UMs Disfellowship Bishop For Campaigning For Homosexuality
October 12, 1999
Mr. Jack M. Tuell
Dear Mr. Tuell:
When I was a seminary student, your volume on The Book of Discipline was required reading. I recall being impressed by the readability of your book. You are clearly a person well versed in the order and discipline of the Church. So it was with sadness that I read your letter to lay and clergy delegates to the 2000 General Conference. In that letter, you urge the delegates to overturn legislation passed by the 1996 General Conference which prohibits the performance of "homosexual unions" by United Methodist ministers and in United Methodist churches.
This action by you, a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, is unconscionable. By writing this letter and affixing your signature to it, you have disqualified yourself from the episcopacy. Your action has undermined your personal and professional credibility, as well as the overall integrity of the Council of Bishops.
Your concern for "fairness" with regard to pastors who wish to "minister" to persons involved in homosexual relationships is misdirected. There is "unfairness" and "injustice" within our denomination today. However, it is most often directed against those pastors who seek to be faithful to Scripture and "to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3). I do not hear you or any other "bishop" speaking out on behalf of those pastors who cannot in good conscience support the activities of our boards and agencies, yet are required by the Discipline "To lead the congregation in the fulfillment of its mission through full and faithful payment of all apportioned ministerial support, administrative, and benevolent funds" [Para. 331.2(3)f].
It is faithful and godly men and women the caliber of Charles Sineath, Connie Roland Alt, Andy Vom Steeg, Tom Tanner, Edward Ezaki and Kevin Clancey whom we cannot afford to lose. Yet, they have all been lost because their pleas for biblical fidelity, accountability and fairness have been ignored by persons in leadership positions. However, those same "leaders," such as Melvin Talbert, Joseph Sprague and yourself, have supported and defended the rebellious actions of such persons as Jimmy Creech, Greg Dell and Don Fado. These persons are a disgrace to United Methodism and our denomination would be much better off without them and without those who shamelessly support and defend them.
I doubt there will be any disciplinary action initiated against you by the Council of Bishops, although such action would be entirely appropriate. I must be content, therefore, to inform you by this letter that neither I nor a significant number of United Methodists throughout our connection can continue to recognize you as a bishop.
With deepest regrets,
James A. Gibson III
Dennis "Buck" Linton-Hendrick, Pastor-Wallace and
Grainton UM Parish, NE
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