January 14, 2013

Chicago United Methodist Bishop Misrepresents Denomination’s Position

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Bishop Sally Dyck of the Northern Illinois Conference was a part of the Unity Task Force of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, but has also been a longtime champion of the LGBT cause. (photo credit: United Methodist News Service)

A caucus group of evangelicals within the Chicago area of the United Methodist Church has released their own statement challenging Bishop Sally Dyck’s recent statement urging the Illinois state legislature to redefine civil marriage to include same-sex couples.

Lamenting that “the general public will assume that Bishop Dyck speaks for our entire Church,” the Northern Illinois Conference Evangelical Association (NICEA) publicly sets the record straight. The NICEA statement notes that the bishop’s expressed “personal opinion” is actually contrary to the UMC’s official position, which has expressly defined marriage as between a man and a woman since at least 1972, and has separately, overwhelmingly “support[ed] laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman” since 2004.

The NICEA statement also notes how out of all of the specific sexuality-related policies debated within the UMC (the church’s general statement on sexual morality, clergy standards, etc.), our marriage stand “garners the broadest support within the Church.”  Indeed, when now-IRD President Mark Tooley submitted the “laws in civil society” language in 2004 it was approved by 77 percent of voting General Conference delegates, while liberal activists gave up on even contesting this stand at the 2012 General Conference.

We have previously reported on Bishop Dyck’s jumping into the political fray with her selective citation of United Methodist social teaching, which almost immediately evolved into a fundraising drive for the Chicago-based Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN). RMN is a caucus group that pursues a militant “any-means-necessary” ethos in promoting acceptance of gay marriage and extramarital sex within our denomination.

The full text of NICEA’s statement is below:

Bishop’s statement does not represent Church on Gay Marriage

In response to United Methodist Bishop Sally Dyck’s endorsement of gay marriage, the Northern Illinois Conference Evangelical Association (NICEA) Chairman, James Blue, issued the following statement:

What Bishop Dyck has expressed is her personal opinion.

It does not reflect the official position of the United Methodist Church in which the definition of marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” was first articulated in 1972. A separate but related action in 2004 called upon the church to “support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Unfortunately, the general public will assume that Bishop Dyck speaks for our entire Church. She does not. Support for traditional marriage has received overwhelming majority support at all recent quadrennial General Conferences where all United Methodists are represented. Support of traditional marriage is the one issue, among all sexually-related issues, that garners the broadest support within the Church.

We regret the disunity that Bishop Dyck’s statement will inevitably bring to local congregations and we encourage the Illinois General Assembly to find another way to ensure the civil rights of gay couples without redefining marriage which has for millennia, been the foundational unit of human society.

Follow United Methodist Director John Lomperis on Twitter: @JohnLomperis


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  • http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/ eMatters

    She isn’t qualified to be a Bishop. Or a pastor. Or a lay leader. Or even a member. She is on the anti-biblical side of the most straight-forward and important issue in her denomination today (because it is splitting the church). She is shaking her fist at God 24×7 in rebellion and mocking her employer. It is as if a salesman for HP publicly said that people should buy Dell. Good for them to expose how deceptive she is being.

    • Sara Anderson

      I couldn’t have said it better.

      • J S Lang

        I like that HP/Dell analogy. The HP salesman wouldn’t get any publicity for doing his job, would he? But if he told people to buy Dell – big publicity! This bishop knew exactly what she was doing. “Oooh, my picture is all over the Internet! I must put all those links on Facebook!”

  • Donnie

    I never understood why the UMC needed bishops in the first place. Many, if not the majority, are apostates. The whole system is designed to guilt the people in the pews to hold unbiblical positions, usually on political matters.

    • Eric Lytle

      Donnie, it’s not a bishop problem, it’s a human problem. The UCC is further left than the UM but has no bishops. The Episcs (way left) have bishops but the Disciples of Christ (way left) and PCUSA (way left) don’t. As long as their seminaries indoctrinate the clergy in liberalism, they will keep saying stupid things. Would they get publicity any other way. I’m guessing there must be a seminary course titled Publicy W—ing 101.

  • John S.

    Isn’t this really a dog bites man story? When was the last time you didn’t see a UMC bishop contradicting the Book of Discipline? Headlines like this are so common it no longer attracts interest.

  • Roger W.

    All United Methodist Bishops & Leaders, Chairpersons, etc. need a “code of conduct” to follow when speaking to the “media”. They all should be required to state whether their position is in accordance with the General Conference, who is the only entity that can speak for all United Methodist. Each Methodist District should initiate such a Code immediately. Many are abusing their position to promote their own values in the name of the Church.

    • John S.

      If they won’t obey the Book of Discipline why whould they obey a “media code of conduct”?

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