UMC Next Vows to Resist Traditional Plan, Reform Methodism

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Hens come home to roost

Or how the hens come home to roost!

Thomas Lambrecht, vice president of Good News, issued the following response to UMC Next Conference this week in Kansas:

“The 2019 General Conference was proof that there is an impasse within The United Methodist Church with two irreconcilable viewpoints. Good News is disappointed that it appears from their press release that the institution-minded leadership of ‘UMC Next’ is determined to double down on the conflict in our church and refuse to acknowledge the decision made by the St. Louis General Conference reaffirming over 45 years of consistent United Methodist teaching.”

The Traditionalists have fallen back on the 45 years of teaching for over 45 years. Now, there has been an inconsistency in their application of “teaching” over the years. Divorce, sexual immorality involving cheating on spouses, chemical dependency, excessive student debt, general mismanagement, and in some cases offshore polygamy. Although the “teaching” is very very clear on these issues, they have chosen the LGTBQ community for its ire. Why? Because they thought the average pew sitter was with them. They thought that by winning the church and enforcing “THEIR” version of the Discipline it would cleanse the Church.

But that is not how the Church has succeeded over the years. You don’t read about how God glorifies discrimination and social violence. It is something that died in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Church is supposed to be a grand experiment in how deep and wide God’s love can be. It is man’s challenge to find how deep and awesome God’s creation is. Instead, we have embraced the world and chosen to not love people with our whole hearts.

“It does not seem that resistance and defiance against one’s own denomination and against brothers and sisters in Christ are fruitful paths toward maintaining either the unity or integrity of the church. Such a strategy only increases the likelihood of more damaging clashes at the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis.”

This is absolutely rich coming from the Rev. Lambrecht given that this is exactly how GOOD NEWS approached its 2016 and 2019 strategy. And it is continuing right now in annual conferences nationwide. Good News is sponsoring “Breakfast” networking events where they are trying to game the nomination process to ensure that even more divisive voices represent people at General Conference 2020.

“At this point, it seems that traditionalists and conservatives in The United Methodist Church have more in common with the progressive UM Forward group that met May 17–18 in seeking a new way forward toward fresh expressions of Methodism, than we do with the two bishops, an agency head, and tall-steeple pastors leading the moderate ‘UMC Next’ group.”

The truth is from a strategy perspective the UM Next group is using Good New’s own strategy against it. And it scares them. But will UM Next repeat the hubris of its opponents?

Eric 147 days ago

Okay.

We can all agree that the umc accepts all believers without exception. But the question is who do we accept as clergy?

Are unrepentant thieves, murderers, and pedophiles acceptable? How about unrepentant adulterers, wife batterers, and slave traffickers? You see the problem here is not who we accept into our congregations to worship- it is what we think is a sin and what standards we have for our clergy.

A GC minority in the umc does not agree with what christianity and judaism has defined as a sin since the beginning of our faith tradition. There is no getting around this issue by protesting, disrupting, or rule breaking. The burden is on progressives to admit that they don't agree with our faith tradition on this matter and admit that they are the ones that want to redefine sins and clergy standards.

td 147 days ago

Wait, what?

You wouldn't accept a slave trafficker as a pastor? I assume that includes slave owners as well, right? Show me in the Bible where that's important.
And historically... http://time.com/5171819/christianity-slavery-book-excerpt/
Sounds like "A GC minority in the umc does not agree with what christianity and judaism has defined as a sin since the beginning of our faith tradition." - only in the opposite direction. Yet YOU claim slavery is a sin?

Wife battery isn't a sin, not anymore than any other amount of violence (and Peter cut off a man's ear). "Turn the other cheek" has some interesting irony here. But women shouldn't be in the pulpit in the first place...

Adulterers? Agreed. How about those divorced? Matt 5:31-32, Matt 19:3-12, Mark 10:2-12, Luke 16:18.

"The burden is on progressives to admit that they don't agree with our faith tradition on this matter and admit that they are the ones that want to redefine sins and clergy standards."

