UMC Bishops

May 4, 2018

Mixed Results from the UMC Council of Bishops

After much anticipation, the Council of Bishops of the global United Methodist Church concluded its week-long meeting in Chicago today with a press release summarizing a “motion” approved in response to the Commission on the Way Forward.

While this is big news, the Council has also made some frustrating decisions that amount to withholding key information from the church for an extraordinarily long time.

The Way Forward Commission, appointed by the Council of Bishops, has been working since 2016 to develop proposals to seek resolution of our longstanding internal tensions over a vocal minority’s disagreement with and disobedience of the UMC’s official teachings and policies forbidding homosexual union ceremonies or the ordination of anyone openly sexually active outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Final decisions on any such proposals will be made at a specially called UMC General Conference in February 2019, to which I will be a voting delegate.

The press release serves as a brief summary, rather than a full report, of the decisions our bishops made this week during the closed sessions that took up the majority of their business time. It announces that the Council of Bishops will forward three separate plans as possible options to the 2019 General Conference as part of its final report:

  • a Traditionalist Plan, which has previously been described as maintaining our present sexual-morality standards, increasing enforcement measures, and allowing gracious exit ramps for congregations and others unwilling to follow our standards;
  • a so-called One Church Plan, which has previously been described in terms of removing the UMC’s traditionalist teachings and policies on marriage and sex, and officially authorizing same-sex “weddings” and homosexually active pastors, throughout our denomination; and
  • a Connectional Conference Plan, which has previously been described as replacing the five jurisdictions into which the UMC is currently geographically divided within the United States with two or more nationwide jurisdictions that would each have its own theology and policies related to marriage, while somehow remaining part of the same denomination.

In the previous months, so much of the reporting and political bluster treated any sort of “Traditionalist Plan” as dead, off the table, and not something the “Way Forward” process would take seriously.

So it is very good news to learn that in fact our Council of Bishops has done at least a partial course correction by agreeing to forward a Traditionalist Plan as one of the options it will put on the table for us delegates next year. 

It is disappointing that our Council of Bishops has chosen to “recommend the One Church Plan as the best way forward for The United Methodist Church” by majority vote. Such a plan, more accurately labeled the Liberalization Plan, is completely irreconcilable with Scripture, unfaithful 2,000 years of consistent global Christian tradition, and very pastorally harmful, most especially to self-identified LGBTQ individuals and their loved ones.

And where is the basic honesty of advocates of the Liberalization Plan when they insist on marketing it as “the One Church Plan,” when any intelligent observer can see that this would be the one possible plan most guaranteed to split apart the church?

At a press conference earlier today, outgoing Council of Bishops President Bishop Ough said that they would not publicly share the exact numbers of how the Council voted on matters related to this report.

But in any case, the report that the majority of active United Methodist Bishops confirms what many have long suspected about the liberal biases of our Council of Bishops as a whole. So while there are a number of individual faithful bishops we can appreciate, this report makes clear that at this point we cannot trust majority of the Council of Bishops, as a collective group, to offer much in the way of doctrinally, spiritually, or morally helpful leadership for our denomination.

But traditionalist United Methodists should not worry. This plan should be dead on arrival at next year’s General Conference. Under the leadership of the aforementioned Bishop Ough, the Connectional Table already tried submitting a multi-piece plan with the same basic idea to the 2016 General Conference, and this was defeated in committee after committee. And the delegates to the 2019 General Conference will largely be the very same people as the delegates who already rejected this idea in 2016.

The Connectional Conference Plan has even dimmer prospects, given how it would require complex constitutional amendments needing the support of at least two-thirds of all General Conference delegates, while I am aware of no sizable constituency anywhere in our global church who is really wanting such a plan.

Hopefully, the 2019 General Conference will not waste more than a minimal amount of the church’s time and money on either of these plans.

One significant disappointment today was the Council’s choice to dramatically extend a lack of full transparency about their report and this process.

What exactly are the proposals for change within the “Traditionalist Plan” or in the “Connectional Conference Plan”? Our bishops seem to be, bizarrely, under the impression that no one else in the UMC needs to know for another two months. The press release shares absolutely nothing about what will actually be in either of these two plans. Today’s statement shares some summary information on the Liberalization Plan, but leaves many major questions unanswered (such as: if a previously ordained minister in a traditionalist U.S. annual conference publicly announces his engagement in homosexual practice, would there be any way to discipline such clergy?).

For the last year-and-a-half the Way Forward Commission has chosen to make its important meetings closed to observers. Some United Methodists have decried this lack of transparency as hurting trust. Others of us have really tried to extend benefit of the doubt, even this have been difficult, with the expectation that the full and final report would be released by the end of the Council meeting this week.

