Hamilton on the local option

Sam Hodges of the United Methodist News Service has a helpful interview with Adam Hamilton about his proposal for A Way Forward for the United Methodist Church. This plan is also being referred to as “the local option.”

The interview demonstrates again Hamilton’s thoughtfulness, pragmatism (and I use that word in a positive sense), and desire to be a positive leader in the denomination.

The desire to hold most of the denomination together is clearly his animating goal. Some congregations and individuals will find this an unworthy goal when set against biblical fidelity or justice — depending on which side of the debate one is on. The outline he proposes may not be workable in our polity. There are other issues with it. But I find it a proposal that helps us think through what it is we most value and need.

In that vein, here is a commentary on the local option by Asbury professor Bill Arnold, hosted by the blog of United Theological Seminary Dean David Watson.

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5 thoughts on “Hamilton on the local option

  1. Would allowing for “congregationalism” in one issue necessarily lead to a slippery slope?

    1. Not necessarily. Hamilton’s observation that this is making what we already do legal is a good one. We already have a local option. I’m not sure that makes a local option wise, but we do have facts on the ground.

  2. My question around this issue is less about history and the BOD and more pragmatic. So, lets say we do this and pastors need to be assigned to churches on the basis of their position on this issue relative to the position of the local church on this issue. Thus progressives go to progressive churches and evangelicals to evangelical churches. What is a Bishop to do when there’s more pastors who hold one position than there are churches that hold that position? Does a pastor have to go without an appointment and a church without a pastor because of this disagreement? It seems like a silly thought, but if this proposal is taken literally and legalistically, I can see it going there.

    1. That’s only a concern if this becomes the central defining characteristic for pastors and churches. Since fruitful ministry already occurs in places where pastors and churches can disagree on theological issues, I don’t think we’d ever run into this extreme.

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