Confessing Movement: "NO COMPROMISE" On Homosexuality Issue At General Conference
The Confessing Movement
within the United Methodist Church
March 17, 2000
Dear friends of the Confessing Movement,
This letter is to ask for your continuing support. We need your prayers. We need your encouragement. We need your financial gifts. We join together with you in witness to the historic apostolic faith and in the struggle for the soul of the United Methodist Church.
Within a few weeks (May 2-12) the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be taking place in Cleveland. There have been General Conferences in the past (probably more the distant past than the recent past) that have been times of visioning, of discerning the will of God, of encouragement, of worship. Few people are discussing this General Conference with those expectations. They rather speak of "war," of "mean-spiritedness," of "division."
The issues before us are basically theological and spiritual, and need to be addressed as such. Our "strategy" is to first ask you to support us with your prayers. We have organized a prayer presence at the Conference. We have, of course, also sought to elect evangelical delegates, to present careful position statements, and to use political persuasion when we can. We have not, however, flooded the delegates with letters, nor have we planned demonstrations or public displays at the conference to play on people's emotions in order to influence legislation, nor have we sought in any way to intimidate those with whom we disagree.
That brings us to issues around homosexuality. We affirm again this is not our major issue. We stand on Scripture and the Discipline. We have discussed and re-discussed these issues again and again. The General Conference spoke in 1972. It spoke again in 1976. It spoke again in 1980. It spoke again in 1984. It spoke again in 1988. It spoke again in 1992. It spoke again in 1996. After each General Conference the vast majority of the Church felt that the issue was settled. Our church has a clear position. Let us go on to other things.
But after every General Conference there were those who argued "the issue is not settled." Because they disagree with the teaching of the Church, it was their interpretation "the Church is divided and therefore there is no clear stand." Consequently, they argued we must plan another study, hold another dialogue, conduct more conversation, expend more money and more energy, wait for another General Conference in hopes that something will be "decided."
For these people the issue will never be "decided" until the Church puts its blessings on gay and lesbian and bi-sexual and transgender practice, or unless every bishop or every conference can make up its own rules as to what constitutes biblical morality. In this day of post-modernism, what has been true since the beginning of Biblical Revelation, what has been affirmed by the Church down through the ages, what is confessed by the vast majorities of Christian communions around the world today, what is taught in the Discipline, what is upheld by almost all the Annual Conferences, and what is believed by a vast majority of our people, is not true in places like California. The radical prohomosexual lobby pressures the Church to change in order to accommodate California or Northern Illinois.
Unfortunately, this debate is being carried on in a vacuum of leadership. Board and agency personnel, bishops, and seminary professors openly defy the church position. Other bishops and Church leaders respond to the crisis before us in a conspiracy of silence. Amazingly, the "troublemakers" are interpreted NOT as the people who undermine the Discipline, NOT those who insist that "inclusiveness" must mean that any sexual life-style is to be rendered acceptable, NOT those who would force a view on the Church that would result in Church division and loss, NOT those who use words like "bigot," "perpetuators of hate crimes," and "unloving" in referring to those who uphold traditional morality. We are labeled as "troublemakers" because we simply ask that the historic position of the Christian faith and the Doctrine and the Discipline of the United Methodist Church be upheld.
So we admit it is not with expectation and joy we approach the Church's General Conference. But we will be involved out of faithfulness. The Lord has called us for such an hour as this. We wish to be sensitive. We wish to be understanding. We wish to act with civility and respect to all people. BUT WE INTEND NO COMPROMISE. We will not agree that when the General Conference has spoken and the Discipline is printed that the Church "has no stand." We are willing to converse about how to be in ministry to homosexuals. We are willing to converse about how best to deal with homophobia that does not treat homosexual persons with respect. But we will not agree to endless "dialogues" and "studies" and "conversations" when they are only attempts on the part of others to convince us that the clear teaching of the Church has always been wrong about these issues.
Let us stand together in this time of crisis for our Church. We need your prayers. We need your financial support. Please send us your generous gift now so that we can more effectively make our witness at General Conference.
Thank you very much and God bless.
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