The United Methodist Church IS…

I am so tired of the spin from Mainstream UMC supporting the One Church Plan (OCP). The latest missive came this morning and promises that the OCP is a “strong, calm oasis” in the midst of what its leaders call the “stark contrast of the chaos and crisis ginned up” by supporters of the other plans. They even dare to say that the OCP is “not radical.” Malarkey! The tactics and words of the OCP are just plain wrong.

We are not the “United Baptist Church!” The OCP fundamentally changes how United Methodists embrace our identity as a connectional people. We would be left with a “conscience-driven” local option congregationalist denomination where local churches and clergy get to decide what’s right in their own minds about sexual ethics, and everything else. When that occurs we have destroyed who we are as United Methodists. We will have a UMC in one part of town that believes one thing, and one nearby with a different opinion. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

I was in Williamsburg, Virginia last week for the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s Committee on Episcopacy. Williamsburg is a beautiful city, home of Colonial Williamsburg where the capitol of Virginia was located during the American Revolution, not far from Yorktown where the US won its independence from Britain. I started thinking about United Methodism and US history. The US started its self-government with the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in 1781 which preserved the independence and sovereignty of each state. This worked okay until the need of a strong central government proved that just being loosely linked wasn’t in the best interest of everybody. So, in 1789 we passed our Constitution that created a unified whole, a union, which only partly solved the problem of state’s rights over the common good.

Basically, Americans discovered that a confederacy didn’t help enough people, nor did it collectively protect the country as a whole. Of course, any student of American history knows that it took the Civil War in 1861-1865 to return us to a strong central government, and change our self-understanding as a country. Until the Union’s victory over the Confederate States of America the US was used in plural form in sentences, “The United States are…,” and after the Union defeated the Confederacy sentences about the US read, “The United States is…”

Here’s the point that I get from this: The United Methodist Church is better as a union, not a confederacy. The OCP makes us a confederacy, not a union. The Modified Traditional Plan (MTP) keeps us unified, doesn’t overturn thousands of years of Judeo-Christian teaching on marriage, and uses our connectional ecclesiology to spread the Gospel. Every other plan splits us. As attracted as I am by my fall-back plan, the Connectional Conference Plan (CCP), I also know from American history that although the Union won the Civil War, there were Jim Crow abuses and it wasn’t until 1954 that “Brown v. Board of Education” made it the law of the land that “separate but equal” schools for black and white children was completely wrong and false. There was no equality. There was segregation, and it is a sin that still haunts us. The OCP and the CCP and all the rest of the plans except the Modified Traditional Plan attempt to make all United Methodist churches separate but equal. Get a clue, it’s impossible.

So, we need a union that does the least amount of harm. If the Modified Traditional Plan doesn’t pass there will be a mass exodus of people, church closures, and litigation of the worst kind. What kind of witness will that be for the world? The mis-named One Church Plan isn’t going to keep us together for the Gospel’s sake. It’s going to fragment us into oblivion. For instance, the OCP doesn’t have an exit plan for those who don’t want to be held hostage. That fact should raise everyone’s eyebrows. Why wouldn’t the OCP have an exit plan? Could it be financial fear or something more sinister? OCP supporters have to know that without Traditionalists they can’t pay the bills, but it doesn’t seem to matter to them. One so-called progressive told me at the 2016 GC, “We know we don’t have the votes to win, but we’re going to burn the house down when we leave.” Sounds like the OCP folks are the real noisy gongs that are radical. This will be my 7th General Conference and I’ve never been spit on or slapped by a Traditionalist, or seen a Traditionalist break a Communion Chalice and Paten. I sympathize with the pain that many feel with the MTP and our current Disciplinary language, but the best way forward to me is to keep what we have with greater accountability.

MY sincere hope is that the Modified Traditional Plan is overwhelmingly supported so that a clear message is sent. Let’s be in ministry with all people and hold them in sacred worth, but in 2020 we need to move on. I know one GC cannot bind another, but my hope is that we can call a moratorium of some sort. We are not a United Baptist Church. We are not a confederacy. We are not promoters of separate, but equal. The United Methodist Church IS a Bible-Believing, Soul-Saving, Jesus-Praising movement of the Holy Spirit to redeem the world!

