UMC Social Principles

Your Response Needed on Proposed Rewrite of UMC Social Principles!

on August 1, 2018

The United Methodist Church’s controversial, aggressively liberal D.C. lobby office, the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), is pursuing an ambitious project of comprehensively rewriting the United Methodist Social Principles, the part of the denomination’s governing Book of Discipline that constitutes core teachings about social and political concerns.

I have reported earlier on some concerns with the process of how first European United Methodist leaders urged that our Social Principles be revised to become more succinct, globally relevant, and theologically and biblically grounded, but then the GBCS ultimately took over this project to in many ways redirect the rewriting of the Social Principles in a way that serves to inject the biases of the GBCS’s own monolithically liberal programmatic staff, while keeping the most liberal Americans in charge of much of this supposed globalizing process.

I have carefully read through the GBCS’s proposed replacement Social Principles with a fine-toothed comb. Meticulously identifying what they have changed from our current Social Principles took some time, as the GBCS has not, in any public place I have seen, highlighted what specific parts it is trying to change.

While our current Social Principles are far from perfect, it is striking to see how bold the GBCS is in changing and replacing the values of numerous sections, often showing little to no deference to the communal wisdom of how previous General Conferences have established the language of our present Social Principles by a much more transparent and representative process of discussion and negotiation. The GBCS has added many citations of Scripture and John Wesley, but these are often wildly out of context, irrelevant, or just plain wrong (such as the GBCS’s citation, at one point, the non-existent biblical chapter of Matthew 29).

The full document of the GBCS’s proposed replacement Social Principles has been posted online here, while this section of the UMC.org website includes links to each section of our current Social Principles (along with the Social Creed, which is not apparently slated GBCS rewrite).

Between now and the end of August, the GBCS is accepting online feedback on its proposed replacement Social Principles at www.umcjustice.org/sp2020

The official plan is for to GBCS to revise their proposed replacement Social Principles in response to this feedback, and then submit the revised version of their replacement Social Principles for possible adoption by the 2020 General Conference.

I strongly encourage all concerned, theologically traditionalist United Methodists to go to the above link and register their concerns.  Below, I have highlighted some of the more notable ways in which the GBCS’s rewrite would change our current Social Principles.

But first, there are a few points to keep in mind.

In evaluating what sort of language and political positions I would like to see in the Social Principles, I must remember that this is an OFFICIAL teaching document for our WHOLE diverse, global denomination, and that there are different places of church law that require clergy, as well as laypeople in some leadership positions, to be loyal to these Social Principles. So just because a certain political position reflects my own personal opinions and biases, that should not be a good enough reason for me to want to see it in the authoritative Social Principles imposed on our whole denomination. It would seem better for the Social Principles to be politically non-partisan, stick to key values that are clearly grounded in biblical teaching and Christian, Wesleyan tradition, and avoid being too one-sided over matters on which faithful Christians with an equally high view of Scripture can and do disagree.

For each of the six main sections of the Social Principles, the GBCS asks survey respondents the same questions. First, the survey asks how well you think their proposed replacement language “reflects the unique theological, historical, and moral perspectives within the global United Methodist Church” – in other words, how well you feel it reflects our Christian spiritual tradition as Methodists and ecumenical Christians as well as how well it represents the values of our global denomination’s members, rather than those of just a small, elite, liberal minority. Then it asks you, separately, if you feel the changes made in the proposed rewrite would make the section shorter, more theologically grounded, and more attuned to the concerns of the global church. Then it asks you what parts of the rewrite spoke powerfully to you – in other words, what you liked. Then it asks you what you dislike and want to improve in this section. On the final page of the survey, you can tell the GBCS if there are other issues you feel that any new Social Principles should also address (beyond those covered), and if you have any further or general thoughts.

And apparently, it is acceptable to decline to answer some of the questions.

