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Faithful UM Laity To Lead Where Clergy Renewal Establishment Fear To Go - "NOT ANOTHER DIME"

May 7, 2004

I left General Conference today, prior to the last day’s work. I will be looking forward to hearing about the final outcome of the legislation and the 2004 Discipline. There were some significant legislative and judicial “victories: and I thank God for them. I’ll expound on my perspectives of them in the days and months to come. At this moment, though, I see them as statements as to the significance of our brokenness as a denomination. So many of them should not have been necessary. Yet, as the world watched, United Methodists battled over whether or not homosexuality is still incompatible with Christian living. We also battled over whether or not Christians can be faithful to God and the Church and at the same time divided over their beliefs about homosexuality. These issues have been settled again to my complete satisfaction. However, I do not expect that those who do not agree will give up their fight to proclaim the immoral to be moral.

We have some core issues that General Conference refused to address:

  • We are a Body of irreconcilable differences. We have two sides, which have diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive goals. One side seeks to be faithful to our Book of Discipline, receiving the Christian Faith in the Wesleyan tradition as we received it. One side seeks to revise and “update” the Church with “new revelation” and the “new theology.” This second side seeks to change the UMC through every means possible – attempting to change the Discipline overtly and covertly. To be sure, this second side of rebellious people (whom I will define as the ones who are proponents of theology and behavior contrary to our Doctrinal Standards) in our denomination are in the minority. However, they are a very outspoken, political, and shrewd group. They are bold and have no concept of the contempt they show for Christ and His Church. They will pervert even our Doctrinal Standards, Sacraments and Hymns/Songs to push their cause against and upon the United Methodist Church. I can give you examples later.
  • We have a significant number of Bishops and other leaders in the Church who belong to the rebellious group and whom we allow to remain in their positions in spite of flagrant demonstration of un-Christian (and un-Methodist) beliefs. Regardless of what our Doctrinal Standards say and what our Judicial Council rules, we have allowed them to remain in influential positions in the Church, thereby allowing their influence to grow. This is a serious sin of omission. We do not seem to have the fortitude to follow God’s word with respect to removing the false teachers and immoral from among us. Those who remain silent and/or apathetic contribute to the problem.
  • We have other leaders in our denomination who, though orthodox in their beliefs, have decided to protect the institution rather than do what the Lord requires. They end up cooperating with evil in order to be more gracious than God. (I’ll have to “unpack” this strong statement as I develop this document further.)
  • We have a number of people in leadership positions who are uneducated as to what our Doctrinal Standards are and what our Sacraments actually are. Most of the people on the General Conference floor didn’t seem to know what the phrase “historical creeds” means.
  • We have allowed protestors to take over the General Conference floor and desecrate the altar with their un-Christian symbols. We have allowed the worship and sermons to reflect the rebellious group’s views and treat them as normative for the Church.

Jesus Christ forms His Body from people who have heard and responded to His offer of salvation. John Wesley was a remarkable man whom God used to impact the world for the Glory of His Son. We will either need to fully reclaim the wisdom of our Wesleyan tradition or face God’s discipline and ultimately, if necessary, His wrath.

It is this simple. Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He is the Head of the Church. In order for us to serve Him well, we must make sure that there is a straight line of His Authority to wherever we are in the Church. Nothing God does is ever out of line with His Word, the Holy Bible.

Our particular denomination must be ecumenical/orthodox in our stance. In the United Methodist Church, we have thus far kept (most but not all) of our written law (our Book of Discipline) intact. Our Doctrinal Standards are immutable. They cannot be changed, being protected by the Restrictive Rule. Some have tried to ignore them and deny their existence, but there they are: intact. We clearly have not been teaching them around the whole UMC.

Our Book of Discipline does contain many things outside of our Doctrinal Standards which are subject to change, as voted on at General Conference every four years. It is these areas which have been under constant attack by the rebellious ones.

Thus far, our Church Law, seems consistent with God’s Word. I have to review all of the changes that were affected this year to see where we ended up, but we passed some strong Biblical statements.

This is all good. However, the UMC does not act consistently with our Book of Discipline. We have allowed Bishops to remain in their positions even though they dissent from our Doctrinal Standards. We have allowed Annual Conferences and Jurisdictions to operate independently from the greater Church. We have stood by and watched while an Alaska UMC was ripped apart by the tyranny of an Annual Conference. We have stood by and done too little, too late with practicing homosexual clergy in the Pacific NW and a heretical prosecutor and jury. We have stood by and done nothing to stop the tyranny of Bishops against evangelical clergy and churches in the Cal-Nevada Conference. The whole General Conference was held hostage by the demonstrations of pro-homosexual behaviorists. Bishop Huie encouraged the General Conference Delegates to display hospitality while our altar was desecrated with the pro-homosexual behaviorists placed their “rainbow” candle on our table and sang our precious songs. I counted twenty-six Bishops standing in support. About 25 – 35 % of the Delegates stood up in support. Later when a bold Christian asked for a couple of minutes to state his position, another Bishop would not allow it when a few rebellious people began booing at him from the floor.

