Doctrine Through Disinformation

Disinformation and Self-righteous Judgment

The General Conference of The United Methodist Church met April 23 through May 3, 2024, in Charlotte, NC. Prior to the conference the College of Bishops, Philippines Central Conference, issued this statement.

“We strongly admonish all efforts that sow divisions in the United Methodist Church through disinformation and self-righteous judgment to stop, in particular, those of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and the Global Methodist Church, their affiliates, and supporters in the Philippines. Their disinformation campaign using social media platforms says that the UMC is changing its doctrines and beliefs about Christ and the Scriptures.

“These issues have long been refuted by the Restrictive Rules under Section III, ¶17- Article I, and ¶18- Article II of the Book of Discipline, emphasizing that ‘The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our Articles of Religion or establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine,’ including our Confession of Faith. These groups have been using these made-up doctrinal issues, including that of human sexuality, to gain support to leave the United Methodist Church.”

Doctrine: The basic meaning of the term doctrine is “teaching.” Christian doctrine, accordingly, is the attempt to state in intellectually responsible terms the message of the gospel and the content of the faith it elicits.

The Word of God

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (1 Timothy 6:2-5)

During the 2024 General Conference delegates approved the proposed Revised Social Principles which reads as follows:

“Human sexuality is a healthy and natural part of life that is expressed in wonderfully diverse ways from birth to death. It is shaped by a combination of nature and nurture: heredity and genetic factors on the one hand and childhood development and environment on the other. We further honor the diversity of choices and vocations in relation to sexuality such as celibacy, marriage and singleness. We support the rights of all people to exercise personal consent in sexual relationships, to make decisions about their own bodies and be supported in those decisions.”

Key portions of the document suggest the UMC went further than simply affirming same-sex marriage and ordination.

“We honor the diversity of choices and vocations in relation to sexuality.” This statement could open the way for affirmation of sexual vocations of all types, including prostitution where legal.

“We support the rights of all people to exercise personal consent in sexual relationships.” Without qualifying language, this declaration appears to affirm consensual sexual relations with multiple partners and between family members and or with neighbors (Leviticus 18).

Final Word from the One Whose Name Is the “Word of God”

He who has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. I am coming soon! My reward is with me. I will give to each person according to what they have done. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood (Revelation 3:6, 22:12-14).

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