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Now, Who Is Acting Like A Liberal?

by Dennis David Hensley

Re: The articles you've posted in response to the events of September 11 and particularly the Bishop's Pastoral Letter:

I am baffled that those who call themselves "Confessing" United Methodists are so quick to cite the Social Principles' poorly written statement on Military Service (paragraph 164; Article G) as the "Official" UM position, but choose to ignore the former EUB Confession of Faith. Just in case you don't know, Article XVI (Civil Government) says, "We believe war and bloodshed are contrary to the gospel and spirit of Christ." (This, in fact, sounds much like the opening of Social Principles' paragraph 165; Article C, on War and Peace: "We believe war is incompatible with the teaching and example of Christ;" which is immediately followed by a predictable equivocation about rejecting "war as a usual instrument of national foreign policy.")

Now please consider the following:

General Conference alters the Social Principles regularly, the Confession of Faith, however, is part of our official Doctrinal Standards (paragraph 103) which are protected against easy alteration by the Restrictive Rule.

The Confessing Movement also has always quite rightly insisted that our Doctrinal Standards are more important and binding than the Social Principles.

The Social Principles' position on war sounds remarkably like their approval of abortion (both regret that under certain extreme circumstances the taking of human life may be necessary). But the Confession of Faith statement about war sounds similar to the Social Principles' stand on homosexuality for which evangelicals have fought so hard; (war and homosexual practice are "contrary to" or "incompatible with" Christianity.)

Finally, do evangelical United Methodists really want to say that under some circumstances it is proper for Christians to engage in actions which are "contrary to the gospel and spirit of Christ" and "incompatible with [His] teaching and example?" That sounds to me like the essence of liberalism. No, that IS the essence of liberalism. But what are we to expect of those who deliberately misrepresent the "Official" UM position on war? That, I believe is called "lying."

For the Peace of Christ ALONE,

Rev. Dennis David Hensley
Fairmount United Methodist Church
309 S. Walnut St.
Fairmount, IN 46928


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