Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Methodist Leadership and the Manhattan Declaration.

Looks like the United Methodist is staying far away from the Manhattan Declaration, choosing to focus on other priorities. Methodist Thinker quotes a letter from Riley B. Case of the Confessing Movement Within the United Methodist Church:

The declaration has been widely reported and discussed in the secular and mostChristian media. However, acknowledgment of the declaration among United Methodist institutional leaders is conspicuous by its absence. United Methodist News Service has carried no articles on the declaration. The United Methodist Reporter printed one small paragraph acknowledging the declaration and commenting that the declaration called for the possibility of civil disobedience. This is disappointing.

The declaration basically is a reflection of traditional Christianity. It would be supported by the vast majority of United Methodists in the pews. It has been supported by many United Methodist pastors and laypersons (at least among those who know about it).

More importantly, it is basically in agreement with the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church. Not only do our Social Principles and our Book of Resolutions support almost every issue raised by the declaration, they would not be in conflict even with the more controversial ones, including the dignity of human marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman, the importance of the family, and the sanctity of human life.

However, the Manhattan Declaration obviously is an expression of traditional and evangelical Christianity and, as one seminary person related to me once, “We choose not to be identified with that form of Christianity.”…

So, if mainline leaders are not interested in declarations like the Manhattan Declaration what are they interested in? Well, for one, the bishops issued a statement on “God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action.” This statement, which was to be read aloud in every United Methodist Church, would direct the church’s energy toward reversing global warming and concern for carbon footprints.

Following this there is a commitment of church resources toward seeking to influence the events at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The World Council of Churches wanted churches to sound bells, drums, gongs, or other instruments on Dec. 13, to call attention to the importance of this event. At this moment United Methodist apportionment money is paying the way of at least six and probably more UM agency staff and board members to go to Copenhagen and lobby or demonstrate or do whatever at the conference….

Whatever is occupying the time and energies of church leaders it does not seem to be on issues relating to marriage, family, dignity of the individual, and religious liberty. These are the issues addressed by the Manhattan Declaration.

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