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HOMOSEXUALITY: A REALISTIC VIEWPOINT

by Rev. / Chaplain Kent L. Svendsen


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: May 1, 2001 
Rev. Kent L. Svendsen 
Northern Illinois Conference United Methodist ChurchF

In the on-going denominational war over the issue of homosexuality we tend to fight for principles, which can be rigid and unyielding. We take our stands and wave our battle flags calling on individuals to "join our righteous cause". We can easily become angry at those who oppose our efforts to "do what is right" since what they think is right might be in opposition to our cause. This anger can move us to the point at which we begin to see each other as the enemy to defeat at all costs regardless of the damage it might do to the body as a whole. For the individual this often results in what can be best described as a "fight or flight" mentality. The "fighters" charge after the "enemy" while the rest run for cover not wanting to be hit from the "friendly fire" coming from either side. (continued)


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: April 26th, 2001 
Rev. Kent L. Svendsen 
Northern Illinois Conference United Methodist Church

UNITY MUST BE BASED ON TRUTH

A recent United Methodist News Service article made this statement:

"A United Methodist agency is proposing a series of dialogues on homosexuality and church unity in response to a mandate from last year's General Conference. The dialogues will be aimed, in part, at bringing together people with different viewpoints on homosexuality, engaging them in civil conversation and exploring what their differences mean for the unity of the church. General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body, issued a resolution last year calling for the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns to develop the dialogues." The entire article can be found at: http://umns.umc.org/01/april/189.htm 

I applaud such efforts if the dialogues are based on a honest search for truth rather than simply accepting as true the propaganda of each side. Let me explain what I mean by this. For some within our denomination "truth" is what they decide they want everyone else to believe regardless of how well it is based on facts. My concern is how controlled the presentations will be and what guidelines will be used to determine what material will be presented and what will be excluded. It would also be very interesting to know how the "different viewpoints" will be represented. This leads me to ask a very important question: "Will we sacrifice truth in our effort to find a way for everyone to get along?" (continued)


News From The Front
e-mail godrilla@accessus.net 
March 4, 2001

CHANGE OR DIE

I recently attended a continuing education event at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.  It was an eye opener to say the least.  The subject was Christian Faith in a Postmodern World and featured two excellent scholars on the subject Henry H. Knight III (Professor of Evangelism at St. Paul School of Theology) and Robert E. Webber (most recently Professor of Ministry at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and formerly of Wheaton College).  Many of the things they presented were both challenging and somewhat disturbing.

Dr. Webber offered us both good and bad news.  The good news for evangelical conservatives is that liberalism is dead.  The bad news is that conservatism is dead also.  So while the conservative and liberal elements are in a full pitched battle for control of the denomination neither one can hope for anything but empty victories.  For the next generation finds arguments over "politically correct language" use and legalisms irrelevant when compared to an intimate relationship with God.  So whether its a liberal social action monolog denying parts or all of the Apostle's Creed or a conservative one railing against the evils of liberalism and the need to follow the rules, both fail to engage and draw in the next generation.

So what does the next generation what?  Believe it or not they want the "high church" ritual and ceremony, the very thing we have been moving away from and toward a "contemporary" worship which is more relaxed and informal.  Rather than removing all the symbols of the faith and dressing like corporate America so as to not offend anyone, they want all of it and then some.  They have a "new love for the pre modern" or the historical teaching of the church.  Many are ignoring the latest "winds of doctrine" such as the Jesus Seminar offers and are going directly to the early church fathers for their faith and doctrine.

The next generation will not respond to a "formalism" which is a "calm rational moderate religion" says Henry H. Knight III.  The humanistic leanings of liberal thought "having the form but without the power" will be seen by them as empty and useless. The irreverent tearing apart of the biblical story by "ultra-critics" and "deconstructionists" who's main goal is to find error and discredit the biblical authors rather than to establish a personal relationship with God will be soundly rejected by them. The new disciples are looking for a sense of awe and reverence towards God. So I guess we need to put away the tambourines & drums, get out the vestments, buy a few incense burners, and freshen up our study of the early church.


