What's Next for The United Methodist Church?



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God Protects Us When

I would say Adam Hamilton should recognize that when Jesus said “Repent,” that means everyone. It is not right to teach Progressives they have no need to repent and forsake their sins. We need to obey God on sexuality for our own sake. What's next in the UMC? Obeying God on sexuality. God protects us when we respect Him and do our best to live as He taught us. Those who cannot accept this might take a different path, but I hope they will take another look at God's Word before doing that.

Skipper more than 2 years ago

Stone any divorcees recently?

Matthew 19:8-9.

That's the logical outcome of your point. We're not even going Old Testament.

But to point out, Jesus literally tells you that this Law (when you can divorce) came from MOSES, not specifically from God. Jesus disagreed with that Law, right?

Here's another fun point to noodle over: Jesus died for our sins, washed us clean. If we sin, we can repent, and be washed clean again.

Let he without sin cast the first stone.

So repent, pick up some rocks, and go find the nearest divorcees.

And there we are. A very logical, very true-to-scripture option for you.

And it wouldn't be murder, from a Biblical perspective. God didn't say '...unless there are civil laws against such acts', right? Obey God. No need for reason, experience to come into play here. Heck, we're talking about SINNERS WHO WILL NOT REPENT. They DESERVE to be put to death. Abominations, the lot of them.

JR more than 2 years ago

Death is not for us to administer

"Jesus died for our sins, washed us clean. If we sin, we can repent, and be washed clean again." That's true, but repentance means we turn from our sin and toward holiness.

"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." (Rom. 6:15-18)

John more than 2 years ago

Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

When someone else commits a wrong, do we get to commit one as well? Certainly not. Matthew 19 shows us Jesus expects a lot from His followers. Not always what we want to hear. He set the example by living a moral life. John Stott tells us in Matthew 6 Jesus “described Christian righteousness which must exceed the righteousness of scribe and Pharisees by accepting the full implications of God's law without dodging anything or setting artificial limits. Christian righteousness is righteousness unlimited. It must be allowed to penetrate beyond our actions and words to our heart, mind and motives, and to master us even in those hidden, secret places.

Skipper more than 2 years ago

Now apply that logic...

...to your particular biblical adherence regarding homosexuality.

Start with 'love thy neighbor'.

Go ahead, we have plenty of time.

JR more than 2 years ago

"God's Word" is silent

God says absolutely nothing about the topic of this issue.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

God speaks through Matthew

Matt 18:15-20:
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[e] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

John more than 2 years ago


Posting quoted verses like hearing impaired people use sign language does not make an argument for your position. It merely reveals you choose to ignore facts.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

Sorry, too

I'm sorry, I thought you understood that God speaks through scripture, so I gave you where Jesus tells the church that they are given authority to to discern what is (and what is not) acceptable within the body and to exercise appropriate disciplinary measures. So there you've got Matthew, inspired by the third person of the Trinity, quoting the second person. Does God still say nothing about the authority of his church to correct what it understands to be sin?

John more than 2 years ago


The ideology informing your reasoning is fundamentalism, not Christanity.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

Even more sorry now

That's not ideology, it's basic, mainstream Christian theology. What, in your mind, is fundamentalist in what I've said? That God, in some as-yet-to-be-defined way, inspired the biblical authors? That Jesus gives authority to his church? That Jesus is divine? That there's even a Trinity?

John more than 2 years ago

I'm afraid not

What you have articulated is an extremist position. It is most assuredly not "Mainstream" although it may seem such to people who've never been outside Missouri, and then only to St. Louis for a Rams game. It is a cherry-picked articulation interpreting scripture to confirm one's prejudices. The rest of your questions are rhetorical baiting and not deserving an answer. Except, of course, The Trinity is not at all a Biblical formulation but a mythos created by early Roman Catholic prelates as a substitute for the father-son bond of Jupiter and Heracles (Hercules), or Mars, Apollo, etc., as a marketing scheme to substitute the heroic mythos of the displaced Olympians. As that famous theologian James Tiberias Kirk noted in a retort when encountering the decrepit, bitter, Apollo in "Who Mourns for Adonais?": "Mankind has no use for Gods. We find the One quite adequate."

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago


Missouri? Rams? Jupiter? The triune God is conspiratorial myth? Star Trek? Incredible. George, you're so far out there it's no wonder you can't discern what the rest of the universe sees. This conversation is over--I won't feed a troll.

