New! Retired Bishops Call For Dropping Church's Stance on Homosexuality (2/3/2011)
A group of 33 retired United Methodist bishops have issued "A Statement of Counsel to the Church" to remove the denomination's stance on homosexual practice in the Book of Discipline. Read the statement HERE and the United Methodist News Service article HERE. This action will surely draw fire from across the denomination.
UMC Restores funding to Claremont School of Theology (6/27/2010)
On a late Friday afternoon (June 25,2010), the United Methodist University Senate quietly announced it would lift sanctions imposed on Claremont School of Theology and reinstate its $800,000 subsidy from the Ministerial Education Fund (MEF). The Univeristy Senate is an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference whose job is to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church. The MEF is one of seven funds financed through apportionment giving and represents between 12-20% of seminary annual budgets.
Claremont, one of 13 Methodist theological schools, was put on "public warning" in January 2010 over failing to submit a budget and its plans for "a substantial reorientation" of the school's mission. Claremont is establishing a multi-faith entity at the school called The University Project, whereby it will train Muslim imams and Jewish rabbis along with Christian pastors. The program plans to expand in the future to add programs for Buddhists and Hindus. The school will partner with the Academy for Jewish Religion and the Islamic Center of Southern California.
Objections have been raised by many evangelicals and conservative Christians who believe the project reflects a huge step towards the radical leftism so prevalent in many American schools of theology. Prominent evangelical Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. denounced the project as an "abdication" of the Christian faith on his radio program and stated, "Liberal Protestantism long ago grew embarassed by the exclusive claims of biblical Christianity and the historic Christian faith. Adopting pluralist and inclusivist reconstructions of the faity, liberal theologians and theological schools have been pressing the margins for over a century now. Given that trajectory, a multifaith theological seminary was an inevitability."
Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative organization that monitors mainline denominations, responded that Christians have had to deal with a multi-religious environment for the past 2000 years and have maintained its truth claims amid the diversity. "If they are faithful to the Gospel then they should be accepting the multi-religious environment as a challenge rather than trying to accommodate it or succumb to it", Tooley said. Tooley also reminded listeners that decades ago, Claremont was promoting "process theology", which denies the sovereignty of God and suggests God is always evolving and maturing along with the world.
Claremont President Rev. Dr. Jerry Campbell has responded to criticism of the project by saying, "We must develop new ways of being Christian, and educating Christian leaders, for a very different global and migratory environment." The school says it will continue to educate Christian leaders, while at the same time its new "evolving university" will "welcome and embrace adherents of other religions to its faculty, staff, and student body and reflect the multireligious context of today's world".
Dr. Riley B. Case, associate director of the Confessing Movement, argues that Claremont's move to a multi-faith model should disqualify it from being an official United Methodist seminary. "Claremont can obviously do what it wants to do, but does the United Methodist Church need continually to pour almost one million dollars into such an institution? Isn't the UMC supposed to be about winning disciples to Jesus Christ?"
For an in-depth report on this development, read Joseph Slife's article at The Methodist Thinker website. (http://methodistthinker.com/2010/06/14/um-seminary-embraces-non-christian-faiths/).
UMW Leaders, UMC Bishops Disparage Arizona Immigration Law and Rally for Immigrant Rights (5/19/2010)
PDF of Immigration Article
RENEW Leadership Team Meets in Savannah (5/10/2010)
In early March 2010, the RENEW Leadership Team spent a long weekend in Savannah, Georgia. We chose this location for its rich ties to early Methodism and John Wesley. We stayed at the Planters Inn, the site of Wesley's first parsonage where he lived during his tenure as parish priest in 1736 in the new colony of Georgia. The Church of England appointed him to serve under General James Oglethorpe at Christ Church, the "Mother Church of Georgia". It was a wonderful time of prayer and discernment as we reconnected with our Wesleyan roots and planned for the future of RENEW. We also visited and worshipped at Christ Church and learned about the battle they are waging for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Read about their faithful witness and our weekend in this article. Savannah ArticleRENEW STATEMENT: Healthcare Bill Passage Involves United Methodism (4/1/2010)
Many leaders within our church have received countless phone calls and emails in response to the passage of the healthcare bill and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thanking the United Methodist Church for its passage. While many faithful Methodists agree that healthcare reform is necessary, they are upset that persons in the church are speaking for them in the public arena. Sadly, several boards and agencies within the UMC, particularly the left-leaning General Board of Church and Society and the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, do speak out on many controversial social and political issues on behalf of United Methodists. RENEW has also received many calls and has prepared a statement concerning the Women's Division's involvement in the lobbying effort for this legislation. Full Statement
Note: RENEW's article on healthcare reform was featured in a recent posting at The Methodist Thinker, a great website for "all things Methodist". Click here to read the full article.
RENEWAL Delegation releases full document presented to bishops unity task force (1/22/2010)
View Report Here.
RENEW Takes Part in Recent Dialogue with Bishops Unity Task Force (11/5/09)
On Nov. 5, 2009, twelve leaders of several renewal groups within the United Methodist Church met with the Bishop's Unity Task Force. We were grateful for their invitation to meet in Lake Junaluska, N.C. and to share our concerns about the unity of the church and how we can move forward in mission together. Read the full release here.
Heidinger Named President and Publisher Emeritus of Good News (8/8/09)
In honor of his 28 years of faithful service, the Good News Board of Directors voted to bestow upon the Rev. Dr. James V. Heidinger II the title president and publisher emeritus of Good News: A Forum for Scriptural Christianity, Inc. Read the entire release here.
Transforming Congregations to Merge with Exodus International (7/14/09)
This 21-year old United Methodist ministry that helps local churches minister to people struggling with sexual-identity confusion and sexual brokenness, is merging with Exodus Intl., the world's largest Christian outreach to those dealing with homosexual attraction. Another organization, One by One, a ministry in the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition, will also be a part of this important merger. Read the full article on this important development here
The North Georgia Annual Conference overwhelmingly disapproves of the restructuring amendments by 94% (6/27/09)This is highly significant since this annual conference is the largest in the United States and will have a large impact of the aggregate totals when all conference votes are tallied. Read the entire article here.