Wednesday, September 14, 2016

UMC and the Book of Non-Discipline

Anyone who has followed the decline of the Episcopal church should understand the problems that ensue once a church decides to ignore discipline in cases where false teachers are on the side of the progressive/revisionist wing of the Church.  For those of you who are interested in more background, our Anglican Curmudgeon described some of the problems TEc has had with discipline in his 2008 post on "The Ghost of Bishop Pike".

One of the methods used by progressive/revisionist Episcopalians in their successful efforts to bring about same-sex blessings and weddings was to go ahead and first ordain openly gay priests and bishops and to then perform same-sex blessings in defiance of the Book of Common Prayer and the Canons of the church. Failing to encounter any disciplinary action along the way assured the revisionists that their innovations would eventually be written into the Prayer Book and the canons.

The United Methodist group (UMC) is trying its best to follow the lead of the Episcopalians by conducting unauthorized same-sex weddings in violation of their "Book of Discipline".

The only thing keeping the UMC from "legalizing" same-sex marriage is the fact that their governing body includes a large number of conservative African churches. Even so, a large number of American Methodists are fighting to change the stance of the greater Church.

Revisionists in the UMC are taking a similar route in their quest to bless gay marriage, and last week's headline in our local rag says it all,

"Charlotte pastor who married same-sex couple will keep job, avoid church trial"
This sounds like the death knell for the UMC. In an effort to avoid a messy trial (one that should be an open and shut case) they have given the go ahead for others to follow where this Charlotte pastor has led. Here are some of the details of how they handled it,
"A United Methodist pastor in Charlotte will not face a church trial or lose her job for officiating at the same-sex wedding in April of two members of her church in uptown.
The Rev. Val Rosenquist married John Romano and Jim Wilborne, who became the first same-sex couple in North Carolina to be wed – at least publicly – in a United Methodist church.
A 'just resolution' of the case involving Rosenquist of First United Methodist Church of Charlotte has been reached, the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church announced Tuesday.
But it is uncertain what that resolution involves. That’s because Rosenquist and those who filed complaints against her for allegedly violating the denomination’s Book of Discipline agreed to keep the details confidential. And the resolution will remain sealed until at least 2018, when the United Methodist Church could convene a special General Conference to act on future recommendations relating to same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.
Currently, the denomination’s Book of Discipline states that ceremonies that celebrate same-sex unions 'shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.' Clergy who violate it can lose their jobs, face a church trial, even lose their clergy credentials."

By keeping the details under wraps, the UMC may be trying to prevent a massive "move of the Spirit" by other pastors who wish to officiate at same-sex weddings themselves, or they may be trying to prevent a stampede of conservative parishioners rushing out the door for safer ground.

What good is it to have a Book of Discipline if it is never used to spank people?

But of course in order to spank, someone must pass judgement, and that is something that nobody seems to want to do today with the end result that folks just do what they please which is nothing new.
"In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes." Judges 21:25

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