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UMNews, Bishop Talbert's Views Are "not at all consistent with UM doctrine"

From: LayLeader@GatewayUMC.org  layleader@charter.net
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 10:12 PM
To: newsdesk@umcom.org
Subject: Feedback on "Religious leaders debate war on Larry King Live"

Dear UMNS:

I take issue with the following sentence in your March 12 story, "Religious leaders debate war on "Larry King Live" :

"The views expressed by [Bishop] Talbert are consistent with the church."

Perhaps I am mistaking what the bishop said, but it certainly sounded like he endorsed a theology of universalism, which is not at all consistent with UM doctrine.

This quote by Bishop Talbert, from "Larry King Live," was omitted from your story:

"[Muslims] are on their way just as certain as I'm on my way. And what we need to do is to be tolerant with each other and not assume that our way is the only way."

This appears to be contrary to our UM Confession of Faith, which states:

"We believe man is fallen from righteousness and, apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, is destitute of holiness and inclined toward evil. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."

Bishop Talbert went on to say:

"I believe my God is large enough to be inclusive of all human beings who were created in God's image, and that includes those religions that are not Christians."

Our Articles of Religion state:

"[E]verlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man."

I agree with Bishop Talbert that we need to respect people of other faiths, but we do them no service by tossing aside the proclamation of the Christian gospel:

"Salvation is found in no one else [but Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

For a recent article on this point by Bishop Lindsey Davis of the North Georgia Conference, see http://GatewayUMC.org/gt_02dec_bishop.htm 

Grace and peace,

Joseph Slife
Lay Leader Gateway Church (UMC) - Athens GA



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