Again, here is the survey:

www.umcjustice.org/sp2020

What follows is NOT comprehensive listing of all the changes the GBCS’s replacement document would make to our current Social Principles, but simply a highlighting of some of the most significant changes this rewrite would make for each section:

The Natural World (Renamed “The Community of All Creation”)

2,438 words, an 87 percent increase from the 1,306 words in 2012 Discipline (the version that was operative when the GBCS began this project)

  • Add more specific details in making scientific judgments about the causes and effects of global warming / climate change (Section D. Climate Change)
  • Adds language calling for economic “redistribution of resources” (Section E. Sustainability)
  • Goes beyond acknowledging God as Creator to simply call all of creation as “good” in the present tense, without acknowledging the horrible consequences of the Fall, or acknowledging that such things as the HIV virus or bubonic plague may not be as unambiguously “good” as all of creation was before the Fall (Section E. Environmental Justice)
  • Calls God the “soul of the universe” (Section H. Space). While the GBCS accurately notes that this phrase was used by Wesley, the lack of context could suggest unbiblical, sub-Christian, New Age, pantheist views that deny how God is separate from and superior to His creation (clearly different from Wesley’s meaning). Remember, the Social Principles are to be a teaching document for the church.

The Nurturing Community

2,433 words, a slight decrease from the 2,681 words in the 2012 Discipline. But a lot is lost in these word cuts.

  • Appears to take a morally relativistic approach to families, removing the word “fidelity” from things that should characterize families and declares that no family configuration is “more significant than another” (B. Family)
  • Somewhat oddly inserts an unclear phrase opposing “attitudes and practices that … deny the call of any person,” which is the same language used by advocates of ordaining homosexually active clergy (D. Gender Equality). If this is adopted, we can be confident that the GBCS’s liberal caucus allies would use this sentence to claim a legal basis for disregarding other parts of the Discipline denying ordination to those who refuse to abstain from sexual relations outside of marriage between one man and one woman.
  • Declares, “Discrimination based on gender identity is a sin” (D. Gender Equality). In the LGBTQ liberationist ideology to which the GBCS leadership has long been committed, “gender identity” is a reference to transgenderism, and means something very different than one’s simple physical and genetic reality as being male or female (you can read more here). Interestingly, the ONLY thing in 36 pages that the GBCS rewrite identifies as “a sin” is failure to accept the claims of transgender activists and ideologies.
  • DELETES present language which affirms marriage as a uniquely special relationship, defines marriage as being between “a man and a woman,” declares that “God’s plan is for lifelong, faithful marriage,” calls for “encouraging reconciliation wherever possible” in divorce proceedings, and expresses concern about “high divorce rates.” Changing our denomination’s definition of marriage by deleting all of those phrases just quoted would make the UMC’s official definition of marriage open to same-sex couples as well as to polygamy. (E. Marriage and Divorce)
  • DELETES statement that “sexual relations where one or both partners are … promiscuous are beyond the parameters of acceptable Christian behavior and are ultimately destructive of the social order” (G. Sexual Exploitation and Violence)
  • Completely replaces current UMC stance on abortion by removing ALL current statements taking even a moderately pro-life attitude toward unborn human life, broadly declaring support for “legal access to abortion” with no qualifications or restrictions, and reframing abortion as a matter of “reproductive health” (I. Reproductive Health). Click here for details and a thoughtful response.
  • Completely DELETES current statements encouraging adoption and rather mildly promoting compassion and pastoral care for those who experience stress as a result of a past abortion
  • DELETES current statements opposing “assisted suicide” and saying that “suicide is not the way a human life should end” (J. Death and Dying)

The Social Community

2,601 words, a 41 percent decrease from the 4,428 words in the 2012 Discipline.

  • Shifts the basis for support for human rights from the biblically based theological foundation of “affirm[ing] all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God” to instead focusing on the secular document of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Preface)
  • DELETES affirmation of “our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol as a faithful witness,” and also DELETES phrase calling on those who do drink alcohol to use “Scripture as a guide” (B. Addictions and Substance Abuse). In discussing alcohol and other drugs, this same section oddly avoids any citation or acknowledgement of the Bible’s repeatedly negative treatment of intoxication (e.g., Proverbs 23:20-21; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 5:11, 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18-19; 1 Peter 4:1-6).
  • Diminishes concerns expressed about bioethics, by DELETING language which currently “oppose[s] the cloning of humans,” criticizes scientific procedures “that produce waste embryos” (that is, that intentionally create new embryonic human beings who are then deemed unneeded and so are killed), and denounces “[g]enetic therapies for eugenic choices.” (D. Medical and Genetic Experimentation). Eugenics refers to practices of seeking to ensure that new children will be those lacking genetic characteristics some judge to be “undesirable.”
  • While maintaining support for “comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education” elsewhere (I. Reproductive Health in the Nurturing Community above), this rewrite DELETES current modifier that “Christian parents and guardians and the Church have the responsibility to ensure that children receive sex education consistent with Christian morality, including faithfulness in marriage and abstinence in singleness” (I. Rights of Children and Young People)
  • DELETES numerous current moral concerns expressed about mass media, including noting how some things in popular mass media “are often in a stark contrast to human and Christian values,” saying that “United Methodists…must be made aware that the mass media often undermine the truths of Christianity by promoting permissive lifestyles and detailing acts of graphic violence,” and declaring that “[f]or the sake of our human family, Christians must work together to halt this erosion of moral and ethical values in the world community” (N. Media and Communication Technology)
  • Quotes John Wesley’s “Catholic Spirit” sermon, which addressed the spiritual unity among Christians of different denominations who held a common core of biblical faith, in an out-of-context way that could seem to imply that this extends to adherents of every other religion (G. Rights of Religious Minorities)
  • DELETES current statement that “We oppose any policy of forced abortion or sterilization”