Now the bishops are saying that even though they have finished their final meeting to discuss and vote on recommendations to forward to the 2019 General Conference, based on the Commission’s report, they now want to withhold any public sharing of their full report, beyond the two-page press release issued today, for a period that may last longer than another two months.

It is particularly striking that the Council’s self-imposed deadline for releasing its full report is July 8. That just so happens to be the exact deadline for submitting petitions to the 2019 General Conference.

Over the next couple of months, United Methodist individuals and groups outside of the Council of Bishops will obviously be making plans to submit their own petitions to the 2019 General Conference, as they have an explicit right in our Discipline to do. However, they would first want to see what exactly would be in the three options forwarded by the Council of Bishops, to see which specific legislative concerns are already covered there and which are not.

But it is impossible to do such informed planning if the Council makes a choice to stick to its guns in refusing to release specific details of all three plans before the very date of the submission deadline.

I have a hard time seeing many non-elite United Methodists buying any claims that this is not deliberate on the part of our Council of Bishops.

Of course, such a timeline would also severely limit any UMC annual conference session held before July 8 to have terribly meaningful dialogues about the options before us, despite the fact that so many have already made plans to try to have such dialogues.

The stated reason for this extraordinarily long proposed delay is that they supposed need all of that time to translate the Council’s full report into all the main languages used by United Methodists around the globe.

But it is fair to ask why they would need over two months to do this, in a time period that coincidentally ends on a date that would be so uniquely convenient if anyone was seeking to manipulate the process to undermine contributions from non-bishops. Couldn’t they get the translation done in a week if they hired a team of people to work on different sections at the same time?

After all, the final report of the Council of Bishops was supposed to have been an adapted version of the report completed sometime earlier by the Commission on the Way Forward. Did no one even start translating any of this document into any language other than English before today?

I hope that our bishops will be willing to listen to how much deep mistrust is already out there in our denomination, try a more transparent approach, and at least work to get their full report released before Spring annual conference sessions begin meeting.

Here is the full press release issued this afternoon:

For immediate release                                                            May 4, 2018

United Methodist Bishops Recommend a Way Forward

CHICAGO – United Methodist bishops, meeting in Chicago, engaged in a prayerful process to discern a way forward.  At the conclusion of the discernment process, the Council of Bishops strongly approved the following motion and rationale:

Having received and considered the extensive work of the Commission on a Way Forward, the Council of Bishops will submit a report to the Special Session of the General Conference in 2019 that includes:

  • All three plans (The Traditionalist Plan, The One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan) for a way forward considered by the Commission and the Council.
  • The Council’s recommendation of the One Church Plan.
  • An historical narrative of the Council’s discernment process regarding all three plans.

Rationale:  In order to invite the church to go deeper into the journey the Council and Commission has been on, the Council will make all the information considered by the Commission and the Council of Bishops available to the delegates of the General Conference and acknowledges there is support for each of the three plans within the Council.  The values of our global church are reflected in all three plans.  The majority of the Council recommends the One Church Plan as the best way forward for The United Methodist Church.

Guided by the mission, vision and scope document, the bishops agreed to recommend the One Church Plan. This plan provides conferences, churches, and pastors the flexibility to uniquely reach their missional context while retaining the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church.

The One Church Plan allows for contextualization of language about human sexuality in support of the mission; and allows for central conferences, especially those in Africa, to retain their disciplinary authority to adapt the Book of Discipline and continue to include traditional language and values while fulfilling the vision of a global and multicultural church.

This plan also encourages a generous unity by giving United Methodists the ability to address different missional contexts in ways that reflect their theological convictions. The One Church Plan removes the restrictive language of the Book of Discipline and adds assurances to pastors and Conferences who due to their theological convictions cannot perform same-sex weddings or ordain self-avowed practicing homosexuals. 

The Council’s discernment process was guided by the over-arching desire to strategically help the General Conference do its work and to honor the General Conference’s request for the Council to help the church find a way forward.

“With convicted humility, bishops want to be pastors and shepherds of the whole church in order to maximize the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible and with as much contextual differentiation as possible,” said newly installed Council of Bishops President Ken Carter.

The bishops expressed deep appreciation for the diligent work that the 32-member Commission on a Way Forward Commission did in formulating the three plans; the Traditionalist Plan, the One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan.

While the bishops recommended the One Church Plan they affirmed that the Connectional Conference Plan and the Traditionalist Plan held values that are important to the life and work of the church and will be included in the final report to the Special Session of General Conference that the bishops have called for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Bishop Carter, who served as a one of the moderators of the Commission, said the bishops are adopting a spirit of collaboration with the Commission, and an attitude of respect for the delegations who will take up this work on behalf of the whole church.

