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An Open Letter to the United Methodist Church from The Mission Society for United Methodists

May 7, 1998

The board of directors of The Mission Society for United Methodists, meeting in Norcross, Georgia, on May 7, 1998, prepared and approved for distribution the following statement to The United Methodist Church.

No church that loses its Scriptural, theological and ethical moorings, can be effective in fulfilling either our Lord's Great Commandment or Great Commission.

Recent events growing out of our denomination's long-standing conflict over homosexuality are symptoms of a more insidious challenge to our church: the functional abandonment of Scriptural authority over its doctrine, order, and practice. Because this crisis threatens to render our Church incapable of reaching the billions of lost persons who have yet to be effectively evangelized, the Mission Society calls upon The United Methodist Church to once again embrace and proclaim without equivocation "the faith once delivered to the saints." We declare that any effort to press upon the Church un-biblical positions regarding homosexuality is destructive to our lives and deadly to our witness around the world.

The Mission Society for United Methodists was founded at a time when our Church needed an unequivocal word regarding the person and work of Christ. Its founders understood the timeliness and urgency of Paul's warning lest believers "be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ." Tragically, some in the church in that day were being deceived by persons who had come and preached "another Jesus" than the one Paul preached. Those same believers were in danger of opening themselves to "a different spirit" from the one they had received. And some had accepted "a different gospel" from the one Paul had proclaimed.

The Mission Society affirms these unshakable convictions.

  • The Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and are therefore the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. From them we learn that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;" that "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord;" and that "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

  • Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, the only one worthy to be called Lord, and the only Savior for the whole world. By His death and resurrection, He has become the only sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. In obedience to the Scripture, which bears witness to Him, we therefore declare that apart from faith in Jesus Christ there is salvation neither in this life nor the life to come.

  • United Methodists must return to their historic mission of winning the lost and spreading scriptural holiness throughout the land. The Mission Society is committed to mobilizing the Church to once again embrace the Great Commission with fervor and self sacrifice. With John Wesley we proclaim that the world is our parish. We call upon the world wide Methodist connection, to once again make the proclamation of the Gospel, through word and through deeds of compassion and kindness, their first priority in prayer, in service, in sacrifice and in giving.

The Mission Society stands in solidarity with that vast majority of United Methodists who remain committed to the authority of Scripture. We invite all who hold a like faith and a passion for the lost to join us in Christ's mission to the world.


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