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 141 days ago

Notable Quotes   

    "The Judicial Council’s work compellingly shows that our denomination is in schism and has been for some years and if we really want to heal this schism, then (dare I say it?) we have to back up and try our best to answer basic questions. What is it, actually, that unites United Methodists? ...  If doctrines do not define church, then we don’t know our identity or mission. If we don’t know our identity and mission, we will never be able to agree on what constitutes appropriate or inappropriate behavior and we will never be able to exercise meaningful accountability."

– The Rev. Steven Rankin, in a post "Judicial Council Proves We're Already in Schism"


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