa that works in Iowa. At least not for everything.

The UMC has discussed in the past having a much small global Book of Discipline that everyone would follow and then a regional Discipline that had rules that fit the context of the country it is being used in. Unfortunately, our discussion of that should have come sooner. It would have helped.


The problem Baptists have with polity and oversight for clergy isn't congregationalism, it's the independence and autonomy of the churches and the denomination. The SBC could have oversight over clergy but they'd have to define what is meant by "clergy," (ordained? licensed? Many who serve in this capacity in SBC congregations are neither). And it would have to be a condition attached to every church's individual relationship to the denomination that each church agreed to. The only way to enforce it would be to say if you don't agree, you can't be affiliated. That will never happen. There's no way churches like Bellevue, Prestonwood, First Jacksonville, First Dallas, etc., would ever submit their pastors and staff to SBC authority and oversight.

As I looked through the Methodist book of discipline, especially at the church's doctrinal statement regarding scripture, I don't see that there's a lot of room there to go as far as some Methodists have gone (Adam Hamilton referenced here by Keith is one example) in interpreting some passages to be "inspired" while others are merely the ideas of first century Paul or Old Testament writers and as such, either less inspired, inspired differently or somehow inferior to that which is inspired. I'd be interested to know how the church handles differences of opinion over Bible interpretation and how much does that have to do with this particular issue.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:11 pm

Sandy wrote: I'd be interested to know how the church handles differences of opinion over Bible interpretation and how much does that have to do with this particular issue.


It does have something to do with it. Some Methodists moved away from our traditional views on Biblical interpretation. The basic view of Methodists on the inspiration of scripture is "sufficiency." the "Bible contains all things necessary for salvation." We don't believe in inerrancy. We don't believe in Sola Scriptura. Like the Anglican Church we believe in Prima Scriptura. Scripture is the primary source of doctrine with reason, tradition and experience. (Anglicans leave off experience. That's largely Wesley's addition to Methodism).

But, IMO, persons who are connected with the Wesley Covenant Association among other conservative groups are taking their lead in Biblical interpretation from places like Asbury Seminary in KY which is actually Free Methodist. Some years ago the UMC got lax about requiring clergy to go to UMC seminaries and this has come back to bite us in some cases.

But like any takeover I've ever seen, a lot of this is about power. Like inerrancy, sexuality is used as a wedge issue to rally the troops to try to take over. It looks all too familiar.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Rvaughn » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:22 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:Some Methodists moved away from our traditional views on Biblical interpretation...Asbury Seminary in KY which is actually Free Methodist...
Just curious. Since the Free Methodists are Methodists as well, I wonder how much of the UMC's traditional views vary from theirs (Free Methodist) due to or based on other groups in the UMC heritage, such as the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:30 pm

Free Methodists vary a lot on this sort of thing, too. My guess is the ones in Kentucky may be quite a bit more conservative/traditional in their views on gender and the Bible than those here in Seattle.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby KeithE » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:28 am

Haruo wrote:Free Methodists vary a lot on this sort of thing, too. My guess is the ones in Kentucky may be quite a bit more conservative/traditional in their views on gender and the Bible than those here in Seattle.

My guess too.

Christy my sister in law grew up Free Methodist in Greenville, IL which in home to Greenville University which is the other FM university other that Seattle Pacific University. She graduated from Greenville U (Masters in education) and she was ordained in the FM church and pastored a FM church in Brooklyn, NY. She then went to Princeton Seminary where she met my son Todd. She says most the FM are quite conservative / biblical inerrantists.

She is attempting to transfer her ordination to the UMC and had a good (passing) interview just this Monday after a three and half year process. She was afraid she was going to be asked about “the issue" but was not (btw, she would marry a same sex couple if asked, but not in a UMC church). Her ordination is set for June 3 in Birmingham.

Todd told me tonight at a Kairos Team Meeting that (1) opposition to him has surfaced in his church Epworth UMC ( "30% but could be more") due to his same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy stance (I already knew he was very popular in his church before all this hoopla); (2) he does not know if or when he will be asked formally about his views and does not know for sure if he will be defrocked if he speaks his mind, (3) he knows that a Adam Hamilton (mod) / Maxie Dunham (con) are discussing conciliation and/or a new denomination (and has some hope for that), (4) there is an Epworth congregational meeting on March 10 this Sunday and (5) he is at peace whatever happens.

Big time for our family - I’ll spare you the stories about my sister and daughter, each just as traumatic (but somewhat personal).

