November 20, 2013

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The following is a guest post from a Facebook clergy who posted this list online. This is in response to the Frank Shaefer trial where he was convicted of performing a wedding for his son Tim to his male partner. The punishment is a 30 day suspension that will be lifted at the end if he pledges to “uphold the Discipline in its entirety.”

This list is an attempt to show the various ways how United Methodist clergy in good standing do not uphold the Discipline 100%…and have rarely (if ever) been charged for it.


Top 25 ways I’ve observed United Methodist clergy and lay leaders not upholding the Book of Discipline in its entirety (2012-2014 edition):

  1. Refusing to baptize infants (¶216.1)
  2. Rebaptizing youth & adults (¶216.2 & 341.7)
  3. Failure to pray for their church (¶217.6)
  4. Failure to attend and be present in their church (¶217.6)
  5. Failure to give of their finances and gifts to their church (¶217.6)
  6. Failure to witness for Christ in the world (¶217.6 & ¶220)
  7. Conducting private baptisms (¶226.2c)
  8. Failure to grant youth all rights and responsibilities of membership (¶226.5)
  9. Failure of members of the Church Council to visit and provide spiritual oversight to the church’s members (¶228)
  10. Failure to report to Church Council the names of members who have been neglectful in keeping their baptismal and membership vows (¶228.2b(1))
  11. Failure to promote United Methodist Campus ministries (¶228.10c)
  12. Failure to annually report names of college students to Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry (¶232)
  13. Failure to keep copies of membership records off-site and secure (¶233.3)
  14. Failure to send addresses of newly moved members to pastor or district superintendent in community where member now resides. (¶236)
  15. Failure to nominate youth and young adult members to Church Council (¶244.3 & ¶252.5j,k)
  16. Failure to consider World Service apportionments as first benevolent responsibility of the church (¶247.14 & ¶812)¶
  17. Failure to monitor local church investments to ensure concurrence with Socially Responsibly Investments, the Social Principles, and The Book of Resolutions (¶247.20)
  18. Failure to celebrate all six churchwide special Sundays with offerings, especially Peace with Justice Sunday and Native American Ministries Sunday (¶263)
  19. Failure of clergy to teach and model tithing (¶304.1c & ¶340.2c2(d))
  20. Failure of clergy to exercise habits conducive to bodily health (¶304.2)
  21. Unwillingness of elders in full connection to fully itinerate (¶338)
  22. Unwillingness of elders in full connection to assume supervisory and mentoring responsibilities (¶334.2e & ¶340.2c3(b))
  23. Failure to encourage the use of United Methodist literature and media within the educational program of the church (¶340.2c1(b))
  24. Failure to lead the congregation in paying all apportionments in full (¶340.2c1(e))
  25. Failure to secure written consent of district superintendent before engaging an evangelist (¶341.1)

In theory, all of these qualify as the chargeable offense of “disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church (¶2702.1d).


The Rev. Jeremy Smith is an associate pastor and minister of discipleship for First United Methodist Church in Portland, OR. He blogs at Hacking Christianity.


November 20, 2013

Comments (3)

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The difference is, Schaefer's apostacy puts him outside the church. If you are so concerned about those other violations, then bring a charge. His credentials were properly removed, because in choosing to attempt to bring about that which cannot be, Schaefer chose to reject Christ.

jwlung 117 days ago

Logical Error of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

"It does not follow." - probably because your defintion of "apostacy" is so broad that anybody who picked grapes on the sabbath would therefore be apostate.

What Schaefer rejected was conventionality, and that's all.

Reminds me of when Ann Richards and Clayton Williams ran against each other for Governor of Texas in 1990. Richards was divorced, although she was frequently escorted to formal events by the sportswriter Bud Shrake. Williams was (still is, I guess) married to a woman named Modesta, who apparently, he loved very much., so much that he named their cell phone company Claydesta after their names (later sold to a bigger electronics corporate giant). Once when Modesta Williams was introduced, the speaker noted that she would be "the next First Lady of Texas" if Williams won, but, if he lost, there would therefore be no First Lady, as if that mattered. I was mystified that some would think it did. Well, needless to say, she was never First Lady of Texas. It seems to me what you are clinging to here is as meaningless as that situation.

George Nixon Shuler 116 days ago

AND MANY OTHERS... Failure to fill out annual reports, for instane.

These listed are just a few of the many. There are many MORE serious than celebrating the love of two people. It is also a chargeable offense to use the marriage service for a wedding that is NOT a wedding, of two heterosexual people. That is, where there is no marriage license.. the same kind of service that used to be done before marriage was legal for same gender ccouples.

Rev. THomas L.. Shanklin 148 days ago


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