John more than 2 years ago

what's next

Try this 'wicked problem' template. A wicked problem is multifaceted, has numerous stakeholders, defies finality in solution, involves communication issues and trust deficits; like the hydra of mythology, cut off one head and 7 grow to replace it. Our church's problem is not merely or primarily sexuality conflict. Thinking GC19 could solve or even move decisively to resolve it was never possible. Institutions with a wicked problem try one of three ways to handle it. First is authority: the bishops and GC19 decide, but...authority can be wrong. Authority gets overwhelmed in volunteer organizations where trust deficits are real; conservatives have little trust in the bishops for their efforts to strangle the Traditional plan in the crib and liberals have little trust of GC for its decisions and so will ignore them. Second approach is conflict; the stronger player wins and all else lose. That is what happened at GC19 and virtually no one is happy; liberals are pained by the loss and conservatives are hardly joyous by the 'win' and the prospect of a thousand church trials. Third approach is collaboration, but stakeholders tend to 'fail into collaboration,' i.e., move seriously in that direction when convinced all other options are clearly worse. The caution is that most collaborations also fail back into conflict, when one or more 'sides' come to believe they can get more through slugging it out than though collaboration. INSIGHT FOR THE PROCESS AT THIS POINT. All functionally agree authority went paws up at GC19. No one relishes a competitive fight. Collaboration can work, framed as the multiplication or mitosis of Methodism into 2-3 expressions that share the same Wesleyan DNA, cooperate in selected venues (think UMCOR-WESTPATH) and are free to refresh and reform structures and thinking that have been part of a church in 50 year sustained decline in the US. Caution to liberals: beware becoming a (gulp?) perceived 'America First' Methodism or assuming a middle-left hold on seminaries and other institutions translates into the pews in equal proportion...be willing to yield what matters now to gain what matters most, however defined. Caution for conservatives: 56% of UM laity define themselves as other than conservative in the US, beware assumptions that a clean break is all that is needed; be prepared to deal with the socially-indifferent and flat earth types who are at the fringe (and yes, liberals have their versions of the same). A combined leadership of progressive/traditional clergy and laity with meaningful voice from African-Europe-the Philippines, can bring about a new birth, with GC2020 the delivery room...unless you slide back into last minute competition. Ditch the snark, loaded language and anything that sniffs of contempt for the 'other,' and plow the ground to birth a renewed Methodist movement. Just saying...

Bob more than 2 years ago

Still not getting it

Adam Hamilton still does not seem to get it. He talks about the WCA and other traditionals leaving the church. I thought that this year would have taught him that his position is the minority position. Why should the majority leave? It seems that his success has puffed him up and blinded him to the truth. Instead he should be leading the discussion with Keith Boyette and the WCA/Goodnews crowd to come up with a equitable split. As long as the delusion that the left will control the UMC exists the conflict will continue and the non-believers will continue to be turned off by the UMC. It would not be that hard to let the AC's split into two denominations, both under the current book of discipline, which they could each modify to suit themselves. Neither side needs to reinvent the wheel. By the way the plan to switch traditional delegates to GC to progressive delegates will not work. Both sides are prepared, and even if half do switch, the traditional side will still carry the day.

Scott more than 2 years ago

UMC Will Split

Scott, the OCP passed overwhelmingly if you are speaking of the USA. However, the Traditional Plan passed due to the fact that our delegates in Africa and the Philippines were, also, counted. Our brothers and sisters in those areas are newer to the Bible and therefore take it more literally than do we, in the USA.

Robert & Carla more than 2 years ago

Of course it will split

It doesn't matter whether we're speaking of the USA, the Philippines, or Russia. The ONLY votes that matter are those of the General Conference as an entire body. The OCP didn't make it out of committee; the TP did and was subsequently passed by GC, and whatever portions are left intact after the Judicial Council reviews them later this month will become part of the BOD on January 1. The US portion of the church is in decline; Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Philippines are on the ascendancy. Had we been allocating GC delegates proportional to our worldwide membership distribution, we'd be looking at even greater margins supporting the retention of existing teachings on human sexuality. Diversionary attention focused on regional support of other plans is akin to focusing on the total popular vote instead of the Electoral College in US presidential elections--it's interesting trivia, but completely irrelevant to the only measure that ultimately matters. That's quite an interesting theory, by the way--recent exposure to scripture causes literal interpretation. I've seen quite a few people here in North America who barely know their bible and hold to the craziest, hyper-spiritualized interpretations of actual, historical events like Jesus' birth, miracles, resurrection, and ascension, and who refuse to take seriously his promise to return at the Last Day.