The Political Community

1,563 words, a reduction of 13 percent from the 1,796 words in the 2012 Discipline.

  • DELETES current language saying that affirming democracy – in which government leaders are “determined by exercise of the right to vote guaranteed to all adult citizens” – as a preferred form of government (B. Basic Rights and Freedoms)
  • DELETES language limiting support for disobeying laws as a protest to situations in which the protesters have first “exhausted all legal recourse,” among other things (D. Civil Disobedience)
  • Goes beyond mere calls for criminal justice systems to seek restoration of offenders, by further using broad language to speak against offenders “receiving punishment” (E. Restorative Justice). C.S. Lewis had a powerful critique of such thinking that is worth considering.
  • Enhances current statement calling for the abolition of the death penalty by adding additional language declaring that it is always “contrary to the will of God” (F. Death Penalty). This new language brings several concerns. When God commanded the theocracy of Old Testament Israel to institute the death penalty, was this also “contrary to the will of God”? Secondly, part of our Doctrinal Standards include John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, in his notes on Romans 13:4 (“rulers do not bear the sword for no reason”), Wesley explicitly affirms that “capital punishment” is something that governments have a God-given “right to inflict.” This new language would create more of a contradiction between the UMC Social Principles and John Wesley himself! Thirdly, some United Methodists take the position that governments have an inherent right to inflict the death penalty when necessary (thus agreeing with Wesley), but that in modern societies, like the USA or Japan, stable enough to be able to keep dangerously violent murderers imprisoned with minimal risk of escape, the government should refrain to exercise its right to actually execute criminals, as an act of mercy. Such nuanced positions could be excluded by this new language.
  • On a related note, despite this rewrite adding numerous citations of various Bible verses (often wildly out of context), nowhere in this entire chapter about United Methodist views of government is there any mention of what is arguably the key New Testament text for such matters: Romans 13:1-7.

The Economic Community

3,294 words, an increase of 38 percent from the 2,383 words in the 2012 Discipline.

  • Offers a curiou, portrait of what the GBCS sees as MOST fundamental about Christianity, by declaring that “alleviation of poverty and the pursuit of just and equitable economies stands at the very heart of Christian discipleship” rather than being secondary matters that flow from a foundation of repentance and submission to Christ’s Lordship (Preface), and by referencing “Jesus’ ministry to…eradicate both the effects and root causes of poverty,” but without citing any specific biblical examples of Christ working to “eradicate” systemic root causes of poverty (A. Equity)
  • Similarly, claims that individual people “find their ultimate purpose in helping to create and sustain communities characterized by justice and compassion”—in other words, that people’s “ultimate purpose” is found in what THEY do to promote social justice, rather than in what God has done FOR them (J. Corporate and Social Responsibility). This invites such questions as: can’t atheists do that as well? If so, what need is there for God?
  • Speaks negatively of international trade, acknowledging that it has “undoubtedly benefitted some,” but broadly blaming it for having “created or exacerbated a significant set of challenges” such as economic inequalities, environmental degradation, and conditions for workers, while saying little to affirm the importance of globalized trade in the economic development of many nations of the Global South (C. Globalization)
  • DELETES current stance that “We reject the use of violence by either party during collective bargaining or any labor/ management disagreement” (F. Labor and Employment)
  • Oddly, in addressing slavery in Sub-Section H (Human Trafficking) and elsewhere, this rewrite avoids mention of the New Testament’s directly addressing slave trafficking in 1 Timothy 1:8-11, by classifying slave trading alongside other serious sins
  • Completely DELETES ¶163.M, a statement of concern about “Public Indebtedness,” which was submitted by an annual conference and overwhelmingly adopted by its committee and then the plenary session of the 2012 General Conference. The way this statement criticizes irresponsible over-spending by governments, supports balanced budgets, and urges governments to “live within their means” perhaps clashed too much with the GBCS’s ideological commitment to continually increasing the size and costs of national governments.