YOU don't agree with our faith tradition (as defined in the Bible)! And the clergy standards have been changed several times since the founding of Methodism. Not to mention Christianity (celibacy ring a bell?)...

This has become ludicrous.

Just come out and say it. "I firmly believe that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."

Key word is incompatible, which means that anyone who is homosexual shouldn't be in your church.
"(of two things) so opposed in character as to be incapable of existing together."
"(of two people) unable to live together harmoniously."
"(of one thing or person) not consistent or able to coexist with (another)."


Just own it, td. You can't walk a middle path on this. Either homosexuality is incompatible or its not - and if its not incompatible, then any barring of LGBTQ+ from ministry is purely bias. If it IS incompatible, they shouldn't be in your church until they are no long homosexual. Perhaps Lambrecht can help you help them Pray the Gay Away.

I'm sorry that I have to be so aggressive with this, but I can't accept the hypocrisy here. You want to shift the burden to progressives to deal with a point that you won't deal with either - because you claim that you can both be "accepting of all believers" and still hold that Incompatibility line.

Sorry, you have to pick a side. Not always, but those two lines are mutually exclusive. Either you are accepting of all believers, or you hold on to Incompatibility. Own it.

JR 139 days ago

Jesus did not promise us comfort, he called us to action

Where would we be today if not for the actions of Martin Luther who challenged the status quo of the church

Dale 148 days ago

If you can't agree with the vote, then just leave.

The Traditional Plan is the ONLY one that adhered to scripture. While we are to welcome all, we are not to affirm people in sin. The "practice" of homosexuality is a sin. I say that as one who has personally dealt with same-sex attraction. Jesus' words to his disciples "... and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" are words I memorized as a child and now testify to that truth. When Jesus began to teach some things that were difficult for some of his followers to accept, some of them left. They didn't "resist" his teaching as is being advocated now by those who do not agree with what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. Did Jesus say "Wait, come back! I need you to follow me. I'll revise what I said." NO! He turned to the disciples and said "Don't you want to go, too?" Peter replied, "No Lord, where would we go? You have the words of life."
Planning "resistance" to the rightful decision to uphold God's word is exalting self above God, is an attempt to subvert God's word and force it on others.
Go start your own church and stop harassing those who voted to adhere to God's word. Like Eve, you seem to have succumbed to Satan's lies. Just GO away. Stop trying to impose on others your twisting of God's word and mistaking "toxic compassion" for Jesus command to "love one another as I have loved you." Do you really think Jesus would say what you are doing is OK?

Charles Walkup Jr 151 days ago

not scriptural

the Traditional plan is NOT the only one that adheres to scripture. It violates scripture as much as it adheres to it. The so called traditionalists have picked what they like out of scripture and ignored what they didn't. The One Church plan is just as scriptural. It focuses on the love and mercy from Jesus Christ, not the punishments of the Old Testament or Paul's denunciation of the gentile religions.

Dave Ogden 149 days ago

Scripture

The one church plan redefined sexual sin, clergy standards, and marriage for the whole umc. You can claim that those changes were scripturally necessary. Our christian faith that has been handed down to us does not agree.

td 147 days ago

Sexual Immorality is not just Old Testament

Concerning homosexuality see:Matthew 19:5, 1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthians 11:9. The Scripture is clear that a marriage is between one man and one woman. It is also clear that homosexuality is a sin. Us traditional Methodists can interpret the clearly worded and definitive truth of the Scripture without any New Age nuance.

Larry Wiggins 112 days ago

Charles Walkup Jr

Right.

Marc 112 days ago

So be it.

I don't see how staying within the UMC and protesting, disrupting, and insurbordinating is going to accomplish anything except protecting the jobs and pensions of progressive clergy. Honestly, where is the line in the sand once you decide you will not follow the rules for clergy that have legitimately been determined? Does the church still have to follow the rules to provide clergy with pay, housing, health insurance, and pension? Do members have any responsibility to pay the bills? How about the local church? Can local churches just decide to sell all of their property on their own?