Northern Illinois Conference Chapter
2494 Reynolds Road
Ashton, Illinois 61006
(815) 453-2513
e-mail godrilla@accessus.net

July 19, 2000

How Do We Find Unity?

Many are concerned about the growing division within our denomination.  At our recent General Conference there were demonstrations and arrests.  There were also outside political organizations, with no connection to the United Methodist Church, working hard to influence the decisions of the conference.  We were all asked to pray and fast for the General Conference that the decisions made there would be in line with God's will. But then when those decisions were made, there were multiple disruptions and in an act of public defiance protesters climbed onto the platform and refused to leave until they were arrested.   So now that General Conference is over, will everything settle down and become peaceful? Evidently not.  (continued)


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
July 7th, 2000
Rev. Kent L. Svendsen
Reporting From The
Northern Illinois Conference

How Do We Find Unity?

...In the August 1998 edition of the Chicago Evangelical News I found of all things A Statement Of Faith by Katheryn Kuhlman.  For those who may not know who Katheryn Kuhlman is let me give this very inadequate description of her life and ministry.  According to the biography on the back of the book Daughter of Destiny by Jamie Buckinham she had a 50 year ministry in which she publicly ministered to 100,000,000 people. "And wherever she went, people who once thought miracles impossible learned to believe in miracles."  (continued)


Bishop Sprague Is Not Lord, Jesus is Lord

NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: June 18th, 2000

FORCED TO TAKE A STAND

I am writing to everyone in regards to the possible re-appointment of Bishop C. Joseph Sprague to the Northern Illinois Conference for another term. It is my opinion that his ability to continue serving in the Northern Illinois Conference has been greatly damaged by his actions both recent and in the past. While he may believe himself to be a “prophetic voice” working for the “cause of justice for all people", what he has in reality accomplished is to alienate and offend many in such a way that his competence as an Episcopal leader is now questionable. Rather than being a “sign of the unity of the faith”, Bishop C. Joseph Sprague has become a symbol of polarization and division within our conference and across the denomination. (continued)


PREPARING FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE

NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: April 29, 2000

It is readily apparent that there is a last minute push to remove the language from the discipline which denies the acceptability of homosexual behavior.  We will be told that what is wanted is two ministries working side by side with a "live and let live" type of attitude.  That will be a very tempting offer because it would theoretically provide an end to the fighting and we would have peace at last. But in actuality the result would be anything but peaceful. Here is ample proof of that.  Listen to the words of Suzanne Pharr a contemporary gay activist: (continued)


Just a quick note to thank everyone


CONFLICT FACES NORTHERN ILLINOIS EVANGELICALS IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM

"When religious groups compromise their foundational beliefs in order to co-exist with the late sensate culture rather than challenging it or standing against, they in effect consent to their own liquidation." –Harold O.J.

This next year will be very difficult for us, especially the next six months. It will be filled with confrontation and frontal attacks aimed at gaining political ground and wearing down the opposition.


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: November 11, 1999

MINORITY REPORT

INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGATIONS OF DISCRIMINATION AT THE CHICAGO DISTRICT CAMPGROUND ASSOCIATION

The conference leadership was asked to include this report in addition to the one issued by the Board of Church and Society. The bishop has denied that request. In doing do so, he has also denied the campground’s right to defend themselves against a great injustice. The idea that the investigative team’s report would be received and allowed to stand unchallenged until our next annual conference is simply inconceivable. After doing some investigation on my own and talking with campground residents, as a conference member I offer the following report.


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: October 19, 1999

HOW I CELEBRATED MY BIRTHDAY: Reflections upon Homosexual Dialogue by Rev. Kent L. Svendsen


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: October 4, 1999

Special Report: EXCERPTS FROM THE CONFESSING MOVEMENT GATHEIRNG

Contained here are excepts from the recent Conference Confessing Movement gathering which took place on the Historic Methodist Campground in Des Plaines, Illinois.


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: September 27, 1999

The following is an e-mail I sent to my Northern Illinois Conference Connection people asking for input for our gathering on Sunday to declare Des Plaines Campground as "Holy Ground". While it may be a local event, we are hoping it will have global impact. For you see we don't serve a whimsy God. It is the wimpy Christians who drag their feet and ring their hands to afraid to stand up for fear something bad might happen to them because they go against the flow that provides us with a handicap. I don't know about you friends, but I can't just stand around anymore. I'm getting real tired of the compromisers who want to sacrifice our freedom of faith and put a gag in the mouth of evangelicals simply to just settle things down and get along.