The World Community

2,047 words, a 152 percent increase from 813 words in the 2012 Discipline.

  • Sub-Sections E (War and Peace) and F (Peacebuilding) maintain the controversial decision of recent General Conferences to roll back how earlier versions of the Social Principles more clearly allowed for the moral permissibility of waging war “as a last resort” for the sake of “the prevention of such evils as genocide, brutal suppression of human rights, and unprovoked international aggression.” This rewrite adds several citations from Scripture about God’s promotion of peace, between military powers as well as in interpersonal relationships. These citations are not wrong, but rather are a bit selective, ignoring such other important principles as governments’ responsibility to use violent force when necessary to restrain evil (per Romans 13), the prophetic warning against crying “Peace, peace” when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11), and Jesus Christ’s own strong words that he did not come, initially, to bring peace but rather a sword (Matthew 10:34ff).
  • In otherwise strong new Sub-Section H on Religious Freedom, which includes an explicit affirmation of the right of individuals to choose their religion (very important for Muslim-majority societies in which this is severely restricted), this rewrite oddly chooses to ground support for religious freedom for all in “presuppose[ing] the integrity” of people’s religious choices. It is not clear what exactly the GBCS means by this quoted phrase. But this raises questions about the lack of recognition for how the Fall has widely tainted human choices by flawed understanding and sinful motives. We need not agree that other people’s contradictory religious choices are good in order to affirm their right to make such choices without government coercion. The GBCS here ignores other Christian foundations for supporting the religious freedom of others, such as the Golden Rule.

General Comments

  • Much of this proposed rewrite takes great care to avoid using biblical pronouns for God such as “He” and “His.”
  • At numerous places, this document appears to reflect the GBCS’s unbiblical Universalist theology, by taking blessings and promises the Bible is clear in specifically applying to Christians and instead applying them to all people, regardless of whether or not they ultimately accept Christ. For example, in the Nurturing Community section, the GBCS “affirm[s] that all persons are adopted into the family of God” (B. Family), directly contradicting New Testament teaching about how being adopted to become children of God only comes through faith in Christ.
  • Some Old Testament citations follow a pattern of American liberal Protestantism of very selectively quoting particular commandments God gave to theocratic nation-state of ancient Israel and automatically applying them to particular governments today, or to other entities for whom the GBCS finds such proof-texting to be convenient.
  • In addressing numerous global social ills, this rewrite does not include any clear reference to the Fall, which is rather central to both biblical, Wesleyan faith as well as to any Christian understanding of such problems.

I encourage any United Methodists who have concerns about any of the changes noted above to hurry to register them at www.umcjustice.org/sp2020

  1. Comment by Mike on August 1, 2018 at 8:59 am

    In other words, the liberals will be very pleased with this, and the conservatives (who are the true Christians and Methodists) will continue to exit, but at higher rates, should this rewrite actually be adopted.

  2. Comment by sharon white on August 28, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    we sure will exit the UMC if these and other un Godly changes are made to our church rules.

  3. Comment by Scott on August 1, 2018 at 11:01 am

    At course of study this year we were broken into groups, given 45 minutes to study a section, and then asked to comment on our section. While we could not be as thorough as John has been, I doubt the man from GBCS was happy with our responses. The survey asked how we thought this reflected the values of Methodist in other countries. I noted the people in the US could not reasonably speak for people in Africa and elsewhere. I also noted that Africans were highly under-represented on the commission that drew up the proposed changes. If I remember correctly there were only 3 Africans on the commission and none on the executive committee, when 38% of all United Methodists live in Africa. Do the progressives on the commission really want to be inclusive, or do they think they know better what the Africans need than the Africans. To me it smacks of racism. Here is a resolution for GC2020. All UMC boards must have proportional representation from all conferences worldwide. Some people might find that scary, I find it to be a reflection of the makeup of Heaven.

