Petition to the Members of the North Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist
March 30, 1998
To assist the church in bringing to resolution the conflicts surrounding the authority of Scripture that have been growing and continue to grow, the undersigned members of the United Methodist Church offer the following petition to the North Indiana Annual Conference for its approval for submission to the General Conference no later than the year 2000.
WHEREAS the Constitution of the United Methodist Church, Division One, Article III. Articles of Religion and the Confession of Faith states: "The Articles of Religion and the Confession of Faith shall be those currently held by The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church respectively.", and
WHEREAS the Constitution of the United Methodist Church, Division Two, Section III. Restrictive Rules Article I. states: "The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our Articles of Religion or establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine.", and
WHEREAS the Constitution of the United Methodist Church, Division Two, Section III. Restrictive Rules Article II. states: "The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our Confession of Faith.", and
WHEREAS the Constitution of the United Methodist Church, Division Two, Section III. Restrictive Rules Article V. states: "The General Conference shall not revoke or change the General Rules of Our United Societies.", and
WHEREAS the Articles of Religion, as protected by the Constitution, Article V -Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation states: "The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church. The names of the canonical books are:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The Book of Ezra, The Book of Nehemiah, The Book of Esther, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, Cantica or Songs of Solomon, Four Prophets the Greater, Twelve Prophets the Less.
All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and account canonical.", and
WHEREAS the Articles of Religion, as protected by the Constitution, Article VI -Of the Old Testament states: "The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites doth not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.", and
WHEREAS the Confession of Faith, as protected by the Constitution, similarly states in Article IV -The Holy Bible: "We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation. It is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice. Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to be made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation.", and
WHEREAS the conclusion of the General Rules, as protected by the Constitution, states: "These are the General Rules of our societies; all of which we are taught of God to observe, even in his written Word, which is the only rule, and the sufficient rule, both of our faith and practice. And all these we know his Spirit writes on truly awakened hearts. If there be any among us who observe them not, who habitually break any of them, let it be known unto them who watch over that soul as they who must give an account. We will admonish him of the error of his ways. We will bear with him for a season. But then, if he repent not, he hath no more place among us. We have delivered our own souls.", and
WHEREAS there are those recognized as members of the United Methodist Church who do not accept the Scriptures as sufficient, who separate the Old Testament from the New, who practice and condone the practice of things contrary to written Scripture, and who perform ceremonies and acts of worship contrary to Scripture,
IT IS THEREFORE clear:
FURTHER THEREFORE that since these are constitutionally protected precepts of the United Methodist Church, reconciliation within the United Methodist Church with opposing viewpoints to the above is impossible regardless of the length of time or effort expended, and
we call the United Methodist Church to return to obedience by actively:
We have born with those who behave contrary to our Constitution for a long season, so we call one last time for repentance by those who continue to practice these errors, and if no repentance, then we recommend that the General Conference follow the procedure as set down and take immediate steps to have no more union with them.
We then shall continue to love and fervently hope and pray for rejoining, and if not in this world, then at the feet of Jesus in the next.
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