What is the line in the sand for progressive leaders about what rules have to be followed by clergy and local churches? Who gets to decide what rules can be nullified by individual AC, bishops, clergy, and local churches? And what precisely are they asking for in exchange for them disengaging from schism?

The only end to this protest and nullification road seems to be civil war.

td 151 days ago

Enough is Enough!

Going their own way would be the best since the sexually progressive have never accepted the Methodist way of life. It calls for a person to trust in Christ, confess and turn from your sins so you can receive God's salvation. Those who want to live in sexual perversion and refuse to see this as a life of sin have missed the point Paul and Wesley were making concerning sin and the need for salvation. Jesus himself said we must turn back to God. The majority has grown tired of those who do nothing but ignore rules and complain. The majority has said “Enough is enough.”

Skipper 151 days ago

Methodist Meltdown

The news headline from the recent representative gathering of 600+ United Methodists in the USA:
they're ALL MAD AS HELL and they're not gonna lie down and take it anymore.
So the outcome is: RESIST the systemic injustice and/or LEAVE SOON to start something new.
Sadly, the African delegates' GC votes DO count! So we must take them seriously (like the bare 70K votes total in 3 states that gave us TrumpWorld).
More egregiously, the Africans lacked the CULTURAL and THEOLOGICAL CONTEXT to vote in favor of preserving AND transforming a global United Methodist witness, killing the goose that laid their golden egg.
Their votes were MANIPULATED by the malicious extremist cabal known as the WCA.
And at least two thirds of United Methodists in the USA are hopping mad about the result.
In fact the silent 'Massive Methodist Middle' is finally awake and aware of the hostile takeover that's a fait accompli, given the trendline of General Conference voting.
Problem is: how to find a way to cut those (old white) guys off at their metaphorical knees without sinking the metaphorical Titanic after it struck the iceberg in February. We all know the history. How do we rewrite the ending?
Adam Hamilton warned us "not to waste a good crisis." So now it's "Houston, we've had a problem."
Llike the breakup of a huge Antarctic ice shelf the size of Connecticut, there's no way to get the toothpaste back in the proverbial tube.
At this point I'm about ready to give up trying.

Wayne 152 days ago

Two thirds?

Which two thirds of US UMs are hopping mad? The 20% who the recent UM Communications survey identifies as progressive? Or the 68% who are traditional and centrist? (40% are traditional, 28% are centrist) Seems like two-thirds are not hopping mad progressives. Just curious if you've seen the leadership of the WCA--looks like a strong representation of females and people of color (more so than those surrounding those old white guys named Hamilton and Slaughter). It's such a shame that white North American progressives are fine with supporting Christians in Africa--but only if they conform to a Westernized worldview. Those that don't are slandered as immature, inferior, or intellectually deficient. Kipling's White Man's Burden is alive and well in the progressive recesses of the UMC.

John 151 days ago

Resistance rather than divsion only prolongs the problem

I can so agree with the overall thought of this statement:

"I must confess that I am tired. Gut tired. I didn’t get into ministry to fuss with other Methodists. I got into ministry to tell people about Jesus. The dysfunctions of our denomination are adversely affecting our ability to connect people with Jesus Christ in our local church contexts and that is unacceptable. I don’t want to sit and spend my life propping up an institution. I want to be swept up in a movement of the Holy Spirit." https://revshanebishop.com/2019/05/23/shaking-hands-while-we-still-can-umc/

Nobody is part of the United Methodist Church because they wanted to be part of a never-ending war that keeps us distracted. I'm beginning to believe that this keeps going on because everybody has forgotten why we are here in the first place. Being a part of the Methodist/United Methodist Church used to be the best part of who I was. Now it has become only one more broken down mess in my life that I have to figure out how to deal with!

betsy 152 days ago

With GC2019...

