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One of the clearest demonstrations of the fact that the overwhelmed delegates have often not even read many of the petitions was this General Conference’s overwhelming endorsement of a statement-at the behest of the denomination’s powerful Women’s Division-that at one point calls for participation in a conference in the year 2001!
Of course, this devotion to stridently left-wing politics is nothing new for the hierarchy of United Methodism. Under such influences as the Social Gospel movement and theological liberalism, many leaders in American Methodism and other “mainline” Protestant denominations in the early 20th century, rejected-or at least questioned the importance of-traditional Christian doctrine on such key religious matters as the authority of the Bible and the divinity of Christ, while seeking to redefine the church’s primary mission into promoting political transformation of society.
The radicalization of mainline Protestant institutions was further accelerated by the social upheavals of the '60s and '70s. (One United Methodist pastor friend of that generation recently told me about receiving academic credit in seminary for participation in protest marches.)
But while many conservative United Methodists have left for greener denominational pastures, many others are staying in and working to take their church back from its decades of liberal dominance. Powerful demographic factors appear to bode well for the prospects of a successful turnaround of United Methodism. The denomination has much stronger historical ties and a much stronger modern presence than other mainline Protestant denominations in culturally conservative Southern and rural parts of the country. Generally speaking, the denomination’s more liberal-dominated areas are losing members (and thus influence within the denomination) more rapidly than other portions of the denomination.
It is not terribly surprising that liberal churches would have trouble growing when they downplay the importance of evangelism, or that they would struggle to even maintain their membership when they offer no greater answer to people’s deepest spiritual longings than opportunities to sign eco-feminism manifestos or listen to stale platitudes about “peace and justice” (invariably defined as reflexive endorsement of the secular Left’s political priorities of the day).p>Perhaps most significantly, while the U.S.-based denomination continues to shrink in this country, it is growing rapidly in Africa. Now constituting one-third of the denomination’s membership, African members br> are passionate about evangelism and excited about the church working to directly provide for pressing human needs. /p>
The Africans tend to have little patience for the theological and biblical revisionism of much of the U.S. United Methodist establishment and little use for barely read, hastily adopted, and quickly forgotten pronouncements by leftist church officials on domestic U.S. political concerns.p> AT THIS GENERAL CONFERENCE, the church’s liberal activist wing failed to demonstrate the firm control one would expect from decades of dominance. One of their top priorities, for the church to pursue “divestment” br> against Israel, was overwhelmingly rejected. /p> p>While the denomination’s official position on abortion has been pro-choice since 1972, it has been inching in a more pro-life direction since. This General Conference overwhelmingly adopted statements (over br> opposition from liberal leaders) that describe abortion as “violent,” oppose abortions chosen for “trivial reasons,” and that “affirm and encourage the Church to assist the ministry of crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women find feasible alternatives to abortion.” /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?