E Unam Pluribus

At the risk of being misunderstood, I’m pretty close to being done.  Not with Jesus, or even with His church, mind you.  And please don’t think that I’m either deeply depressed or unduly discouraged about the prospects of God’s Kingdom in this world, for in the words of Handel’s Messiah, I’m more than certain that “He shall reign forever and ever.”  What’s more, He will have His people, and I hope to be one of them still.

But after more than forty years of fussing and fuming about it—all of my time in ordained ministry— I do think that the possibilities for mending the United Methodist Church are growing somewhat dim at this point.  For not only do many on both sides of our current sexuality impasse desperately want to “capture the flag,” a large number of folks have bought into the “win at all costs” mentality, too.  So rather than model for others a better way of resolving disputes, we’ve instead simply mirrored back the chaos chasm that deeply divides not just our body politic but much of our culture as well.

To be sure, there’s a chance we’ll figure it all out at the special called General Conference in St. Louis in February, and I’ll be pulling and working for that as hard as I can. Candidly, however, I have little reason to believe that the disingenuously named “One Church Plan” can pass at all, nor am I inclined to think that it should.  For doing theology by geography, the local option, seems to be a bad idea on the face of it.  What’s more, I have a feeling that it may even be unconstitutional by our polity for an annual conference to decide minimum requirements for ordination, rather than follow those prescribed by the whole church instead.

Similarly, although the connectional conferences plan does have possibilities, in the end, it probably can’t pass either and even if it did, it still might not be enough for many folks anyway. In contrast, however, the traditionalist plan may indeed have enough support to be adopted. But I’m not convinced that it will actually resolve the problem either.  For there are unfortunately many who are more than willing to ignore and defy whatever the prayerful discernment and collective wisdom of the global church may be.

The better solution may therefore be simply a Methodist mitosis or division, as Bob Phillips has helpfully suggested, in which two expressions of Methodism go forth to flourish, each blessing the other, even while disagreeing on the key issues before us.  For as the great theologian Yogi Berra once suggested, “when you come to a fork in the road, you should take it.”  Only unlike other denominations that have been down this road before us, we need to find a way to divide without lawsuits, legal loopholes, property disputes, and endless acrimony.  Our guiding principle, in fact, should be simply John Wesley’s admonition that we “watch over each other in love.”

In short, to flip the motto found on American coins around, it may be time for us to adopt an “e unam pluribus” understanding, that is, “out of the one to many.”  To be sure, I’m trying to stay open to a Spirit-inspired solution that may yet be proposed.  But at this point, allowing all Methodists to follow their consciences to faithfully serve God is not simply common sense, but it’s a positive way forward that might actually present a whole new model to the world around us.

Assuming, of course, that what we really all want is not simply to win a culture war, or preserve an institution at all costs, but to see God’s Kingdom actually grow.

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76 Responses to E Unam Pluribus

  1. Edward A. Monto says:

    Maybe the time to drop the word United from the denominational name is in sight!

    • Bob McMahan says:

      Edward, you’re correct. We can’t be “United” Methodists if the membership is following different Books of Disipline based on individual beliefs. Methodists adhering to the current Book of Disipline should be recognized as United Methodists. Those Methodists wishing to create or continue change they have already started in violation of current rules of Disipline, should be allowed to do so as long as they identify themselves with some word other than United! This proces would address the United Methodist majority.

  2. https://www.shakespeareiscatholic.com/epluribusunam/
    Perhaps you should inform your Latin-ignorant readers that you used “unam” instead of “unum” because of the patriarchal tradition of referring to the Church as feminine.

  3. Appreciate your always kind words, brother. Perhaps if we can redirect folks from arguing over the Way Forward to which Latin form of the word–both of which are acceptable–is correct we will all benefit!

    • Keith A. Jenkins, Ph.D. says:

      Neither is very fruitful to argue over and, from my perspective at least, those on both sides of the current divisive issue are also acceptable. The Latin is a matter of grammatical gender, so the choice between unum and unam comes down to how one defines the Church. As for the other matter, well lookee there, it’s also a matter of how one defines the Church. Good thing our definitions don’t ultimately matter, isn’t it?

