Bishops: ‘Not of one mind’

My bishop e-mailed our conference this statement coming out of the Council of Bishop’s meeting.

As bishops of The United Methodist Church, our hearts break because of the divisions that exist within the church.  We have been in constant prayer and conversation and affirm our consecration vow “to guard the faith, to seek the unity and to exercise the discipline of the whole church.” We recognize that we are one church in a variety of contexts around the world and that bishops and the church are not of one mind about human sexuality. Despite our differences, we are united in our commitment to be in ministry for and with all people.  We are also united in our resolve to lead the church together to fulfill its mandate—to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As we do so, we call on all United Methodists to pray for us and for one another.

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6 thoughts on “Bishops: ‘Not of one mind’

  1. I’m rather underwhelmed. Most conferences aren’t paying their apportionments. Most conferences need a lot more work for vital congregations. But, if a number of bishops believe it is okay to pick and choose which parts of the connection and the covenant to honor, then how can they be surprised when others believe they have the same “right.”

    We haven’t been, aren’t now and won’t ever be of “one mind about human sexuality.” But, if some continue to publicly and flagrantly disobey the Discipline without consequence then why should the rest of us subsidize that? The Western Jurisdiction doesn’t even pay for its own bishops much less the central conferences or even the retirees. They pay the lowest percentage of apportionments. Yet, they will make donations to The Advance. Who isn’t being connectional? There are fewer United Methodists in the whole Western Jurisdiction than there are in just the North Georgia Annual Conference.

    1. I don’t totally disagree with you; but, I would remind you (and more importantly outside readers) that the Advance is part of our connectional system. Donations to the Advance do not, necessarily, support the bureaucracy of the church but they do support ministry within the connexion. That being said, I think you’re right. The Advance is, I believe, meant to be used for “second-mile” giving not in place of denominational commitments. We weaken the connection when we don’t fully support it by paying our apportionments.

  2. The bishops would all be of one mind if they all had the mind of Christ, if they honored the authority of God and His word, if they would hear and obey the clear word of God concerning human sexuality.

    I have been praying and will continue to pray for all of our bishops, that they will be true to God and His word and lead the church accordingly.

  3. Yes, by all means, pray without ceasing…but let us not be deceived by our platitudes, for God is not mocked.

    1. That’s right Gary, we should not be deceived by our platitudes. They certainly don’t deceive or impress God. It is the truth that sets us free. God wants us to obey His word, which is truth, which sets us free from our slavery to sin (Jn 8:31-36). We are His friends if we do what Christ commands (Jn 15:14). If we love Christ we will keep His commands (Jn 14:15).

  4. The bishops are trying to steer a steady course through very turbulent waters. Any analysis of denominational data shows that the best way to decrease membership is to argue loudly about human sexuality or move away from something like the current denominational position. (Look at the membership and attendance numbers for Episcopal church in America.) However, there is a vocal and influential Western (U.S. and European) minority that is determined to make such a move. They see the issue as social justice and their opponents see the issue as doctrinal / Biblical faithfulness. It is incredibly difficult to steer a course between those two heart felt commitments. I am in my late 60s and I am not optimistic that the United Methodist Church in the U.S. will out live me as a major denomination. If we cannot resolve this dispute in a way that cam be affirmed by both camps, I doubt that any of our church vitality initiatives will mean much.

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