On January 22, about 75 people, presumably all Methodists, including clergy and laity, attended a gathering held at the Carillon University Church in Oviedo, Florida. They all came to hear Rob Refroe from Good News Magazine tell about the 40-year struggle the UMC has been having over the matter of Biblical authority, Biblical truth, and Biblical relevancy. In the presence of orthodox evangelicals and progressives alike, he linked the declining memberships and closings of churches in hard-hit conferences to the lack of faith in Biblical authority, a rash of media attention being given to disobedience to almost two centuries of Methodist Disciplines and two millennia of scriptural teaching and a lack of willingness to repent. He quoted Tom Oden’s “Turning around the Machine” – “Mainline churches stand today not merely in a crisis of numbers. But in a deeper crisis in faith….a crisis of biblical authority and theological integrity.”
Mr. Renfroe presented 9 options toward which the UMC is headed, some toward a possible accountability of the church’s leadership, others a possible separation, amicable or otherwise, of people and churches who don’t agree where the church is headed, or the adoption of “agree to disagree” or “A Way Forward” platforms which many believe are untenable options. Because of the complexities of the issues and the structure of the church, many there felt that the only option that will prevail will be “keep doing what we are doing” and watching memberships and apportionments decline until one day one side or the other does something to resolve the paralysis. To learn more about the options discussed and the sentiments that were aired, you can go to the Good News on the right, or contact us at email@example.com.