“The Council’s prayerful deliberation reflected the diversity of the global denomination on the matter of homosexuality and many other matters.  The Council affirms the strength of this diversity and our commitment to maintain the unity of the church,” Bishop Carter said.  

Full details of the plans and accompanying legislative proposals will be released as soon as final editing of the entire report is completed and translated into the official languages of the General Conference.  It is estimated this will be no later than July 8.

###

Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
mmulenga@umc-cob.org
202-748-5172


55 Responses to Mixed Results from the UMC Council of Bishops

  1. theenemyhatesclarity says:

    Hi John,

    2 comments: 1. Although I am sure it goes without saying, I assume the renewal groups are working on their own resolutions so they may be thoroughly vetted and timely submitted.
    2. You state that “there are a number of faithful Bishops…” Are you sure? We sure don’t hear from them publicly.

    In Christ,

    The enemy hates clarity

    • jerry reingardt says:

      Yes, where are these faithful bishops?

      • john says:

        Is there way to know the identity of the unfaithful bishops so that we should not take Holy communion from them.

      • Paul W. says:

        There definitely are still some faithful Bishops. If there weren’t, the traditionalist plan would have been completely left out by the CoB.

        I don’t know what was going on behind the scenes, but the inclusion of the traditionalist plan after it was reported that it would neither be part of the plan forwarded by the Commission on a Way Forward nor by the CoB seems to me to be a very positive development!

        Will there be many more shenanigans in the works by the apostate Bishops and agencies? Of course. That’s what unredeemed apostates do by nature. Our side just needs to be prepared. Be in prayer for wisdom for the leaders of our Renewal coalition!

    • Jeff Howard says:

      Satan is the Author of Confusion. If its convoluted, it can be corrupted. I was a UMC pastor for 15 years. I earned an MDiv from Emory U in 1981. I fought with the liberal lying heirachy from PPR Committees to DSs to Bishops. I lost my ministry because of them. My wife and two children paid dearly. What suffering we endured at their hands, their satantically inspired edicts and wickedness. The Almighty will judge and damn all of these false prophets and shepherds. Homosexuality is not a debatable issue, any more than any other sin. The UMC is not the church, “, visible or invisible”. The word church is “ekklesia” which means “the separated ones”. The church cannot be “split” or destroyed. “The gates (powers) of hell will not prevail against you.” The Bishops, DSs are religious gangsters, and merchants of spiritual death. Those who support them are fools and willing useful idiots and cowards. Follow the money to understand why decisions are made. “For thus saith the Lord, Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and I will be your God and you shall be my people.” All this talk about being “Wesleyan”. What a lie. What nonsense. Wesley would have been excommunicated from the UMC when the first words of debate occurred about homosexuality. He would have shaken the dust off his feet, and let his peace return to himself. He would have joyfully followed the original Methodist mission statement and admonition: “Flee the wrath to come.” The fate of these bishops and their ilke is found in Jude 1:7 and 2 Peter 2:5-6. Amen.

  2. Creed Pogue says:

    http://www.sure-languages.com/how-long-does-translation-take/

    Maybe two weeks per language with only one person doing it. A team or technology could make that go much faster. Obviously, one person is not going to translate all the languages either.

  3. Bill Bowdle says:

    I am not optimistic that the COB intends to forward all 3 options as potential recommendations with COB simply favoring option 2. Options 1 & 2 are simply included in the REPORT to Gen. Conf., and I’m concluding that they’re merely included so they can share the reasons why they RECOMMENDED #2 over 1 & 3. I think they will only include 1 & 2 for the purpose of trying to convincingly close the door on them, rather than forwarding them as potential recommendations, though unfavored by the COB. The absence of clarity on this issue is, in my opinion, intentional, in order to avoid deeper immediate offense to traditionalists by generating the impression that option 1 is still on the table, though shoved to as close to the edge of the table as they can push it.

  4. carrie says:

    They say they are “pastors and shepherds of the whole church”? Baahaha! Rather: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, along with their right to feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey” (Ezekiel 34:10) .
    They espouse “convicted humility”? Oh, please…..! This is humility: “Though He was God , He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing”(Phil 2:6-7a). As always, many of these bishops need a work of God’s definition of salvation– through Jesus Christ– in each of their lives, if they dare to remorsefully repent of leading themselves and others astray by their pride and arrogance! They have set themselves up against the Word of God, and that is the most dreadful thing they have settled this week. They should know there are more of us than there are of them, and they’re not listening to the Army of faithful believers who are no longer asleep in the light! As for me and my house, we want to live in Scriptural holiness.