  4. Don Nelson says:

    Hypocrite or bigot…how do we avoid those labels if we fail to acknowledge that homosexuality, is in many cases defined at birth? What happen to “what you do to the least of mine you do to me?” As true “traditionalist” you must put back in the church doctrines that those who remarry after divorce are committing adultery and women will not be allowed in the clergy. Is this what we want? The “One Church Plan” has many problems but it does keep us together. Divided we fall…united we stand.

    • Don–thanks for your comments here and I completely agree that how we treat one another is a telling sign of how closely we are following Jesus. The comparisons to divorce and women in ministry are not exactly parallel, however, in my mind as the scriptures present a more complex treatment of those issues. (Women, for instance, are clearly shown to be in leadership in both the Old and New Testament and there are overriding passages that remind us that in Christ there is no male or female.) My post is not really about which side is correct, thus, in the current debate, for I think people of good will can–and clearly have–come to different conclusions on that. The point is that since it is unlikely that anyone is going to convince those of a differing view to change, and likewise, some on both sides cannot do so without violating their conscience, we need to find a different way to stop the infighting and bitterness which, as a general delegate for several years, I have seen all too closely all too often. In that sense, I think that unity for its own sake may be a false idol we are chasing, and one that is causing more harm than good. Still, I appreciate your perspective and your passion which I’ve seen over the years for I know it comes from a good heart as well.

    • Pastor Randy says:

      Don, I despise labels. Whatever label is put on a person does not have to define them, unless they make the choice to allow the label to define them. As far as homosexuality being defined at birth–there is no consensus in the behavioral science community. Some studies support the “at birth” supposition, but many more do not support it, and many studies conclude that it’s inconclusive if the “at birth” supposition holds scientific merit.

  5. Walter Fenton says:

    Thanks for a very thoughtful essay Rev. Temple. I think you’re on to something. I hope others give serious thought to your piece.

  6. amygyoung says:

    Thank you for you continued work toward a solution. Praying for divine inspiration for all involved in February.

  7. Priscilla Thomas says:

    Perhaps after seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance for decades on this issue, it is becoming clearer we are being led to set each other free, to graciously part ways so that both “sides” can move forward and engage in ministry and discipleship consistent with their beliefs. And maybe the Spirit has been moving us in this direction all along but we have been blind to it.

  8. Pingback: The Way Forward: A Comprehensive Compendium – People Need Jesus

  9. Maggie says:

    Thank you for always expressing so well thoughts about this struggle.

  10. Marilyn Harman says:

    Amen, Chap! In total agreement!! Thanks for standing on GOD’s Word.

  11. Dale Sigler says:

    Well said, I have been following, as best I can, the whole discussion. Being orthodox (don’t like traditionalist, sounds like all we want back is 1950’s) I prefer the Tradionalist Plan for two reasons, it is orthodox and it offers a gracious exit. I am reading John Lomperis’ summary of the One Church Plan. No gracious exit and removes lay input on critical issue of ordination. We laity are mostly better educated than the past and, when interested, are deeply interested in the working of our church denomination and God’s working in us and the world. Regardless of the course taking, if the UMC, or whatever comes from GC ’19, doesn’t get serious about equipping the saints in the works of ministry and service we will be gone sooner than later. We say we are to make disciples for the transforming of the world, I see precious little work in making disciples except outside the USA.

  12. Matt Thomas says:

    Thanks Chap. Many want to keep the unity, finances, assets, denominational structure at all costs. In truth, Like you suggest, we haven’t been united in many decades, in many respects. The thought that we have been unified is a lie, deception, idol, and unattainable. It seems…hard to tell the truth of where we actually are. The issue of homosexuality is an obvious distraction but more than that. It is a metaphorical mask that has covered the truth of who we are, who’s we are and who we are called to be! True identity is found in abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. We dont know who we were meant to be. All we see is the mask that only reveals a hidden life.

