2019 UMC General Conference

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United Methodism

March 2, 2019

New Global, Orthodox Identity for United Methodists Surprises Many

The late Richard Neuhaus once recalled that in the 1970s it was widely expected among religious cognoscenti that United Methodism would be the first of America’s historically liberal Mainline Protestant denominations to abandon traditional Christian sexual ethics. After all, it was the largest and most Americanized of mainline churches, and it wasn’t protected by strong traditions of liturgy or ecclesiology. Its experiential theology often seemed muddled.

When Neuhaus shared that recollection in 2005, the Episcopal Church and United Church of Christ had already surrendered. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) were on their way. Besides the American Baptist Church (liberal northern counterpart to Southern Baptists), only United Methodism among the “seven sisters” of mainline Protestantism has officially retained Christian teaching that sex is exclusively for husband and wife.

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31 Responses to New Global, Orthodox Identity for United Methodists Surprises Many

  1. Skipper says:

    Yes, many will be surprised and Praise God that the UMC has been faithful to God! Did God intervene to help the passage of the Traditional Plan with Amendments? We know many of our bishops and others worked against it. Yet God’s Way of Living prevailed! This conference went so much better than 2016 when the majority was thwarted. I believe God helped us. Let us Praise God!

    Isaiah 5:20-21 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil … Woe to those who are wise in their own opinions and clever in their own sight.”

    Proverbs 13:1 “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a mocker doesn’t listen to rebuke.”

    Psalm 121:1-2
    “I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
    Where will my help come from?
    My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.”

    • David says:

      My logical mind will be forever perplexed by such reactions as these. We are, after all, talking about tweaking language that was added two centuries after the founding of Methodism. It was and continues to be an emotional knee jerk in the same way that adding “in God we trust” to our currency during the Cold War was.
      It reminds me of the obsession that evangelicals have with posting the ten commandments everywhere while ignoring hundreds of OLd Testament laws. Some choose to look for scriptural support for what they already feel. That is our right and was supported by the One Church plan. Unfortunately politics ruled the day and a different path backward was selected.
      I will return to my local church tomorrow (on the day Christians have chosen for the Sabbath) and reaffirm to members of our congregation that they are indeed whole members of the body of Christ. Lest we never forget whose we are!

    • clearwaterguy says:

      Blah Blah Blah, who cares about those silly fairy tales you ramble on about!

  2. Gary Bebop says:

    Excellent summary by Mark Tooley. I am sharing it widely. Will Progressive Methodism accept the tilt of church leadership to the Africans, or refuse it, in a further hideous tantrum at Minneapolis 2020? Traditionalists must insist the church remain a global church and one that accepts full African participation in governance.

  3. William says:

    Traditionalists need to close ranks and start petitioning their progressive brethren to form a new denomination— the Progressive Methodist Church. Unless they do depart and do this, then we will know for sure that their goal all along has been to destroy the United Methodist Church.

  4. Marc Thompson says:

    God has blessed the UMC with the clarity of the traditional view of scripture regarding marriage and those who proclaim the word of God. The conferences’ bonus revelation in this… is an “All” nations cohesive effort to remain faithful to the teaching of the truth of God’s word. May you all stand firm against any false teachings promoted by a western society that seeks not only confirmation of their ideals of progressive morality… but requires acceptance of their socially determined truth irrespective of Holy Scripture. May all of us… across all denominations unified solely in Christ… be encouraged by the UMC passage of the Traditional Plan!

  5. David says:

    “America’s” is a strange way to describe the present denomination.

    • John Kenyon says:

      Not so strange at all. That smug, holier than thou, ‘leave it to Beaver’ look alike posture on Mark Tooley’s face says it all. Like US white conservatives can tell Africans what to say and think about Christianity? He should be weeping in the photo.

      • William says:

        Flip that one. It is the Africans who are telling their mostly white liberal UMC brethren how egregiously wrong they are. And they also pushing back against the left racism on display — all this from the same liberal playbook as in the character assassination of Mark Tooley here.

      • Michael Moore says:

        Your description of Mark Tooley reminds me of the commentator who said of the Covington youth at the Lincoln Memorial, that he had a “punchable face”. Think about it-is this what Jesus would say? Indeed, it seems out of character for you

  6. The Constellations Never Change, We are a Motionless World & Everything We See Above Revolves Around us. As Soon as All of Us realize that Fact, Lord God is Waiting for Us Outside. We Do Not need any of these False Preachers who have Knowingly been Hiding Our Very Existence. Psalms 104:5 Motionless, Psalms 93:1 Foundations, Job 38:31-33 Orion- Pleiades & The Constellations, Job 37:18 Firmament Above, Psalms 19:1-6 Sun runs Circuit Above Circle, Isaiah 40:22 Above Circle – Firmament, Proverbs 8:27-29 Horizon on the Water. LaVerne Valdez

  7. Skipper says:

    This information shows the lay Methodists in and out of the U.S. are close to the same. But there is a huge difference in bishops, 46 in the U.S. And only 20 outside. The discrimination against Africans needs to stop and allow more representation. What a shift fairness would make in the Council of Bishops. I would imagine the same is true for delegates. It seems the Progressives have their own version of the the Three Fifths Compromise in U.S. History which discriminated against slaves.

    http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/united-methodists-at-a-glance

  8. Faith says:

    I am not a theologian by any means, but I do love Jesus and I ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand Scripture and to make sense out of what’s going on in the world today.

