Sunday, August 14, 2016

What is wrong with Methodism. . .

It is no secret that Methodists have been bleeding off members for some time and represent only a shadow of their once large and vibrant self.  In particular, Methodists in the Western portion of the US are in even greater decline.  That seems to have been missed by these Methodists. 

The Western Jurisdiction (which encompasses all U.S. states west of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona) -- in a terminal death spiral and having lost well more than half its membership and worship attendance over the last half century -- is not even self-supporting (financially).  It is the most liberal wing of a generally liberal denomination.  So one might think that they would spend some time back to basics, as it were.  Instead, they have destroyed their bridges behind them and chosen to elect a new bishop who is even more on the so-called cutting edge of theology and practice.  Their choice?  The pastor of Glide United Methodist Church in San Francisco, the Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto. Among other noteworthy accomplishments, Dr. Oliveto now is the Gene Robinson of the UMC; she is its first lesbian bishop.

A slight problem is that the UMC has barred sexually active gays (Oliveto is “married”) from ordination as ministers (much less bishops!).  The College of Bishops only just persuaded the General Conference to leave things alone in the Methodist Book of Discipline (worrying that it would strengthen the prohibition on the heels of yet another study commission).

A larger problem is theology.  Oliveto has defended Muslims and second guessed Scripture, suggesting that St. Paul did no favor for casting a demon out of the slave girl in Acts 16:16-18. The kind of liberation Oliveto encourages is apparently not one from darkness and its demons.  Oliveto did not believe that St. Paul had the godly motivation of the girl's salvation but some other sinister purpose at work.  Worse, she postulated that St. Paul did not improve the girl's life but made it worse by casting out the demon in her.

Strangely, Oliveto was publicly supportive of the Bishop’s Way Forward (General Conference 2016 legislative plan) -- but apparantly this support stops short of turning aside her election as bishop.  Oliveto said: “I believe that what this commission will discover is that while matters of human sexuality are the symptom, the dis-ease within our denomination is cultural and theological and it is impacting our ability to create disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Unfortunately, LGBTQ persons have paid a harsh price for our neglect in speaking the truth about our denomination.”

Apparently the UMC is not your grandfather's church anymore either.  It remains to be seen if their actions will stem the flow of those leaving or offer anymore than a convenient distraction to a church body with too many problems to face all at once.

6 comments:

John Flanagan said...

The sign held by the woman says it all, "We are all MUSLIMS." What rubbish. Maybe, her mindset is quite common among the liberal fringes in power both inside and outside of her church, but it is a fantasy and certainly not something a follower of Jesus would utter.

Anonymous said...

A Google review of Glide Methodist Church, on San Francisco:

"Regarding volunteering events in its kitchen, Glide has a great message, which is to help out the people in need without giving them the impression they're being judged. That's why Glide workers have removed the crosses at this church to make some of the people here more comfortable."

Janis Williams said...

A little late to begin furiously paddling the canoe when it's already gone over the edge of the falls. The UMC may not believe in a sovereign God, or in miracles, but if He wills, things can be set right.

ErnestO said...

Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea."

Anonymous said...

Methodism is beyond saving. Let it die. As long as the American leadership remains in charge of the UMC, it will not matter how much the African Methodists protest. I really do wish they would discover confessional Lutheranism, such as the LCMS. If Africans were to leave the UMC in droves, then perhaps.....

Carol Null Null said...

When you remove the cross of Christ, you no longer have a faith or belief, what is left is age old paganism.

Deuteronomy 32: 35...In due time their feet will slip.