    • Carol Fisher says:

      It is indeed the time for a split. We cannot agree. It seems that some do not want to literally follow what the Bible says. And some do. So let’s just call it a day and go on with the business of winning Souls.
      The word United in the United Methodist Church was meant because we were being united as Methodist and the Brethren Church or the Church of the Brethren whichever. It did not mean we were all United as far as our beliefs because that is a far-fetched idea that each individual believes exactly the same thing then another individual believes.

  13. Alice B Farina says:

    Thank you for your thoughts. Strangely, I cannot tell which side of the fork you would be on! In my opinion, we cannot be the UNITED Methodist Church if we have different “beliefs” in different districts or conferences! I think a split should happen as well. Perhaps the TRADITIONAL Methodist Church and the CONTEMPORARY Methodist Church.

    • Dale Sigler says:

      I would rather the ORTHODOX Methodist Church and the PROGRESSIVE Methodist Church. Traditional sounds too much like we want the 1950’s back.

  14. Pastor Randy says:

    I, too believe, firmly believe I might add, that the time for “mitosis” is now. Let’s dissolve this shaky at best union, give everyone their property, and those conferences that still have unfunded pension liabilities either pay up, see conference owned properties and apply the sale to the unfunded liabilities, or abandon those they were in covenant with to provide the pension. By the way, I love that word mitosis–sounds much better than divorce.

  15. danduhman says:

    Its really abought scriptural authority the gay thing is just the presenting issue

  16. Kimal James says:

    Some think that an amicable split would free everyone to serve God in their own best way. That does sound good in theory. Yet, each of us individuals will still relate to a particular conference, district, and congregation, and how will those entities decide? Surely there will be mixed thoughts, beliefs, and feelings at each level of the church. I suppose that, in the denser population areas, there would be enough United Methodist-type folks to provide connections to meet the various theological needs. But, in sparsely-populated areas, once the door to division is opened, I don’t see how we would have enough strong conferences or congregations to provide Wesleyan-type spiritual care for all the various individuals. In sparsely-populated areas, Christians have long had to live together in weird unity. Small-town United Methodist congregations have included folks of Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Congregationalist, Baptist, Nazarene, Assemblies of God, Catholic, and a host of other backgrounds. For the sake of providing congregations for our people, are we really not able to keep United Methodists even weirdly united?

  17. Lori Foreman says:

    My attempt to address the controversial issue facing the Methodist Church:

      I belong to the United Methodist Church for a reason, its belief system is based upon the well written Book of Discipline and a doctrine that I (and every other Methodist) agree with …when that changes, I will sadly but respectfully depart The UMC. I have been a member of my home church since birth as have my ggg grandparents and those who have followed. Needless to say, we are a traditional congregation but not a biased and closed minded congregation. Anyone, regardless of age, race, sexual preference is welcomed by our congregation. Neither am I, as an individual, biased or bigoted. My best friend/family member is gay and I love her dearly and always will. I attended her wedding in her home to support her with my love….. as her friend. I do not agree with some of her life choices as I am sure she feels the same about me, but I believe in her as a friend and a person. Everyone is entitled to have someone to love and share their life with. When it involves my church however, I believe that I should have an opinion about who is standing behind the pulpit of the Church and the message he/she conveys. I also believe that it is the right of parents to decide who brings the message to their children as well as the content of that message. In my opinion children are too young and impressionable to be exposed to values that are opposite of those of their parents. Issues such as these are best dealt with by the family unit and involves the age and maturity of the child. “Mom and Dad” are best suited to make such monumental decisions.
      Personally, I do not wish to be exposed to public displays of affection during gay Church wedding ceremonies. Nor do I CHOOSE to have a Minister preach his morality, one that embraces “any and all behavior” as “the norm”!  With that being said, should some choose to view me as a bigot, so be it. I support my Church with my tithes so I DO BELIEVE I have the right to have a input on what my church supports and embraces. If gay people choose to be married, that is their GOD given right, we have all been given “free will”.  I am sure that there are many Churches willing to perform the ceremony, however, the Methodist Church is based on an established doctrine, moral code and Book of Discipline that opposes such actions. We have chosen to be Methodists for a reason. Our beliefs as Methodists are based on specific ideals and moral codes. When The United Methodist Church decides to change those ideals, I will no longer, with a good conscience attend the United Methodist Church.
    For those of you who disagree with our Church values, I would suggest that you organize your own Church, therefore embracing your ethics. Do you not wish to live your life free of controversy?

