United Methodist Church Members Begin Uniting
To Provide Faithful Christian
For a number
of years there has been growing concern by many United Methodist Church (UMC)
Members over the increasing lack of moral, ethical, and sound doctrinal
teaching, practices, and worship in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference (PNWAC).
The UMC is a mainline Christian denomination founded on the basic tenets of the
Christian faith and governed by its sacred Scriptures, historical Confessions of
Faith, Book of Discipline and General Conference. However, many pastors and
leaders in the PNWAC have failed to uphold and abide by the doctrines and laws
of the Church. The Bishop, Cabinet, District Superintendents, Board of Ordained
Ministry, Committee on Investigation, and others, have failed, either by choice
or through ineffectiveness, to appoint pastors for many local churches who
honestly agree with and teach Christianity in the Methodist tradition. In
addition, when there are pastors who do not maintain the highest standards of
holy living and/or disseminate doctrines contrary to the established standards
of doctrine of the UMC, there has been little or no enforcement of obedience,
which effectively condones their beliefs and behavior.
The lack of
enforcement stated above negates, ignores, and violates the Book of Discipline.
The failure of the PNWAC to enforce the Book of Discipline is seen by many as
proof of unbelief in basic Christian Doctrines.
of the grave underlying problems concerning Scriptural authority and compliance
with the Book of Discipline is the issue of homosexuality and how it affects the
Christian. The UMC’s General Conference asserts that practicing homosexual acts
is incompatible with Christian teaching. In addition, self-avowed practicing
homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates for ordination, ordained, or
appointed to serve in the UMC.
flagrant lack of Discipline enforcement is the much publicized and open
admission by Elder Mark E. Williams during the 2001 Annual Conference where he
stated that he is a practicing homosexual. Yet, contrary to the Book of
Discipline, Mark E. Williams is still appointed to and preaching in a local UMC
in Seattle. This strongly suggests that the PNWAC is unable
and/or unwilling to enforce the UMC’s clear moral standards of clergy conduct.
result, the Christian witness and reputation of the UMC is severely damaged.
churches have lost members and/or financial support as a result of the inability
and/or unwillingness of the PNWAC to discipline its pastors. Local churches
continue to face internal conflict and turmoil over this and many other issues.
Some have sought remedy from the PNWAC, but have found little or no support.
Often members reach a point of such frustration or anger that they leave the
God is calling UMC Laity to provide a Christian witness faithful to the
Doctrinal standards and General Rules of the Book of Discipline, a few UMC
members from the PNWAC have joined together identifying themselves as The
Faithful Christian Laity of the United Methodist Church (FCL).
FCL (Faithful Christian Laity) began
meeting in the summer of 2002 and have now formed a Steering Committee, prepared
their Mission Statement and their Unified Statement, which appear below in their
entirety. The Steering Committee has identified and begun prioritizing issues
that need to be addressed. They are formulating plans for action and are seeking
other like-minded Christians to work together in the UMC toward the common goal
of making Disciples of Jesus Christ in the Methodist tradition. Of high
priority is establishing a means of easy communication and networking of laity
throughout the local churches in the wide geographical area covered by the UMC.
A future news release will provide some of these communications links.
On December 13, 2002, several members of the Steering Committee met with
Bishop Elias Galvan. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce themselves to
the Bishop, provide him with copies of the Mission and Unified Statements, to
request his blessing for their efforts, and to pray with him as Bishop of the
FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN LAITY
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
We, The Faithful Christian
Laity of the United Methodist Church, have joined together
in love for God and for the United Methodist Church to help revive and maintain
faithful Christian witness and service in our local churches and Annual
Conferences. We provide meaningful avenues for faithful Christian lay voices to
be heard and opportunities for action as a means to that end.
be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so
that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is
not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when
the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have
done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled
around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your
feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition
to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the
flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of
the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions
with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always
keep on praying for all the saints.”
