The United Methodist Church Has Started To Formally Spinter

Discussion in 'Faith & Religion' started by John Brunner, Jul 6, 2022.

  1. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    Okay, I see where you’re coming from but Jesus didn’t say thou art a rock (ana Petra). He said you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell etc, etc.
    I guess that’s where a twist might come in but essentially we both believe that Jesus wasn’t about to build his church on Peter.

    When I speak I generally tell folks that they can even envision the whole of the earth as being the rock and the gates of hell shall not etc, etc. for indeed, Jesus overcame the world just as we, His followers can do also.
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I've never been part of a Methodist Church but the UMC websites I come across on the job seem to focus on the alphabet groups and social justice issues.
     
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  3. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Yeh, those are the same guys. They recently ejected the 150+ year old organization name "United Methodist Women" and now calls them United Women in Faith, "open to all women and advocates for women's rights regardless of income, sexual orientation, race, age or other backgrounds." It's depressing to see, but I'm encouraged that so many are moving on from it (over 2,000 churches since 2019.)
     
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  4. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    Hard to tell about the genus of the rock, for all we have are Greek documents, not the literal (probably) Aramaic words of Jesus. It IS an interesting question as to why it was used. An interesting book to read--at least I found it so--is Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. If it were practical to lend you my copy, I would do so, as I see it has gone up in price a lot for some reason. I can't imagine the demand is so high as to demand such a price. Perhaps you could get on Kindle or in your library. There is a bit of redundancy in its pages, as I find in many religious texts, like they have to keep saying the same thing over and over in different ways to convince you.
     
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  5. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Thanks for the reference, Don. I have a birthday this month and have yet to decide what to buy me. I checked out EBay and even prices for used copies are not much cheaper...and there are a lot of sellers of this book.
     
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  6. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    Not everyone likes it or agrees with it, so if you can find it at a library. The author is a theologian at (I think) St. Andrews in Scotland.
     
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  7. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I'm on another forum and there's a thread started by a guy who bailed on the UMC. He's fine being a solo Christian but want the church community for his wife & daughters, and is seeking a replacement. It's currently gone 7 pages. It started with prayers and congratulations, then the heated debates (Protestant v Catholic and the requirement to be "in community") began on Page 4. It seems that very few agree on anything. It's still informative to see people defend their choices. At least they are responding with facts. And the guy is seeking admittance to the Catholic church (Page 5), pending their formal annulment of his prior marriage...and the arguments continue.
     
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  8. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    He can join the Catholic Church without the annulment, at least here, especially if he wasn't married in the Catholic faith. An annulment would be required if he was married in the Church and wanted to remarry within the Church to different woman. So far, gay marriages are not allowed in Roman Catholicism.
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    That's interesting, He lives in Tennessee. Says he was divorced 15 years ago, both "baptized but married outside of the Catholic Church." Submitted his annulment paperwork in early Feb, "still waiting" March 31, other updates throughout April on his non-member attendance experiences but no word on the annulment and then getting remarried with his current wife in the church. His primary concern is--as a nonmember--not being able to participate in the Eucharist.

    This is what I've gleaned from his posts. I'm not a participant in the conversation, and no one has questioned it.
     
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  10. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    I have attended a Catholic Church for over 45 years and have never taken Communion there. I don't feel excluded, and one of my sons and daughter-in-law often don't take the Eucharist either if they have not been to Confession, and he is a very devout Catholic. If you want to be included, you can go through the line and cross your hands across your chest indicating you don't feel worthy of Communion, and you will be blessed by the priest but not given the host (or wine). As I have said before, the Methodists seemed much more upset that we attended a Catholic Church than the Catholics did that we attended a Methodist Church. My wife didn't take Communion in the Methodist Church either, and often she was the only one in the entire congregation who didn't, but I have never been to a Catholic service where absolutely everyone took Communion. It is possible that the person involved needs to get married in the Catholic Church to be removed from the "adulterer" category.
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I grew up in an Evangelical Covenant Church, and we didn't take Communion if we didn't feel that we were right with God, which isn't much different than the Catholic Confession, only that we took it directly to God rather than through a priest. If you didn't feel right about taking Communion, you just passed the wafer and the cup onward. Maybe someone wondered why another member passed the bread and the cup on, but most wouldn't notice and I doubt that any scandals resulted.
     
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  12. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Interesting. I've only been to one Catholic service, and I did not take communion. My prior UMC pastor gave Communion one a month. The current guy does it every week, so apparently there is no UMC universal rule. I've not seen anyone abstain from it at the 2 UMC churches I attended.

