Poor Attendance At Confessing Movement National Conference Evidence Of Missing The Mark Among UM Evangelicals
|At our Evangelical Renewal
Fellowship (ERF) Summit [California/Nevada], this Monday and Tuesday,
we had a report from two of the attendees, about the Confessing
Movement gathering in Houston TX. I was unable to attend, and while
the message sounded good, I find a great deal of unanswered
The press release comments shown below were presented, but after some digging, there was a concerned voice from myself and some others:
First: Why after 7 years has there been no real understanding of what is going on out here in Cal/Nev and which is now rippling through the entire church?
Second: Outside of North America the UMC is growing at one million a year per Dr. Fox. Yet here, we still have a showing of departure after departure, and across the denomination (USA) closing after closing of churches and in spite of the fancy words of of what I call implied "growth," a continuation of the same old "pat ourselves on the back" by "evangelicals" who seem to be theological conservatives but bound by chains of fear to get into the streets to tell the Good News. The real meaning of Evangelical is not conservative but active believer. Safe in their pews and pulpits too many have been expressing how "on fire" they are but the CM meeting had 400 according to my sources and maybe 500 as in this article. A major decrease from last years 1,000.
While other "evangelical" organizations express the same "loss" of interest. All because the war was won??????????? Well let me tell you folks, GC2000 was just a skirmish. Not even a small battle. Not to demean the effort or those doing it, but compared to the coming battle, GC2000 was more like a scrimmage of a second string Jr. High football squad where everyone jumps and shouts about how good they may be some day if they grow up.
THERE IS NO STAYING POWER!!!!! There is only WHINING power!!!
CM had half the number at what should have been a combined celebration and get their hands dirty preparing for GC2004 which should have started at GC2000 months ago. Instead, the general demeanor of most of the evangelical movement is "Boy Aren't We Powerful!" The result? Another lost year for hot blooded evangelical temperament to the liberals who are working full time to "change the whatever" right now!
Maxi Dunham's speech, from what I heard, says and his topic implies is very apropos, but did anyone listen to what he said? Flesh out out doctrinal authority, as it is received from the saints, know what the Bible says and tell it from the pulpit. Make that message a caring nurturing message that lets people know evangelicals are not judges but delivers of Gods word to ALL the nations including our own neighborhood right here and now. But first of all and most important PRAY.
Why is this last on Maxi's list in the title? Probably the same reason it is last in some of the people's lists I talked to at the Summit. There is less commitment to wining the war through Gods Will an Gods Power even in evangelicals than there is to being in a battle of useless rhetoric against others who find their blessings only in the same useless rhetoric.
At the ERF summit, we tried something new for a change. We prayed. Not just the usual Methodist, "God is great, God is good and we thank Him for our food" two year olds level of prayers, but a full blown some on their knees others bent double with the load kinds of prayer. Almost two hours of which over an hour was beyond the scheduled end of the day, agenda says get some sleep and come back for breakfast safely because were at the end of the day kind of prayer. Seems the Son's kind of asking two generals of the army of supporters about staying awake just one hour was not even needed Monday night. PTL. Prayer went on until PRAYER was completed. What an amazing thing. Hands were laid upon and prayer for specific brothers and sisters under specific trials and tribulations right now was the closing. Not an ending but a closing of the evening.
Now is not the time to be waiting for the next call, the next episode of frustration, the next bus full of the lost seeking some politc de-jur news generating event. It is time to be in the trenches delivering the Good News and building the kingdom.
At the summit, we made a commitment to be Gods Holy Army in the places where we have been weak and inattentive. To stand. When knocked down, to Stand. When run over, to STAND.
To do things like attending Pastors school (laity are allowed now) and bring the Gospel, full and complete in front of all who do not know it. To bring Gods Love through His Holy Word to the pastor who says I believe the Apostles Creed, the parts of Jesus was born, died and was buried, I believe fully, but that is all. To be a firm committed presence in places like COSROW and the local college GLBT club displaying Gods love for all people regardless of their sin. To carry the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ into ALL the world including the uMC.
To be on the front lines like John Warrener. who was driven out of the UMC because he insisted on changing the word "inclusiveness" from a medallion on the wall to an active verb as he builds a ministry to released prisoners, the HIV afflicted and others.
BTW, by the evidence, I would say that the word "inclusiveness" in Cal/Nev does not involve Blacks, Hispanics, Orientals or any minority including the evangelicals? How could I say that? From 1998 to 1999 we lost 1004 Blacks and 39 Hispanics. There are more Pacific Islanders than Hispanics and only 4813 Blacks in the entire 94,000 "member" cal/nev AC. That's about 5.1% of Blacks and less than 2% Hispanics while the state has just shifted to 51% minorities and 49% Caucasian. How does your Annual Conference stack up? Is it really any better? Could it be the focus on glbt sin and not ministering to the lost of the world as a whole makes the UMC unattractive to cultures which hold to both their cultural and Biblical heritage?