    As I have heard it said many times,  “GOD loved the sinner, NOT the sin.

    God Bless!
    Lori Foreman

    • Brenda Casteel says:

      Thank you Lori, well said. I agree.

      • Joetta says:

        Lori, than you for your thoughtful words. We are new to the denomination and have been very troubled over the possible division of the church. All the controversy can leave your head spinning. But if the very foundation of this denomination crumbles and changes, we too will consider a departure.

    • David Deterly says:

      Well said. In the world today the tail is wagging the dog. Instead of the individual making the change, the institution must change. Ridiculous. Political correctness has ruined the nation.

      • Keith Jenkins says:

        But we’re talking about the church here, aren’t we? Not the nation.

      • Hope Guthrie says:

        Ever since this thing reared it’s ugly head, I have been uncertain on what to do. There are so many unknowns that most people are not aware of that will happen. I have not been a believer in the current status of the local church, it’s grounds, the parsonage and internal things in the church belonging to anyone but the congregation who paid for it.. Our church has struggled financially over the years and I don’t recall being rescued at any time by the UMC. This is similar to what I feel about this possible split. It is an issue that has gone on for 50 years so I am not convinced that it will be resolved next February. Everyone I have spoken with does not have an issue with Gays in the congregation, they have the problem with Gays behind the pulpit , or in positions of leadership. Yes, they would need to marry elsewhere but if you are Gay and a member of the UMC, this is something you should expect. As far as the UMC, that ship has sailed with self professing Gays being in the hierarchy already, against what their tenants say as well as the promises given in the ordination process to not support things prohibited in the Bible. As previously stated “Love the sinner but not the sin.” It is totally unfair to lay this on congregations when it really only affects those in leadership positions. Kick that can down the road long enough and expect it to bite you in the behind. Now it has.
        Many are afraid of what will happen if they stick to their beliefs. Other denominations have stuck with the Bible and their churches are thriving, the UMC has filed these decisions at the bottom of the pile and their membership has declined so much that you have to decide what to pay to stay afloat because the seats are not filled and the tithes or offerings are down. It is almost a thought to have the UMC just be a Protestant church as in the military instead of having these decisions about a split, have an adding to instead. I DON’T know what to do, think or what will happen. It is a shame to have to be in this position though.

      • Those people you are referring to as “Gays” are regular people, just like you. Plus, they are your brothers and sisters in Christ, whether you like it or not. Maybe if you had a change of heart you could start seeing them and treating them as members of God’s Family.

      • Lori L Foreman says:

        They ARE my friends and family! I DO love them and they, unlike many I might add, DO NOT flaunt their sexual preferences! I am sick and tired of political correctness! I am NOT a bigot towards gay people, I am a bigot towards ignorant people who attempt to tell me I AM a bigot! Have a good day sir .

    • Pete Crawford says:

      Nicely and reasonably stated and I see no bigotry or hatred in your thoughts

  18. Larry Russell says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful summary; much as it hurts me to say this, as I am a retired United Methodist pastor, I think the time has come for an amicable separation. One of Wesley’s quotes, “We have but one purpose – that is the saving of souls” has been forgotten. I haven’t heard that at any conference session or seen it in any writings since I was a young adult, and I am now 73 years old. We need to focus on “Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” instead of debating God’s Word; it’s clear from beginning to end that redemption is attainable through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. I desperately want to see the flames of Methodism sweeping across this world as they once were. This is possible if we focus on God’s Word and how we can adapt it to our daily lives. Forgiveness of any sin is possible. The sooner we get to our one purpose the better we will all be. I fear that if we don’t settle this issue once and for all we are quickly going down the path to total destruction. In 1968 there were around 12,000,000 United Methodists in the U. S., and now there are barely 8,000,000. These numbers reflect that our emphasis has been misplaced. Let us get on with, “We have but one purpose – that is the saving of souls”. Thanks you again for your remarks.

