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Press Release

UM Minister Says Bishop Sprague Will Never Face Trial

Contact: Buddy Smith
American Family Association
Dr. Donald E. Wildmon, Chairman
P.O. Drawer 2440
Tupelo, Mississippi 38803
Phone 662/844-5036, Ext, 218
Fax 662/842-7798
URL: www.afa.net

For immediate release: February 3, 2003

TUPELO, MS - A United Methodist minister predicts UM Bishop Joseph Sprague will never go to trial on charges that he violated the teachings of the church. Donald E. Wildmon, an ordained UM minister, says that the charges against Sprague will be dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

Sprague has openly and repeatedly denied the virgin birth of Jesus, denied that Jesus was physically resurrected from the dead, denied that Jesus was born the son of God and denied that Christ died for the sins of mankind. All these positions collide with the official teachings of the church.

In the past, Sprague has been active in promoting the ordination of practicing homosexuals, a position the church has consistently refused to approve.

"There will be no trial," Wildmon said. "Despite the public proclamations of Bishop Sprague denying the official teachings of the church, the committee investigating the charges will find that there is not enough evidence for a trial. The leadership of the church does not want a trial. In fact, many bishops and other UM leaders would be in agreement with Bishop Sprague."

Sprague, when ordained a UM minister, promised to uphold the teachings of the church. He answered yes to the following questions: "Have you studied the doctrines of the United Methodist Church? After full examination, do you believe that our doctrines are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures? Will you preach and maintain them?" He reaffirmed them when he was ordained a bishop. In addition, he asks those same questions of ministers he ordains into the UM ministry.

"Leadership in the church will attempt to keep the investigation as low key as possible. The charges against Sprague will be dismissed with little comment and he will continue to serve as bishop," Wildmon said.

 

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