United Methodist Judicial Council Possibilities

The following was released by the Council of Bishops.

Bishops seek declaratory decisions on three plans submitted to General Conference

WASHINGTON – The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is asking the Judicial Council for declaratory decisions on the constitutionality of the petitions submitted by the Commission on a Way Forward to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference.

In an electronic vote on July 7, 2018, the bishops agreed to seek a ruling from the highest court in the denomination on whether proposed legislations known as the One Church Plan, the Connectional Conference Plan, and the Traditional Plan are constitutional.

“We are asking for this so that we can gain greater clarity about constitutional issues within the three plans, and in service to and support of the delegations, who will do extremely important work in a very limited amount of time,” said COB President Bishop Kenneth H. Carter.

The Special Session of the General Conference has been called for February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Fall meeting of the Judicial Council is set for October 23-26, 2018.”

In light of this possibility, I am strongly, though reluctantly, considering writing a brief for the decision specifically regarding the One Church Plan which would focus on how said plan would violate the restrictive rules because it would require changing the Articles of Faith in meaning, (Article VI in particular), as well as establishing new standards of doctrine contrary to Wesley’s New Testament notes and Standard Sermons.

“Book of Discipline: Section III. Restrictive Rules
¶ 17. Article I.—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.”

The crux of the argument is articulated in a series of writings I did some time ago that I will link to at the end of this. If any of you are willing to read them and have thoughts that you would like to share that could possibly aid in this effort, I would be very interested in hearing them. Thank you.






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3 Replies to “United Methodist Judicial Council Possibilities”

  1. https://www.cnumc.org/blogposts/open-letter-to-cal-nev-concerning-glide-memorial-umc-11525170


    I think the best example of what can happen under the One Church Plan is illustrated by comparing the above articles. Weak bishops with lack of oversight allow secular foundations to hijack Methodist churches. Worse, lack of oversight in money taken in, and where it goes, suggests Mega-Church fraud lining the pockets of the people that control the purse strings. Then, to add insult to injury, the Bishop has to appeal/plead to the general public in an OpEd that it is still a Methodist Church, even while the Glide Lawyers are waiting in the background to file lawsuits.

    Allowing the One Church Plan will simply enable the same situation to occur at many more locations. I would call the One Church Plan the United Methodist Hijack Plan.

    “The plan “encourages a generous unity by giving United Methodists the ability to address different missional contexts in ways that reflect their theological convictions,””

    Which is exactly what Glide did. By using Glide’s example, the Judicial Council ought to declare it unconstitutional or face the consequences.

  2. The case is excellent and I encourage you to present it if only for the critical reason that it keeps before the church the fact that this is a doctrinal division.
    That said, I am only aware of the JC upholding the restrictive rule when it relates to property, money, or episcopal authority. I am not aware of them deciding on matters of teaching or moral conduct. If you can find such a decision it would help the cause.
    Illustration: One can easily demonstrate that our Standards affirm the doctrine of Trinity. One can point out that bishops clergy, seminaries, and official clergy openly teach differently. Does this violate the restrictive rule? The reasoning of JC has been that such questions are answered “No”. The Articles are still there in the book for everyone to read and have not been changed. Is Unitarianism a new and contrary doctrine to the Trinity? They tend to respond that it is not for them to decide doctrinal questions.
    So, you have very important work ahead. If you can find a case where JC ruled that a theological or moral teaching was contrary to our Standards, maybe it will open the door. Either way I encourage the work for my earlier stated reason.

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