6:10-18, New International Version
FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN LAITY
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
We, The Faithful Christian
Laity of the United Methodist Church (Faithful Christian
Laity), believe in and affirm the United Methodist Church’s Articles of Faith,
as written in ¶103 in The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church
(Book of Discipline). We believe that the sacred Scriptures received through
and from the early church, affirmed by the Protestant Reformation, and passed
down to the United Methodist Church, is the inspired and authoritative witness
for Christian life and doctrine. Like John Wesley, we believe that Bible is the
“final authority in all doctrinal matters.” The Bible says that all have
sinned, and all can be cleansed of their sin and reconciled to God by the death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We, as Christians, are called to “go now and
leave your life of sin” (John 8:11). This calls for repentance and an earnest
desire to turn from a sinful life. We believe that “no Christian whatsoever is
free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral” (Article VI
of the Book of Discipline). We believe that we are called to sanctification,
“that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in
Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are
not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution,
saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our
hearts and to walk in His holy commandments blameless.” Both the Holy Bible and
the Book of Discipline (1 Timothy 3, and ¶304.3, respectively) call for church
leaders to maintain the highest standard of holy living in the world.
We are greatly grieved by the
failure of the appointed and elected leadership of the Pacific Northwest Annual
Conference of the United Methodist Church to uphold, first, God’s Holy Word and,
secondly, the Book of Discipline, particularly with respect to holding all
clergy accountable to the highest standards of holy living and sound doctrinal
teaching. In addition, we are greatly grieved that because of our leaderships’
actions our entire denomination suffers from division, strife, and loss of
members. Our witness for Jesus Christ has been poor and we, as an Annual
Conference, have been ineffective at fulfilling the Great Commission.
Therefore, we, The Faithful
Christian Laity of the United Methodist Church, united in belief and
as one body under the headship of our Lord Jesus Christ, do purpose to:
- Remain true to our calling to empower people
to become transformed disciples of Jesus Christ to proclaim to each other, the
community, and the world, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
We are united in the desire to serve the poor, the hungry, the naked, the
stranger and prisoner, focusing on others’ needs rather than our own. We will
provide a sanctuary where the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are worshipped in
holiness and where the saints are instructed in the ways of the Lord.
- Manage our internal affairs first according to
the law of God as written in His Word, the Holy Bible, and secondly, to the laws
of the United Methodist Church, as stated in the Book of Discipline;
- Work diligently to hold the leadership of the
United Methodist Church accountable first to the law of God as written in His
Word, the Holy Bible, and secondly, to the laws of the United Methodist Church,
as stated in the Book of Discipline, relating to the performance of the duties
of their appointed offices; and
- Actively seek out and partner with other
like-minded United Methodist laity who support these same ideals and who will
covenant with us in active opposition to any activity within the Pacific
Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church or the greater United
Methodist Church that deviates from these laws.
We believe that God’s grace
extends freely to all who would receive it and it is the responsibility of the
church to minister to all who seek God without regard to age, gender, marital
status, or sexual orientation. We stand firm in our belief that once justified
through faith in Jesus Christ, the regeneration of the Holy Spirit calls to us
to repent of our sins and reject the lifestyle choices that would keep us in
bondage to sin, with sin clearly defined for us by God in the Bible. It is the
responsibility of the church to gently lead those who would continue or fall
back into sin after justification towards repentance. If the person is
unrepentant, as evidenced by openly living a life contrary to God’s Word and
fails to respond by private and group counsel of the Church (Matthew 18:15-17),
we are commanded to expel the immoral brother (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). And when
the immoral person has repented and responded to the “punishment by the
majority” we will “forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by
excessive sorrow” (2 Corinthians 2:5-11).
We further covenant among ourselves to not allow the rebellion and poor witness
for Jesus Christ of our Annual Conference to distract us from our commission to
“go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I
have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19). To this end, we will strive to maintain
and enhance the existing programs God has called us to and will boldly establish
and support any new ministries we are called to begin by Him.
The Steering Committee of The
Faithful Christian Laity of the United Methodist Church
Manuel Fitzpatrick, Jr.
To find discussion concerning FCL, go to:
- The Faithful Christian Laity of the United Methodist Church