  19. Arthur Dan Gleckler says:

    As one who spends an hour daily with Scripture, preaches the Lectionary, still serving a congregation although in my 80’s, graduate of a good seminary (Perkins/SMU), who has read and conversed with all kinds of church and non-church folks throughout a long life, I cannot agree that “It’s a matter of biblical orthodoxy.” The bible is much too varied in meaning and metaphor for that. Same goes for “keeping covenant.” which is always subject to interpretation (remember smoking?). Why are we so different from all those traditions who have already been able to struggle through to a conclusion on this without the kind of major split we are talking about in this large body of believers? Where is our pragmatic concern for solutions already reached by much of our society? Of course the Lord can redeem anything, including a split … but are we really about that in all this wrestling? I just cannot see it. Arthur Dan Gleckler

    • joe miller says:

      Well said! thanks

    • Pete Crawford says:

      Arthur, which denominations do you refer to?

      • Arthur Dan Gleckler says:

        The Presbyterians, the United Church of Christ, the Disciples of Christ, the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, all have come to terms with this issue without splitting….as have the Unitarians/Universalists, the Quakers…and many respected Biblical scholars as well …

  20. Blake White says:

    Since rebellion against Methodist Discipline is in full swing ANF it’s not possible to send in Christian soldiers to defeat the rebels back into faithfulness the next option is to split in order the faithful remnant move forward.
    The self-teaching self-empowerment Methodists can form their own Self-Interpretive Church. Freedom of religion in US allows for this. When Christ soon returns He will sort it out in instant order.

    • Rebels? Faithful remnant? Really? You don’t think it’s just a tiny bit arrogant (not to mention unChristlike) to use terms like this? You might want to remember that in the Parable of the Last Judgment, there were many who thought of themselves as sheep, only to be surprised to learn they were goats. And the true sheep were surprised when the Lord commended them for their faithfulness.

      • Dale Sigler says:

        Oxford American Dictionary defines rebel as, “a person who resists authority, control or convention.” So this is correct. “Faithful Remnent” has usually been considered to be those who hold to the Scriptures as understood through the ages..

  21. Ron Floyd says:

    Rev. Temple

    Very well stated. My prayers to God have been that we first follow God’s guidance and then come to a decision as a church that will feed God’s entire flock. I continue to pray that this will happen as soon as possible and if indeed we come to the fork in the road and take it, I for one would not lament. The church is a man made creation with a goal to glorify the Lord so I see no reason that it cannot continue to evolve. Like you I hope that the resultant churches can see fit to fight over the remains of the former UMC. God bless you.

  22. Mark Flynn says:

    Chap, you make sense to me. I do not understand why so many people seem to think that disintegration of one church would be so much better than the formation of two churches.

  23. Waymon Hughen says:

    The most sensible explanation that I have read in all these months of quandry about the LGBTQ situation.
    I hope this can go forward in a timely manner and not be ground up by arguments that seem to go on and on and on and resolve nothing in the end.

  24. Deanna Young says:

    Chap, I believe you are correct. We need to get back to the focus on Jesus Christ and making disciples. Our focus has been divided as is our church. Divide to multiply.

  25. Steve Daniels says:

    As a layman / UMC member, I am concerned that God’s consistency is being questioned by those who would have the UMC modify its principles to accommodate today’s worldly society. No one in my Sunday School class with whom I have discussed the LGBTQ issue is clear as to what our Conference leadership’s view is; we seem to be in agreement that a lot of words have been expressed but no conclusions offered and/or stances taken. In my opinion, this matter is clearly part of the spiritual warfare that our Pastor spoke about in a sermon earlier this summer; Satan is, indeed, striving to distract us from God’s Kingdom development.

    Exodus 3:14 … God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM…”. This is also translated as, “I WILL ALWAYS BE WHO I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN,” or, “I WILL FOREVER BE WHO I AM NOW.” God never changes. Why should the UMC compromise its foundation to appease the sinfulness of those who refuse to repent and turn from what God has clearly called an abomination (Leviticus 18:22), a detestable act (Leviticus 20:13), and shameful desires (Romans 1:26-27).

