'Church Unity' Rhetoric Doesn't Fool Africans



Comments (13)

Comment Feed


Thanks for publishing Forbes Matonga's article, despite the fact it doesn't adhere to the company line and general themes of this website. All of us share a human nature that tends to listen to and remember what we already are disposed to believe and to filter out or ignore what collapses our particular house of cards (no Kevin Spacey pun intended). Folks from whatever point of view need a reality check that clear and opposing voices can provide, if given a seat at the table. This is equally true for 'liberals, conservatives, centrists, uniters, covenanters" or whoever.

Bob 349 days ago

What these comments prove

We have absolutely no common ground for unity! And just for the record, having learned more about our Wesleyan roots, I agree with everything stated in this article. John Wesley was all about reclaiming a primitive/basic Christianity for the rank and file person.

Betsy 349 days ago

Primitive New Testament Faith

I wonder how Mr. Matonga defines Primitive New Testament Faith. The church was hardly unified or without conflict at that point. Plus, we see clearly in the Book of Acts that the theologies of the day were rapidly shifting to deal with cultural realities. It was a church in constant flux, constant conflict, and hardly unified and with unformed doctrines. What makes that such a good model for today?

Christy Thomas 351 days ago

Primitive Faith

Exactly. The recent UMC Constitutional changes were aimed at African bishops who took Jesus' words on marriage too literally. They were refusing to ordain divorced pastors. If the amendments pass we can start turning the Africans around to a more nuanced view of scripture.

Kevin 350 days ago


Clearly the African view of scripture is culturally backward. It is a shame that they get so many votes at General Conference especially since they could not even attend were it not for the subsidies they receive. This will make it difficult to loosen the rules.

Kevin 352 days ago

Africans are us

We are the Africans, as Methodist missionaries shared the gospel, planted churches, produced schools and seminaries. We shared the gospel and our long held belief of marriage as one man,one woman. So it's convenient when people tout racism and white privelage when it's a social justice issue, yet we abandon those same groups when they believe what WE taught them to believe? Respectfully Kevin, I think you are the one who is behaving "backward"

Skip 351 days ago

Sorry to disagree

The African conferences are already UNDER-represented at GC. And they should have even fewer delegates? If conferences who are subsidized can't have representation, lets omit the conferences in the Western Jurisdiction. And we can just call the financial-independence standard a poll tax. That ought to tie in nicely with any call to exclude the "culturally backward" from the table.

John 351 days ago


The African delegates are the major stumbling block to being a fully inclusive church. They are being manipulated by the conservative elements in The UMC. Their votes have to be minimized using whatever parliamentarian tools we have available.

Kevin 351 days ago


This is way over the racist line, Kevin.

theenemyhatesclarity 351 days ago


Re reading all your comments, Kevin, I may have missed the sarcasm. If so, I apologize.

theenemyhatesclarity 350 days ago


Not at all. Using little tricks like scheduling critical votes late in GC when the foreign delegations are departing to catch flights home is simply using demographics to partisan advantage. It's all politics. You do what you have to do to further the agenda.

Kevin 349 days ago


How positively liberal of you. Yours is the same argument made for over a century in the American South in support of enforcing Jim Crow laws and suppressing the votes of African Americans as well as that made by 19th Century Imperial European colonizers of Africa and the Far East. (They're too uncivilized, unsophisticated, "culturally backward, "easily manipulated"--take your pick--to be permitted to vote or exercise self-determination. That's a task best left to the superior children of the European Enlightenment.) Because some voices don't coincide with your own definition of "inclusive" they must be excluded. I'm not sure I want George Wallace, Rudyard Kipling, or Cecil B. Rhodes as the architects for a so-called inclusive church.

John 350 days ago

George Wallace was a Methodist

In his last two terms as Governor he beat racist opponents with African-american votes. See, he got redeemed. So can you.

George Nixon Shuler 232 days ago

Notable Quotes   

   Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove "When Jesus said, 'I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly' in John 10:10, he wasn’t thinking about a victory for those who have used religion to fight back against the gains of the civil rights movement. Jesus was inviting all of us to work together for the vision at the heart of that movement — a beloved community where all people created in God’s image can thrive."

– Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, writing in "The Evangelical Case Against Judge Kavanaugh" in the Sept. 3 New York Times.


If you value receiving United Methodist Insight, please contribute to our financial support. Make checks payable to our sponsoring congregation, St. Stephen UMC, and write "UM Insight" on the memo line. Then mail to United Methodist Insight, c/o St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 2520 Oates Drive, Mesquite, TX 75150.

Thank you!

Get United Methodist Insight Weekly!

* indicates required