Wednesday, June 09, 2010

West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church Doesn't Follow Bible, Discipline

It is a sad day to be a United Methodist in Ohio. The West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church has violated its own Discipline and Social Rules, and more importantly, Biblical teaching, in hiring an avowed and practicing homosexual to be the treasurer of the Conference. Despite calls from all over the Conference citing the Discipline of the church, which United Methodists are told is 2nd only to the Bible in authority, the Conference under closet liberal Bishop Bruce Ough has decided to move the church to the far Left. Bishop Ough also was an avowed supporter of Obamacare, as well as being in the pocket of anti-war groups.

Bishop Ough has been quite the operator. He replaced a very controversial bishop named Judy Craig, who was ousted due in large part to her stand on the homosexual issue and her role in certain controversial movements. Ough came to the Conference and offered a return to core values. However, since his tenure began, he has consistently taken small steps toward the far left. And, he has done it so sinisterly and creepily that most in West Ohio haven't even picked up on it....until now.

Terry Cavanaugh is organizing a meeting. Here is an email that went out, and it is entirely accurate, as I will show with further evidence not just pointing toward the decadence and depravity of the West Ohio Conference, but the denomination as a whole that in my opinion, needs to be split:
As you know, our conference took a historical and dangerous step this last Monday at The West Ohio Annual Conference with the hiring of Bill Bronson, a self-avowed practicing homosexual as our conference treasurer. I confess, I was dismayed by this progressive disregard for the historical interpretation of Holy Scripture. Wesley founded this church on a clear understanding of orthodoxy (one understanding of the faith). As was demonstrated at our Annual Conference in this election, the concept of one faith has been mutated into a church of many faiths will no solid foundation. Wesley’s concern for consistence in the pulpit was shown by his creation of 52 standard sermons and his request that they be used in every Methodist meeting.

It appears the Paul admonition to Timothy to reprove and rebuke sin is morphing into accept and approve of sin.

If this alarms you as much as it does me, join me on Saturday, August 28, 2010 at Calvary United Methodist Church, 483 Chillicothe Street, Jackson, Ohio for a seminar called “Reclaiming Biblical Authority.”

To Bishop Ough and the new powers that be in West Ohio and in United Methodism, it is no longer about the Word changing lives, but changing the Word to get more butts in seats. Why do I think this? Check out this fisking of Bishop Ough's pastoral letter of intimidation to all United Methodists:

Letter of Intimidation and Condescension from Bishop Ough

Dear Friends of Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Each of you and the entire annual conference session are in my prayers as we prepare to convene at Lakeside in a few days under the banner "Love in Action: Building Bridges Out of Poverty." Unfortunately, the debate regarding Bill Brownson's nomination for election as the Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services has eclipsed all other preparations.

I understand the pain, resentment, confusion and division that we, as a part of the Body of Christ, are experiencing in these days. I am aware and conversant with the arguments for and against electing Bill. I comprehend the magnitude of the conference's decision both for those who maintain that Bill's election will be an endorsement of homosexual practice and have great negative impact upon the entire UMC, and those who believe that not electing Bill will be an indictment against all homosexuals, parents and friends of homosexuals and will have great negative impact on the UMC's ability to reach the younger generations.

Ah, so who cares if we are teaching them the Scriptures and good moral values, we just need to get them into church so they can contribute to our bottom line, right, Brucie? It IS an endorsement of homosexual practice. Not hiring him would be nothing but an indictment against the homosexual lifestyle, not against the people. Also, it sounds like Brucie is scared of lawsuits, and perhaps alienating new best friend to United Methodists Nancy Pelosi, who praised the lobbying arm of the church for working to get Obamacare passed. DISGUSTING! But wait, there is more:
Not all who profess Christ as Lord and Savior see the issue of homosexuality in the same way. I do, however, know that Jesus welcomes and loves all with the same love. And, I do know that I am called to be bishop of all whom Jesus loves.