    My prayer is that every UMC member worldwide reaches the same conclusion: Why are we slapping God in His face, telling Him we know better than He does when it comes to moral issues? There can be no unity when we distort the values that God has provided for us. There can be no unity when various views are allowed on this critical matter. We either follow God’s path or we don’t.

  26. Joetta says:

    So true!

  27. Kenneth Wallace says:

    I wonder if a better answer than the present three options would be to grant the jurisdictions the same authority the central conferences have to adapt the Discipline to their context.

    • Lori L Foreman says:

      Should that happen, the Discilpine would not be the one we know now, it would embrace “any and everything”! We need to maintain our roots!

      • Kenneth Wallace says:

        No, the Discipline would remain essentially the same. Those of us who don’t believe the Church can or should change its teaching on homosexuality would not have to retreat from that position. What it would mean is that we would not make how we view homosexuality the defining doctrine of United Methodism or the core of our identity as Christians. So we would allow our fellow United Methodists the freedom to adapt the Discipline (excluding our Constitution, Articles of Religion, etc.) to their context. The central conferences already have this authority.

      • Pete Crawford says:

        Mr. Wallace, I don’t believe that homosexuality is the defining issue to be determined at GC. I believe it is accountability. I believe many clergy and bishops have willfully opposed the Bible and the Book of Discipline and do not seem to care, and in fact, seem to celebrate their rebellion. There seems to be little urgency to deal with that.

      • Lori L Foreman says:

        Exactly!

      • Kenneth Wallace says:

        I get the concern that some conferences and jurisdictions and pastors have chosen to do what they believe is right even though it violates the Book of Discipline, which they have vowed to uphold. The question, of course, is what to do about it. My suggestion is that we essentially do what the Connectional Church option proposes, but in a simpler and more organic way. We allow each jurisdiction to chart its own path, but we don’t organize jurisdictions on the basis of their position on this topic. We remain united on the great essentials of the faith, and we agree to disagree (“think and let think”) on this issue. We don’t change the teaching of our church, but we allow for some diversity on this topic where jurisdictions believe that is what God calls them to do.

  28. Lori L Foreman says:

    With all due respect, I am please with this blog and the fact that so many of the responders feel as I do only reinforces my opinions and stances. I don’t, as many people do, always chose to interact in a confrontational setting. No one is going to change my mind by bashing me or others who agree with me. Do I view the issue from many different ways? Of course I do, do I listen to constructive differing opinions? Of course I do…but rude and hurt filled dialogue is useless banter. When it comes to this church issue, it’s black and white, you adhere to the Book of Discipline, if not …you are not Methodist. Go on and become Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, catholic or nondenominational and live whatever life style you choose. There is no hero worship here, it’s just admiration for someone who is also disgusted as to the direction our Church is headed.

  29. Jackie Stark says:

    I have read the commentary by Reverend Chappell Temple and the comments by everyone. I see a division already in your interpretation of God’s word and Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament and that is OK. God gave us a brain to think with; He did not make us all alike, we will have different opinions, we are human.
    I too believe a split will happen in the UMC; it is already happening and a decision has not been made. People in our congregations are leaving because they don’t know what is happening or they are second guessing what the church will do, and they want out now. Even whole churches are leaving the UMC. If a split occurs, does that mean we will have two conferences, A & B? If it becomes a One Church decision; will there be issues or difficulties for the conference to appoint pastors without asking the Church what their belief is and what the appointed pastor’s belief is A or B. What happens to the Church that has two different viewpoints within their congregation? Will some leave and try to find another church that goes along with their belief? And if a church splits; how is the split done financially and spiritually, who gets to stay with the existing building and who has to find and/or start a new church and will the conference be obligated to help them financially?
    The scary part is that this will affect our youth in the church; it will affect friends and families within the church.
    I do believe that the most important thing to remember is to listen to each other’s views; I mean really listen without formulating a reply while he or she is talking so that as soon as they stop talking you can give your thoughts. If you don’t agree with their thoughts rather than challenging them, ask why they believe what they stated. Then you can share your thoughts and hopefully the same courtesy will be extended to you. You both may not agree but the conversation was held with a Christian attitude. This is what we have to remember with any issue in the Church or our Lives.

