Why I prefer Good News to the IRD

These two reactions to the refrocking of Frank Schaefer highlight my distaste for the rhetoric of the IRD compared to the measured tone of Good News.

The IRD response.

The Good News response.

In the name of rounding all the bases, here is the Reconciling Ministries Network response.

And in case you have not heard, Schaefer has been appointed to a ministry in the Cal-Pac Annual Conference.



8 thoughts on “Why I prefer Good News to the IRD

  1. I know what you are saying but the decision is disappointing and not a surprise. I doubt if anyone in the Northeastern Jurisdiction was truly surprised. Scott Campbell led the Committee to overturn the Stroud verdict and spent $30,000. This time he “found” a Judicial Council decision from over four decades ago (before merger)! The decision does not appear to be truly on point but does work for proof-texting.

    1. I’m not happy with the end result, but I’m not yet persuaded that the legal argument here is off base. The age of the Judicial Council decision does not strike me as all that important. Marbury vs. Madison is 200 years old but still exercises decisive influence on the US legal system, for instance.

      When I read Decision 240, it appeared to me to be on point. I think Good News is correct that that the trial court attempted to offer Schaefer and olive branch and that ended up biting them. Or, perhaps, they really did think all he deserved for past violations was suspension and only wanted to defrock for refusal to obey in the future.

      In any event, I don’t think the vitriol of the IRD is helpful or particularly Christian.

  2. John,
    While I share the angst of the IRD article, I quite agree that the expression of the article does not really help their cause as it almost necessarily makes those who disagree with them defensive and in that moment, less prone to be rational. In other words, it raises the temperature and lowers the light level in the room.
    I am always grateful for the measured response of Good News. I am also grateful for your continued questions and observations about Wesley, faith, life, and the UMC.

  3. What’s forming now in these statements is the rhetorical basis for the “next plan” to be set forth for the future of (what presently constitutes) The United Methodist Church. Good News has exceeded IRD in damping the bombast and pulling in its horns, because Good News (with academic superstars like Billy Abraham and Timothy Tennet in the van) is “not fooling around” anymore (if they ever did). Billy Abraham was the first signature on the Open Letter to Adam Hamilton. This is analogous to the Apostle Paul calling out Peter. The next episode will be careful, scrupulous, but fiery potent “holy contention” between heavyweights. All this, because the future of this tattered church is at stake. The day of reckoning for American Methodism is at hand. Don’t shrink back.

    1. Gary, I read this after my posting below. I think you are right. I have read what Abraham and Tennet have previously written, and they are theological giants.

      In Christ,

      The enemy hates clarity

      1. I am always encouraged whenever your moniker shows up to contend for the historic faith in the teeth of “what’s out there.” Keep on…because the enemy hates clarity.

  4. In general, I prefer the Good News approach. However, this issue is changing my mind. Jesus would have been a lot less effective if he had said to the money changers and religious powers that be in the Temple: “And holding His briefcase, Jesus politely asked them to leave the Temple, and he apologized when he accidentally tipped over one of their tables.” John 2:15, Sanitized Version. Or, “He said to them, ‘it is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a place where questionable transactions occur’.” Matthew 21:13, Sanitized Version.

    Sometimes you need to stop beating around the bush, and that is the case here. Good News accurately called the decision “a willful misreading of the original verdict.” IRD’s statement that this result “was a forgone conclusion, given how the appeals committee was a very unrepresentative, liberal stacked group….,” was also accurate, and better captured the dynamics that surrounded the decision.

    In Christ,

    The enemy hates clarity

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