  4. Comment by Josh on August 1, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Here’s a proposal: scrap the Social Principles all together and reduce the BOD to a manageable size. And also, rewrite it in the language of ordinary, everyday people. There is no sense for so much of it to be written in “Robert’s Rulese.” John Wesley said “common speech for common people.”

    Does anyone even read these Social Principles? I’ve read them but the church is so divided and the leadership not respected that these principles are useless to the common life of the church.

    Just get rid of it all together, reduce the bloated size of the BOD, actually seek to follow it, enforce, and get on with mission. I don’t know if folks in the upper echelon are aware of just how out of touch they seem. Get out of the board meetings and serve on the local level for God’s sake!

  5. Comment by Creed Pogue on August 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I would agree with Josh that the Social Principles should be removed from the Book of Discipline since they are not church law.

    But, if the total word count has gone from 13,407 to 14,376, then it would seem to have failed in the basic mission to make them more succinct.

  6. Comment by William on August 1, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Yes, remove it from the BOD and eliminate the Board of Church & Society, which is nothing but a left wing lobby/activists group closely aligned with the Democratic Party.

  7. Comment by Lee Cary on July 14, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Excellent idea, William.

    But, in the near future, it will die on its own.

    It’s over – thought its babbling advocates just don’t know it, so full they are of their own self-righteous virtue-signaling.

  8. Comment by Paul W. on August 2, 2018 at 12:49 am

    As John has done a good job detailing, the document is an extremely poor rewrite which includes many out-of-context and even a fake John Wesley quote! The content is definitely very liberal but the worst part is how they chose to incorporate Scripture in order to give it a “Christian” veneer; instead of using Scripture to develop their positions, they clearly started with a completely secular writeup and went back after the fact to incorporate Scripture references, often badly out-of-context, into the sections. I did a test to verify this; each section is much easier to read and much more coherent if you skip over every Scripture reference and Wesley quote.

    I decided not to submit comments on the document after thinking it through. It would be a waste of time since clearly the authors couldn’t be bothered to produce a document that is truly reflective of the UMC. Worse, they couldn’t even be bothered to assemble a team to competently provide Scriptural or Wesleyan support for their positions. They couldn’t even be bothered to have anyone proof-read the thing! So, why would I then expect this team to suddenly do a 180 and actually care at all about comments attempting to correct the multitude of problems with their document? It needs almost a complete rewrite, not minor markups. I’m not going to waste my time; hopefully a clear message will be sent to GCBS when it gets voted down at GC2020. If the Traditionalist plan passes at GC2019, the next step will be to clean house at our apostate agencies that insist on producing embarassing pseudo-Christian dreck like this document.

  9. Comment by Mary R on August 2, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Could not agree more Paul.

  10. Comment by Bruce Fensterbush on August 2, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Once again the GBCS reveals its liberal bias. I agree with others who not only call for a “no” vote on this disastrous rewrite, but also for a proposal to the 2020GC to eliminate the GBCS. It does not speak for the majority of United Methodists and it seems to parrot every policy of the liberal left in our culture. It’s time for the GBCS to go.

  11. Comment by Charlotte Dillard on August 19, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    If this rewrite passes then the Methodist Church as we know it today will be forever changed and it will not be for the better either. There will be a great exodus from the church. Recommend a “No” vote at 2020GC

  12. Comment by Jim Hubbard on August 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Nay Nay Nay! A thousand times NAY! It is not up to the church to change to become like the masses, the church should be trying to bring the masses back to the true religion. Even the small steps we have already seen are damaging our churches and our sond and daughters. Remain strong, and the masses will join you.

  13. Comment by Mary Neal on August 2, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Anything the GBCS does to change the meaning of the Word of God is not acceptable. We had this discussion at my church in Virginia and many of the members are ready to leave the church.

  14. Comment by Kathy on August 2, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    I am not alone when I say..church law must be based on the scriptures of our LORD and SAVIOR not on the “wants” of those living outside of the Christian beliefs. We should welcome all to our churches with the understanding of teaching from the scriptures. People purposely living in sin need to be removed from places of leadership. The fastest way to split the Methodist Church is to try and make me change my beliefs…one person tried to change me and I told that person that to make me change my beliefs is like me telling her she couldn’t marry her man…she didn’t try to change my mind again.