    • jerry reingardt says:

      Yes that is exactly what is happening. Our bishops need to read the first chapter of Romans and the little book of Jude over and over until they realize that it is 2018 these great teachers and prophets are speaking about. Sexual sin is never right. BUT, at the same time we need to keep Romans 2:2-5 in mind which says Only God can really Judge them. It is not our job to do so. We now have in writing at least the best church discipline and doctrine, let not change it, let us live it and not be ashamed.

      • Ronald Everett says:

        Oh please. I thought this forum involved people who were better versed than to erroneously present the “judge not” argument. Bottom line on the Bishops is that they have already been judged for even taking the time to discuss this issue.

  5. Jed Hester says:

    The “faithful’ Bishops have chosen the same position they have forever chosen, to remain under a rock. A truly committed and convinced bishop would have violated there Covenant of Secrecy years ago and spoken out and said this is apostasy. They would have been crucified but they would have done so much good. No one wanted to be crucified (take up a cross?) or at least suffer in perhaps some meaningful way to bring light into this darkness.

    I frankly have already nominated the Council of Bishops for first place trophy in the 2018 Darwin Awards. The one good thing about liberalism, which flows like a river in the COB, is that it destroys itself. So they will have removed themselves from the church gene pool. We can at least thank them for that good gesture.

  6. My perspective is that over this issue over the view of scripture and ethics the conservatives are willing to split the church and bring hurt and pain to 1000s of churches so they can triumph. Sad

  7. Anthony Hartt says:

    WE CAN NOT AND MUST NOT DEVIATE FROM THE WRITTEN WORD.

  8. Paul says:

    Sadly, it appears the self destruction of the UMC is a very real possible out come of this Bishop’s conference.
    A split might have been a better way forward.

  9. B. Alley says:

    So, why not Google translate? It’s instantaneous. These people live in the dark ages totally out of touch with the vast majority of United Methodists. We should institute a process to replace all bishops with folks who are more mainstream in their thought process and less political in how they do their jobs.

    • Kathe says:

      While translation shouldn’t have to take as long as projected, the work does necessarily need to be completed by fluent, competent people. Google Translate is not a viable option. It might be okay for quick, casual translation. But Google Translate cannot distinguish word connotations, and it tends to botch grammar by translating word-for-word. Large, complex translation like this requires human discernment.

  10. james says:

    I tire at the constant upheaval that the lack of intestinal fortitude possessed by the council of bishops demonstrates causes. Also, John, I have copied and pasted a statement from the above: “I have a hard time seeing many non-elite United Methodists buying any claims that this is not deliberate on the part of our Council of Bishops? Who are determined to be the “non-elite” united Methodists? Those folks who have hung “tough” and still attend the very watered down umc are those who with their tithes, gifts, and offerings have kept the denomination running so that the very ineffective council/district superitendents/lib prog clergy can keep their offices and their phylacteries. Or, do I miss the meaning of non-elite……..

    • John Lomperis says:

      The Council of Bishops is the most elite and exclusive club within the UMC. It seems like many of its members are under the impression that little more needs to be done to understand us “commoners” than listen to their cabinet members and a few other elite leaders who are directly dependent on these bishops for their own positions and livelihoods. But 99% of United Methodists are neither bishops nor the DS’s controlled by bishops.

  11. Denver Pigman pastor Whitesburg UMC says:

    Unfortunately truth is only relevant to those that desire truth. This decision by the body of the council certainly does not represent all and many have spoken up its just that their voices seem to get drowned out by those how think they can drown out truth but they can’t. But what it has created is an additional issue and that is to root out those who’s hearts are not set on truth. This will be painful for all. For all of use even those on the right side of this argument who have acknowledged that sex immorality is the result of acting on a promise attached to a lie sin are in for an awakening. In Matthew 24 Jesus gave a date for His return when He said and this gospel shall be preached. He was saying when the gospel through the knowledge of the one how gave it is preached from His perspective He will come. This is about to begin in earnest around the word and is going to impact those seeking holyiness the most. So those seeking holy perfection are about to experience it in its fullness. Even many of our ideals are about to be changed. Not toward those in the current debate but toward how we understand God. Example and please here this out why does evil exist. To understand evil we have to understand the nature of sin. Sin is nothing more than acting on a promise attached to a lie. The cruelest example is seen in the current debate and the promise is we can find peace in a relationship other than God the person of truth. The reason true joy and peace can only be found in God through Christ and the Holy Spirit is Truth is the presence and nature of the person of God. The potential for sin arise because truth exists so does the option of denying truth which God fully understood the consequence of even before He created man. He knew that for anyone to deny truth is the act of sin despite what promise it was attached to. We where created in His likeness that we might be able to experience a relationship to Him and because we were created in His image that which He would call sin even for Himself that right He calls sin for us. Think about the temptation of Jesus and ask yourself this question if Jesus had acting on the suggestions of Satan would it have been considered sin. He was asked to do three things to deny the word of truth to violate truth by tempting The Father and third to deny Himself as truth by worshipping Satan. If He had done so He would have sinned against Himself. So in the Old Testament He says be holy for I the Lord your God a.m. Holy. So what was He saying He was saying obstain from that which I obstain from acting on a lie. He asks of us do not deny my word as truth do not violate the word of truth and do not declare yourself to be truth thus denying who I am.