  30. Carol Fisher says:

    It is indeed the time for a split. We cannot agree. It seems that some do not want to literally follow what the Bible says. And some do. So let’s just call it a day and go on with the business of winning Souls.

  31. metodyscipomorze says:

    Extremely sad. Same text, as well as comments to it. Jesus’ love does not exclude anyone. The love of Jesus invites all without exception. Our UMC welcomes everyone. WCA wants to divide and discriminate LGBTQ people and their friends. Why nobody wrote here expressly that homophobia is a sin, that homophobia is not compatible with the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and should be clearly condemned. The traditionalist plan is not biblical. It is a mistake. The encouragement of the Bishops’ Council makes sense. Let delegates vote for the plan of One Church – United MC.

    • Dale Sigler says:

      We are not homophobic, we simply refuse to change the clear teaching of Scriptures that homosexual practices of every type arensin. Dr. Timothy Tennett, president of Asbury Seminary wrote several articles responding to the Uniting Methodist position paper. Of importance here is his exegesis Of the various terms used to describe homosexual practices. Check timothytennett.com. Maxie Dunnam also addresses the issue of what Jesus said on this in 2013.

      Homosexual practices are the presenting issue. The real issue is the authority of Scriptures and our willingness to obey the understanding of them passed down through the centuries. Secondary to that is our willingness to abide by our baptismal/membership/ordinatuon covenant vows.

    • Lori L Foreman says:

      No one is being homophobic! If you are a Christian and follow the teachings of Christ, then you know that homosexuality is not accepted by Him. We DO love people in spite of their sexual choices and they are embraced by our Church, however, I am NOT homosexual and choose not to be exposed to the ideology of such viewpoints from the pulpit. Go to another Church you may say? Well, my Church is already opposed to this ideology, why should our doctrine change when it is only because of political correctness?! I abhore the public demonstration of affection between straight people, I certainly don’t want to witness gay people act that way in our church during marriage ceremonies. I suppose I am living in the past, well so be it.

      • Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.

        You say, “I abhore [sic] the public demonstration of affection between straight people, I certainly don’t want to witness gay people act that way in our church during marriage ceremonies.” Just listen yourself. Do you object to a heterosexual groom and bride exchanging a kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony? They’re even invited to do so by the officiating minister. I’m guessing you don’t object to that.

        But when it’s a same sex couple “act[ing] that way,” you don’t want to see it? Why? Because you find it icky? Well guess what. That means you are homophobic. So why don’t you just go ahead and admit it. You’ll feel better after you do.

  32. Blake White says:

    It’s sad to see bishops flaunting their vows in disobeying the Discipline. Gutless leadership got us here as folks put heads in sand just like the German people did on the 1930’s as Hitler rounded up Jews…..”at least the trains ran on time” and the people remained comfortable. Bishops lead a great life of elitist pious religious careerism shrouded in multilayered of bureaucracy.

    • Lori L Foreman says:

      I get a sense of governmental “lobby-ism”, where special interest groups are padding the palms of the hierarchy to facilitate the changes they desire, specifically amending the Discipline to embrace their beliefs.

    • Arthur Dan Gleckler says:

      Mercy! The bishops I know who have officiated @ lgbt weddings and ordinations did so after great soul-searching and consultation. We will not make progress in charity and grace without being willing to hear that, accept it as witness to love, and go forward in respect.

  33. Lori L Foreman says:

    Well, now that you put it that way….I suppose I AM homophobic. If I find it icky, as you say, to see two men and/or women show romantic affection to one another in my church, then shame on me! The LORD’S going to condem me to hell forever. 😈 I would like to know how to get that “inside” communication to Jesus that all of these people have where HE has given them HIS blessing on changing HIS teachings about the Moral compass of HIS kingdom. Yes, we ARE to love one another, but are we to embrace the sin? And I’m sorry dude, just as lying, cheating, stealing, adultry, are…homosexuality IS a sin according to JESUS. So go ahead and change all you want but it still won’t make it right in the eyes of GOD, please have a wonderful day and GOD bless you.