Brucie, Jesus loved the sinner but hated the sin. While politically and socially I say live and let live as long as it doesn't bother me, spiritually I view it as sinful behavior contrary to the teaching of Christ. And, Jesus did not tell the prostitutes or those sinners who came to him, NOW GO AND KEEP ON LIVING THAT SINFUL LIFESTYLE! No, I believe he said, go and sin no more! And, the faith is supposed to change people, not the other way around! But wait, there must be some money to be made here so we can have more vacations workshops in Mexico and other tropical locales. Oh yeah, and that monument to ourselves in Vietnam, while churches in the conference are lacking plumbing and needed new equipment.
I have received, through correspondence and in dialogue settings, many questions. There appears to be significant interest in knowing my mind and heart on this matter. The inquiries cluster around two main interest areas:

* Do I support Bill Brownson's nomination?
* Will I uphold the Discipline and unity of the church

As an ex-officio member of the West Ohio Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA), I participated in interviewing the top four candidates chosen from the 56 applicants reviewed by the Transition Team. In each case my questions focused on the vitality of the candidate's personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the candidate's proven leadership capabilities,and the candidate's readiness to immediately deal with the complex and urgent financial and administrative matters confronting the West Ohio Conference (WOC). Bill Brownson's responses in all three areas were clearly superior. He was the only candidate ready right now to assist CFA and the Conference to address the financial constraints that are threatening our mission capacity. These constraints included declining apportionment receipts, burdening clergy pension obligations, several property related lawsuits, the need for greater administrative efficiencies, uncertainty about the new health care legislation, an antiquated investment policy, and outdated technology and systems.

I support Bill's nomination because the West Ohio Conference desperately needs the very best chief financial officer available. I am fully cognizant that some persons will seize upon my participation and support of Bill's nomination as advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle. The only agenda I have had in the entire search process has been for a financially challenged West Ohio Conference to have a superior CFO.

If that last part is true, then why were other candidates ignored? If that is true, then why did the other seriously qualified candidate get scant mention? No, I smell an attempt at using the crisis of the financial situation to move quickly on this to get this guy in. And for what? To promote a lifestyle choice that is incompatible with the Discipline and the Bible is disturbing and irresponsible. How can Brucie even invoke Christ's name when he is throwing away the Bible in the name of political correctness?
I am profoundly distressed, as are many of you, about the threat to our unity, posed by Bill Brownson's nomination. I am deeply committed to maintaining and strengthening the unity of the West Ohio Conference. I am grateful, beyond adequate expression, for the Unity Task Force and so many other conference and caucus leaders who have remained in dialogue and urged, regardless of the election outcome, that we all continue to support and focus on our shared vision and ministry.

Several things contribute to our unity - our doctrine, our Discipline, our faith in Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Our Social Principles, which are teachings and guidelines for the church, but not church law, state that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings (Para. 161F). The same Social Principles make an equally strong statement about enabling all persons to participate in the life of the church and denying every semblance of discrimination (Para. 139). Our Discipline prohibits us from certifying as candidates, ordaining or appointing self-avowed practicing homosexuals as clergy. These restrictions are not applicable to laypersons. Currently, this is the only prohibition in church law dealing with hiring practices in The United Methodist Church.

Brucie engages in some intimidation here. The underlying message is, if you try to break away on the grounds of conscience, we are going to take away your building. And not just that, but we will label you bigots and discriminators as well.
Brucie talks about how the social principles are just guidelines. Is the Bible just guidelines as well? I don't think so. Methodists have been told since I can remember that the Discipline is second only to the Bible in terms of authority. The Social Principles are in the Discipline, Brucie. So, I guess the whole issue of ordination is really just a bunch of guidelines we can throw away too, right, when it suits us? Give me a break.
Many times the Church has found itself at a crossroads over who is in and who is out - divided over scripture, tradition and strong personal beliefs. One of those times is recorded for us in Acts 15. Paul and Barnabas reported to the Council at Jerusalem on the large numbers of Gentiles being converted. Some protested that the Gentiles could not be saved or become a part of Christ's Church unless they kept the Law of Moses and were circumcised. In the midst of a heated debate, Peter rose and spoke, "And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith God has made no distinction between them and us....On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." (Acts 15: 8-11) Christ is our ultimate unity, not our uniformity or agreement in all things. The Holy Spirit can and does gift the church with clarity and unity. The call of Christ to make disciples for the transformation of the world compels us to stay at the same table.