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53 thoughts on “The United Methodist Church IS…

    1. Wayne & Swanie, Thanks for the encouragement and prayers! tim

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      On Jan 30, 2019, at 5:00 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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    1. Henry, A great metaphor! Thanks, tim

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      On Jan 30, 2019, at 5:23 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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      1. Thanks! t

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        On Jan 30, 2019, at 8:23 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  1. Thanks Tim! I know this is more frustrating for you than for most of us. I appreciate you and all you are doing for those of us whose voice is not as strong.

    1. Danny, We’re all in this together! Keep praying and thanks for the encouragement! tim

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      On Jan 30, 2019, at 5:47 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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    1. God bless you, Mark! Thanks, tim

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      1. The thing that bothers me is that we can easily end up where we are now. Many of those in leadership now will still be in those same roles and they do not enforce the Discipline now. Why would we expect any more loyalty to the GC then than now. Where will be the accountability?

      2. Tim, If the MTP passes there will be s Global Episcopacy Committee that will enforce accountability. Praying it passes, tim

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        On Feb 1, 2019, at 12:15 AM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  2. “The United Methodist Church IS a Bible-Believing, Soul-Saving, Jesus-Praising movement of the Holy Spirit to redeem the world!“

    After my experience with other UM clergy from other annual conferences in the Reynolds program, this statement sounds more like a dying Hope than a marginal reality. There is alive and growing in us a theological pluralism that denies the witness of scripture to the necessity of Christ’s salvific work; an embrace of universalism that denies scripture to an unnerving degree well beyond any necessary to embrace same sex marriage. There is a deeper rot that I fear more than the present concern of this upcoming GC; a rot that this present impasse may only be a symptom of.

    My prayers are with all the delegates, not just with those whom I might agree. I appreciate your words and your conviction. May God have mercy on us.

    1. Amen! Thanks for your support and I am convinced the hope can be reality! tim

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      On Jan 30, 2019, at 10:56 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  3. Amen!
    Let those who don’t like it leave and go start something new with whatever they want to believe. Please don’t allow them to screw up what the majority of us want to preserve as it is and should be!

    1. Kevin, The Gates of Hell shall not prevail! Let’s contend for the faith! tim

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      On Jan 31, 2019, at 7:55 AM, A Potter's View wrote:

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    1. Kevin, Thanks and let’s keep praying and contending for the faith! tim

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      On Jan 31, 2019, at 9:48 AM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  4. If the UMC does anything other than the MTP then what they are saying is God’s word is not true..
    How did we end up here …
    By not holding Bishops,DS and Pastors accountable , by allowing false teaching such as the Bishop Oliveto saying Jesus had prejudices and Bigotries there are some things that there are no needs for trials and these teachings teach that Jesus was not perfect. Her ordination certificate states she will follow the UMC Discipline when they do not you remove.
    The UMC has gotten to this point for failing to hold people accountable, the cheapest solution all along would to have held them accountable . If God is the same Yesterday , Today And Tomorrow why is the church trying to change Him.
    The MTP will only work if we hold people accountable , this includes those in our congregation who try to bring false teaching and infiltrate.
    Just an opinion from Saved , Sanctified Holy , 4 year Bible College Pastor who makes the Bible his number 1 classroom book for instructions and all the others as extra curricular reading.

    1. Larry, I agree! If Sanctifying Grace is our hallmark doctrine then accountability should be/must be a given. tim

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      On Jan 31, 2019, at 10:12 AM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  5. Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck have been going on and on about the twin issues of homosexuality and the murder of babies (what do they call it, “abortion?”) all day. It’s almost like a tsunami washing over us. Don’t give up the ship, sir!

    I am reminded of something I heard a few years ago, that the word “fetus,” that almost sounds like a bad word, something to be gotten rid of, is simply the Latin word for “little one.”