    Everything God does has purpose and meaning. He created man and woman to populate the earth. This cannot be done in a same sex “marriage”, thus there is no purpose to those relationships. Same sex “marriages” and relationships are against His laws of nature.

    As for Open Minds, Open Doors, and Open Hearts–I would not want to open my mind to just anything these days. That could be dangerous. There is a battle for our minds and we are warned about it in the Bible. As for our hearts, the Bible also tells us to guard our hearts. Open the doors to God’s house, yes, but don’t allow false teachers or beliefs.

    I attended the Methodist church for a few years and I know firsthand the good works that they do, but I never trusted the Open Minds, Open Hearts and Open Doors policy. I fear God will judge this denomination if they slide any further into liberalism. There is a reason your Mama told you not to play in the road–boundaries keep you safe. Liberalism has no boundaries and it’s a dangerous place to play.

    Maybe my comment is a bit simplistic, but I believe it to be the Truth.

    • Jim says:

      Well said Faith!

    • Jim J Dukes says:

      Faith,
      There is nothing wrong with stating the simple Truth as long as it is God’s Truth as is yours. God bless you. Shalom.

    • Tom says:

      “Open Minds, Open Doors, and Open Hearts”

      That’s just a marketing slogan. Unfortunately many people have assumed its UMC theological doctrine. It’s not.

      • John Smith says:

        I always called it Open Doors, Open Hearts, Empty Minds. In truth it was always just another marketing program designed to address the UMC’s perceived crisis of empty pews and collection plates. And with the wrong goal and the wrong approach the UMC’s crisis continues to worsen.

  9. Sheila Seymour says:

    God is love.

    • John Smith says:

      God is a lot of things, holy, just, avenger, jealous, the list goes on. The important thing here is: Love is not God. God is not mocked. God is a consuming fire.

  10. Frank Koller says:

    To my brother David: Logic is of this world. As Children of the light we are in the world but not of the world. My dearest brothers have intense logical training (Phd Nuclear Physics; Phd Electrical Engineer) I have a BS in Aeronautics and an MBA. Logic is the primary skill set for each of our professions, but for each of us logic stops at the Throne of God! There is nothing logical about the Grace of God, thank God!

  11. John Smith says:

    I’m just wondering if the church in the US and Europe can humble itself enough to accept leadership from Africa. Too often the attitude seems to be “We paid for it; we’ll do the walking and the talking.”

  12. Bruce says:

    I hope and pray that you are right, Mark. Our Michigan Bishop is on the far left and will be with the LGBTQ whatever at the 2020 Conference. Makes me sick!

  13. Keith says:

    I am reeling from a recent conversation where I was pretty much accused of being just a “Bible thumper.” I just heard a message from my bishop and the lay and clergy delegate leaders from General Conference where they pretty much share their sadness that we couldn’t see the “bigger picture.” Then my friend launched into a speech on how the Bible is filled with beautiful stories NOT meant to be taken literally. Anyway, I shared how I agreed there were many different types of literature in the Bible and that all are filled with eternal principles that God wants us to live by. Then I said, “Stories or not, no where is sex outside the God ordained relationship of one man to one woman for a life time ever deviated from. It is God’s idea and we should uphold its sacredness. At the same time, I will uphold the sanctity of all life and pray for those who may have felt hurt by the General Conference decision. For me, I now must exemplify scriptural holiness and love to a greater degree than ever so that the LGBTQ+ persons can see and hopefully give my witness the chance to speak to their hearts about our gracious, awesome Lord who died to give us eternal life and new life.

  14. Is the Discipline going to be enforced now?
    Who will be the ones courageous enough to call for Trials?
    How will immorality and heresy be expunged from UMC?
    Are we going to just drift along like we have since 1972, fearful
    of cleansing the denomination of open heresy and immorality?
    If we do don’t hold people accountable to the discipline, then nothing will change. What good is the Discipline if we do not uphold it like we said when we took our vows to become pastors in this denomination. Out here in West their is total disregard for the discipline. They just do what they want, what they have always gotten away with, while stopping Bible believing evangelicals from being ordained as elders, and holding mock trials and lynching for those who stand up to them.

  15. clearwaterguy says:

    Who cares what they or any other group thinks, Religion has severed and artery and death is imminent!

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