Retired Bible Scholar Withdraws from International Connections

'I cannot continue to go where you have declared I am not wanted'

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Love is Love

Love your neighbor - even online. Loving someone you like is easy. Loving someone you understand or who agrees with you politically is easy. Loving your neighbor who might be a jerk but at least speaks the same language, doesn't eat weird stuff and has a similar family structure to you is easy. Loving someone who disagrees with you, hates what you stand for, or who eats weird stuff with a weird family structure is hard. Loving those who tell you you're wrong is hard. Loving the tax collectors and the ho's and the dirty people is hard. But isn't that what Jesus called us to do? To change the world with love? Funny, I'm no scholar. I run a repair business for a living. But even I can see that loving others who are different from us is hard, but that we need to learn how to do it. Or we end up living in despair, hunted by monsters who call themselves human and who kill, maim and torture because they believe they don't have to learn how to love the weird, the ho's, the dirty, the tax collectors, the republicans, the democrats, the LGBTQ's, the people of other colors. We must look into our own selves, and see how we can each do better, to better our church and our world. Popping off in a snit and crowing about it doesn't save anyone, doesn't solve any problem. Love is love, love your neighbor, and the weird people too.

Elizabeth 71 days ago

His article makes me sad

I am sad that WTS employed this man in a role teaching his progressivism for 48 years. I am sad that some of my donations to the UMC may have funded his work or his trips. I am sad that he is not withdrawing from the UMC completely and taking other progressives with him.

Steve 69 days ago

Division

The one thing that seems to be over looked by everyone voicing their opinion on this topic is that no matter which way the vote went, there would be division in the denomination. The one church concept would not have prevented this from happening. There wasn't any good way to have a positive outcome for all in this situation!

DONNA SHAMBAUGH 72 days ago

Verses largely ignored in the history of the church?

I'm intrigued to hear of evidence that the relevant Bible verses have been "largely ignored in the history of the church." In the secular word, historically the courts often ordered harsh punishments from hard Labor, to castration and even capital punishment. I'm thinking England, Australia and the US. In the Middle East I'm sure the punishments were similar.

Tom 72 days ago

A church's worst sin: failure to love

I attended the UMC general conference in Indianapolis with Bruce Birch. and others from Wesley Theological Seminary. Then, as now, the UMC failed to love. They closed the circle and left people out in the cold. What would Jesus say? After 39 years of waiting and hoping, I have finally left the UM church and am now attending an inclusive church. The UMC has committed the worst sin a church can be guilty of: failure to love, and hiding behind scripture fragments to do so, which is even worse. I'm outta here.

JoAnne Zoller Wagner 73 days ago

Dignity of values

Some people are soooo academically smart but yet not Holy Spiritually off-base. Our human intelligence, logic, and endearing friendships do NOT mean that we are in-line with God's Spirit. Just because one gives another food to eat does NOT mean that the recipient is voiceless. There are many smart people whom are financially wealthy but are depleted in the category of "dignity". The African Christians voted and you want to make their votes invalid because you feel that you are the one who gave them a voice? Correction... it was not the UMC that gave the Africans a voice; it was God using the UMC as a spiritual tool in order for God's Spirit to open their spiritual mouths and vote according to the values that God gave them. And whether or not the African Christians' explanations and rationales are palatable, scripturally accurate, or not, it was/is their responses according to their intrinsic values, and it should be respected and justified accordingly. Lastly, Blacks were physically enslaved and deprived of civil and equal rights; and women were not given equal rights as men, in the areas of schooling, voting, and employment, as well as not given ministerial equality despite the Bible's inclusions of such matters. However, throughout the Bible, God did not include LGBTQs in any of the graces or anointings of ministry nor marriage. Therefore, we should not speak nor affirm in areas that the Bible does not speak of nor affirm. If one feels as though one was born in such ways, and takes on lifestyles that are not religiously affirmed in the bible but do exist, salvation is available to all... heterosexuals and LBTQs the same; however, in the Bible ministry is clearly designated to either males or females. So don't be slander nor strong arm our African Christian family who support these type values. Simply respect their decision as if it was your own, secure their dignity, and if they grapple, allow them the time and space to grapple until or if/if not God is to give a different revelation. Nevertheless, allow it to be by God's revelation and not through your displeasure of their free expression of their values.