    1. Ken, Thanks for the encouragement! tim

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      On Jan 31, 2019, at 2:50 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  6. The marquee at the General Conference in Indianapolis one day by mistake read, “The General Conference of the Untied Methodist Church.” What will be the real description of our denomination after the General Conference in St. Louis? Thanks, Tim, for your words and direction. Our prayers are with you and all the delegates. May God’s Spirit prevail.

    1. Bill, Our ecclesiology is in dire jeopardy. Too many aren’t thinking the OCP through. We will never be the same if it passes. I hope for the best. Good to hear from you! tim

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      On Jan 31, 2019, at 8:11 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  7. Thank you Tim! You have my vote! Thank you for thoughts and your willingness to serve during this stressful time is most appreciated.

    1. David, Thanks! Let’s all keep praying! tim

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      On Feb 1, 2019, at 6:18 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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    1. Amen and we’ll contend for the faith! tim

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      On Feb 6, 2019, at 3:58 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  8. This is indeed a struggle. Movement into the future, with evolving beliefs and understanding is scary for all involved. Regardless of where we decide to go as Methodists, God will remain sovereign, continually love and endlessly supply his grace to all, gay or straight.

  9. Thank you for fighting this fight! I can’t imagine the stress, frustration, & hurt this has brought you. I sincerely appreciate you wisdom & guidance & will be praying continuously these next few days.

    1. Leah, I’ve got tears and relief, but this is too early to celebrate. Please pray us through to the finish line. Thanks so much, tim

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      On Feb 24, 2019, at 3:58 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  10. I wonder if we are alienating yet another generation of would be Methodist, facilitating the growth of the “nones” and sliding even further into irrelevance.

  11. Tim : With the “St. Louis Crucis” behind us it is my hope and prayer that the United Methodist who have remained true to the Discipline will now move on to the work of educating our many members how to act as free and responsible people who witness by their actions that one can and must “be a Christ” to another not based identity political labels!

  12. This forum is a breath of fresh air and sunlight to me. I am all for the Traditional plan. We left the church in 1990, not for any reason, we just kind of drifted away. A year ago we found a quaint, friendly little United Methodist church and came back and were happy for a while. Then started noticing a distinct bias from the pulpit, exhibited in the Pastoral prayer. Then the General Conference and the news about the Traditional Plan winning and felt relieved. BUT then, my Pastor and her Superintendent and the Bishop for our Conference all came out with how sad and disheartened they were. Our Pastor even went so far on her Facebook page to highly recommend we all read Jack Rogers book titled ” Jesus, The Bible and Homosexuality” where he promotes that it is not a sin as written in the Bible. Twisting scripture to meet the conscience of the One Church plan crowd. So now that I know where she and her chain of reporting stand, I can no longer attend this church, nor any of the others in this conference. So, sadly, I am done with the United Methodist organization. All the LGBTQIA crowd is mad and leaving and so are numerous Tradionalists who can’t participate in services being led by OCP proponents. I believe we should love the sinners and hate the sin, so have no problem with anyone attending the church, I would embrace them as a fellow sinner brother and sister. But cannot attend a church with leaders pushing sin and twisting scripture.

    1. I understand, but I’m sure there are Traditional UMC’s nearby. You can’t change the system from outside! tim

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      1. Tim, Thanks for the reply. Agree however the United Methodist Churches nearby are all within the same Conference so the “chain of command” is the same. The problem starts at the Top in the Bishop level. The OCP mindset has spread that far. So, all of the local churches and Pastors here in this conference are towing the OCP line. My uncle was a Pastor in the UMC for 50 years, he married my wife and I 45 years ago in the UMC. I taught Sunday school in the UMC we attended when my children were young. Then we strayed from the regular church life as life moved along. Only a year ago we came back perhaps too late. We’re going to look into some non-denominationals that are bible based.

      2. Rich, God bless your searching, and praying that our mutual heritage gets it together! tim

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