  12. Denver Pigman says:

    Unfortunately truth is only relevant to those that desire truth. This decision by the body of the council certainly does not represent all and many have spoken up its just that their voices seem to get drowned out by those how think they can drown out truth but they can’t. But what it has created is an additional issue and that is to root out those who’s hearts are not set on truth. This will be painful for all. For all of use even those on the right side of this argument who have acknowledged that sex immorality is the result of acting on a promise attached to a lie sin are in for an awakening. In Matthew 24 Jesus gave a date for His return when He said and this gospel shall be preached. He was saying when the gospel through the knowledge of the one how gave it is preached from His perspective He will come. This is about to begin in earnest around the word and is going to impact those seeking holyiness the most. So those seeking holy perfection are about to experience it in its fullness. Even many of our ideals are about to be changed. Not toward those in the current debate but toward how we understand God. Example and please here this out why does evil exist. To understand evil we have to understand the nature of sin. Sin is nothing more than acting on a promise attached to a lie. The cruelest example is seen in the current debate and the promise is we can find peace in a relationship other than God the person of truth. The reason true joy and peace can only be found in God through Christ and the Holy Spirit is Truth is the presence and nature of the person of God. The potential for sin arise because truth exists so does the option of denying truth which God fully understood the consequence of even before He created man. He knew that for anyone to deny truth is the act of sin despite what promise it was attached to. We where created in His likeness that we might be able to experience a relationship to Him and because we were created in His image that which He would call sin even for Himself that right He calls sin for us. Think about the temptation of Jesus and ask yourself this question if Jesus had acting on the suggestions of Satan would it have been considered sin. He was asked to do three things to deny the word of truth to violate truth by tempting The Father and third to deny Himself as truth by worshipping Satan. If He had done so He would have sinned against Himself. So in the Old Testament He says be holy for I the Lord your God a.m. Holy. So what was He saying He was saying obstain from that which I obstain from acting on a lie. He asks of us do not deny my word as truth do not violate the word of truth and do not declare yourself to be truth thus denying who I am.

  13. Jesus says:

    “Saul! Saul, why do you persecute me?”

  14. Steve Shipman says:

    Something like that “One Church Plan” has worked so well for the ELCA, PCUSA, and TEC. Why not for the United Methodists? [sarcasm alert]

  15. Donald says:

    Church bureaucrats being less than fully transparent?
    I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

    • Carl Fuglein says:

      It’s sad that not even our churches are free from the sin of closed doors. I’m probably not going to get that involved because I’ve been terribly hurt by the church and I don’t need the stress. When can we get back to the purpose of the church by loving everyone while maintaing strict scriptural morals.

      • Grace helms says:

        Exactly read God’s Book do these Bishops claim they serve God they want to call it holy conference so we shouldn’t object to them going against God’s word ok sing Him by Yah!!!

  16. Dr. John E, Stumbo says:

    I agree with your concerns regarding the “coincidence of the July 8th date. Without a justification of merit from the Council in choosing that date the Bishops have further damaged their reputation with the body of United Methodists. It gives one the impression that they want to manipulate the business of the 2019 General Conference to minimize other petitions. I am sorry for their lack of integrity and desire for an open General Conference. I hope that the delegates will take note.

  17. andreas says:

    Intestinal?

  18. Danny says:

    Why cannot these people make a decision?? This is just plain ridiculous. Seems like another way to keep things going for another four years so the money can keep rolling in.

  19. John Fraser says:

    I have become so tired and disgusted with the fear of the UMC to take an unequivocal stand that I’m thinking I’d just like to get out of this mess.

    • John says:

      I have become so tired of the UMC’s reluctance to take a stand one way or the other that I’ll be glad to get any decision at all so I can decide whether to go or stay.