  15. Comment by Edward on August 2, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    As the UMC crumbles under satanic attack with the aid of their own members I call upon every Christ centered, Bible believing member to stand up and be counted! To also build a chain of Prayer vigils to call our Lord God Almighty to overthrow this evil attack and rid the UMC of these corrupted souls. Lest, we fall the same as the ancient people who ignored the Prophets warnings to return to the Lord!

  16. Comment by Edward on August 2, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    Just vote NO!

  17. Comment by Jason on August 2, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    This article should be re-titled “GBCS discovers lost chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.” ?

  18. Comment by Lance Thomas on August 3, 2018 at 3:47 am

    Seems like the left is always looking for ways to undermine the church & weaken & distort the Gospel. Although I agree with the sentiments stated above, I suggest that comments be submitted as John implores. Otherwise the GBCS will argue that no objection equals acceptance or agreement. That being said, I believe any rewrite should be tabled until after the 2019 GC vote.

  19. Comment by Tom Perkins on August 3, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Theology is constant. Views of theology is not constant, The progressive view or liberal view changes theology to fit their changing views. The traditional view faces constant challenges but remains steady in the affirmation of scripture as the inspired Word of God. I am a Traditionalist

  20. Comment by Mary Phillips on August 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Remove the Board of Church and Society. Go back to the correct teachings of John Wesley and the Bible. Our church was a growing entity up until 1967 when we were joined with other more progressive organisations.

  21. Comment by Dave Gingrich on August 7, 2018 at 8:49 am

    They got one right – the change on alcohol.

  22. Comment by Penny on August 9, 2018 at 1:56 am

    I copied your article, John, and printed it, then opened the survey and also the copy of the proposed Principles. I commented but I doubt those in charge will care. The ridiculous question on each section about the proposed wordings being SUCCINCT … what was that about? Nothing “succinct” about any of it. It was extremely wordy and seemed almost deliberately confusing in some parts. The progressive left will all reply in the feedback and the Methodists who are supposed to be standing up for traditional values will wake up and find it all changed. Then the split will occur.

  23. Comment by Kathe on August 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    My heart is just broken. I can’t even begin to respond to this with anything besides grief. “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me–the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” Jeremiah 2:13

  24. Comment by Sharon on August 15, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I am basically appalled at this editing of our social principles. I don’t understand how countless hours of work & untold number of people have been a part of drafting these social principles and now they can be so drastically be changed by only a few persons? The changes are in opposition to the basic beliefs of Christianity for thousands of years. This is unbiblical & shocking. We don’t need these editing changes unless we want to take a stand for having no social principles at all.

  25. Comment by Danny Cox on August 16, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Here is a radical idea. Do away with the Social Principles. The world doesn’t care what we think, we have no influence any longer. Social Principles on serve to divid us and distract us from focusing on making disciples. The homosexual and abortion language elsewhere could remain.

  26. Comment by Lloyd Fleming on August 18, 2018 at 11:41 am

    These comments have really helped me understand the revisions better. If you folks are against them in the ways and for the reasons you describe, then I am definitely for them.

  27. Comment by Nina Long on August 20, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    It really infuriates me that my offerings go to support the work of GBCS. What a waste of time and money that could be better spent in more meaningful missions. And it infuriates me that my money goes to support the Bishops who think they rule our church and know better what is good for it. The Bishops and these boards are so out of touch with what the majority of UMC members believe, I think the only solution is to get rid of them and start fresh. It would be a waste of time to write any of these people.

  28. Comment by Steve on August 23, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    I don’t think the GBC&S has made a single statement that I agree with. I would definitely by for dissolving this board. It doesn’t represent my views or the views of most of the people at the last two churches where I have been a pastor.

  29. Comment by Henning M Poulsen on August 24, 2018 at 5:17 am

    As a scandinavian to whom english is second language, it’s good enough to read and understand both the proposal and Johns commends, but it will be too difficult to me to give specific commentarys. Just saying: this hole proposal is a miss, no good for nothing.

  30. Comment by John Lomperis on August 24, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Thank you for commenting, Henning. The link at the end of the article above will take you to a place where you have an option of responding to the questions in English OR French, Portuguese, or Swahili, if that’s any help.

  31. Comment by Bill Bond on August 24, 2018 at 9:46 am

    The GBCS has wrapped this change in a soft black furry animal with a white stripe. It looks innocent from a distance, but once you get a hold of it, then you realized it is a skunk that will perpetually ooze rank perfume.

