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Evangelicals Urge UM's To Move To "Higher Ground" At GC2000 In Light Of Present Crises


A MESSAGE TO UNITED METHODIST EVANGELICALS

Dear Friends:

You will recall that during the 1996 General Conference, fifteen United Methodist bishops came out publicly in opposition to the Church's biblically-based position on homosexual practice. Since that time, the tide of disobedience has continued to swell within our denomination. As the 2000 General Conference approaches, there are rumblings that even more bishops will be going public in yet another attempt to influence the votes of the delegates.

It is imperative, therefore, that evangelicals be first in defining the real issues facing the General Conference. The following statement attempts to do so in a manner which takes the errant bishops to task while also confessing our own failure as evangelicals to effect the type of renewal we have long worked for. It is also a call to move beyond the usual political strategies which place an undue emphasis on the General Conference itself and craft a new vision which seeks redemptive solutions to the root causes of our doctrinal crisis.

The following statement is an earnest appeal to evangelicals across our connection to move forward to higher ground, leaving behind the old wineskins of dialogue and legislation, and prayerfully committing ourselves to the redemption of lost souls and the spreading of Scriptural holiness. Together, let us reshape the face of Methodism in the 21st century.

Yours in Christ,

 

Rev. Robert E. Parker, East Ringgold UMC, Circleville, Ohio

Rev. Clayton D. Harriger, Retired, Belsano, Pennsylvania

Dr. Richard M. Dalfiume, Nichols UMC, Nichols, New York

Mr. Edward Enstine, Danby Federated Church, Danby, New York

Mr. Don Spruill, St. James UMC, Atlanta, Georgia

Mr. Jake Barker, Checotah First UMC, Checotah, Oklahoma

Mrs. Charlotte Armstrong Barker, Checotah First UMC, Checotah, Oklahoma

Rev. William J. Hurst, Lacon Sparland UMC, Lacon, Illinois

Mr. Joseph P. McManus, First UMC, Goliad, Texas

Rev. John Warrener, Palmyra Road UMC, Albany, Georgia

Mr. Ron Biggerstaff, Warrington UMC, Pensacola, Florida

Rev. Tim Paulk, Soperton UMC, Soperton, Georgia

Rev. James Gibson, Marshallville UMC, Marshallville, Georgia

Mr. Mike Gordon, Palma UMC, Benton, Kentucky

Mrs. Carmen Gordon, Palma UMC, Benton, Kentucky

Mr. Milton F. Lynch, Nichols UMC, Nichols, New York

Mr. Tom Graffagnino, Hamilton UMC, Hamilton, Georgia

Mr. Michael L. Gonzalez, First UMC, Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Rev. Dennis Linton-Hendrick, Elsie UMC, Elsie, Nebraska

Rev. Earl T. Dickerson, East Dyersburg UMC, East Dyersburg, Tennessee

Mrs. Roberta L. Dickerson, East Dyersburg UMC, East Dyersburg, Tennessee

Mr. Phil Jacobs, Mechanicville UMC, Mechanicville, New York

Mrs. Marla L. Steepleton, Christ UMC, Memphis, Tennessee

Mr. H. Glen Dunn, Bandana UMC, Bandana, Kentucky

Rev. Paul Goshorn, South Salem UMC, South Salem, Ohio

Rev. Martin Wesley Corie, Broadmoor UMC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Dr. C. Karen Covey Moore, Peniel UMC, Newport, Delaware

Rev. Steven H. Zinser, Endorsed Chaplain, Division of Chaplains and Related Ministries

Dr. Rudy Guess, Gardendale-Mt. Vernon UMC, Gardendale, Alabama

Rev. Roy E. Jacobsen, Trinity UMC, Windsor, Connecticutt

Rev. Jeffrey Foster, Hohenwald Circuit UMC, Hohenwald, Tennessee

Rev. George Price, First UMC, Littlefield, Texas

Mr. Charles Van Becalere, Grosse Pointe UMC, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan

Rusty Dickerson, First UMC, Dimmitt, Texas

Barry M. Watkins, Apalachin UMC, Apalachin, New York

Rev. John C. Quigley II, First UMC, Kenedy, Texas

Mr. Richard C. Evans, Broadmoor UMC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Mr. Don Thompson, Christ UMC, Memphis, TN


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original documents to be found at:
http://sites.netscape.net/jhigherground/homepage


CALLED TO HIGHER GROUND

A PRE-GENERAL CONFERENCE APPEAL TO UNITED METHODIST EVANGELICALS

As the 2000 session of the General Conference approaches, The United Methodist Church faces a doctrinal crisis which threatens it with dissolution. For over thirty years, the boards, agencies, educational institutions and other official entities of our denomination have been co-opted by subversive elements who are openly hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In recent years, it has also become apparent that a significant number of United Methodist bishops have departed from the Faith and thus made themselves apostate. As a result, The United Methodist Church is now in a state of schism with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The reality of schism is clearly seen in the rebellious spirit of certain bishops who have used their episcopal office to promote false and heretical teachings, encourage disobedience to Scripture and the Discipline, undercut the expressed will of the General Conference, and undermine the law of the Church. That The United Methodist Church is out of fellowship with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is further illustrated by the intolerant comments of certain bishops, concerning the efforts of other Christian denominations to be faithful to Christ's Great Commission to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

We are equally concerned, however, with the lack of progress toward United Methodist renewal, despite the best efforts of godly men and women in numerous movements within the denomination. We believe this lack of progress is due in large part to misplaced priorities and a lack of focus on the root causes of our doctrinal crisis. Evangelicals have become overly concerned with building political coalitions, electing General Conference delegates, and passing General Conference legislation. Such efforts, while necessary, do not offer redemptive solutions to the problems within our denomination. Stricter "enforcement" of Disciplinary standards will not bring about the transformation of reprobate souls bent on disobedience. Neither will the closing of "loopholes" in the Discipline have any effect except to further encourage defiance on the part of the rebellious. We repent of our reliance on human political strategies. God is calling us to move to higher ground:

  • to restore our unity with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  • to renew our passion for the lost of the world.

  • to reshape the face of Methodism in the dawning new century through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has the power to transform sinners and to save lost souls from an eternity of death and destruction.

In anticipation of additional actions and statements by errant bishops, as well as other clergy and laity, especially before, but also after, General Conference 2000, we call upon the evangelical community within The United Methodist Church:

  • to join together in a denomination-wide Day of Prayer, March 20, 2000, from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm.

  • to move beyond efforts to preserve a denomination built on the failed experiment of pluralism and focus, instead, on restoring our unity with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, a unity which transcends denominations. We owe allegiance to The United Methodist Church only so long as that denomination officially upholds the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

  • to cease all "dialogue" with persons and groups who reject the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

  • to engage in active, unequivocal and unapologetic evangelization of the lost, with particular concern for those who, having been led astray by the false teachings prevalent in our denomination, are now enslaved by sinful and destructive lifestyles.

It is our prayer that the Methodist movement of the 21st century, whatever its denominational name may be, will be a community of believers redeemed by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, raised up for the very purpose upon which it was founded: "To spread Scriptural holiness throughout the earth."

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20b)

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