Chinese United Methodist Church

November 5, 2019

Chinese-American United Methodist Leaders Celebrate Traditional Plan, Reject “Resistance” Movement

At its recent biannual meeting, the General Assembly of the National Chinese Caucus of The United Methodist Church almost unanimously approved a resolution declaring support for the February 2019 UMC General Conference’s adoption of the Traditional Plan.  The resolution also very broadly rejects actions of “resistance” to the decision that have been promoted by liberal white American caucus leaders and bishops in recent months.

The full text of this brief resolution, entitled “A Statement On Faithful Forward,” is as follows: “In light of the resistance to the decision of the 2019 Special General Conference in favor of the Traditional Plan, the National Chinese Caucus of The United Methodist Church makes this open statement: We support the decision of the 2019 Special General Conference and disagree with all actions contrary to the 2019 decision.”

This was approved on October 19 with 41 votes in favor, not one opposing vote, and just three abstentions.

The resolution was presented by the caucus’s Immediate Past Chair, the Rev. Dr. Peter Lau.  Despite the same last name, he is no relation to the caucus’s current chair, Pastor Puong Ong Lau.

The National Chinese Caucus includes all of the Chinese-speaking United Methodist congregations scattered around the United States (mainly serving immigrant populations), as well as a number of Chinese American clergy and laity from other congregations. It convenes a General Meeting and Leadership Training Event for dozens of Chinese-American United Methodist leaders every other year.

In 1999, the caucus passed a resolution strongly supporting the biblical standards on sexual morality that were already part of our denomination’s governing Book of Discipline at that time.

Interestingly, its 2019 gathering was held within the notoriously radicalized New York Annual Conference, whose leadership has been at the forefront of promoting secularized liberal theology and blatant violations of the Discipline.

But the host congregation, Flushing Chinese United Methodist Church, has been at least modestly and consistently growing since 2015. For its part, the New York Conference as a whole has been declining dramatically, losing 7.1 percent of its members and shrinking by 6.6 percent in worship attendance between 2015 and 2019 (according to annual conference reports for those years). This congregation appears to be especially evangelistically effective, reporting dozens of professions of faith every year. In 2017, at least 5.6 percent of the affirmations of faith reported in the entire New York Conference were in this congregation, one congregation out of more than 430.

Those urging the church to abandon adherence to biblical teaching about sexual morality continually claim, in spite of all evidence, that the church must change its theology or die, for the sake of being effective in reaching the mission field in America today.

Our churches must compassionately welcome ALL people, understanding both that we are all broken sinners in desperate need of God’s grace and that God’s grace transforms us and empowers us to live lives of holy Christian discipleship.  There is no longer intellectually serious argument about the facts that homosexual practice, like other forms of sex outside of marriage, is directly contrary to biblical Christian teaching. Nor have I seen anyone honestly and seriously disputing that proposals for church endorsement of same-sex unions would be contrary to the United Methodist Church’s historic, official core doctrine.

This recent development is further indication that as our denomination moves towards some sort of separation, whichever new group rejects biblical teachings on this matter will be less ethnically diverse, and less effective in reaching newer immigrant communities in a demographically changing America.


8 Responses to Chinese-American United Methodist Leaders Celebrate Traditional Plan, Reject “Resistance” Movement

  1. Steven J Soller says:

    It is, and continues to be, the TRADITIONAL movement in the UMC that is “Diverse”, not the majority white, liberal progressive and centrist movements. The expectation that there is a well-spring of support out there for gay marriage and clergy and other progressive interpretations, and that only the UMC’s stodgy old Discipline is keeping them from rushing into our churches has been proven, time and again, to not only be wrong but to turn logic and experience on its head.

    • William says:

      There is but one thing that meets the test of “diverse” among the liberal contingency — the full and celebrated inclusion of the entire LGBT+ movement and all its accompanying sexual lifestyles, PLUS, coming on board rapidly, gender identity (idols). That is diversity to them — nothing else matters.

      • Rev. Dr. Lee Cary (ret. UMC clergy) says:

        Perhaps a reader here can help me with a definitive answer to the question below.

        The “B” in the acronym “LGBTQ” is generally defined as: “A person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity, though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree.” (Source: Human Rights Campaign, https://tinyurl.com/y5n9xuzx )

        So, the standard definition of “B” finds one person being simultaneously attracted – presumedly with sexual activation resulting involving consenting adults – to two persons of differing genders, or, as in French, a ménage à trois.

        But, the definition of “B” is not necessarily limited to only three total persons, although the gender limit is, apparently, two. (The presence of a “T” in the equation may complicate the gender computation.)

        I’ve asked the following question to several persons – lay and clergy – supporting the LGBTQ movement’s agenda in the UMC without having yet received a clear answer. Perhaps a reader here can help.

        Q. Would a fully-inclusive, tolerant, situationally-differentiating UMC approve of “B” behavior by ordained UM clergy? (Thank you in advance of an answer.)

