Good News asks Council of Bishops to respond to Oliveto election

GoodNewsResponse-01

Good News, the independent evangelical United Methodist organization which promotes “orthodox Wesleyan Christianity” has released a statement from their governing board asking the United Methodist Council of Bishops (COB) to respond quickly to the recent election of Karen Oliveto as a bishop. Oliveto was elected and consecrated in the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC last week, and is the first open lesbian to be elected.

“The United Methodist Church faces a constitutional crisis,” the Good News board wrote.  “Nine annual conferences and two jurisdictional conferences have pledged non-conformity to our church order and polity.  This rebellion has now culminated in the election of a married lesbian clergyperson as bishop, contrary to the requirements of our Book of Discipline. These schismatic actions have ruptured the unity of the denomination.”

The Good News board made five requests of the COB as a means of responding to their concerns:

  1. The Council of Bishops issue a statement rejecting Karen Oliveto’s election as bishop and asking her to resign the office for the sake of the unity of the church;
  2. The Council of Bishops act swiftly to form the special commission approved by General Conference, with fair representation of the church theologically and geographically;
  3. That the Bishops’ Commission complete its work within 18 months on two options:
    1. A plan that will resolve our differences over the church’s teachings on marriage and human sexuality that can garner the support of at least two-thirds of the General Conference delegates, thus preserving the unity of the church.
    2. A plan for the fair and equitable separation of the church that will allow progressives and traditionalists to be faithful to the grace and truth of God as they understand them.
  4. That the Council of Bishops call a special session of the General Conference to be held by October 31, 2018, to consider these proposals;
  5. That individual bishops and annual conferences cease any discrimination against or penalizing of clergy who espouse and defend the current and historic position of the church on marriage and human sexuality;

In addition, the Good News board urged that “evangelical and traditionalist United Methodists come together through the newly formed Wesleyan Covenant Association as a way of speaking with one voice and acting together to promote orthodox Wesleyan scriptural Christianity in response to whatever recommendations come from the Bishops’ Commission.” The creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) was announced in June, and represents a network of individuals and congregations which hold to a more traditional understanding of the church’s teaching on human sexuality and other issues. The WCA will hold their convening conference in October of this year.

While Good News makes no assertions for what they will recommend or do as an organization should the Council of Bishops fail to respond to their requests, their statement describes the actions of some clergy and congregations as examples of what might happen, including the withdrawal from membership in the UMC and the refusal to pay apportionments, including those to the Episcopal Fund. ”

Some congregations and many laity will no longer find it possible to financially support a church that has intentionally violated Scripture and our covenant, with potentially devastating impact on the global church, annual conference ministry, and even local church ministry,” the Good News board said.

“I believe it is always right to ask the Council of Bishops to do the right thing,” said the Rev. Rob Renfroe, president and publisher of Good News. “We’ve asked them for bold statements to address the ongoing divisions in the church and we’re waiting for their answer. We are asking them to enforce the covenant that we all claim to affirm and we hope they will.”

“We plead with the Council of Bishops to act swiftly and decisively to quell this growing crisis,” said the Good News board. “We appeal to all United Methodists to pray earnestly that God will open the way for a return to connectional faithfulness and a renewed commitment to scriptural holiness in the personal and social dimensions. We commit ourselves to stand strongly on the foundation of God’s holy word and to work with like-minded brothers and sisters in the United States and in the global church to lead the way to a faithful future.”

Click here to read the full statement.

UMReporter Staff

This story was posted by a staff member of The United Methodist Reporter. For over 160 years The United Methodist Reporter has been helping the people called Methodist to tell their stories. If you have stories that you think need to be told, please let us know at editor@circuitwritermedia.com

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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James BallardDon BasenbergWes AndrewsIan McDonaldConcerned for the UMC Recent comment authors
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james
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james

If you will: council of bishops may equate with the senate of the United States. district superintendents may equate the house of representative. Neither of those government bodies have the intestinal fortitude to lead the country except down the liberal/progress track–JUST AS–the afore mentioned church bodies have no intestinal fortitude to lead the umc in any other direction than the liberal/progressive track.

Why is the umc waiting any longer in regard to splitting/dividing/disintegrating in an official capacity. Theoretically, it has already happened……………

David
Guest
David

So if the Council of Bishops met already on the 19th and 20th of July … and we’ve not heard anything….does that mean they’ll stay silent on this? …. have they said something but we’ve not yet heard about it? or will they meet again soon?

