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Letter to GCFA Bishop: General Agency Leaders Critical of Church Beliefs Should Step Down

Bishop Looney,

Thank you for clarifying the General Council on Finance and Administration's position on the filing of petitions by general church agencies. I believe the assumption by the GCFA concerning agencies sending petitions to the General Conference is flawed, particularly with regard to the agencies in question and the petitions they have submitted. While these agencies may have a legal right to submit these petitions, I believe there are serious moral and ethical questions which need to be addressed. While I believe all three agencies in question, The General Board of Church and Society, General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns and General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, are equally guilty of violating their Disciplinary mandates, it will suffice here to address the issue as it pertains to the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). I choose this agency because it has been most visibly at the forefront of the movement to legitimize homosexual practice within the Church, a position which is in direct violation of its mandate as spelled out in the Discipline.

Paragraph 1004 of The Book of Discipline states, "The prime responsibility of the board is to seek the implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements of the General Conference on Christian social concerns." The GBCS is submitting a petition to amend the Social Principles statement on homosexuality. Such an action is illustrative of the irresponsible manner in which this agency, through its chief spokespersons, has carried out its duties as defined by the Discipline. Rather than implementing the Social Principles statement on homosexuality, certain high ranking denominational officials associated with the board have used their positions to promote, encourage and participate in a relentless public relations campaign to repudiate and undermine the Church's official position on this issue. This is, at best, derilection of duty. At worst, it is a chargeable offense under any one or several of the following categories from Paragraph 2624.1:

  • practices declared by The United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings.
  • failure to perform the work of the ministry.
  • disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church.
  • dissemenation of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrine of the Church.
  • relationships and/or behavior that undermines the ministry of another pastor.

I would suggest the proper course of action for these outspoken critics of the Church's teaching, if they do not agree with the very statements they are charged with implementing, is to step down from the GBCS and, perhaps, leave The United Methodist Church as well. Unfortunately, they have chosen a less noble course of action. In submitting a petition to change the Social Principles they are charged with implementing, they are taking advantage of a privilege given all individuals and organizations within United Methodism in order to cover up their failure to carry out the "prime responsibility" of the GBCS.

Where the Church of Jesus Christ stands on the issue of homosexuality is no mystery. Biblically, historically and theologically, the Church holds such a practice to be an abomination in the sight of God. Where the chief spokespersons for the GBCS and other agencies stand on the same issue is also no mystery. Their public statements make it clear that they vehemently disagree with the Church and hold its doctrine and discipline in utter contempt.

The mystery is why persons who hold views so contrary to those of the Church of Jesus Christ are allowed to continue as leaders in the Church, to use their leadership positions to undermine the teachings of the Church, and to petition the highest legislative body of the Church to change its teachings so as to be more in line with their apostasy.

Bishop, we as United Methodists are in grave danger of breaking communion with the Church of Jesus Christ if we allow this insanity to continue.

Yours in Christ,

James A. Gibson III
Marshallville UMC

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