Remix of “Foucault’s Pendulum” by sylvar on Flickr, Creative Commons share
We are a little over 100 days until the Opening Session of General Conference 2012 where the United Methodist Church will consider one of the biggest re-organization plans in recent memory called the Call To Action. It’s no secret this blog is not a fan of most of the re-organization ideas and we have dedicated almost a dozen posts about it.
It is now time. It’s time for us to quit accusing the Call To Action as being a church proposal based on business principles rather than biblical ones. It is. But our church leaders see it as their ‘best’ hope and they adapt their theology around it. To those of us opposed to the dis/connectional nature of the proposals, this is a losing battle to point out what is already been tacitly accepted.
Thus, it is time instead for clergy and theologically-trained laity to start dismantling the theological foundations of the CallToAction. I’m not opposed to some of the recommended changes to our institution, but I am opposed to its theological foundations which are not, in my view, in the Methodist vein.
In three blog posts, posted every Tuesday in January, I offer the following critique of the theological foundations of the CTA movement. I find that the Call To Action moves us away from our Methodist roots and current reality by tendings towards values and sins that have no place in the United Methodist Church that we love.
I’m basing these posts on a sermon by an Episcopal brother in the faith who articulates a similar drift that the Anglican Communion is having and I fear the UMC is heading towards as well. I could have changed the word “Anglican” to “Methodist” and reposted it whole-hog and it would have worked. But I didn’t.
Enjoy. Thanks for reading.
The first theological error in the Call to Action and its affiliated proposals is the sin of Pride.
Pride has many biblical forms, from haughtiness to self-inflation to being conceited to seeing one’s self as equal to God in Babel-like actions. Our institutional form of pride is called consensus which assumes unanimity on issues and whitewashes over diversity. It is a theological error because it does not pass the Wesleyan Quadrilateral tenet of reason:
[C]onsensus in itself cannot form a term in an argument when a given proposition is being reexamined: to suggest that something must be true either because “we’ve always believed this to be true” or because“everyone says so” is simply a form of logical fallacy — for the truth of a proposition is established neither by being long held or popular: the church can err.
Consensus, after all, means a “common mind with little or no opposition” — so the moment opposition — a new questioning, a new challenge — appears, consensus ceases to exist, and the new proposal must be examined on its own merits against the possible errancy of the formerly unchallenged position.