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Commentary


Accept No Imitations

by James A. Gibson III


The revisionist propaganda machine is up and running at this year's General Conference. On Friday, the United Methodist News Service (UMNS) published two commentaries ostensibly calling for "unity" despite continued disagreement over the issue of homosexual practice. Yesterday, United Methodist Reporter Interactive ran a commentary in which veteran reporter Cynthia Astle complained of "bullying" and "intimidation" by "conservative" delegates, one of whom allegedly said to her, "Unity be damned."

It is a common tactic of revisionists to cast themselves as the tolerant, open-minded heroes in the ongoing battle with bigoted, hateful traditionalists. Both the religious and secular press have proven all too willing to perpetuate this myth. In fact, from the perspective of worldview, there is no real difference between "religious" and "secular," as far as the press is concerned. Both tout the revisionist party line that "unity" is something which can be brought about through accommodation and compromise among disparate factions within the Church. Revisionists disingenuously issue calls for "sacred space" and "a cooling off period" in which they would be required to give up nothing while traditionalists would be required to give up all claims to any kind of absolute truth.

Traditionalists easily see through such transparent overtures. Yet, when they reject them for obvious reasons, they are portrayed in the media as the ones with the "Unity be damned" attitude. But the "unity" sought by revisionists and their media allies ought rightly to be "damned," because it is no unity at all. In the Church of Jesus Christ, unity is not a matter of political accommodation. Unity in the Church can only be rooted in the truth. A "unity" not rooted in the truth is, at best, an illusion and, at worst, a demonic deception.

Truth must be the basis for unity in the Church because it is truth which draws the Church together as one body, bound by one Spirit, being of one mind, and singularly focused on the one mission of gathering all the disparate peoples of the world into one under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Absent truth, all "unity" is a lie.

There is but one truth which binds the Church together. That truth has a name. That name is Jesus. Accept no imitations. 

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