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Practical Schism And Active Evangelism Is Better Answer Than More Dialogue

From: Rodney J. Buchanan
Date: Monday, August 23, 1999 9:50 AM
Subject: Living Up to Our Name

Jim, I just read your article: Living Up to Our Name: A Proactive Strategy for an Evangelical Future in the UMC. I heartily agree with all that you say and appreciate your approach. However, I wonder if we, and in particular the renewal groups who are supposed to be leading us are not missing two other important proactive approaches:

  1. An active letter writing campaign to the leaders of Boards, Agencies and Bishops. We are the silent majority/minority. It does little good for the renewal groups to publish articles which inform of the laity of the abuses of power, theological apostasy, etc. if there is no recourse for them. At this point they have only two choices: Swallow their anger and privatize their church as much as possible from the larger denomination, or leave. Many I know are leaving. What if we empowered the laity and gave them names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses at the end of these articles? Mark Tooley is the only one doing this as far as I know. If we cannot mobilize the laity we have lost the battle.

  2. I believe it is time for the renewal groups to flex their muscles and actually lead us in an orchestrated withholding or redirecting of apportionments. A church here or there cannot do this no matter how large they are -- as we have seen so clearly. It must be a national movement. We cannot continue to complain about the hierarchy until we have played these two cards. They must hear from the people paying the bills. It works with Dobson, Colson, Dr. Laura and others extremely well. Why haven't we tried this yet? Then, if that doesn't work, we need to pull the purse strings.

Rod Buchanan

From: James Lambert <>
To: <>
Date: Sunday, August 15, 1999 4:16 PM
Subject: Living Up to Our Name

I believe Mr. Gibson is essentially correct about what we evangelicals are called to do right now and for as long as we live.  We are to proclaim to Gospel, and minister to the lost in the name of Jesus Christ, and, with all earnestness, pray for revival!  Pray intently for overwhelming revival with the Holy Spirit engulfing our nation, our schools, our churches, and our denomination.

I do not think we should abandon the dialogues altogether, however.  Was not that how so many liberals came to power anyway?  This century, haven't most evangelicals concentrated on their local ministries and looked the other way as unorthodox, unconverted philosophers took many positions of power and influence?  Recently, though, as Mr. Gibson has stated, perhaps we have spent too much energy, at least proportionately, contending for the Christian faith against our denominational beurocracy, and not enough fraying for revival and proclaiming the Gospel.

Whether we keep participating in "dialogues" and drafting statements or not, we need each one of us to pray that God sparks a revival within our own heart, a fire that will never go out.  Then we must give our lives, clergy or laity, custodian, secretary, or lawyer, to proclaiming the Gospel of Christ and loving all God's creations to the point where they see the overwhelming love Jesus has for them.  Then hopefully God will bless us with the revival we so desperately need.

I can witness that at least in this conference (Oklahoma), after experiences this summer among the youth, I and others can see God's work and feel his footsteps approaching for a mighty revival.  But God has other servants besides the UMC, and so if we want to be a part of it we must not cease to pray for God's will to be done and dedicate our lives to witnessing for Christ.

James Lambert

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