'Church Unity' Rhetoric Doesn't Fool Africans



Comments (13)

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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 more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year ago


This is way over the racist line, Kevin.

theenemyhatesclarity more than 1 year ago


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

theenemyhatesclarity more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year 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 more than 1 year 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 329 days ago

Notable Quotes   

     “I’m sad in 2019 that Jews and African Americans are united by having been slaughtered in their houses of worship in the United States of America. We share many bonds and, unfortunately, this is one of them.”

     –Beth Kissileff Perlman, wife of Rabbi Jonathan Perlman of New Light Congregation at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, quoted in the Charleston Post and Courier. New Light members shared an MLK Day service with Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.


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