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Pastor Dustin's response to the UMC General Conference

Dearest Aldersgate,

 

For many of us, the United Methodist Church was a place of love, security, and support. We celebrated weddings, births, and anniversaries.  We mourned loss and found a support network that comforted us through illness and the rough patches of life.  Yet in 2022 we found ourselves in the midst of a nasty battle between those who were willing to stand up for Christian Orthodoxy and those who insisted on following man’s law instead of God’s Word.  You and I came out of that battle scarred, hurt, and grieving.  But by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we once again found a place of love, support, and Truth.  We call that place Aldersgate.

 

Even though we have moved on, many of us still have friends and family in the UMC. Many of these people have been misled by the UMC leadership over the past year. Now that General Conference is over, I encourage all of us to offer two things.  First, I want us to offer grace, mercy, and love to those who are grieving from the decisions made by the UMC delegation.  Aldersgate lost members who believed that we were acting in a rash manner by disaffiliating.  It was a painful departure for us.  In addition, many of us also had to walk away from our church home because members of their former congregation believed that nothing was changing.  Now that the prediction has become a reality, we will continue to be a place of welcome, love, and support.  

 

 Second, I want all of us to know the truth of what actually happened.  While the full ramifications of what has occurred will take weeks (or even months) fully to understand, there are some basics I want to share with you.  Everything I share is fully vetted by me after looking at primary resources.  I will not share rumors and I pray that you will research before sharing things to ensure that our witness is accurate and honest.  Here is what has occurred:

  • The progressive and centrist coalition approached the General Conference prepared with what they called their “Three R’s Goals.”This coalition has achieved 100% of their Three R’s.  They “Removed Harmful anti-LGBTQ+ language. Regionalized our worldwide church.  Revised the Social Principles. By reaching all of these goals, they now proclaim that they have laid the “groundwork of a new and vital UMC.”

  • First R: All of the language in the Book of Discipline regarding homosexuality has now been redacted.  This was expected by everyone.  However, what wasn’t expected is that the UMC has effectively separated sex from not only marriage, but also monogamy.  By a vote of 69% in favor and 31% opposed, UMC clergy will no longer be held accountable for adultery.  The wording now states that “immorality” remains chargeable, but immorality is undefined.

  • Second R: The UMC will no longer be a worldwide denomination.  They are now moving to becoming a regional church.  Essentially, regionalization means that each UMC region (USA, Europe, Africa, S. America, etc) will govern their regions independent of each other.  The liberal side of the church has wanted this for over 20 years.  What this means is that the more conservative delegates from Africa can no longer vote on issues affecting the United States.  With almost 100% of the US delegation liberal, the UMC in our country will continue to become more liberal. (Note, this still needs to be passed by 2/3 of the annual conferences to become church law).

  • Third R: The Social Principles are a non-binding commentary on official UMC stances on various social issues.  Every social principle of the UMC is now much more liberal than before.  At this writing, I haven’t had time to look at all the data.  However, what I do know is that the principles about homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion, identity, and the Middle East are more liberal than they have ever been.

  • No more disaffiliations in the US will be allowed.  Many hoped that the disaffiliation deadline would be extended.  But it was not.  Churches in other parts of the world might still be able to leave if they want to.  

 General Conference 2024 is the last time I will be keeping up with anything UMC related.  I have moved on and I encourage all of you to do the same.  While the UMC is an important part of our past, it is not part of our collective future.  Our job is simply to follow the commandments of Christ.  Let’s love the LORD our God and let’s love our neighbors.  

 

+Grace and Peace,

Pastor Dustin

For more information, please see the following links:

https://ministrywatch.com/united-methodists-vote-to-overturn-restrictions-on-lgbtq-clergy/

 

https://peopleneedjesus.net/2024/04/17/um-fallout-a-compendium/

 

https://wng.org/opinions/the-methodist-sexual-revolution-1714438355

 

https://juicyecumenism.com/2024/04/24/united-methodisms-last-meaningful-general-conference/

 

https://wesleyancovenant.org/blog/

 

https://youtu.be/dX51AsInUME?si=K6Tau32_SHGPdABq

 

https://www.umnews.org/en/

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