So when the CM and the rest of the "evangelical movement" inside the uMC call for more money, more workers more whatever, I would ask, where is the fruit? Evangelicals seem to be off hiding in a cave waiting for the ravens to feed them before they will get off their PPPPPP's (That's Pious-Pompous-Pew-Polishing-Pulchritudinous-Posteriors, where Pew is either Pew or Pulpit) and set an agenda before stepping into the Truth where they must Pray earnestly before moving. Begin by PRAYER. Earnest and fervent prayer not just in the closet, but in groups of believers who want Gods Hand in all that they do. Then listen for Gods answer and look for the door He has opened. God has already opened the doors He wants us to enter while most of us seek answers to 911 kinds of "what not Lord?" prayers. Then move. Move with the verb "quiet" being but a symbol of past sin, and center on telling the Good News to all including those who claim to be believers in either pew or pulpit. Then as the result of God's Hand in ones ministry, finally, as in after the ground has been prepared through prayer, work for the earthly works of the BoD and other politic de-jur.
In this one 24 hour period, I heard more actions, more fruit of the true spreading of the Word and offering Salvation amongst the heathens than I have heard in any other evangelical gatherings, and every one of them was done from the foundation of a prayer time and listening to Gods Will. It works and works completely.
So why do we as "evangelicals" seem to be so bent on a fight that is only going to be won in the Heavenlies? Why do we put forth agendas that have earthly ties without heavenly direction and support? Why do we overlook what EVANGELICAL means, that of spreading the Good News that Jesus Saves? Why do we place second or lower the power of God as we call to Him for results that He has freely offered?
It is time for a change. A change to get back to not accepting the apostasy around us by sitting and typing, sending email and letters, hollering about how bad it is, but by firmly, fervently, and earnestly moving forward to one of first Praying and Listening and then delivering the Gospel fully and in complete apologetic form without anger but with Gods Love changing power, one on one in the hearts of all people.
God will change the world where His people come to His Throne in obedient submission. God never give us territory claimed in His Holy name.
It is time for a change. A change to get back to not accepting the apostasy by sitting and typing, sending email and letters, hollering about how bad it is, and moving forward to one of Praying and Listening and delivering the Gospel fully and in complete apologetic form without anger but with Gods Love changing power one on one in the hearts of all people.
In Jesus who makes us whole tomw
Leo Schol wrote:
Houston Conference Summary - 4/21/01 The Confessing Movement within The United Methodist Church celebrated its seventh birthday in a National Conference at Houston, Texas, Aril 19-21, 2001. First United Methodist Church in Houston hosted the conference of about 500 persons from across the country.
The pendulum of United Methodist theology and ethics has swung an enormous distance in those seven years as evidenced by the remarkable General Conference of May 2000. We are a different denomination now. Our rate of membership loss is declining. Worship attendance is rising. The United Methodist tide is running in a Wesleyan, evangelical direction. The Confessing Movement is officially endorsed by 3518 United Methodist pastors and 1367 local congregations whose combined membership is over 600, 000.
Keynoter Maxie Dunnam, President of Asbury Seminary, challenged The Confessing Movement to flesh out its doctrinal orthodoxy in caring, nurturing ministries, underwritten by prayer and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Robert Hays, Jr., Dr. Jerry Neff challenged the conference to help United Methodism become more racially and culturally inclusive. Dr. Hayes issued a three-point challenge: 1) Get to know each other all over again, 2) Get outside your comfort zones and deal with fears. "Nobody like change except a wet baby," and 3) celebrate the fact that our difference enrich us.
Dr. Eddie Fox, World Director of World Methodist Evangelism, reported that the Methodist family has been growing worldwide at the rate of one million per year for the last decade. He declared that if we confess Christ, we must have a radical commitment to evangelism and mission. According to Dr. Fox, the main sin of the church is neither the sin of omission nor commission; it is the sin of no mission. Dying churches focus on institutional survival. Vibrant churches focus on mission and ministry.
After seven years in existence, The Confessing Movement
celebrates it extensive influence within The United Methodist
Church, but much remains to be done. Our mission statement continues
to challenge us: "Confessing Jesus Christ as Son, Savior, and
Lord, The confessing Movement exist to enable The United Methodist
Church to retrieve its classical doctrinal identity, and to live it
out as disciples of Jesus Christ." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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