I am not convinced that we have to abandon The United Methodist Church — not while we still have thinking, knowledgeable, and article believers (even if they disagree). One such example is Dr. Bill Arnold (I still think it should have been the W and A plan…) who has a guest post on Teddy Ray’s blog. There, he speaks to they “why” of the WCA, from his context.
I want to focus on one key point:
The accountability of our polity is broken. Our Book of Discipline is no longer accepted as an agreed upon form of administration, holding our Church together as one.
Be sure to read his entire post.
He’s deadly accurate – and, if Christian Tradition is to believed — such accuracy creates ecclesiastical issues, something I’ve touched on before. I know some hold to the heresy of free churcherism, wherein the more democratic and congregational a denomination is, the better — but Wesleyans aren’t that. Indeed, we have a distinct theology in regards to the connexion – well, distinct among Protestants as it were. Rather than being metropolitan, we are a cosmopolitan connexion.
Your bishop is my bishop; your pastor is my pastor; your church is my church; I am your lay member. We belong to one another, in one way or the other.
I hope you can understand this, but the lack of understanding is what troubles the UMC.
But, let me turn to the WCA. This is not an organization meant for separation.
Granted, I do believe we are near the time when we can turn to John Wesley’s act of appointing Coke and Asbury to lands without episcopal borders. If you will accurately recall the history of the Christmas Conference, you will get the sense of what I’m saying. Wesley ordained neither Coke or Asbury, but following 1700 years of Christian Tradition appointed them to an area without bishops with the mission of furthering the Gospel. He did this because he recognized that the Church of England no longer had authority as a civil and ecclesiastical body over the American Methodists. The Church of England had abandoned them and in reality, could not administer rule over them because of the Revolution of 1776.
In the absence of ecclesiastical structures, I follow Wesley and those before him, in suggesting that there are times necessary for the appointing, and the taking of ordination, so that the Church may rise.
Can the WCA provide such a rule if necessary? Not sure. It hasn’t technically been formed yet, and in the promised formation, are those who believe we must uphold our vows and the Book of Discipline must be upheld.
I am one of them. I continue to believe that real unity can be achieved and must be, but it has to be a unity based in historic Wesleyanism.
That brings me to another point. I see a lot of falsehoods about the lack of a distinct theology in the Wesleyan movement — all the while expending apportionment dollars to insure that we have songs that eschew Calvinism and the color white. In fact, early Methodist history was filled with Wesleyan theologians, arguing for Arminianism. We are Wesleyan-Arminians. What we lack as a distinction is anything except the essentials to believe. We do not require a specific confession on Justification/Atonement to join, only that an atonement was necessary and achieved by the blood of Jesus. We also lack a distinct worship requirement. We can be high church, low church, charismatic, or dead.
Maybe that is why the WCA appeals to me — because it is seeking to restore the Wesleyan vision to The United Methodist Church (note, to the UMC, not to a different group).
So, why the WCA for me? To sum:
- I believe it will help us remain a Church
- I believe it will restore to the UMC a strong sense of Wesleyanism
None of this means I do not have reservations, only that I am hopeful for the future of the UMC
You can and should register here.