Tuesday, March 17, 1998
Confessing Movement Official Press Release
CORNET Note: The CM differs sharply with our theological views and concept of ministry. United Methodists, by tradition since the time of John Wesley, hold a variety of viewpoints. This is their press release. We have added links. CORNET recommends John Wesley's "A Catholic Spirit" for his advice on how [United] Methodists and other Christians can be in ministry in the midst of theological difference.
The Confessing Movement within The United Methodist Church expresses disappointment and consternation that a technicality has been used to acquit the Rev. Jimmy Creech of the charges against him for performing a same-sex union. The General Conference of The United Methodist Church, the only body that can speak for the church, adopted language in 1996 prohibiting same-sex unions as performed by Creech. The Discipline of The United Methodist Church states clearly that "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches".
The jury in the trial of Rev. Creech voted 11 to 2 in affirming that a same-sex union was performed in the First United Methodist Church by Rev. Creech in Omaha, Nebraska, on September 14, 1997. It then voted 8 to 5, that Rev. Creech was guilty of violation of the order and discipline of our Church. However, since a vote of at least "9 guilty" is required by Church law for conviction, the legal result was that he was acquitted. The position and action of Rev. Creech is in clear violation of the language and intent of the General Conference.
The Confessing Movement position as stated in Our Doctrinal Standards and Sexuality ". . .challenges the misuse of the principle of tolerance to set aside the authority of Scripture and the Churchs teaching on human sexuality (and) . . .affirms and supports the balanced language of the 1972 and all subsequent United Methodist General Conferences and Disciplines. Our Discipline since 1972 has been right to affirm that homosexuals are persons of sacred worth, who need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillment. . . .Our Discipline since 1972 has been right to hold unambiguously to the conviction that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. . . .The 1984 and 1988 General Conferences were correct in adopting as a standard for ordained clergy the commitment to fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, and in stating clearly that self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church. . . .Classic Christian teaching grounds sexual behavior and marriage in the creation story. Therefore, to bless committed same-sex unions as if they were valid holy matrimony would be a departure from the biblical understanding of marriage. Such liaisons must not receive the Churchs blessing."
Classical biblical Christians in the Wesleyan tradition, within The United Methodist Church, have been long-suffering and patient in facing the repeated attempts of the radical homosexual/lesbian lobby to force the Church and the General Conference to grant approval to the practice of homosexuality and of homosexual unions. These actions, culminating in the Creech trial and the declaration by 92 United Methodist pastors that they will now openly and publicly officiate at same-sex unions, has precipitated a crisis in The United Methodist Church. We believe that this crisis is so severe that it threatens the connection and the ties that bind us together in worship and ministry.
We, therefore, as the Board of Directors of The Confessing Movement within The United Methodist Church, petition and request the Council of Bishops to call a special session of the General Conference to convene immediately. The purpose of this special session would be to address the situation in which United Methodist pastors are disregarding the official position of The United Methodist Church, the express will of United Methodist people, the tradition of our Church, and the clear teaching of Scripture.
We love our Church. We have been loyal pastors and lay-members. We believe the time has come for the Council of Bishops and other denominational leaders to take bold, decisive leadership consonant with the teaching of Scripture and the clear intent of every General Conference since 1972. We believe that a failure by those elected to leadership within the United Methodist Church to take significant corrective action immediately will deepen the crisis in the denomination, and will bring many United Methodists to their own crisis of conscience which would require them to re-examine their support for the national structures of The United Methodist Church.
Our ultimate commitment is to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as given to us in the Holy Scripture. Surely, if 15 bishops in Denver can act out of conscience, in support of homosexual practice and if 92 pastors can act in conscience in declaring that they will perform homosexual unions, we as committed biblical Christians must act in conscience to preserve the classical biblical faith and tradition in The United Methodist Church.
The Confessing Movement urges all United Methodists to join in the call to faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ and prayer for His Church.