And, so, I pray as Paul prayed:

I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that with the eyes of your heart enlightened you may know what is the hope to which he has called you....(Ephesians 1:16-18)

With deepest appreciation for your kingdom work and witness, I remain,

Yours in Christ,
Ough Signature
Bruce R. Ough

So, what Brucie is doing here is saying that you aren't enlightened or intelligent if you reject homosexuality as sin. Brucie is saying if you aren't down with him and accepting the lifestyle choice of homosexuality and advocating it much as the church has decided to advocate for lawbreakers like Illegal Immigrants, then the powers that be will come down hard on you. Because, this is not about values or the faith. This is about numbers. And, the numbers are not good for United Methodists in the states. Membership is declining. So, the United Methodist Church has taken the bold steps of circumventing US law in the illegal immigrant issue and circumventing the Bible and Church doctrine in the homosexual issue so they can gain new blocs of people. Again, the faith is supposed to change lives, not the other way around. The funny thing is, United Methodism is flourishing overseas, where the traditional Wesley teachings and traditional views of the Bible and morality are in play and encouraged. But, we can't do that here. We might look like Jesus freaks or something. Can't have that. Have to appear trendy so we can continue to get good pub from the liberal media. Disgusting. And then we have this gem:

UM Seminary to Add Islam and Other Stuff for Political Correctness

From FoxNews:
A rabbi, a minister and an imam walk into a classroom and it's no joke.

The venerable Claremont School of Theology has taught Methodist ministers and theologians for more than a century, but in the fall they'll try an unorthodox approach: cross-training
the nation's future Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders in classrooms scattered around Southern California as they work toward their respective degrees.

The experimental approach is intended to create U.S. religious leaders who not only preach tolerance in an era of religious strife, but who have lived it themselves by rubbing shoulders with those in other Abrahamic faiths.

The idea has already met resistance from more conservative elements in some religious communities; its architects say that only underscores the need for such an approach.

"Christians attend school with Christians, Jewish with Jewish and Muslims with Muslim," said Rev. Jerry Campbell, president of the Claremont School of Theology. "Educating people in a segregated environment is not a way to teach them to be peacemakers. It only steeps them in their own religion and with their own people."

In West Ohio, we have people who don't even know the Bible or Christian foundations enough regarding morality!?!? It is no wonder more people are leaving these self-important, arrogant, country club progressive denominations and are going more for independent churches. There is a reason why the evangelical conservative churches are growing. People know what they are and what to expect. With United Methodism, what are you walking into? What new age nonsense and riggamorrol are you going to be brought into? And the "connected" nature of United Methodism is nothing more than extortion. Here is what happened:

Back when the Methodists, Methodist Episcopals, United Brethren, and EUB churches merged into the United Methodist Church, the powers that be had written into the articles of union that ownership of churches would henceforth no longer be local, and that now, like Catholic churches, would be the property of the entire faith. This amounts to guilt by association and extortion. If the church is using apportionment money for what your congregation and others may think is non-Biblical usage, then you are screwed because if you don't pay your apportionments, then they might close you down, especially if you are not a progressive mega church of hundreds or thousands of members.

The time has come to end this nonsense. There are plenty of United Methodists who don't want any part of this new age progressive nonsense and are tired of having their faith hijacked by socialism using Christianity as camoflauge. This union must be dissolved. Let those who want to change the faith for every special group go their way, and let those who actually believe in some Immutable Truth go theirs.

Bishop Ough and the powers that be of the West Ohio Conference showed their cowardice and their disrespect for Biblical principles and the very foundational doctrines of the church.