        • David says:

          Many people think of gay men as being single (at least until recently) and living in urban areas. However, when you go into the suburbs a very different situation is seen. Often the majority of men having sex with men are married men with wives and families. These do this secretly and fear exposure. If one has a commitment to a wife, one should not commit adultery. This would apply to both clergy and lay.

  2. Kevin Costner says:

    Lord’s blessings on these faithful followers!

  3. Angela says:

    I am a local Licensed Pastor in Indiana with the UMC who celebrates with you! Isn’t it insane how sinners are still drawn to repentance simply by being loved where they are knowing God loves them too much to leave them there? That the inerrant Word of God still has power to change lives? Incredible and much needed reporting Mr. Lomparis, thank you!

    • William says:

      The message of the liberal contingency In the UMC is now alien to our Wesleyan Heritage, certainly with relation to sexual ethics, gender identity, and marriage. They have taken that beautiful theology of grace and twisted, contorted, and turned it into their own made up brand of grace. Out of that, we can clearly see the decline of the UMC in America.

      Yes, indeed. experiencing Justifying Grace leads to a new and transformed life in Christ. Failing to preach that message is an egregious sin.

      OUR WESLEYAN HERITAGE

      Distinctive Emphases

      Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.

      The distinctive shape of our theological heritage can be seen not only in this emphasis on Christian living, but also in Wesley’s distinctive understanding of God’s saving grace. Although Wesley shared with many other Christians a belief in salvation by grace, he combined them in a powerful way to create distinctive emphases for living the full Christian life. Read more from The Book of Discipline.

      Grace
      Grace is central to our understanding of Christian faith and life.

      Grace can be defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it. We read in the Letter to the Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

      Our United Methodist heritage is rooted in a deep and profound understanding of God’s grace. This incredible grace flows from God’s great love for us. Did you have to memorize John 3:16 in Sunday school when you were a child? There was a good reason. This one verse summarizes the gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The ability to call to mind God’s love and God’s gift of Jesus Christ is a rich resource for theology and faith.” 1

      John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, described God’s grace as threefold:

      prevenient grace
      justifying grace
      sanctifying grace
      Prevenient Grace
      Wesley understood grace as God’s active presence in our lives. This presence is not dependent on human actions or human response. It is a gift — a gift that is always available, but that can be refused.

      God’s grace stirs up within us a desire to know God and empowers us to respond to God’s invitation to be in relationship with God. God’s grace enables us to discern differences between good and evil and makes it possible for us to choose good….

      God takes the initiative in relating to humanity. We do not have to beg and plead for God’s love and grace. God actively seeks us!1

      Justifying Grace
      Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). And in his letter to the Roman Christians, Paul wrote: “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

      These verses demonstrate the justifying grace of God. They point to reconciliation, pardon, and restoration. Through the work of God in Christ our sins are forgiven, and our relationship with God is restored. According to John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, the image of God — which has been distorted by sin — is renewed within us through Christ’s death.

      Again, this dimension of God’s grace is a gift. God’s grace alone brings us into relationship with God. There are no hoops through which we have to jump in order to please God and to be loved by God. God has acted in Jesus Christ. We need only to respond in faith.1

      Conversion
      This process of salvation involves a change in us that we call conversion. Conversion is a turning around, leaving one orientation for another. It may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. But in any case, it’s a new beginning. Following Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, “You must be born anew” (John 3:7 RSV), we speak of this conversion as rebirth, new life in Christ, or regeneration.

      Following Paul and Luther, John Wesley called this process justification. Justification is what happens when Christians abandon all those vain attempts to justify themselves before God, to be seen as “just” in God’s eyes through religious and moral practices. It’s a time when God’s “justifying grace” is experienced and accepted, a time of pardon and forgiveness, of new peace and joy and love. Indeed, we’re justified by God’s grace through faith.

      Justification is also a time of repentance — turning away from behaviors rooted in sin and toward actions that express God’s love. In this conversion we can expect to receive assurance of our present salvation through the Holy Spirit “bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).2

      Sanctifying Grace
      Salvation is not a static, one-time event in our lives. It is the ongoing experience of God’s gracious presence transforming us into whom God intends us to be. John Wesley described this dimension of God’s grace as sanctification, or holiness.1

      Through God’s sanctifying grace, we grow and mature in our ability to live as Jesus lived. As we pray, study the Scriptures, fast, worship, and share in fellowship with other Christians, we deepen our knowledge of and love for God. As we respond with compassion to human need and work for justice in our communities, we strengthen our capacity to love neighbor. Our inner thoughts and motives, as well as our outer actions and behavior, are aligned with God’s will and testify to our union with God. 1

      We’re to press on, with God’s help, in the path of sanctification toward perfection. By perfection, Wesley did not mean that we would not make mistakes or have weaknesses. Rather, he understood it to be a continual process of being made perfect in our love of God and each other and of removing our desire to sin

  4. Donald says:

    Well stated: “Whichever new group rejects biblical teachings on this matter will be less ethnically diverse, and less effective in reaching newer immigrant communities in a demographically changing America.” It will also rightly place its remaining members at risk for violence from an increasing robust Muslim population that desires to impose sharia law on Americans.

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