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Judicial Council: No Labels—No Problems For "Confessing" Churches

In the latest edition of the Troy Conference Newsletter (which never has anything up to date) there is an article about the Judicial Counsel's Decision to strike all "unofficial" labels from Conferences as well as local churches and groups.

Ms. [Bishop] Morrison said," I am deeply saddened that a church's decision to claim a welcoming symbol to honor and include all of God's precious children becomes negated by an institutional legal response."

The article went on to say:

Another Judicial Council decision one directed at the California-Pacific annual conference, caused concern among Troy Conference members. In this action, the council declared that General Conference legislation sent by the Cal-Pacific was invalid, since it had been arrived at by a discernment process and not by a vote.

As I was changing our church sign the other day to comply with the JC decision mentioned above, it occurred to me just why the Confessing Movement has "no problem" with this decision but the Wreckonciling [Reconciling Congregations Program] folks do. It was a simple adjustment for me to replace the words "A Confessing Church" with "We Confess Jesus Christ." But, with  what can the Wreckonciling folks replace "A Reconciling Congregation"? Perhaps, "We embrace homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle" or "We don't think homosexuality is a sin" or, most tellingly, "We reject Jesus Christ." The "labeling ban" means churches which have identified with "unofficial" movements must now make their witness in some other way. For "Confessing Churches," this is not a problem. For Wreckonciling churches, however, this requires them to literally "come out of the closet" and state what they really believe--or don't believe. They can no longer hide behind a pleasant-sounding "label."

The "discernment" ruling is a positive one in that it all but eliminates the possibility of this nonsense taking place at General Conference. The Wreckoncilers were counting on "discernment" forcing the delegates to change the church's position on homosexuality. This is yet another blow to their strategy for "victory."

James Gibson
United Methodist Prayer Summit

South Georgia Confessing Movement Fellowship

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