Tom Berlin Updates Video on LGBTQ Inclusion

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I am a traditionalist

And to a limited extent I am a compatibilist in the sense that it does not bother me if somebody believes differently than me but I do not necessarily want to share a church with them. One of the biggest problem with leadership in The American United Methodist Church is that they have lost sight of the much larger body of Christ--the holy catholic/universal Church that comprises all churches that hold certain core beliefs in common but then branch off into different understanding of how these core beliefs impact our lives. It is within the context of the holy catholic/universal Church that John Wesley wrote about the catholic spirit.

Currently, The American branch or The UMC does not hold any core beliefs in common especially when it comes to God and the divinity of Jesus and what the crucifixion of Jesus meant. Another core belief that divides the church is whether or not The United Methodist Church is a flexible thing to be adapted to the current situation or there are truths that never change. John Wesley very much believed in the latter. Wesley did not invent something new. His views were shaped by historical Christianity. In fact one of the things that I like most about what he did was that he borrowed what he viewed as the best of multiple faith traditions from the past and from his present--so in a sense, true Methodism is probably the most ecumenical faith tradition in existence because it has points in common with many faith traditions. Another place we part ways in The American United Methodist Church is how Christianity impacts our lives. Progressives have turned Christianity into a social justice initiative in the hopes of legislating the kingdom of God into existence--something John Wesley never did. Wesley's approach to societal change began with the individual and their life 24/7.

Wesley did do some boarder initiatives but he never ever lost sight of his Priority #1: the individual living in right relationship to God regardless of their circumstances. In fact, his concern that Methodism would lose its power was rooted in the fact that over his lifetime, the economic well being of the Methodists under his supervision became so much better, their religious fervor diminished. My own life leads me to agree with Wesley: societal "sins" have their root in individual sin and brokenness. In short, the kingdom of God cannot be legislated into existence, it has to be alive in each individual--something the progressives have lost sight of, and given the progressive leanings of denominational leadership, so has the church at large. The very fact that theological plurality has run amuck in The UMC already pushes the Methodist identity of the church. To restructure the church to legitimize the theological plurality would all bur eradicate the unique Methodist identity the United Methodist Church is supposed to possess but no longer does.

betsy 264 days ago

I am a traditionalist yet...with a loving and empathetic heart

As the writer above mentions, "And to a limited extent I am a compatibilist in the sense that it does not bother me if somebody believes differently than me but", I don't mind sharing a seat with someone right next to me as long as they have a repentant heart.

I think Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the well-known Lutheran German pastor who was hanged at Flossenburg as an opponent of Nazism and wrote the popular book, The Cost of Discipleship, coined the phrase - "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

I also struggle in this world to not be OF the world as Paul talks about in Romans 12:2. The Message version would read like this, "“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit in to it without even thinking.” Christians need to think about what they are doing and why they are doing it, not just do what everyone else is doing."

The Bible is clear on this topic - Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 7:2 as examples.

As Christians we need to consider cheap grace and remember to have empathy. We should also not forget about the righteousness part of God. Good o'l friend once told me, everyone wants God to be on their team, but not everyone wants to be on God's team. There are rules we must follow. Our walk should be humble yet speaking the full truth IN LOVE as the Holy Spirit guides us.

Franklin Johnston 3 days ago


Notable Quotes   


   "God gave us a brain to use and we should not park it at the door when we enter the church. We also look to the traditions of the church to guide us, as well as our experiences collectively and individually as we engage with all of God’s creation. We, of course, are guided by scripture, but not from a highly literalist read of scripture that excludes these other ways of noticing God. An interpretation that focuses on a few passages, but completely ignores other passages does not help us see the fullness of God’s love."

– The Rev. Jack Amick, "Why the Traditional Plan Doesn't Convey Grace."

"We need to be gentle with ourselves and give ourselves permission to grieve continued injustice and denominational harm. Lent is maybe the best time of the liturgical year to pause and sit with whatever we are feeling or not feeling right now, especially before we make big decisions. It brings to mind what the disciples might have gone through in those days between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when maybe they could affirm there would be more to the story but did not yet know what new life was going to come forth."

T. C. Morrow in a sermon, "Stay the Course," on Sunday, March 17 at Foundry UMC, Washington, D.C., posted on Facebook.

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