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UM's Weary Of Heresy, Leave Disobedient Denomination

From: Johnny Bell [mailto:johnny.bell@centurytel.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2003 10:09 AM
To: ucmpage@ucmpage.org
Subject: Re: "A Teaspoon Of Water Being Used To Put Out A Fire In A Barn Full Of Hay"

Dear Mr. Warrener,

I don't know whether to feel flattered or disappointment. Flattered because it was not my intent to garner attention. I have seldom if never offered my personal view of the UMC as commentary in the public forum other than among those in my former congregation and as a member of the Confessing Movement within the UMC. I was, from what I heard some months ago, considered for charges being brought against me as a United Methodist. I was almost proud about that. Of course nothing ever came of it. It would have been a badge I would have worn proudly, getting kicked out of the UMC for standing for the Word of God.

As to whether I should be disappointed for the printing of my commentary, the disappointment would come from knowing that this denomination is becoming more and more, incapable of really effective ministry in the name of Jesus Christ. Thus the need to even have to feel led to write and in doing so, utter such words of concern.

My family officially left the denomination on February 7, 2003, having ceased attending in September of last year. Both of us (my wife and I) were in the choir for seven plus years. I had served recently as Lay leader for three years and also taught an adult Sunday school class of twenty plus people. In 2002 I was Lay delegate to Annual Conference. My wife served on various committees, including chairing the nurture committee. In addition I served the United Methodist Men as president for two years and over the last two years served as the groups secretary/treasurer. Also leaving with us were our daughter and son-in-law and my wife's mother.

As you can see our involvement, which was in the Greenbrier First UMC (a church with a membership of around 300 and average attendance of 115) in Greenbrier, Arkansas, was quite significant. We began to become concerned about what was going on at the higher levels of the church in the spring of 2000, when we tried to question our pastor's wife about where she stood on issues that would be coming before the General Conference 2000, since she was not only a delegate to the North Arkansas Conference, but the chairperson of the delegation! We got nothing more than evasive answers and prevaricating hum-drum..

That dear sir, is part of our story. We left with about forty others due to what we felt was an inability and unwillingness to bring to light serious disregard for the tenets of the faith within the denomination in our very own congregation. We grew tired of hearing the drone about, "Just because we see disobedience out West or out East in the UMC doesn't mean it is happening in Greenbrier."

I continue to read your website and the other's listed. I have written letters of encouragement to Pastor Raymond Rooney, Jr. Also Jim Fletcher, who has had several commentaries published on your website is an acquaintance.

I have said and continue to say that the UMC will either be an example of obedience or disobedience. At present, it seems the later is winning out.

I am quite sure that as the days draw near on the deception, disobedience, and indifference in the UMC that those such as you calling attention to this will be cast upon. I will keep you and your efforts in my prayers. Your determination and resolve is a blessing to this one small "minion" who is nonetheless, thankful to be able to call myself a sinner saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ.


Johnny Bell


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