Troy Denson 72 days ago

Withdraws

He has been making friends around the world. But now he wants nothing more to do with them because he did not like the way they voted. Why would you turn your back on African Christians who are being murdered for their faith? The loss is his not theirs. I feel sorry for him. He is going to live out his days in anger and bitterness. This is sad.

kevin 75 days ago

No God here

God was not a part of your global vote nor was the Bible. You have forsaken the Lord.

Tebekah 73 days ago

Loss

That is not what he said. Please read again.

Joan 73 days ago

Petty mischaracterization

Your interpretation of Bruce's words is what is sad. Bruce's response to the disastrous vote by the GC goes far beyond "he did not like the way they voted." It doesn't matter whether they feel the loss of Bruce's ministry among them; clearly he is a principled man who simply can't continue to minister among those who clearly no longer want to listen to him. Even Jesus advised his disciples to shake the dust from their sandals and move on. Your suggestion that Bruce will live out his days in "anger and bitterness" is exceedingly ungracious and presumptuous.

Carl 73 days ago

choices

The choice made did divide, and an option available to coexist in unity, and not affect the global churches, did create the harm, so yes there was a choice. What is the delineation is the choice to coexist or instead of the vote which gives voice to exclude many and divide the denomination that gave you birth? Exit plans were the real indication that you wanted people you don't agree with to leave. These LGBTQIA people have also provided support for churches in Africa. When the church divides the funds available for you will diminish. This vote is biting the hand that feeds you. If you can live with this choice and ignore the bigger picture go in peace. To despise people that have been members and provided for you, you will not know or meet is the grave disappointment.

Kathleen Reynolds 73 days ago

sad 2

Dean Birch exhibits the racist and bigoted viewpoint of the progressives. Sadly, they can't see the logs in their own eyes. WESPATH has managers that are anti-semitic evidenced by the pension fund divesting from Isreal. They have also bought the nonrenewable energy lie and do not invest in fossil fuels. I notice none to them apparently walked to St Louis.

Thomas Crawford 72 days ago

Withdraws

I have to wonder if you read this letter at all. You seem to have completely mischaracterized what he said. Please read...

Rev. Fran Ota 72 days ago

Friends/friendships

"I cannot withdraw from friendships and prayer for the many areas of faithful mission and ministry in which you are engaged." Did you read this part? He said, "I cannot withdraw from friendships...."

Karen 71 days ago

No anger or bitterness; just love

This man will not live out his days in anger and bitterness. It is not his nature. If you read his letter, he is not turning his back on them but will continue to pray for their successes in ministry. I think disappointment, hurt and sadness better describes the tone of his letter. As you may have ascertained, I agree with his viewpoints.
I am an active member of my UMC church which also has some divisions on this issue. Many of us have differences of opinion on this issue. But that doesn't change the fact that we are members of the same Body of Christ; members of the same family. We love each other in spite of our differences. We still participate in missions together, celebrate and worship together. We agree to disagree but have meaningful and peaceful discussions to try to learn from one another.
Jesus taught us to love God and one another above all else. Please re read this letter an pay attention to the call for unity. We are stronger together. We send a better message to non-Christians when we show the world that we can get along and love each other in spite of our differences. I plead with those of you who seek a divided church - please re-think this. There is room for us all at the table. The Spirit IS at work in our church. Please make room for the workings of the Spirit. We must be on guard lest the enemy take advantage of us during this period of growth and change.

Lori Landis 29 days ago

Chris Ritter attacks Bruce Birch

The following footnote from Rev. Chris Ritter intentionally mischaracterizes Dr. Bruce Birch's open letter: "For more colonial threats, check out Bruce Birch’s letter to Central Conference delegates in which he withdraws his financial support because they didn’t vote like he wanted." It's not about "financial support", Chris, and it's definitely NOT a "colonial threat"! See https://peopleneedjesus.net/2019/03/01/examen-our-dirty-floor-part-one/

Wayne 76 days ago

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