UM's Ask Bishop, "Where to Turn?" When Their Pastors Promote Contrary Doctrines In Local Church
From: MARK WHATLEY
Rev. John Warrener, M.Div., M.B.A
Please note the illusive words written by Dr. Wayne Day in his Dec 6,
2002 article. Please focus on what he says about “Some people believe.”
Also note the topic of the advent bible study presented by Dr. William
Lonsgworth. We need help.
December 12, 2002
United Methodist Church
Re: Where to turn?
My wife and I are in the midst of a spiritual battle. The Battlefield is located at The First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth, Texas. My wife has been a member for over thirty years and I have been a member for 15 years. We have both taught Disciple Bible studies, sung in the choir and my wife has taught vacation bible school on several occasions. My wife also attended Brite Seminary for two years. We are committed Christians wishing to serve our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Our problems revolve around the attitudes and beliefs of our ministers. I would refer you to the newsletter of the FUMC of Fort Worth, Texas, dated December 6, 2002. In this bulletin the church has published senior minister Wayne Day’s thoughts on the birth story of Jesus Christ although he does not mention him by name. I quote “Some believe that long ago a baby was born.” Dr. Day cannot find the courage to name the baby that he refers to. You will also note that Bill Longsworth is teaching the only bible study during the advent season. The topic for advent is “Reading the Bible Again For The First Time - Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally”. This so called study is based on the author Marcus Borg, a well known universalistic professor in America. As you may or may not be aware, his teachings portray Jesus as a good man and nothing more. He strips Jesus of his deity and places him on an equal level with Buddha, Mohammad and all others who are lifted up by the masses according to their religious beliefs. According to Borg, Jesus was not born of a virgin, not the Son of God and was not resurrected. This type of belief has become the centrist doctrine of the First United Methodist Church and possibly the belief doctrine of many who hold leadership positions serving in the faith.
I have a real problem with this teaching and this move to an all inclusive universalism approach by our church. To be inclusive means to accept people of all walks of life not all beliefs in life. To my knowledge we believe in the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. My wife has searched for answers but to no avail as to why we as a church will not place Jesus the Messiah as the head of our church. Many prominent leaders including lay leaders have stepped down and left the church we serve. Recently, one of the leaders of our church called my wife soliciting pledges for the upcoming year. The conversation eventually moved to the issues regarding the frustrations felt by my wife and myself. My wife at that time asked about matters on salvation and as a leader of the church what his beliefs were. His reply basically stated that there are many ways to salvation and one could achieve salvation by works and by being good. He revealed similar ideas as to the identity of Jesus Christ related to the teachings of Bill Longsworth and the Jesus Seminars. My wife has made several attempts to talk with someone including the district superintendent regarding the dilemma which haunts our church. She has had no results. I am contacting you because I need some answers. I want to know what the churches official position is on these matters. We are at the point of searching for another church that holds true to the Christian doctrine. I feel however that my wife and I deserve some answers. I also feel that it is very deceptive to claim to be a Christian organization and to disseminate doctrine that is errant and in direct contradiction to what Christians believe. If not mistaken, I believe that the Methodist mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The mission of the Methodist Church is placed on belief in God’s self-revelation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ which summons the church to ministry in the world through witness by word and deed. In the midst of a sinful world, through the grace of God, we are brought to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We become aware of the presence and life-giving power of God’s Holy Spirit. Sharon, remember God requires us to hold his son above all others and to proclaim only Jesus as Messiah. We would appreciate any words of wisdom or enlightenment you could give in this matter. If no response is received, we will know by your admission of silence, that you to do not hold the true doctrine of our faith in your heart and that you also condone this movement.
Mark P. Whatley
Taken from First United Methodist Church EDITION OF THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER, VOLUME 149 NUMBER 29 † 971360 † DECEMBER 6, 2002, Fort Worth, Texas, December-6-2002.pdf
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