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UM's Ask Bishop, "Where to Turn?" When Their Pastors Promote Contrary Doctrines In Local Church

From: MARK WHATLEY mwhatley@trinitycoatings.com
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 10:29 AM
To: jwarrene@ucmpage.org
Subject: Where to turn?

Rev. John Warrener, M.Div., M.B.A
Dear John,
I am attaching letter that I authored to the President of the Council of Bishops. Please read this letter. I am also attaching the proof of what I elude to in my letter.

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
Council of Bishops
Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher, President of the Council of Bishops

Re: Where to turn?

Dear Sharon,

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
6613 Cherry Hills Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76132

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

Advent Bible Study:
December 4, 11 & 18

"Reading the Bible Again For The First Time - Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally"

The Advent Bible study offered this month will be based on Marcus J. Borg’s book, Reading the Bible Again For The First Time - Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally and will be led by Dr. William Longsworth. Borg is the Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University and author of the best-selling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The God We Never Knew, and Jesus: A New Vision.

The study will be offered on Wednesdays, December 4, 11 and 18 at 7:00 a.m. in Wesley Hall and again at 11:00 a.m. in Room 350. Breakfast will be served at the 7:00 a.m. study time for $5.00. The book is not required for the study but those interested may purchase a copy of the book for $10.00 in the church office.

A Message from Dr. Wayne Day

Advent is the time of year when fires burn bright and wishes fill the air. It is a time of singing, and praying for something more. It is a time when you forget about death and taxes and put on your dancing shoes.

Some believe that long ago a baby was born who can make even the most cynical, fair. A baby in whose face is the light of the world, and in whose voice is the sound of heaven. A baby who comes again and again knocking on our door asking us to open not just our presents but also our hearts.

Advent is a time of wonder - wise men riding camels, angels singing, heavens filled with stars. Advent is the time when surrounded by darkness, we see the light that illumines all.

This is the time, not to be busy, but to be still. To be still and know that in spite of, life is good. No matter where you are life can begin again.

I pray for you and your family, for those who have much and those who have little, for those who are sick and those who are well, for those surrounded by cheer and those with heavy hearts.

Advent is the time when we remember God is always God. It is the time of year when we look to the heavens to see the future and reach out to one another in hope and love.

In the midst of all that is, it is the love of God that has the last word in your life and mine Watch, be ready, keep awake, God is a God who is constantly being born in our lives.

In Christ,


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