Why I'm Not Afraid of the 'Gracious Exit'



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A most reasonable view

Well said and thank you for posting. I really don't understand the argument that a formal split with a gracious exit option for either side means the end of Christianity. I mean, isn't that what Luther, Calvin, Knox and others did in the age of Reformation? The world is replete with Protestant denominations who in their own ways are striving to bring folks to the Triune God and a sense of holiness. Please explain how we would be setting a poor example by establishing two separate but Weslyan oriented denominations? If it's all about unity, then we should agree one means or tradition is the way, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Lutherian, Anglican, Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, and all follow that type of Christian tradition because unity in worship and action is the paramount value.

John more than 3 years ago

The unspoken issue

While traditionalists may be pleased with their majority and support from outside the US, there is an elephant in the room and it is African. In a short time, the UMC, should it survive, will be an African majority denomination. I suspect this will not be popular in some circles. Therefore, it is not out of the question that traditionalists will seek to break away.

The LGTB matters are simply a facet of the broader debate on the authority of scripture. Despite the fact that few parts of the Bible and none of the Gospels claim to be divine dialogue, many have made it such. This, however, invites hypocrisy as verses condoning things we hold as immoral today such as slavery, genocide, trial by ordeal, subjugation of women, etc. are ignored. It is often not noted that Jesus himself rejected scripture when it came to divorce and the woman taken in adultery and yet declared he had not come to destroy the Law. It would seem that some degree of interpretation is permitted.

As an observer from the outside, it seems the UMC has become more and more conservative over the years in its pronouncements. Previously, many current issues were not even mentioned and this raises the point of whether the UMC needs to have an opinion on everything. The church has not escaped the culture wars which are exactly that. There are different cultures in the US that can be traced back to the founding populations. "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America" by Colin Woodard explains this in great detail and it is shocking how little has changed over the centuries.

As I see it, the UMC and other main line denominations in the US will continue to suffer serious decline as the birthrate among their members is below replacement level and immigrants to the US are of other beliefs. Of course, the movement to secularism, which we have seen in Europe, will speed this.

David more than 3 years ago

A house divided against itself

This article is the perfect example of a Wesleyan understanding of schism: love grown cold. Exactly what does a church have to offer the world when its clergy makes a habit of publicly dismantling each other because they each firmly believe that "I am the one with the right answer"? The way things are going, if the church does manage to stay together, it won't be long before the membership vows will include a declaration of which version of what it means to be a United Methodist we each subscribe to. But then that is exactly what the One Church model does--require people to declare loyalty to their particular understanding of what it means to be a United Methodist.

betsy more than 3 years ago

Gracious exits?

I don't understand what a gracious exit would be. I don't understand where people think that's something that's possible. I guess if you came up with the equity and lived in a state that didn't support the Trust Clause, then maybe. But that's not really an option for most churches. That's the way things were designed. The annual conference is in charge. I'm assuming that theoretically a conference could secede from our union. Not sure if there are practical limitations to doing this, however.

But surely, progressive churches aren't negotiating with WCA churches. They would be negotiating with that 430th something general conference attendee. I wouldn't think that person is a member of WCA.

I will be surprised if 2019 GC passes anything. Our structure is actually working the way it was designed. Jurisdictions are the product of our distrust for one another and they are the protection as well. At the end of the day, things haven't changed for the people called Methodist, everyone has the same choice they have always had. To leave personally or love those they find unlovable.

Chad more than 3 years ago