John more than 2 years ago

The region absolutely matters

In general, western Europe will not comply.
In general, the west coast USA and the Northeast USA will not comply.
In the midwest, it's roughly 50/50 from what I've heard.
In the South, it's about 20% noncomply.

What is the UMC going to do? The Traditionalists expected the rest of the denomination to cry it out, roll over and comply. That's not happening - and if they push the matter, it's going to leave behind ruin.

Maybe some of the folks are fine with that - but the leadership of the Traditionalists aren't fools. They pulled a power play, won the battle, but are wholly in danger of seeing a Pyrrhic victory come about.

The EASIEST path would be for the US to split into two denominations - ideally they could be co-mingled on items of compatibility like WESPATH and UMCOR, but have independent leadership. Other regions could follow suit, etc.

JR more than 2 years ago

Easy, but right?

I do concur with your generalizations about regional compliance/noncompliance. However, if you split the five US jurisdictions into two denominations, you've still got the rest of the world to deal with. Within a decade those regions will outnumber the US membership. The US portion of the church has got to let go of its arrogant assumption that it's the only valid driver of the UMC bus.

Whether Traditionalist leadership understood saw a majority vote at GC2019 as the ultimate goal (including compliance by the minority) or simply as a step toward formal separation, recognizing that schism on the ground is already a reality, is an open question.

I want no part of a church that limits membership to national borders, as is commonplace in the Anglican Communion. Christ is head of a global church, our eternal citizenship is in a kingdom that spans all time and space, and our church should reflect that reality.

John more than 2 years ago

U.S. Opinion

This is a great talking point, but let's remember that the congregations are more conservative than preachers and the lay leaders, the annual conference delegates are the most liberal of that group, the general conference delegates are a little more liberal than the annual conference delegates.

If you change the policy, you then have to sell it to the congregations. That's where the rubber meets the road. 60% of our congregations support the legal right to marry (a position that in congruent with General Conference). 47% voted for Trump.

Based on your narrative, all U.S. conferences should be willing to split with our international conferences, but remain one. Not sure if that is an accurate reading.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago

Be like children

In Mathew, Jesus says: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. " I would say believing that the Bible means what it says without manipulation by those who assume themselves to be more mature is a good thing. If God wanted the Bible to say something different don't you think He could accomplish that?

Virginia Berger more than 2 years ago

The way to resolve a conflict

Is to sit down with those you are in conflict with rather than assuming how they will respond. By the way, isn't this basically the same leadership group who was so confident the One Church Plan would pass?

betsy more than 2 years ago

Why are we putting the bible up for another vote?

We should work on readjusting those who disagree with a clear teaching of the bible to come into communion with God and the Church. Petitions against God aren't worth the paper they are written on. If we were voting on a new headquarters that would be fine and the purview of man, but this is a core believe of the bible that says we are sinners, fallen and in need of grace but to seek that grace we must resist sins to be more perfect. Those sins are pretty well laid out and that includes much of what the LGBTQ+ group would like to claim is not a sin. I would rather have a smaller church that seeks communion with God than a big church that gives platitudes to man.

Brian more than 2 years ago


The Bible is not the issue. The issue is legislating prejudice.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

The real issue...

is our being conformed to God's will (or being defiant).

John more than 2 years ago

Show your work

"God's will" is not something we as humans are capable of understanding. It is certainly nothing you are remotely aware of.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

In our natural state, no

George, what makes Wesleyans distinct from other Christians in descent from the Roman side of the Great Schism is that we believe that we ARE capable of obedience to God's will, even if we fall short of completely understanding it. That's the Spirit-enable power of a sanctified life. Being conformed to God's will requires that we surrender ourselves to God and give up both self-service and sanctimonious obstinance. Even a quick reading of our Confession of Faith (an unchangeable Standard of Doctrine) reveals this first sentence in the section on Sanctification and Christian Perfection: "We believe sanctification is the work of God's grace through the Word and the Spirit, by which those who have been born again are cleansed from sin in their thoughts, words and acts, and are enabled to live in accordance with God's will, and to strive for holiness without which no one will see the Lord." That's a basic Methodist/Wesleyan teaching.

John more than 2 years ago

Tis the issue.

The bible is our authority first and from that the Book of Discipline channels it to guide the UMC. To create authority contrary to the Bible is an afront to what Christians are and what Wesley taught. If you question my logic read on John Wesley's quadrilateral which says the Christian faith comes from discerning God's mind and heart with Scripture, Tradition, personal experiance, and reason. Scripture is the central and normative point which all should start...ergo the authority of the word in the bible.

Brian more than 2 years ago