  20. James Lung says:

    Has the Judicial Council ruled on the question of what Petitions can be submitted to a called General Conference? My guess is that the delay of final publication until after the deadline for Petitions is part of a plan to reject any proposals other than that submitted by the bishops.

    • William says:

      No. They are holding a special session May 22-24 at the request of these same bishops. With little or no trust remaining across the hierarchy of the church, many believe that the bishops will petition the council to rule that only petitions from them can be submitted to the General Conference. The question here, are the bishops trying to rig the General Conference? So, the next episode will take place May 22-24. It is totally unimaginable that the Judicial Council would rule on such a motion by the bishops. But, being in uncharted waters, with trust shot, and the subterfuge underway by the bishops with this “one church” titled spoof recommendation, all bets are off.

  21. Dan Perry says:

    Why are the Bishops afraid to report how each Bishop voted. If they are willing to take the church in a direction contrary to Biblical teaching, we should know who the apostates are and should be removed as a Bishop@

  22. Rev. Laura Schsultz says:

    John,

    Thank you for your continuing hard work. So gratified to see that the Traditionalist Plan was included.

    Rev. Laura

  23. Thelma Thomas says:

    Clearly we are living in the last days when men call good, evil and evil, good! Jesus is coming!

  24. Dan says:

    If you want to see what’s going to happen, look at The Episcopal Church. The UMC bishops want the contextual One Church model, or increased disobedience with laughable “just resolutions” of such disobedience that require no repentance or accountability. This will establish facts on the ground that make all their wishes about LGBT things a fait accompli. This is how The Episcopal Church got women priests. There were illegal ordinations and no one did anything about it. Women priests became a fait accompli without any theological discussion or discernment.

    If the One Church Model does pass, it will be only a few years before the conscience clause that permits clergy to resist same sex weddings in church and congregations to resist non-celibate LGBT clergy will be discarded and all clergy will be forced to perform same sex weddings and all congregations will be required to accept non-celibate LGBT clergy. The LGBT lobby has been working at this for decades. They will not stop, and they will not welcome you in their church. They are right and holy, you are wrong and evil. Deal with it. To he who has ears let him hear.

    When you get right down to it, most UMC clergy are not even Christians. A 1998 clergy poll conducted by Jeffrey Hadden showed that 53% of UMC clergy denied that Jesus physically rose from the dead. BTW, the UMC percentage was the highest, by a significant margin, of the denominations surveyed. Anybody want to bet where that percentage is today, 20 years later?

    • Lutheran Pastor says:

      A better comparison is the “compromise” known as Bound Conscience that was adopted by the ELCA in 2009. It was presented as a compromise to the voting members of the Churchwide Assembly. People fell for it. When the ink dried, after a few feints here and there, it turned out to be a complete change of policy. “One Church” seems to be designed to create a similarly false impression that there will be a “generous unity”. That generous unity will rapidly evaporate if One Church passes, being replaced with a intolerant uniformity. Don’t be deceived.

    • diaphone64 says:

      The PC(USA) denomination is also a good indicator of how the UMC could look after acquiescing to the LGBTQRSXYZ agenda and schism. When PC(USA) voted in favor of ordaining gheys, 7 of the 10 largest PC(USA) churches left to form the ECO (Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians). The ECO, along with the PCA and EPC, continue to grow by leaps and bounds. The PC(USA) continues to decline.

  25. John Fraser says:

    My hope is that a definite and unequivocal decision will be made by the general conference so that those of us who are exhausted with all the equivocation can decide what our individual response will be.

  26. John Fraser says:

    My previous reply is about as moderate as I can get

  27. Genesis says:

    The Ine Church Plan , is purely a compromise plan that will give way to the LGBTQ movement to legitimize their agenda and allow them their practices be accepted by the whole church. This is a destructive plan. The members will remain divided and unity is just a cosmetic application to show the world that we are United.
    The Council of Bishop’s decision to submit to the GC, three models of organization, and support the One Church Model is a divisive ploy to advance the LGBTQ agenda.
    I just wonder why those who are advancing the Liberal/One Church Plan cannot be kicked out of the church. Why is it that the Bishops are afraid of letting the 3% go and form their own church? It will not hurt the whole United Methodist movement globally. In fact it will prove to all religious communities, that the UMC upholds snd does not compromise the Word of God.
    I will ask those of you who are conservative/traditionalist UMC’s to rise up and say “NO” to the One Church Model”

  28. Skipper says:

    Any legislation on sexuality must include removal of bishops and ministers who are flagrantly living in the grievous sin of same-sex relationships. The immorality of these “Prophets of Baal” cannot be tolerated if we want to be considered children of God – those who belong to Jesus Christ. Those who refuse to live in the Spirit and insist on living “in the flesh” must not be allowed to lead God’s people astray any longer. The time has come to be obedient to God and show our devotion and loyalty to Christ!