How does the Lord judge us - - by what we say or by what we do? I think we must do as we say or we are liars and not to be trusted.

If our denomination is in line with Christ’s teachings, then we must look to our Jurisdiction and Annual Conferences. Next, take a look at your own Clergy. Do they all line up in obedience to Jesus and the Bible?

If they don’t, what do you do? Agree to disagree? Hold hands and sing a song that you can agree with the words on even though the person you embrace attaches different meanings to the words? Ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the house? Quietly leave and find a new non-denominational church where you can make a difference for Jesus Christ? Pay your tithe to a church that is going to support a Bishop who denies Jesus Christ is the incarnate Son of God? Pay apportionments to an Annual Conference which encourages immorality to be taught in the local churches?

Or is it time to admit that we are a great big dysfunctional family with irreconcilable differences and we ought to go our separate ways? I love people whom I know are on the other side of these important issues in my church. I am no longer able to support them in their purpose because it stands against Christ’s purpose of redemption of the world from sin and the effects of sin. I have to speak out against their actions. To remain silent now is as bad as joining them.

I think it is time that we admit that we need to re-align ourselves in accordance with our beliefs, rather than geographically.

We have allowed beliefs contrary to our Discipline to take hold in too many people and churches to simply begin holding lots of trials and pressing charges against them and take decades for the Judicial Council to sort them all out.

We should let the minority, wallowing in their pain and suffering at what they perceive as "spiritual violence" from God's Holy Word, to depart and take their clergy and buildings with them.

The rest of us should move out from under the unceasing barrage of unproductive dialogue and demonstrations and go about doing the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot be an instrument of change for our culture while we are spinning our wheels in the mud created by persons who hold Bishops Sprague's beliefs. We are ineffective at proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we let the Rev. Karen Dammann and the Pacific NW Annual Conference's Jury speak for the UMC in the NW.

It will take some time to organize and garner support for an amicable departure from those who act in disagreement with our Discipline. However, it will only take a few actions on the part of the Western Jurisdiction with appointing Karen Dammann and letting those who performed gay "marriages" off the hook for a few more people to wake up and realize that they should have followed the Lord as He was leading this past week. I have heard rumors of some trying to put forth a practicing gay person for Bishop this year.

There was a resolution for an amicable split in process this year at General Conference. It was nearly ready to be submitted to the General Conference floor, but needed some additional details, including people nominated to work on a committee to examine the issues of separation (pensions, local churches, agencies, etc.). That is when a couple of key leaders got cold feet. They sensed the resolution might not pass. If this is what leads them, then perhaps they need to stop and reflect on their priorities.

My thoughts were this: If the Lord Jesus asks you to do something today, those who make Him their Lord, simply do what He asks. We don’t have to know the outcome. We simply hear and obey. He’s the Commander-in-Chief. I’m a foot soldier.

I sense that the Lord will warm those with cold feet up when the issues hit them a little closer to home: in their own local churches. That is what I think the Lord will do. He will rise up some voices on the home front.

There were a group of us who gathered together when we found that the Resolution for Amicable Departure was not going to come to the floor for a vote. We gathered together in a circle and prayed, asking the Lord if it was His will to get the resolution to the floor for a vote. Though I was convinced that it was God’s movement that morning, I did not get a confirmation to try to move forward with it now. Perhaps the window of opportunity was a very small one. Perhaps it was enough that the resolution was picked up by the national press and around flew through cyber-space at the speed of the internet.

What we heard God say to this group were a couple of other things. It seems to me that we might have missed that opportunity. “Get out,” was what one person heard. "Bypass General Conference,” was what another one heard. "Do not condemn our Brothers and Sisters in Christ for their actions not bringing the Resolution to the floor" was another word that was spoken.

So, I put these things into consideration as I move forward with another word that the Lord brought to me several weeks ago: “NOT ANOTHER DIME.” This is in regards to supporting those who work against the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

I believe the Laity will continue to speak with their feet and their pocketbooks.

"Not another dime" in support of heretical Bishops, Jurisdictions, Annual Conferences, Districts, Clergy or Agencies.

"Not another dime" in support of immoral behavior.

Those of you who are interested in what is beginning to take place outside of the GC with regard to a split, please e-mail me at the following address: Cathy@FaithfulChristianLaity.org . We will need your name, physical address, phone number, e-mail address, local UMC church and annual conference information and whether you are lay or clergy. If you would like to be active in the leadership of such a group, please indicate so. If you are laity and would like to help with the “Not Another Dime” campaign, please indicate this, as well.

I will be in touch with notable leaders (clergy & laity alike) from around the UMC to see what we sense God is leading us to do next. But I want you all to have a place to "sign up" and be informed. We need to be networking and in connection with each other.

The Lord is Our Good Shepherd. He will lead true seekers to where they will find Him. Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Christ,
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

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