Lent, by its nature, is a desert time—a time of purification. This is why the lectionary starts Lent today with Jesus in the wilderness. There we meet all the elements of Lent: 40 days, fasting, wilderness and meeting the Devil face to face. We have an enemy of our soul, and Lent is the time […]
C. S. Lewis made an important observation in his 1946 essay titled, “The Decline of Religion.” Many had cited the decline of attendance in the chapels of the various Oxford and Cambridge colleges as a sign of the decline of faith in Britain. But Lewis observed that the decline had not been gradual, but occurred […]
There are eight different narratives in the New Testament highlighting various aspects of the Nativity of Jesus. Most of these narratives are well known to the church, such as the angelic appearance to Mary, the shepherds in the field, the innkeeper, the magi from the east, etc. The one narrative which is not spoken of […]
Uniting Methodists Document and the Local Option (Part VII): Can We Receive Some Better Questions, Please?
This is the final article in this series on the Uniting Methodists document and the “local option” solution. The proposed solution to our conversations about same-sex marriage and ordination is to allow local churches to decide whether they will or will not perform same-sex marriages and allow the annual conferences to decide whether or not […]
One of the areas where I find myself in agreement with the progressives is their exasperation that we, as a church, might be known as “those people who are opposed to homosexuality.” This is a valid point. We must be known for what we are for not what we are against. The progressive solution is […]
Uniting Methodists Document and the Local Option (Part V): Are We Now Facing a New Gnosticism in the Church?
The purpose of this entry is to examine the sixth and final article of the Uniting Methodists “local option” document which focuses on Ordination. This article represents a dramatic, but largely unnoticed, shift in the 45-year debate going on in the United Methodist Church. The focus of the debate over the last twelve General Conferences […]
Uniting Methodists Document and the Local Option (Part IV): Is Homosexual Practice Condemned in the New Testament?
We are finally prepared to examine the details of the most prominent “local option” proposal known as the Uniting Methodists Document. The first three articles in this series focused on various foundational issues about the true nature of church unity and the primacy of Scripture in adjudicating conflicts, both explicitly stated in our Discipline, but […]
Uniting Methodists Document and the Local Option (Part III): Experience, Scripture, and the Quadrilateral
This is the third installment in a series of reflections on the current crisis within the United Methodist church over human sexuality. According to the November 9th press release from the Council of Bishops, the “local option” is one of the three options currently under consideration to help resolve this debate. The local option would […]
Uniting Methodists Document and the Local Option (Part II): The Authority and Interpretation of Scripture
This is the second installment in a series of reflections on the “local option” to resolve the current crisis in the United Methodist Church. The “local option” would remove all language related to human sexuality from the Discipline and allow local churches to make decisions regarding membership and pastoral leadership and permit annual conferences to […]
One of the phrases which will become more and more prominent in the next few years within United Methodist churches will be the phrase “local option.” This is a proposed solution to the current crisis in the United Methodist church over same sex marriage. While there are several local option proposals, they all share the […]