Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

General Conference 2019 – Part 2

2 Timothy 3:16–17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God  may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Scripture is the base of our understanding of God. It is often where those who differ in their understanding of God depart from one another. Scriptural authority is often the real issue when presenting issues surface. In the United Methodist Church today – the presenting issue is the nature of human sexuality. The real issue – can the Scriptures be believed and held as authoritative in our lives today.

For the next few days I will include articles written by some leaders in the United Methodist Church concerning the upcoming special General Conference of 2019 (#GC2019). Now that our Annual Conference is over – I want to make sure our readers are informed about the upcoming #GC2019. You can return and read yesterday’s post here.

Today I include an article written by Cynthia B. Astle – from United Methodist Insight. You can read her article here if you wish to respond to it directly. I include her long article below. You can respond on this blog page if you wish as well.

Yesterday I quoted the entire article in my blog post – but in hindsight – that may not be the proper thing to do – so I will link today’s and future articles and make some comments. Here is the link again – http://um-insight.net/perspectives/the-stakes-are-higher-in-2019-than-we-thought/.

In the words of the authors, the Rev. Dr. William B. Lawrence and Dr. Sally Curtis AsKew: “Not only is the denomination on the verge of choosing whether it remains institutionally united; it is also on the verge of deciding whether a connectional church that is built with a constitutional polity is viable for ecclesiastical life anymore [emphasis added].”

Cynthia wrote – All three of our constitutionally established leadership bodies – the General Conference, the Council of Bishops and the Judicial Council – have violated the United Methodist constitution in attempting the last-ditch unity effort known as A Way Forward. Those violations now threaten not only the denomination’s institutional union, but also whether it can continue to exist as a body shaped and operated under a rule of law.

The author and Drs Lawrence and AsKew believe the very nature of the United Methodist Church is on the line at General Conference 2019. The article says:

“In summary, the General Conference does not appear to trust its ability to enact legislation that unifies the church; the Council of Bishops does not appear to trust the process for approving constitutional amendments; the Judicial Council does not appear to trust the constitutional authority of annual conferences to make judgments about clergy members or of jurisdictional conferences to make judgments about consecrating bishops; and the annual conferences cannot trust the accuracy of words on which they are voting.”

There it is: mistrust in The United Methodist Church has become so rampant that our leaders are violating church law in efforts to thwart, rather than obey, the structures of our church government. While the Lawrence-AsKew article focuses on the legal challenges within United Methodism, the underlying spiritual and political reality can be seen by anyone with discernment: the question of whether to accept the range of human sexuality merely forms the “presenting issue” for the deeper struggle for power and dominance in the church – constitution be damned!

Something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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June 6, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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