  29. Skipper says:

    I wouldn’t trust the Council of Bishops “Traditionalist Plan” to be traditional. There is a good reason they won’t make the details public. They have lost sight of what is good and clean and acceptable to God. They tolerate the evil of sexual perversion rather than identifying it as evil. They have forgotten what a life of sin does to a person. Jesus calls us to live cleanly and obey the Lord.

  30. Kenny Baskins says:

    God help the UMC! There are leaders within the UMC who refuse to faithfully follow God’s Word. The denomination they are purposing to create will not “make disciples for the transformation of the world”; it would be powerless for God does not bless apostasy! May God’s will be done!

  31. William says:

    “THE ONE CHURCH PLAN” that the bishops recommend:

    1. Their math is rather fuzzy. One Traditional Church + One Contextual Church = One Church?

    2. There will be The Bible for the Traditional Church and a Contextual Bible for. the Contextual Church? Who did they appoint to write this new Contextual Bible?

    3. With relation to marriage, for example, wonder how these passages will be revised in this new Contextual Bible?

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+2%3A22-24%2CMatthew+19%3A4-6&version=NIV

  32. John says:

    While I’m in favor of the Traditionalist plan and am encouraged that it was included as one to be recommended, even if that plan passes, I’m not clear how we should expect greater accountability on the part of ordained ministers and Bishops. The Bishops are not enforcing the BOD now, so why should the laity, which I believe is majority Traditionalist if General Conferences are any indication, expect our Bishops to now start enforcing our BOD if the Traditionalist model passes in 2019? The majority of Bishops have already expressed a preference for the free to do as one’s conscience suggests model, so I fear Traditionalist may win in name only, leading to continual battles. The only way for both sides to win is for the UMC to cease to exist and two new denominations in the Weslyan tradition be created, one traditional and one “progressive.” Each denomination can then move forward in its mission to bring others to Christ and either survive or thrive on its own merits.

  33. John Smith says:

    Three proposals, interesting dynamics. Does it take 51% to win the vote, or simply most votes? If it takes 51 and none gets it then what? Or is there a runoff of the top two? What if the supporters of the lost third withhold their votes? Is it 51% of cast votes or 51% of delegates? If the Traditionalist model wins, everybody knows that it won’t be enforced so what does it really mean? If the CoB’s preferred option is rejected can’t they simply implement it by administrative means? Do what they want, not enforce what they don’t like, etc?

  34. Jim Altman says:

    It amazes me that mainline Christians remain unable to get past this issue without descent into name-calling. We’ve managed to ordain women, integrate pulpits, have church pig-roasts. What’s the big deal here?

  35. Elderly Elder says:

    There is a fourth proposal that needs debated, entitled the “Do Whatever You Feel Like Unity Plan”.

    The substance of the proposal is simply do whatever you want to do, as long as you feel it’s right. The only requirements are that you elect bishops, pay appointments, have Elders, and read Sojourners every month. Then if you feel like it you can have your own church!

    Just think how it could be. Got to bed late, overslept? That’s Ok, open up No Alarm UMC in your own home, since you didn’t feel like making it to church, start your own and pay your appointments, it’s all good. You can also decide your own theology, based on ‘does it feel right’.

    Since in this case before the denomination the Quadrilateral doesn’t matter, you might feel differently than others. Scripture matters to some but not all, Tradition is racist, sexist, and is irrelevant in the days of Twitter and Facebook, since we now have 27 sexes/genders/hybrids.

    Reason doesn’t matter because your reasoning may be biased, or homophobic, or something else bad, so all that matters is your experience. So if you feel you are entitled vote in a bishop that feels like they are correct, do it! What do old books nobody reads unless it is an app on your phone matter anyway?

    Or as an alternative, name yourself Bishop, and then make sure you pay appointments. Once you do that it’s all good

    Another benefit of this plan is that you can make sure you never offend anyone else. If they disagree with you, just let them start their own church, so nobody is offended, nobody feels bad, nobody argues and nobody’s feeling are hurt. Everyone is now affirmed, because if they feel that X is right and y isn’t you can just ignore X or Y.

    Just pay your appointments, elect bishops, have elders, and make sure you have a place you call church that you will never be offended and always accepted. Then we can all be a happy family, until someone thinks we should change the denomination’s logo.

  36. Jean-Marie Nkonge says:

    I am so confident that the Holy Spirit will be actively moving among delegates the Special General Conference next year to keep the UMC very clean and faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • John Smith says:

      While I would like to partake of your confidence I cannot not. I have seen similar posts before each GC and I cannot say that the UMC is currently clean or faithful.