  34. Lori L Foreman says:

    Oh by the way, I’m glad that there are people like you Mr. Jenkins, you serve to reinforce my beliefs! Thank you!

  35. Lori L Foreman says:

    Oh and by the way Mr. Jenkins, “homosexuality” IS addressed in the Bible. Where can I buy a Bible, that contains everything in it that everyone wants in it? Now that would make for an ideal moral compass … just ” do” whatever you like, JESUS is certainly fine with it.

  36. tomstarnesdc says:

    Dr. Temple, there is no CONSTITUTIONAL issue with the One Church Plan’s ordination standards. At it’s core, that plan simply returns the minimum ordination standards to the form in which they were expressed in 1968, and throughout most of the denomination’s preceding two centuries. From the outset, the truly Wesleyan way — for, after all, our historic ordination examination questions were drafted by Wesley himself — was always to reserve to the existing clergy members of each annual conference (Discipline ¶33) the right to vote on whether any given clergy candidate has agreed to “maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world” (¶304) and is otherwise qualified to be ordained as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in The United Methodist Church (¶¶304, 310)).

    As you know, it was not until 1984 that the General Conference adopted an explicit ordination standard that made “homosexual practice” an absolute ordination “disqualifier.” No other ostensibly immoral behavior was so singled out at the time and none has been added since. But more to the point, the Constitution will not be offended if the General Conference votes now simply to eliminate that single-issue prohibition, as was done in 1968 with similar (and relatively short-lived) provisions that previously required ordinands to expressly forswear the use of tobacco (first inserted in 1880) and beverage alcohol (first inserted in 1964). Simply put, if the General Conference was constitutionally authorized to insert the provision in 1984, the Constitution cannot possibly prevent its deletion now. What’s more, after its removal, EVERY clergy member in EVERY annual conference will remain free to insist upon a “thoroughgoing moral commitment” from all ordination candidates, and to exercise their constitutional prerogative to vote in accordance with their doctrinal understandings and their consciences, including on issues relating to human sexuality, when judging whether each candidate brought before the clergy session possesses and exhibits “the ideals of excellence of mind, purity of body, and responsible social behavior” that is expected of United Methodist pastors. (¶310.2(d), Footnote 3). That is the way it previously worked, before 1984, when the General Conference acted to short-circuit the exercise of the clergy session’s collective judgment in the case of one isolated dimension of a candidate’s “moral commitment,” cutting directly against the grain of the General Conference’s simultaneous recognition that “The United Methodist Church has moved away from prohibitions of specific acts, for such prohibitions can be endless” (id.), and has opted instead to “affirm our trust in the covenant community and the process by which we ordain ministers.”

    In essence, the One Church Plan calls for the Church to recover our faith in that “fundamental” (¶11) and “basic” (¶33) community, trusting the collective judgment of our clergy members when exercising freely their constitutionally authorized function of voting on which clergy candidates satisfy the overarching standard of making “a complete dedication of themselves to the highest ideals of the Christian life,” including by agreeing to “exercise responsible self-control, by personal habits conducive to bodily health, mental and emotional maturity, integrity in all personal relationships, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God.” All of that will remain intact — that standard, and our historic process for applying that standard to individual candidates — if the One Church Plan is adopted.

    • Dear Tom,
      It would appear that the Judicial Council agrees with you on this, although I still have reservations about the right of a General Conference to delegate to annual conferences or boards of ministries such matters as qualifications for ordained ministry. Be that as it may, you make a good point and in an ideal church, we would indeed be able to trust the integrity of each of the constituent groups within it. I’m not sure that is the case for us at present, given the enflamed passions and entrenched positions, but we’ll apparently move forward and find out. I had concerns, by the way, about the constitutionality of the Traditional Plan’s enforcement provisions as well, expressed elsewhere, and the Judicial Council similarly saw the liabilities in the plan. All that leads me to believe that we still need to find a different way forward that does not include winners and losers, and mitosis may be our best option for such. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

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