|Well it's been
over two years since Christ UMC in Memphis, TN publicized its internal investigation into
the use of UMC funds with respect to UMC boards and agencies. Since Christ UMC's annual
apportionments are consistently in the ballpark of a million dollars, the leadership of
that church believed that good stewardship meant knowing what efforts its contributions
Much to the chagrin of the church members on the task force of CUMC, a portion
of the money provided to the UMC umbrella (by every UMC church in the denomination) is
used for purposes that are generally divergent from the purposes of the church, in
conflict with Scripture, and in conflict with the Book of Discipline. In
addition, the UMC continues to hold huge sums of money on hand, while the world yearns to
hear the Gospel, but doesn't because the UMC evangelization effort around the world
continues to shrink.
With regard to influence of the boards and agencies, throughout the denomination, it
appears that there is a feeling of helplessness on the part of membership (which is
realistic), on the part of clergy (which is understandable), on the part of bishops (hard
to understand), even on the part of the Council of Bishops (absolutely ludicrous)!
It's as if 99.9999% of the entire 8.1 million members of the UMC believe that it is
beyond their control as to what the boards and agencies of the UMC do with their own
money. How in the world has virtually the entire UMC resigned itself to its own
helplessness as to the disposition of the members' own money?
As I become more informed on the structure of the UMC and the facts of what goes on in
this denomination, I am more and more amazed. If the UMC were a person, we'd say that it
is hopelessly schizophrenic--it professes one doctrine yet varied actions in complete
divergence to the doctrine are rampant.
What is foremost troubling to me is how all of these actions against doctrine can be so
well documented, and so well known among the LEADERSHIP of the UMC (although virtually
completely UNknown by most pastors and nearly all of the membership), and yet the actions
are regularly ignored and accepted as unchangeable. Even in the rare instances where the
issues are brought to the quadrennial general conference, the legislative body of the UMC
is reluctant to struggle with the facts and generally side-steps the heart of the
Below are excepts from this 1998
While it is believed a large portion of GBGM funding goes to worthy missional
endeavors, it appears that the primary purpose of many groups that receive funding is not
to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ but to promote their own political and social
agendas. It would seem far too many recipients of Church funds have no explicit Christian
As the official lobbying group of the United Methodist Church, [the General Board of
Church and Society] has the largest lobbying office operating on behalf of a denomination.
Its offices are located in the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., across the
street from The Capitol and the Supreme Court. The United Methodist Building contains over
50 staffers from the Board of Church and Society, the Women's Division and the Commission
on Religion and Race. By comparison, the Southern Baptist Convention, which has twice our
denomination's membership, has only 4 staffers at its Washington office.
In an article in Christian Social Action, the official magazine of GBCS, contributing
editor John Swomley derided Promise Keepers as a "male backlash to equality for
women." Swomley criticized the group for its adherence to "fundamentalist"
beliefs such as "the second coming of Jesus to earth in power and glory." An
example of the topics for its major articles includes "Religious Right Rediscovered:
Coalitions of right-wing groups are still working hard to impose a narrow orthodoxy on
American life." In the magazine, John Swomley wrote that conservative Christians are
"opposed to separation of church and state, including the free exercise of religion
as it applies to groups other than their own. They oppose equal rights for women, resist
the right of personal and marital privacy, advocate censorship, and in general foster an
atmosphere of hostility to various economic and civil rights." This is the magazine
that supposedly represents all United Methodists.
The Women's Division is the primary provider of Christian educational materials for
Methodist women. Authors who are on the Women's Division reading lists include Letty W.
Russell, Chung Hyan Kyung and Rosemary Radford Ruether. A sampling of these women's
beliefs are as follows:
1. Letty M. Russell - "The biblical witness continues to evoke my consent, even as
I reject many of its teachings as well as its patriarchal context.... The Bible is
especially dangerous if we call it 'the Word of God' and think that divine inspiration
means that everything we read is right."
2. Chung Hyan Kyung - "Asian women theologians use the Bible as a reference...and
not as an absolute unchangeable truth from God."
3. Rosemary Radford Ruether - "For while Christ has continually been upheld as the
heart of the promise of Christianity, Christ is a major problem in feminist theology. That
problem has been born of an unholy trinity, father-son-holy ghost."