TO: NORTHERN ILLINOIS CONFERENCE CONNECTION

I need some input from everyone before Sunday's event at Des Plaines. I am considering starting a campaign to counter the biased reporting of the United Methodist Reporter and the UMNS. I think I have found a way to shame them into taking some action to give us a voice. March 29 - April 1 is the Religious Communication Congress meeting in Chicago. It will include many other denominations as well as our own. Can we find the support to provide a protest picket line and people to pass out literature bringing to question the freedom of religious expression which is being denied evangelicals within our conference and denomination? Are we ready to do more than just talk? In reality, we might not even have to actually go and protest, the simple willingness to do so and announcing it at conference events might be enough to bring changes. We could do it according to scripture, I have privately protested the bias many times in the past and perhaps you have also. We could gather as a group and send a statement and that would be the two or three witnesses required by scripture. (This Sunday?) If there is not response we could then take it to the church. (The protest at the communications convention.) I'm tired of sitting around wringing my hands, how about all of you? Should I declare "Operation Braveheart" on Sunday. Are we ready to put our fears behind us and publicly declare that we are now a group who are unashamed or our evangelical voice and the fact that we support biblical stands for righteousness!?


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: September 18, 1999

FILE THIS UNDER LETTERS YOU PROBABLY WONT SEE PRINTED

Letter To The Editor,

In your editorial of September 17th you lamented the fact that a number of annual conferences have dropped the Reporter. You then talk about a "democratic `checks and balance' of keeping watch on the institution". But who is keeping "checks and balances" on you? You also talk about "the public forum of ideas through which we struggle together to discern God's will." Perhaps God's will is for the newspaper to either show some inclusiveness and include the evangelical perspective or go out of business.

You then go on to complain that it must be because "we've lost our ability to disagree civilly." Not so! It's because many get tired of seeing the same viewpoints continually thrown at us with half-truths, subtle insults, and without an opportunity to actively respond to your statements. Many have just become sick and tired of it.

As as example, take the recent Des Plaines Campground situation. Without having all the facts the conference edition boldly proclaimed every nasty rumor they heard. You then followed in suit and printed much of the same things that appeared in that local edition. Is it any wonder that groups have begun to exclude you from meetings? We are not afraid of impartial reporting, were just simply tired of the United Methodist Reporter being used as a propaganda tool of the radical left and then claiming its helping us to "discern the will of God".


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: September 3, 1999

"WE ARE STANDING ON HOLY GROUND"

CONFESSING MOVEMENT GATHERING
OCTOBER 3RD, 1999
THE DES PLAINES CAMPGROUND
4:00 P.M.


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: August 1, 1999

News Update: We have now surpassed the 600,000 mark in the number of individuals who have signed their names in support of this movement to bring reform to our denomination. This is something to be celebrated considering the fact that many have not even heard of us and others have only heard the negative and attacking rhetoric of those who oppose our call for doctrinal integrity. We must continue to speak the truth in love and not allow ourselves to fall prey to the character assassination and smear tactics of our detractors.

THE BATTLE FOR THE DES PLAINES CAMPGROUND


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: June 10, 1999

1999 Annual Conference Report


NEWS FROM THE FRONT SPECIAL OFFERING
Dateline: May 22, 1999

DIVERSITY DIALOGUE  - Introduction


NEWS FROM THE FRONT SPECIAL OFFERING
Dateline: May 16, 1999

Teenager's Voice from Inside the Culture of Death


NEWS FROM THE FRONT
Dateline: May 10, 1999
Rev. Kent L. Svendsen
Northern Illinois Conference
United Methodist Church

Diversity Dialogue Scheduled May 22, 1999

DIVERSITY DIALOGUE MAY 22nd, 1999
ROCHELLE 1ST UMC 1:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Maintaining our Unity: Doctrinal integrity in conflict with doctrinal diversity


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