    Regarding the conflicts: I get the impression that it is more openly Protestant on Catholic than the other way around. That being said, there is this undercurrent that Catholics believe they are The Church, and the rest are "lesser than," and that they are fragmenting the faith, if that makes sense. I'm probably not phrasing that correctly, since I've really never heard any first-hand bashing on anyone's part.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    That's probably the case for most denominations. When a group of people leaves one church to start a new denomination, they supposedly do so because they believe that the denomination they're leaving is wrong in some way, and the leadership in the church they are leaving will view them as leaving the true church. I think there is that sort of feeling overall, but it's not voiced as often today as it once was. In the past, I have heard people say things like they weren't Catholic, they were Christian. Today, I think that most people accept that the Catholics and the mainstream Protestants are Christians, although they may disagree on various points of theology or polity. There are probably fewer who include the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses, but they become more accepted every year, I think.

    When I was a kid, I had relatives (not my parents) who didn't think it was right for me to have a Catholic friend, and I think that Catholics, overall, didn't consider Protestants to be true Christians. Certainly, there is still some of that, but less, and it's not voiced overtly.
     
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  14. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    When I was a Methodist, I was told there were two days a year when Methodists were supposed to take Communion. All other days were optional to the minister. Those days were New Years, or the nearest Sunday and Maundy Thursday. I don't know if that is still the case or not. The original Christianity was one Church after the Council of Nicaea. That Church split in two in 1054 over the issues we discussed earlier into an Eastern Church and a Western Church, but most of the dogma remained the same. Although there were many attempts to rebel over the years, Luther was forced by his students and a Papal Emissary to start a church or branch thereof and assigned the political leaders of each duchy or state who accepted his faith as the de facto leader of his Church. That encouraged rulers to become Lutherans and take their subjects with them, thus spreading the new beliefs. Luther abandoned the Pope and the Vatican State, and changed Transubstantiation to Consubstantiation as the Eucharist consecration. Henry the Eighth saw that Luther had succeeded and decided to assert his own rights in England, and his seizure of church property allowed Elisabeth I to have a very successful reign and take England into conflict with Spain, the leading nation of the time. You know how that ended up. Calvin, Knox and others soon followed, further splintering Christianity. Each Protestant denomination removed something from Church doctrine, but none I know of, save the possibility of Luther's change in the Eucharist, actually ADDED anything. At least that is how I see it. Most Protestant denominations now believe the Eucharist is a symbol of the bread and blood of the Last Supper, but not literally connected to it an any substantial way.

    Those who criticize both the Catholic and Orthodox faiths usually forget the idea that the much older faiths formed in a pagan world, but the Protestant changes took hold in a world that was already Christianized, making their fight a simple one against the establishment of the existing Church rather than the battle fought by the older faiths against a many-sided enemy consisting of a vast "assortment" of pagan religions and beliefs. The older, larger denominations certainly wish the various fragments to join together under a common dogma, but I have heard no denunciation of Protestantism in any of the Catholic churches I have attended , although I have often heard Catholics denounced as "unchristian" by the more conservative Protestant churches even though most of what they believe was derived form Catholic doctrine.

    I asked my wife, who is my reference on the ins and outs of Catholicism, why someone not married in the Catholic Church would need an annulment, and she agreed with me, although she brought up the idea that perhaps your acquaintance's current wife had been married in the Church, in which case SHE would need to have her first marriage annulled.
     
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  15. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    There was a meeting last Sunday for the 3 churches in the charge I was a part of. They were having a disaffiliation Q&A, although the decision is made at the congregation level. I am technically a member of the smallest congregation (currently only 3 people), but since I've not attended any of the churches for a while, I did not go to the meeting.

    I heard that 2 of the churches will probably vote to leave, while the 3rd was holding things close to the vest (although the meeting was solely to get info and to ask questions.) I know those folks well enough to believe they, too, will leave. The only interesting data I heard was that the vote to leave must be 2/3, and the UMC has put forth a rule that any member attending the meeting but who does not cast a vote either way shall be counted as a vote to stay. So those who do not want to get caught up on the controversy but who attend the meeting out of concern/curiosity are counted as siding with the UMC. I do not believe there is anything in The Book of Discipline to support that position.

    The pastor was asked if he would still be their pastor if they disaffiliate, and he said it was not likely. He is in a tough spot because he has retired both from his secular career as well as from his second career as a UMC pastor in California. I knew he got called "from retirement" to be the pastor at those churches, but I thought it was a generic state of being retired, not that he was on the UMC retirement plan as well as from his secular career.

    The UMC ministers are in a tough spot. The GMC has put up a Confusion and Clarity page, stating that the UMC is spreading disinformation, specifically to intimidate UMC pastors. The GMC names names and cites specifics. That may be one reason our pastor is tight-lipped, because UMC hierarchy is pushing them to pick a side and to do it now, and he does not want to put his retirement income at risk. For its part, the UMC website has webinars on how to get a list of congregation members (active and otherwise) and start a campaign (phone calls, social media) to get them to vote "Stay." I guess the bottom line is that this mostly affects facilities (to which many members have generational ties.) The humans are gonna do what they want to do.
     
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