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Bishop Should Consider Resignation


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Below is a letter I faxed to Reverend Lindsey Davis, the North Georgia Conference presiding bishop. (Like Bill Clinton, who I refuse to call "President Clinton" any longer, I refuse to call him "Bishop Davis" any longer.

I don't know if the United Methodist Church is beyond hope, but I truly believe that our episcopacy is beyond hope. When a supposedly evangelical bishop makes some of the decisions that Lindsey Davis has made, I don't think that hope is possible.

We need a season of prayer and fasting for our denomination.

Unless something happens to move the denomination back toward the center, we will not only continue to see losses in membership but at an ever increasing rate.

I've copied all the bishops for whom I have e-mail addresses with this statement. You're not in some religious fraternity or sorority. You're representing a church of Jesus Christ. If you don't think this kind of thing will destroy a denomination, then you're not paying attention.

In Christ,

<><

Don Spruill, Layperson
St. James UMC, Atlanta, GA North Georgia Conference

Sola Scriptura
Solus Christus
Sola gratia
Sola fide
Soli Deo gloria

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Letter Faxed to Lindsey Davis


3964 Preston Court, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30319-1676

March 9, 1999

Rev. Lindsey Davis
United Methodist Church North Georgia Conference
159 Ralph McGill Boulevard, # 208
Atlanta, Georgia 30308

Dear Reverend Davis:

RESIGN FROM THE EPISCOPACY

This is a request that you resign from the episcopacy, because I feel that you no longer have the moral authority required for leadership in the United Methodist Church. Perhaps you can find a charge in, hopefully, another conference that will accept you. I suggest that you contact Melvin Talbert, Joseph Sprague or Ed Paup, since their standards are not that stringent.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT TO THE NORTH GEORGIA CONFERENCE

When you were assigned to the North Georgia Conference after your election as a bishop in 1996, there was a huge sense of excitement in the Conference. The buzz was that you were an evangelical minister, and this is, relatively speaking, a conservative conference. Expectations for you were very high.

UH-OH!

Excitement turned to concern, when Bishops Fannin, Henderson, Looney, Morgan and you, Rev. Davis, voted with the Emory Board -- unanimously -- to approve same-sex marriages in our chapels. Your reasoning was that any ceremonies of this type had to be approved by the chaplains in charge of our churches. Unfortunately, were a bishop to appoint a Jimmy Creech, Greg Dell or Don Fado to be chaplains of these churches...well, you get the picture.

Later, you made a speech to the Confessing Movement convention in Tulsa. That speech was universally received well.

Then, you came back to Georgia and “hammered” Marietta First about their redirection of some of their apportionments.

Further, it was reported by the Advocate that you met with St. Marks and affirmed their ministry. (Since St. Marks is a reconciling church, the ministry you affirmed would be one of accepting persons in sinful lifestyles without trying to change their sin.)

Finally, there is this issue of the reappointment of Charles Sineath. Sir, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution incorrectly reported that “Denomination leaders on Monday portrayed the transfer of the Rev. Charles Sineath...as a routine personnel transfer”, because we all know that it isn’t a routine personnel transfer and that would mean that you lied to the newspaper. I don’t agree with you on many positions, but I have trouble believing that you would lie.

I have Christian brothers and sisters at Marietta First, and I am aware of everything that transpired in this entire, sad mess. The fact is, Marietta First, out of concern for the way that apportionments are being spent by the United Methodist Church, made the decision to redirect (not withhold as the paper reported) some of their apportionments. You know, too, that the funds were redirected to other United Methodist approved ministries.

Now, I believe that I know Charles Sineath. Unlike Randy Mickler did at Mt. Bethel, he would never change his mind and encourage Marietta First to pay the redirected apportionments. You knew that too, didn’t you sir? You could have told Marietta First that you didn’t agree with them and strongly urged them to reconsider. Then, when they didn’t, you should have dropped it. You chose instead to make an example out of Charles Sineath.

You’ve made a huge mistake, Reverend Davis. You’ve proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the episcopacy cares about is money.

Now, again, I ask you to resign. If you stayed in the conference for another fifty years, I don’t believe that you would further the cause of Christ half as much as Charles Sineath has in twenty-one years.

It’s time for you to go. Search your heart and make the right decision for the Kingdom.

In Christ,

George Don Spruill Member, St. James United Methodist Church Atlanta, Georgia

 


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