Confessing Movements Sends a Message to the Church
Michael D. Hinton reports:
We passed a powerful resolution at Tulsa.
This is the unamended version which was reported out to us. Amendments, the few there
were, only strengthened the document, especially in #3 to the Bishops, in which we decided
to include a long quote from the Discipline which says the Bishops are to uphold
"apostolic" faith. Here it is:
A MESSAGE TO THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Confessing Jesus Christ as Son, Savior and Lord, we, the 1000 United
Methodists in attendance at the 1998 Confessing Movement conference, respectfully send
this message in love to our sisters and brothers in The United Methodist Church.
We believe that God, and God alone, can heal our denomination.
Therefore, we invite all United Methodists to engage in fasting and in regular,
intentional prayer for the renewal of The United Methodist Church.
We call on all United Methodists to be faithful to Scripture and
loyal to the doctrinal standards and ethical teachings of The Book of Discipline.
We who affirm the classical Wesleyan standards far outnumber those who oppose them. The
Confessing Movement is within The United Methodist Church and intends to stay there. Our
mission is to enable The United Methodist Church to retrieve its classical, doctrinal
identity and to live it out as disciples of Jesus Christ.
We are convinced that both Scripture and The Book of Discipline
are quite clear in rejecting the practice of homosexuality and the performing of same-sex
unions. If there is any weakening of these biblical and disciplinary standards, we will be
forced to reconsider our commitments to the existing structures of The United Methodist
Church. As United Methodists, our first loyalty is to scriptural holiness and divine
revelation as given in Jesus Christ.
We request that the General Conference provide relief for those who
are unwilling to live under the doctrinal and ethical standards of The Book of
Discipline. We favor an amicable exit for those clergy and/or local congregations,
with an equitable settlement concerning pensions, property, and institutional resources.
We recognize that some of our general and annual conference boards
and agencies within The United Methodist Church are expending funds in ways that are
sometimes contrary to Scripture, disciplinary standards, and good stewardship. Therefore,
we believe that every local church has ample reason to reconsider, for the sake of
conscience, its commitment to apportionments.
We believe the present exorbitant reserves of the General Board of
Global Ministries and other agencies effectively isolate them from accountability and are
an affront to the financial faithfulness of the local churches. This is unacceptable and
must be corrected.
TO THE BISHOPS OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
We urge the Council of Bishops to hear carefully and respond
compassionately to the agony experienced by evangelical pastors and laity, particularly in
the California-Nevada and Nebraska Annual Conferences. We are embarrassed and shaken that
some in those Conferences feel they can no longer in conscience remain within the
We support the calls of Bishops Marion Edwards and Lindsey Davis and
their respective cabinets for a special session of the General Conference to deal with the
current crisis regarding same-sex unions. To postpone resolution of this crisis until the
year 2000 is completely unacceptable.
We implore the Council of Bishops to exercise fully their teaching
office as mandated by disciplinary paragraph 414.3 "To guard, transmit, teach,
and proclaim, corporately and individually, the apostolic faith as it is expressed in
Scripture and tradition, and, as they are led and endowed by the Spirit, to interpret that
faith evangelically and prophetically." - and to hold each other accountable in
teaching and defending the doctrinal and ethical standards of The Book of Discipline.
That's it. I like it. And will act on it. I am confident of the Lord's blessing.
PLEASE, we are asked to send messages of encouragement and prayerful support to our
Bishops across the Church who will meet in Lincoln, Nebraska next weekend, April 24 and
following. Send your words of encouragement and prayerful support on Monday or Tuesday BY
FAX (some my leave as early as Wednesday). Then, follow it up with a snail mail copy. Many
of us will be praying and fasting for the Bishops meeting next weekend.
For our great friends who were in Tulsa, I hope you made it home safely and in good
spirit. It was a delight to see you face to face and share such grand fellowhip. Thank you
for enriching my life in the Lord; and may His peace be with you and abide with you
Yours in Christ,
Michael D. Hinton, M.Div.
Pastor, Mayflower/Graham Chapel United Methodist Church
2 Center Road Mayflower, AR 72106
Ph. (501) 470-0539