West Ohio UM Conference Officials Forbid Any Resolutions Dealing With Bishops' Heresy
Subject: Pastor John
I am Senior Pastor of Bethel UMC in Bethel, Ohio (West Ohio Conference). I recently submitted a resolution for annual conference about the Joe Sprague situation. I have enclosed it for you to look at. It was turned down by the conference committee because “it does not fit with the guidelines that asked for recommendations to further the Vision of the annual conference.” I thought you might be interested.
Whereas on January 28th 20002 at Iliff School of Theology in Denver,
CO Bishop Joe Sprague stated "…I shall seek instead to confess as candidly and
vulnerably as I can who Jesus the risen Christ is for me."
Whereas Bishop Sprague stated that, "The myth of the virgin birth was not intended as historical …To treat this myth as a historic fact is to do an injustice to its intended purpose and to run the risk of idolatry itself (namely, treating a means to an end as an end in and of itself)… Jesus was not born the Christ, rather by the confluence of grace with faith he became the Christ, God’s beloved in whom God was well pleased."
Whereas Article II - Of the Word, or Son of God of our Doctrinal Statements of the 2000 United Methodist Discipline states that – "The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided; whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men."
Whereas Bishop Sprague stated that, "I believe in the resurrection of Jesus, but I cannot believe that his resurrection involved the resuscitation of his physical body…. I am certain that the miracle of the resurrection, preeminently that of Jesus is not tied to bodily resuscitation. The linking of resurrection with bodily resuscitation is to make a literal religious proposition of a metaphorical symbolic expression of truth itself. This is the kind of idolatry from which I dissent."
Whereas Article III—Of the Resurrection of Christ of the 2000 United Methodist Discipline states, "Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day."
Whereas Bishop Sprague stated that, "…Having so affirmed Jesus as God’s unique and normative revelation, I must dissent from Christocentric exclusives which hold that Jesus is the only way to God’s gift of salvation. Such an arrogant claim stands over and against the inclusive Jesus of the synoptics and limits God in ways that humans cannot and must not. God is God, and all human knowledge of that God is limited at best"
Whereas Article XX —Of the One Oblation of Christ Finished upon the Cross of the 2000 United Methodist Discipline states, "The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest doth offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit."
Whereas it is clear by these statements that Bishop Sprague was stating his beliefs rather than simply engaging in theological dialogue or exploration.
Whereas ¶ 2702.1 (f) of the 2000 United Methodist Discipline states that, "…dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The United Methodist Church is a chargeable offence"
Whereas charges were filed according to the United Methodist Disciple and dismissed by Bishop Bruce Ough according to the February 28 issue of The West Ohio News.
Therefore it be resolved that the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist church confirm its belief in and adherence to our Doctrinal Statements in the 2000 Disciple of the United Methodist Church.
Therefore it be further resolved that the West Ohio Conference Secretary send a letter to Bishop Ough stating our disappointment that Bishop Sprague was not held accountable for dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of the doctrine of the UMC..
Therefore be it further resolved that the West Ohio Conference Secretary send a letter to the Council of Bishops urging them to hold Bishops who do not adhere to the historic doctrines of our church accountable.
The Rev. Robert E. Dauber
Bethel UMC, Sr. Pastor
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