UM Laywomen Lifts Prophetic Voice to Council of Bishops and ChurchRepent!
I'm hoping to get them all addressed and mailed out by Monday, April 4th. I'm using the list of Bishops that I found on the web site of the Confessing Movement. There are a total of 51listed, but I don't know if they include those that sit on the Council of Bishops or not. Please pray with me that whatever God intends to happen through this letter and two of my 'witness statements' (Where Can I Go? and How To Remove Logs From Your Eyes), happens with all speed.
Thanks for your leadership. You are great pastors to me. Cathy
|April 1, 2000
The Divided Church
To All Bishops of the United Methodist Church in the United States:
I have been a Christian for over 33 years, accepting Christ as my personal Savior when I was about 12 years old. I have been a practicing United Methodist for 15 years. Approximately 9 months ago, the division(s) among us as a denomination became very real to me when it struck my own church in Washington.
I probably do not need to tell you that the primary issues of division in my church are over the continued petitions to ordain homosexuals/lesbians as clergy and allow covenanting ceremonies of homosexuals/lesbians in our church sanctuaries. These, of course, are the point of contention, but not the underlying issue, which is obedience to God.
The divided state of our church has broken my heart completely and I believe it grieves God more than we will ever know.
I am led by the Holy Spirit to give you some of my personal testimony. As a loyal Christian and Methodist, I ask two things from you:
Some in the United Methodist Church (at large) have taken bold, strong stands for Christ already. I praise God for their boldness and courage. I pray for their continued stance and am assured that God is leading them.
Some in the UMC have deliberately disobeyed Scripture and the United Methodist Book of Discipline, therefore choosing to turn away from the only Authority over us. Some have failed to hold those disobedient to our church accountable for their actions. (See 1st Corinthians 5.) Others continue to bring forward petitions to try to change the position of the church. Such actions, instead of bringing people to Christ, lead many astray.
I apologize if this letter sounds judgmental to you. However, the actions of some of our leaders in our church have been very public. I am dismayed that God finds it necessary to lead me to speak to you in the first place. This should not be.
Our church arrived at a crossroads many years ago. Some have chosen to go The Way; others have chosen to go various other ways. To continue along these separate paths that we are on will end in disaster, not just for our denomination, but for countless people who have come to Methodist churches looking for life and light, which are only found when we find Jesus Christ, our Savior. Instead of being a shining beacon of light for our Lord, we have turned into fog. There is light somewhere, but where? It's diffused and clouded.
At this point in our church history, I believe the only answer for the United Methodist Church is repentance. By this I mean repentance for all of the people, including those who have divided themselves from Authority, Scripture, and the Book of Discipline in any way, shape, or form.
Repentance can only be accomplished by returning in unity to the Authority, who is Christ, and to the authority of God's Word, that is Holy Scripture. We must turn to Jesus as the only Lord and the only way to our Almighty Father. A total cleansing of the church's teachings (in every venue) and the Book of Discipline must be accomplished, and soon, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
And His name is Jesus, our Christ.
Are Methodists in the United States Christians? Or are we emerging as a new political party in the same way as Democrats and Republicans? How will you lead us? I beg you to lead our church back to Jesus, Who is the only one who can heal our land.
Cathy A. Bihler
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