-----------
Well Christy just found out that she did not pass - her "theology was not sufficiently Methodist”. She heard it this morning by phone. My wife just called her to try to find out more, but she was just crying. She had been so positive about her interview Monday and the whole process she had gone through; she was sure she had “passed”. I will try to find out more what the real problem was. Todd will find out more.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:09 am

Haruo wrote:Free Methodists vary a lot on this sort of thing, too. My guess is the ones in Kentucky may be quite a bit more conservative/traditional in their views on gender and the Bible than those here in Seattle.


I knew a Free Methodist Church that chastised a pastor for wearing a short sleeved dress shirt to church. Some Free Methodists are radically conservative and take on kind of a "holiness movement" stance similar to the Wesleyan Church which was a merger of a conservative Wesleyan body and the Pilgrim Holiness Church.

So they emphasize a doctrine of "Entire sanctification" in a way that that United Methodists don't usually buy into. They do not follow John Wesley's original Articles of Religion that the UMC follows as doctrine but have modified them, particularly their statement on scripture is far different from ours.

They split off of the main Methodist movement in 1860 and only have about 1,000 churches. But there theological school has had inordinate influence on some UM pastors. If you find a pastor who attended Asbury in the UMC there is a really good chance they they are more conservative than most other UM pastors.

They have three US Bishops over the Church, all white men. Diversity, not.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:18 am

That's quite different from the Free Methodists one encounters here in Seattle. Seattle Pacific University is quite diverse, as is First Free Methodist Church across the street from the campus. And Rainier Avenue Church (the only other FMC I've been to) is about as diverse as they come. Now I am not sure how they treat LGBTQ type issues, but they certainly don't seem obsessed by the anti.

If you only have three bishoprics, three white males is not great, but also not diagnostic. The sample size is too small. They have female clergy.

And it's worth noting that the split from the main MC body/bodies in 1860 was not over abolitionism (as the "Free" makes a lot of people assume, given the date) but over the fact that the big-time Methodists sold (or rented) pews. The Free Methodists took sitting where you wanted to be biblical, and I agree. Pew space should be free, not up for bid.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Haruo » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:21 am

Nazarenes hereabouts are a whole lot more liberal than in a lot of parts of the country, too. Something about the water or something out here seems to do that to people's brains.
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Re: A Surprise in the United Methodist Church?

Postby Sandy » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:44 am

My stepmother is a member of a Free Methodist church in Buffalo, NY. We've worshipped there several times. I would not call them "radically conservative," though compared to the UMC, they might be. Their statement of faith does not include inerrancy, but it does state belief that the whole Bible is spirit-inspired and that Christian interpretation must be spirit-illumined, as opposed to both tradition and experience which they believe can be affected by human error. There is a definite emphasis on holiness, and the whole atmosphere in that particular church reminds me a lot of the Church of the Nazarene. They dropped the use of the name "Methodist" out of their identification and signage under their former pastor who flat out said the terms "Methodist" and "growing church" are an oxymoron. My Dad, a Baptist deacon for over 40 years, did not convince my stepmom during the 5 years they were married that she could not lose her salvation.

The pastor of the CMA congregation which operated the school I served in Pennsylvania for eight years was an Asbury graduate, college and seminary, He was originally ordained in the Anderson Church of God and switched over to CMA about 20 years ago. He was also pretty heavy on holiness, and I would say that he was "radically conservative," uncomfortably so.

I wonder what kind of grasp Methodist leadership in the US has on how their parishioners in the pews feel about the issue. Timothy pointed out that 67% of the American clergy were in favor of the plan which would have allowed LGBTQ ordination and sanctioning of same-gender marriages, but the bottom line for the church's future rests with what will happen among the membership if the clergy takes steps to separate from the denomination and affirm the pro-LGBTQ position. Denominations I would consider more "liberal" on just about everything have fractured and experienced significant losses of membership. A friend of mine from Pennsylvania who was an Episcopalian priest and is now Anglican at a church in Washington, DC said the Episcopal church's statistics on the exodus of members is misleading in terms of its actual impact on the church. Their statistics show a decline of 40% in membership since they first ordained a gay clergyman, but he says that the 60% who have stayed includes over 800,000 "inactive" members. And they're still declining rapidly. Moving forward on something like this could have a huge cost.

There is a resolution and an answer for the church when it comes to how it should minister to people who are LGBTQ. It sounds cliche, but God has the answer and those who love and serve him need to get beyond their own reasoning power, intellect, prejudice and fear so they can be discerning about His will. Perhaps the Methodists, in working through this issue in their own church, will be the ones who come up with the answer.
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