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Confessing Movement Conference: Voluntary Apportionments, Marriage Non-negotiable, Non-believers May Leave

From: John Miles
Date: Monday, September 13, 1999 9:30 AM
Subject: confessing movement

Dear Friends,

I went to the Confessing Movement meeting in Indianapolis last week. I had a great time and I will be sharing some of the ideas and messages that I heard over the coming weeks. Today I want to share with you the affirmation that we developed at that meeting. Each time we meet we try to develop a statement that we can take away from the meeting. Next week I would like to print your responses to the Indianapolis Affirmation. What parts do you agree with? What parts do you disagree with and why?


Confessing Jesus Christ as Son, Savior, and Lord, we the supporters of the Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church, meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 9,10, & 11, 1999, offer these reflections and concerns to our brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church.

  • We celebrate the signs of God's grace within the United Methodist Church including: our church's commitment to racial and gender inclusiveness, Disciple Bible study, the new Christian Believer study, the Emmaus Movement sponsored by the Upper Room, the United Methodist Volunteers In Mission, expanding ministries among the poor, the crisis ministries of UMCOR, the recovery of an emphasis on spiritual formation, and the growing recognition of the primacy and centrality of scripture and prayer.

  • From the beginning of the Confessing Movement, our purpose has been to contend for the apostolic faith, to reclaim and reaffirm the church's ancient ecumenical faith in Wesleyan terms within United Methodism, and to call for a new level of integrity and accountability in upholding our constitutionally established doctrinal standards. We call upon our Bishops to guard, defend, and teach the historic apostolic faith without apology. If there are clergy and laity or local churches who cannot abide by and remain true to the teachings of Scripture and our doctrine we encourage General Conference to provide for an exit process with pension, property, and without penalty.

  • While the baptismal document is still in process, we remind the church that a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is integral to full Christian initiation and church membership.

  • We urge General Conference to affirm more strongly the sanctity of the unborn child and to reject unreservedly partial-birth abortion.

  • We appeal to the General Conference to affirm trust in the connection by returning mandatory apportionments, other than ministerial items, to "askings", a concept used for almost 200 years. Moreover, we urge the General Conference and the General Council on Finance and Administration to incorporate board and agency surpluses in the budget planning process in order to free churches to address local missional needs. We urge General Conference to simplify the process of determining the amount of a local church's askings by limiting askings to a maximum of 10% of the total expenditures paid by each church, exclusive of capital improvements and benevolence.

  • Our present teaching on human sexuality—celibacy in singleness and fidelity in heterosexual marriage—is non-negotiable. We affirm the decision of the Judicial Council that conduction a same sex union ceremony is a chargeable offense. We urge that conducting or participating in such a union be added as an offense to Paragraph 2624. We reject efforts to extend to same-sex domestic partners those rights generally reserved to preserve and support heterosexual marriage.

  • We welcome a spirited discussion on structures within the church which focus on the making of disciples in local congregations and energetically explores the vehicle of the World Methodist Council as an expression of our global nature. However, with respect to the preliminary Connectional Process Team Report, we have serious reservations; we strongly oppose inequitable representation, losing the voice of the Central Conference delegates and retired clergy, and adding layers of bureaucracy.

  • We reaffirm the church's primary mission which is to reach lost people with the good news of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and his glorious bodily resurrection. "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

I hope to share your comments and concerns next week.

Your brother,

John Miles, Heber Springs.

Editors note:  This is not the official document which will be issued in an official news release by the Confessing Movement later.

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