  32. Comment by Betty Katiyo on August 25, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I am of the opinion that GBCS should have given people a revised document with tracked changes so that is easier to see what exactly they altered and whether they are addressing their 3 mandates. They seem to be biased towards the Liberals and are not being Globally focused. Why redefine marriage? What has changed in marriage? Why are we supporting abortion and affirming transgenderism???

    I am of the opinion that this document should not be presented at the 2020 GC. There is need to be transparent in this exercise which has and is gobbling finances and resources which could have been channeled for mission work to bring people to Christ.

    I know that they have gone round in Africa with the draft but after talking to a number of people who participated in the presentation, most of them did not even see that there were these undesirable changes that are not Biblical and which are not compatible with the UMC teachings.

    I agree with someone who said the composition of GBCS needs looking into to for fair representation. Dear Lord help us.

  33. Comment by Barbara Huggins on August 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    We have been given God’s word , the Bible. We have already changed too many things to accommodate others in their thinking. Time to stop. We must stand firm in the word of God.

  34. Comment by Tess Bradlee on August 27, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    thank you for your painstaking work

  35. Comment by William Hines on August 27, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    The Bible is true and man is a lier. Only The Holy Spirit can bring unity in body of Christ not man spirit which is sinful

  36. Comment by F.R. Holt on August 28, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I would posit that the problem seems to be the GBCS is more interested in politics than in faith, the Bible, or the UMC as a whole. It seems as if the General Board of Church and Society should change its name to just the General Board of Society. They have dismissed the teaching of the Church and seek to rebuild themselves in the mold of the secular media, who are, after all, in such discussions with the sole purpose to make money. One wonders what has tempted this board to ignore the plain teaching of Scripture and seek to align their recommendations to the secular leftists.

  37. Comment by Mike on August 28, 2018 at 10:34 am

    God is holy, loving, and unchanging. Man is fallen and infected with a terminal disease called sin. Jesus is our only hope. He is the way, the truth and the life. God’s word is also holy and unchanging, and we do not need to “update” it to conform to our own sinfulness. We need to let its truth expose the sin in our lives, repent, and put to death our old sinful nature. He is coming again to judge all mankind, and soon, and we’d better be ready for it, not trying to water His Word down to fit our sin.

  38. Comment by Yayuba Bazel Yoila on August 29, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Be content with your call. Keep Jesus Christ as your focus.It’s his body, his church, his work, and he will keep it going. Pls the GBCS ,Don’t let ego get in God’s way. Let us used our providential call and the Ecclesiastical call . We are going to let foibles and flaws of some to destroy UMC. Respect the Tradition of founding father and understand the importance it has in the people’s Lives,today in UMC.

  39. Comment by Daniel Hammans on August 29, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    voting no is the only option! Anything less would be to condone sin.

  40. Comment by Mary Neal on August 30, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    If the Conference keeps backing down to the liberals and changing God’s word to be the word according to non believers and liberals the church will die. Many members have already left the church and many more are waiting for the vote and sand ready to leave. Why would any of you who have the power to make the changes want to destroy the church ? If the LGBT really believed they were right they would have left the church already and started their own denomination. It seems they are willing to destroy the church just to say they won. May God be with those who vote to destroy the church.

  41. Comment by Chuck Morton on February 27, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Always have to label people , maybe you are wrong and are destroying the church. One thing is for sure, people that are labeled as liberals understand God’s word far more than you and are much more Christian

  42. Comment by Nelda Anderson on January 13, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    I’ve read many comments on the UMC changes. My husband and I are deeply saddened by so much unnessary controversy. The Bible was written for Christians to follow, not bend for things that are NOT BIBLICAL! Personally I see UMC rapidly going down hill. How Sad! God help us please.

  43. Comment by Judith Foster on June 5, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    What an eye opener! Thanks so much John. I agree with the writer who said a side/by/side transcript of what was and what will be would help really see the changes suggested! Do away with this board. They’re out of touch with the common person in the pew. And I just want to add, only 4% of Americans identify as LGBT+ (as reported in many polls: Gallup, NYT, NPR, etc. … check it out online) and we’re changing our core beliefs for this small minority? Why?

The work of IRD is made possible by your generous contributions.

Receive expert analysis in your inbox.