  37. Charles H. Walkup, Jr. says:

    God delivered me from the clutches of same-sex attraction. Praise His Holy Name! When God called Jonah to preach repentance in Nineveh, he ran the other way. Being an overly responsible type, I often sin (like the Pharisees) by trying to control and make everything right. So I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead me to speak for the Lord when He needs me to, but to not let me think that I can fix things. I’m learning to trust in God’s sovereignty more and more every day.
    Though it may sound shocking, I believe the radical homosexual community is the greatest threat today in this country. Though many have been hurt by the church, they (and this society) are in such deep darkness. God desires that none should perish, but that all should have eternal life.
    “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. … because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, rearing a painful exposure.” (Message, John 3:17 ff).
    2 years ago I prayed “Lord, why have you always blessed me so? Why have I never had to suffer for your sake like many?” One of those blessings was growing up on a farm, in a close community, and memorizing God’s word every week in my church. One of those verses “and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” became a pillar in my life. After becoming conscious of my same-sex attraction as a teenager, I finally decided that this was just up to God and me to work out. One brief homosexual experience in college helped me conclude that sex was a “temporary high”. Like alcohol, drugs, etc., sex is centered in what I call the “emotional/pleasure” center of the brain. The frontal lobe (critical thinking, decision making area) must function properly to prevent self-destruction. God wired our brains for relationship – real relationships. Illegitimate pleasures go against real relationships; they are poor substitutes. I made a decision then that I did not want to live that lifestyle; I wanted a wife and children. And God gave me that. My future wife was the first person I ever told about my same-sex attraction, because she needed to know the truth. Expecting rejection, I married her a few months later. While we were dating, my younger brother committed suicide, because of unwanted same-sex attraction and molestation by an older man. One day he said to me “I’ve been reading the Bible and I’m condemned to hell.” I did not have the words then; I do now. I still had to deal with the same-sex feelings for years, but realized at one point that the lack of an emotional connection with my father probably was a factor. So I sought spiritual/emotional (not sexual) connection with other men. Shamefully, I indulged in pornography. One night after pleasuring myself with online sites and then asking God’s forgiveness, I added ‘but I really wanted to!” The next opportunity the desire was gone. When I confessed my sinful desire, God acted. Praying for God to take away this desire years ago hadn’t worked. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.”
    4 years ago I sensed the Spirit calling me to speak out publicly. I sat my 2 grown children down to tell them for the first time, because I didn’t want them to hear it from anyone but me. When the UMC we had been members of since 1973 voted to become a “Reconciling Ministries” church (80-5, I was the only one speaking against it), I asked that my name be removed from the membership. 2 years ago I was banned from the church after speaking out publicly. Just 3 weeks before General Conference, a retired Methodist Bishop (who had married 2 men in ALA in 2013, joined our “social justice warrior for LGBT” minister in marrying 2 men in our church on Sat. On Sunday in concluded his sermon saying the the Book of Discipline was wrong (“practice of homosexuality is incompatible with scripture”) and calling on the congregation to follow his and the pastor’s example. When he finished, I stood and shouted out “As one who has experienced homosexuality, I affirm that the Discipline is correct. You have defiled this sanctuary. You have rebelled against the church. Jesus warned of false shepherds who would mislead his precious sheep.”
    I need conviction of the Spirit, as to whether to spend any more time trying to “fix” the UMC. In 2016 before Gen. Conference I emailed most of the US delegates and those from other countries, pleading that they not change this part of the Discipline.
    I can’t believe the time and energy spent on this issue. As I see it, each must decide if they are going to follow Jesus or not. When Jesus started teaching hard things, some followers left. He didn’t plead with them to stay, or alter God’s word. He looked at Peter and said, “Don’t you want to go, too?”. Peter replied, “No, Lord. Where would I go? You have the words of life. LGBTQ are NOT identities, only false ones. If we listen to God’s quiet voice telling us he loves us, then we affirm our true identity as God’s beloved children. If we listen to the world, we give the world (Satan) authority to tell us who we are. Like Adam and Eve, too many today have believed the serpent’s lie without even questioning it.
    Though I’m back at the Bible-adhering church I grew up in, I’m still concerned that the UMC seems to be going the way of the world. But I worry less now, remembering that God is sovereign, and trying to stay alert to what He is doing, and entering into His plan, instead of putting my own agenda in priority.

  38. William says:

    The One Church Plan —- translated:

    THE BIG LIBERAL DECEPTION PLAN

  39. Gail White says:

    Reads like it’s still 1892 BC.

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