The UMC went from being a house divided against itself to being in a stand off with itself. With this meeting it now feels like it is now at full blown war with itself. Just exactly how is this goal going to be carried out?:

“We’re not going to let you treat LGBTQ families as second class citizens,” Rev. Hamilton said.

Just exactly how do you force somebody to do something that it goes against their conscience to do? Progressives have been claiming to stand on their consciences for years, but now traditionalists aren't afforded the same right? At least traditionalists never made such an incendiary statement. Although traditionalists enacted what feels like harsh accountability measures, at least they did their best to provide a way out for those who could not live up to those requirements. Such a statement out of Rev. Hamilton makes me wonder just exactly how punitive this group is going to be!

betsy 152 days ago

Just leave graciously!

Let's say your movement wears down the Traditionalists who in most churches pays the majority of the bills. Let's say, Your side wins." Then you have killed the UMC denomination. The Traditionalists will split. Now the denomination had been reduced to several hundred thousand. God will wonder what did you do to his church. The win, win, is a gracious exist. If those who support the LGBTQAI take the gracious exist then that will let God decide whom he blesses and whom he doesn't. A gracious exist is the only reasonable solution.

Jim Dawson 151 days ago

The Real Win/Win

It seems to me that the real win, win was proposed and discarded at the 2019 special session of General Conference. The REAL WIN, WIN was what the One Church Plan was all about. It allowed this issue to be dealt with pastoraly rather than legislatively. It gave pastors the freedom to discern the heart-and-soul needs of all parishioners case by case. It gave annual conference boards of ordained ministry the freedom to really know their candidates, not just know about them. I remember a former bishop when I was in another conference made the statement, "I would not deny ordination to anyone because he or she is homosexual any more than I would ordain someone if all I knew about that person was that he or she is heterosexual." When are we going to deal with people instead of labels?

Genie H Kistler 150 days ago

No.

The One Church Plan would have redefined marriage for the whole church and would have implied that same-sex sexual acts are holy and not sinful. This change would have to be accepted everywhere: no matter what individual clergy or local churches determined for "themselves", a marriage that is performed in any part of the UMC would have to be recognized everywhere. A pastor who unrepentently engages in same-sex sexual acts or a has a same sex partner would have to be accepted at any local church to which they were assigned.

The only the way One Church Plan could be considered an acceptable option is if someone believes that a sacramental marriage can occur between anything other than a man and woman and that same-sex sexual acts are holy and not sinful. This, of course, is exactly the opposite of what the majority GC believes- and that is why the One Church Plan was, in the end, not viable. It is untenable for a church to disagree with itself over such a basic sacrament as marriage.

I agree that we should deal with people instead of labels- this is exactly the Church's historical practice. We are all human and humans can sin. This idea of people having their identity based on who they are sexually attracted to is damaging to individuals. We have our identity in God and the holy gifts that he has given us. Period.

td 147 days ago

NO "Traditionalist" can truthfully say...

...that they are acting out of "conscience." just like no slaveowner before slavery was abolished could say they are thus due to their "conscience." What you call "conscience" is purely hatred and bigotry and nothing more. Put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig.

George Nixon Shuler 150 days ago

yes.

You lay out very well why the two factions can not coexist in the UMC- they simply do not agree on what is sinful about major issues. The reality, however, is that one group has the majority (and will likely continue to retain it) at GC. The minority needs to decide what they want in order to effect their successful leaving of the UMC to a new institution of the their choosing and negotiate with majority leaders to see if any of those mechanisms and financial arrangements can actually get majority or 2/3 majority support at GC.

The reality is that the majority can not determine a future for the minority, and my suspicion is that most everything that could be enacted by a majority at GC will be deemed woefully unsatisfactory by the minority. Similar to how the bishops led people to believe to think that the One Church Plan would pass overwhelmingly, they are now leading people to believe that a majority at GC can affect a split that will fully please the minority- effectively setting up another round of disappointment and let-down. The minority is going to have to take responsibility for itself leaving the UMC and not wait for actions that not likely to ever materialize at GC.

td 147 days ago

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