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To the Angel of the Church United Methodist

by Laurie Webster

This was originally written as my contribution to an online Bible Study of the book of Revelation. This study group consists mostly of lay persons without formal Bible College or Seminary training. It was my attempt to share with friends what God was revealing to me about the state of my denomination and other mainline denominations.


(Rev 2:18-29 NIV) 18"To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 

20Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. 24Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): 25Only hold on to what you have until I come. 

26To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations-- 27'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery' -- just as I have received authority from my Father. 28I will also give him the morning star. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


This section of the scripture, has very real implications for my own life as a member of The United Methodist Church. For me it describes the modern mainline denominations, and describes what is currently happening in The United Methodist Church, although there are many faithful church members who have no idea how close The United Methodist Church matches up with this scripture. 

19I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. (Rev 2:19) 

In the early days, Methodism's strength was it firm belief that faith must be accompanied by good works. The early Methodists were known for there willingness to look after the poor. Today The United Methodists are known for their "good works" and many churches are known around the world for their "good works". 

16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:16-18 (NIV) 

I can point to Glide United Methodist Church in San Francisco  which is lauded within the denomination for its goods works, and yet it has embraced the liberal theology that omits the judgment of God. They help alleviate the physical needs without dealing with eternal matters so that many who pass through there church will  go to hell simply because they were not taught about  the need for salvation by grace through faith which includes repentance. When they deal with the story of the prostitute who is about to be stoned until Jesus stops the stoning, they point out how Jesus did not judge the woman but pass over the fact that Jesus also told her to "leave her life of sin." 

8Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." John 8:10-11 

This is typical of many modern churches which have embraced liberal theology. 

20Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds 

The mainline churches have tolerated Jezebel. In I Corinthians 14 and I Timothy 2, Paul talks about order of worship which put women under the submission of men. In The United Methodist Church women have leadership positions as bishops, district superintendents, and senior pastors which puts them in authority over men. In The United Methodist Church, The Women's Division has a special status and operates semi autonomously. The Commission on the Role and Status of Women in The United Methodist Church (pay particular attention to the Spirituality page) unashamedly promotes organizations and ideas that are incompatible with Christianity. The Re-imagining Movement* typical of the teachings of Jezebel. This organization has infiltrated the mainline denominations and receives financial support from these denominations including The United Methodist Church's Women's Division**. An article which outlines the influence of the teachings of Jezebel in The United Methodist Church is "Neo-paganism in the United Methodist Church", by Tom Graffagnino.

"Paganism is being introduced into the church today by radical feminists. We live in a society where many intellectuals, including radical feminists, view life as one, great power struggle. All beliefs and statements of faith are considered to be expressions of power, written to keep some group oppressed. Therefore all writings, even religious ones, are to be subjected to a process called "deconstruction," which, it is believed, lays bare what is considered to be the 'true intent' of the author of any text. However, critics of deconstruction, including orthodox Christians, understand that deconstruction is a process of reading into the texts what the deconstructor wants to see. The deconstructor starts out to "prove" something, then manipulates the text to support what they have already decided is true - often taking texts out of context and ignoring whatever doesn't support his or her views. Those who practice deconstruction, both men and women, often determine that the Bible and all expressions of Christianity were written by males to oppress women, especially in western culture, including all articles of faith and rituals of the churches. Therefore, it is believed that if women are to reach their full potential, if they are to have power, they must overturn all traditional religious beliefs and practices. This means replacing whatever texts and rituals they can replace and reinterpreting those texts and practices that they cannot." ***

This scripture is very clear that if there is no repentance, God will indeed judge and punish these denominations, including The United Methodist Church, for their wicked ways just as He judged King Ahab, Jezebel, and Israel in the Old Testament (I Kings 16:29-22:53). I believe that time is coming. These mainline denominations, including The United Methodist Church, are currently losing members, and influence.
 

24Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): 25Only hold on to what you have until I come. 26To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations--27'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery'-- just as I have received authority from my Father. 28I will also give him the morning star. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
 
 

Not all the individual members of the mainline churches have bought into the teachings of Jezebel. There are pockets of Methodist Churches and other churches in mainline denominations who have remained faithful to God. Some churches have not paid much attention to the connectional church and have continued to be faithful to God. Unlike the church of the Thyatira, we are no longer bound to our churches due to geography, so many faithful to God have left and are leaving The United Methodist Church. Several churches have officially left United Methodism leaving the congregation's land, buildings, and other assets behind.. Others are staying in The United Methodist Church as witnesses for the truth or as missionaries. There is  a remnant of faithful believers who have not "learned Satan's so called deep secrets". God is calling that remnant to remain faithful to Him until the end, and calls them to remember that even though things look bad and it looks like evil is winning out, in the end He will overcome. 

Notes:
*More information on the Re-Imagining Movement

**. http://www.fayettevillenc.com/concerned-methodists/report95.html#womens

*** From the Introduction to Neo-paganism in the United Methodist Church"

*** http://www.fayettevillenc.com/concerned-methodists/update.html#bits

Laurie Webster 
blwebster@bigfoot.com

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