There can be no unity between the radical progressives and the moderates, conservatives, and others. Indeed, as demonstrated by both New England, Cal-Pac, and the Desert Southwest Annual Conferences, The United Methodist Church is in a state of rebellion. Yes, there is a system to still play out, but as members of at least one of those Annual Conferences are sharing, they care little for the process, the Judicial Council, and the General Conference.
Note the body of the dissolution, er, I mean, resolution from New England:
The NEAC will not conform or comply with provisions of the Discipline which discriminate against LGBTQIA persons, including marriage (161.B), the incompatibility clause (161.F), ordination and appointments (304.3), homosexual unions (341.6), AC funding ban (613.19), GCFA funding ban (806.9), chargeable offenses pertaining to being “a self avowed practicing homosexual” or to officiating at weddings for couples regardless of the sex of the partners (2702.1b,d).
The NEAC and its members will not participate in or conduct judicial procedures related to the Discipline’s prohibitions against LGBTQIA persons.
The NEAC insists that any benefits available to clergy and employees and their families are available to all clergy and employees and their families, regardless of the sexes or genders of the partners, and requires the District Superintendents to inform all clergy under their supervision of this right.
The NEAC will realign its funding to reflect these commitments, using no reserve funds to pay for judicial procedures related to the Discipline’s prohibitions against LGBTQIA persons, and instead request that the Connectional Table and Conference Council on Finance and Administration develop and fund programs of cultural competency, anti-racism, anti-ageism, anti-sexism, anti-oppression and anti-homophobia training at the conference and district levels, as well as for advocacy and implementation efforts related to the same.
When the courts do not function, there is no Rule of Law. These conferences are doing exactly what the South did in 1844, setting up their own ecclesiastical structures. My hope is that the process, once carried out, will be heeded in order to given the Commission time to work.
I am not going to go into the legalities of this, the ignorance of this, or the theological problems of this. But I am going to tell you from my heart, that this is bad.
When I left fundamentalism, I did so because I realized that it wasn’t the people that were corrupt, bad, evil, or sinful — rather, they were mere actors. The system itself was the oppressive evil. Progressivism, that spirit of the age haunting many of our Annual Conferences, creating rebellion, strife, and idolatry, is a system every bit as evil as the most sectarian Christianity. The people are mere actors, enslaved to that thing. Preach against the system, not the people.
Read these words (and comments) by Dr. Bill Arnold