David
Guest
David

Having now read their statement, Guess it would have been just as well had they stayed silent. Same effect as their letter.

Phil
Guest

My deadline is August 31st, 2016.

Don Basenberg
Guest
Don Basenberg

The so-called “Good News” should get out of the United Methodist Church. They don’t belong.

Daniel Wagle
Guest

I don’t agree with Good News that God’s holiness” requires us to discriminate against a whole class of persons just because of who they are. Holiness is mainly a matter of purity of heart, and it really has nothing to do with one’s sexual orientation. Oliveto is clearly a very well qualified person to be Bishop and God’s Holiness DOES require that we not be respecters of Persons. God Godself is no respecter of persons. Romans 2:11 states that there is no partiality with God. God is not partial towards Heterosexual persons. Gay persons are NOT less equal in God’s… Read more »

Ian McDonald
Guest
Ian McDonald

She was elected because everyone else dropped out! The election was rigged.

Eric Pone
Guest
Eric Pone

Ok so Good News accuses progressives of breaking the deal and going their own way and during the same discussion openly admit their own breaking with the communion through the WCA! Both sides have chosen schism already and maybe the best thing is to let each side go on their merry way with our blessings. Most folks who go to church on Sundays either don’t care or its not a deal breaker either way what the church does on Gay marriage as the impact to them is zero. But it seems for the activists its a big deal. Why can’t… Read more »

Rob Renfroe
Guest

The WCA is not breaking with the communion. It is an association of churches that remain in the UMC, much in the same way as RMN churches. The WCA has not and will not tell churches not to pay apportionments or break communion in other ways. Sorry, but there is no equivalence to orthodox churches coming together for ministry and support with those who have chosen to break the BOD and put the connection in jeopardy.

Rev.Beth Pratt Tatum
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Rev.Beth Pratt Tatum

I am having a hard time with the fact that my former youth director who preached about Christ’s grace is leading such a divisive, pharisaic, group within the UMC. What happened to the man who said “the highest authority is Christ?” – Betho

Ian McDonald
Guest
Ian McDonald

Well Apostasy does leave a bad taste in one’s mouth.

Doug
Guest
Doug

Rob, I think it’s a stretch to say you are not telling churches not to pay apportionments. Your statement says: “Some congregations and many laity will no longer find it possible to financially support a church that has intentionally violated Scripture and our covenant, with potentially devastating impact on the global church, annual conference ministry, and even local church ministry. We have heard from those who plan to redirect or delay their apportionments to no longer support the Episcopal Fund, out of which bishops’ salaries and expenses are paid.” Do you think that we can’t see the threat you are… Read more »

James Ballard
Guest
James Ballard

Rob, they have already broken communion with you. We just refuse to believe the “fatwas”. This is very American. You and I and Good News are just enabling siblings in a family who believe we are just the whiney voice in the back of their heads. Listening to us whine is the price they pay for us continuing to fund their rebellion. And, they know how to ignore Good News and the WCA. The know how to threaten pastors with small incomes. And, they also know that they can count on you and me to support their “habit”, their rebellion.… Read more »

Chris Terrill
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Chris Terrill

Thanks Rob for your clarifying comments. I hope to be able to make the WCA meeting in Oct.

Phil
Guest

Rob, the GC is moot. The BOD is void. Why have a special session that will waste time and money as any rules/decisions won’t be followed anyway?

Gene Tyson
Guest
Gene Tyson

Eric, with all due respect, it is a deal breaker for many of our churches and members. If you think not, you are either uninformed or naive on this matter. As the Pastor of one of the largest churches in the North Carolina Annual Conference in the Raleigh Durham triangle I have already lost members from both sides of the argument. Do you have any idea the repercussions if all of the Good News churches, which are historically conservative and evangelical and are our biggest financial givers, decide to withhold their apportionments, or refuse to pay the Episcopal Fund? We… Read more »

Mike Thomas
Guest

How about this as a response…. Who cares what the “Good News” board says? Bunch of self-righteous, judgmental pinheads. It’s none of your damn business what Bishop Oliveto does in her private life. You think she is committing a sin and you want to punish her for it. Hypocrites!

Wes Andrews
Guest
Wes Andrews

UMR moderators:

IMHO Mike Thomas’ comment above breaks this UMR standard:

” we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate.”

It really is possible to have a passionate conversation without this type of comment…

Respectfully,

Wes Andrews

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