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Should the Confessing Movement
Moderate for the Moderates?

by John Warrener

I recently received an email newsletter from an internet friend and Christian brother, John Miles, asking the question, "Should the Confessing Movement moderate for the moderates?"  Below is his newsletter asking the question followed by my reply:

John Miles Newsletter:

Dear Friends,

I am on the Board of the Confessing Movement of Arkansas.  We met on Monday and had a very interesting discussion on how we might further the cause of orthodox, Wesleyan Christianity.  Most of us agreed that by challenging the loss of orthodoxy we see in our denomination we were at least in part alienating the moderates who will go a long way in deciding the future of the church.  On the other hand, folding up our tents and simply going back to our churches seemed a familiar and unsuccessful strategy of the past. 

I am curious as to what others, especially moderates, within our denomination think.  Is the Confessing Movement alienating the very people we hope to influence?  Is there some way we might better present our case for a renewal of basic Christian doctrine?

Whatever our rag tag little band decides to do is not really very relevant.  However, what our church decides to do over the next ten years is extremely relevant.  It is our belief that we are entering into a time when the church could begin experiencing even steeper declines.  In many parts of our state and country as a whole, it could cease to be a meaningful presence.  We believe this sad scenario can only be averted if we have a renewal of doctrine and a renewal of passion for Jesus Christ.

What do you think?  I would like to devote next weeks article to responses to this one.  Please let me know your opinion.  Is the Confessing Movement counter productive?  Is there some way we could engage in theological debate more effectively?  Is there really a need for alarm about the state of the church at all, or is the answer to that alarm found somewhere else besides in theological renewal? 

Your Brother,

John Miles

John Miles also publishes a weekly E-mail newsletter on issues facing the United Methodist Church. If you would like to recieve that E-mail write

Reply to the question: Should the Confessing Movement Moderate for the Moderates?

John, there is a saying common among 12-step fellowships, "Nothing changes if nothing changes."

Your strategy of moderate for the moderates is the same strategy, I believe, the national Confessing Movement has adopted. Our own denominational history has demonstrated that it too has used this same strategy which has brought us to the place we are now! My experience has been that moderating for the moderates only ends up alienating the zealots who are the real work force of any movement. The moderates by their very nature don't move anything, they just float in the middle. They are moderate with the current state of denominational apostasy, and they will be moderates with any revival of orthodoxy.

Moderation of orthodoxy means that radical apostasy continues to advance while the moderates migrate to the new middle.

  1. Have the pro-homosexuals moderated for the moderates?
    • Key people in our general boards and agencies are members of the Reconciling Movement, including those in charge of communications?
    • There are six Reconciling Annual Conferences!
    1. New York Conference, UMC - 252 Bryant Avenue, New York, NY 10605
    2. Troy Conference, UMC - P.O. Box 560, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
    3. Wisconsin Conference, UMC - 750 Windsor Street, Sun Prairie, WI 53590
    4. Northern Illinois Conference - 8765 W. Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631
    5. California-Nevada Conference - P.O. Box 980250, W. Sacramento, CA 95798
    6. Oregon-Idaho Conference, UMC - 1505 S.W. 18th Avenue, Portland, OR 97201-2599
  2. Have the pro-abortion feminists moderated?
    • UMC general agencies are affiliated with several national pro-abortion organizations and support President Clinton's veto of the Partial Birth abortion ban as an official position of the UMC!
    • The UMC Building in D.C was used by the NOW to denounce Promise Keepers, "Stand in the Gap" gathering.
  3. Have the anti-biblical humanists moderated?
    • The UMCom produced a new video series "Questions of Faith" which questions biblical authority!
    • Our seminaries teach us the Bible is myth, Jesus Christ did not atone for sin, was not raised from the dead, and will not come again!
  4. Did John Wesley moderate for the moderates?
    When faced with angry mobs, he looked them square in the eyes and preached the biblical Gospel and revival spread though England and the US!
  5. Did Jesus Christ moderate for the moderates?
    You know the answer! The moderates just watched while the radicals shouted "Crucify Him".
  6. The moderates also just watched while the Disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost! And the Disciples did not moderate their message. They preached to please the Lord Jesus Christ, NOT THE MODERATES!

I pray that our eyes will remain fixed upon Jesus Christ in the Confessing Movement and not on the reactions of moderates who by their very nature do not react.

(Hebrews 12:2 NIV) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Love in Christ to all my CM brothers and sisters.

John Warrener is:
  • a second career pastor, probationary member of the South Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
  • currently pastor of  Brookfield/Enigma United Methodist Church
  • a graduate of Drew Theological Seminary
  • webmaster of:
  • a member of Walk to Emmaus and Kairos Prison Ministry

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