Know Christ who is our grace and peace.

Pastor Denton Lester What is Truth?

Well, I am sure that you have all heard about all that is going on in the United Methodist Church. We are facing a time of urgency in our denomination as we focus on the upcoming General Conference in St. Louis in February. There has been much discussion in regard to the agenda of the conference as it relates to the entire church. This conference is to focus on dealing with finding a “way forward” in dealing with the issue of human sexuality and sexual ethics. Can we live that out in community with each other?

The legislation that is to go before the Conference is really a three option plan that a 32 member Commission on a Way Forward has developed during their meeting and deliberation time as they have gathered regularly since 2017 in an effort to end the impasse. They are putting forth three different plans or options for the resolution of the current crisis over sexuality. This is a brief summary of the three plans:

The One Church Plan—recommended by the Council of Bishops, gives individual pastors the decision as to whether they would officiate at same-sex weddings. It gives individual congregations the decision making power as to whether same-sex weddings could be held on church property, and individual annual conferences would be entrusted with the decision about whether or not to ordain people who were self-avowed practicing homosexuals. This plan would remove the restrictive language against the practice of homosexuality in the Book of Discipline so that it would no longer be a chargeable offense. This plan seeks to create space for those who want to remain United Methodists and yet want to allow differing perspectives on the situation.

“For this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37

The Traditional Plan—maintains the current language in the Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality and clarifies accountability standards in an effort to encourage both a more widespread adherence to the Discipline and a quicker resolution of complaints. This plan seeks to preserve the denomination’s established teaching and to honor those United Methodists who believe that changing our position would be unacceptable and departure from the denomination would be necessary.

The Connectional Conference Plan—replaces the five U.S. geographical jurisdictions with three connectional conferences which are defined not by location geographically but by ideological and theological convictions related to human sexuality. Jurisdictions, annual conferences, and local churches would have the opportunity to join the Connectional Conference with which they are in theological agreement. The conferences would have a college of Bishops and a contextualized Book of Discipline.

So how is all that for confusion and concern? I really want us to stay informed as to what is happening. Please consider following the Good News website and the Wesleyan Covenant Association website to find helpful and insightful direction. Truly this is going to bring major change to our denomination.

I truly believe that the issue is the Word of God and nothing less. We are being confronted with those who do not hold the Word of God as truth. All of the issues that are facing us, every part of our life walk, is given guidance and truth in the Word. Our world does not think biblically anymore, and so there is a spirit of evilness and division that has found its way into every area of our lives. This is the time to take our stand. We must draw the line in the sand and say we will not cross over. Please consider writing letters to our Bishop, to the Council of Bishops, to or District Superintendent stating your stand on these issues, for our future depends on holding fast to the Word of God.

See you in church!

Pastor Denton
            Pastor Denton

September 2018