The Jan. 4 digest article regarding a proposed separation in the United Methodist Church states that the split is, “… an attempt to resolve a years-long dispute over gay marriage and gay clergy.” As a former member, and lay leader in the Wisconsin Conference of the UMC, I can tell you the dispute is much bigger than that.
It is a foundational dispute over the authority of scripture. The Bible is the authoritative word of God; God’s truth for all ages, all cultures and for all who would call themselves Christian.
The Bible is the progressive unveiling of God’s plan for redemption of all creation. It tells us who God is, who we are and what went wrong when we rebelled against God.
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His plan for redemption and reconciliation is fulfilled in the life, sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The church receives this revelation as true and absolute.
There are those in the church who think that truth has “evolved,” that human culture has “progressed,” and that the Bible is no longer the only authoritative foundation for the Christian faith. They are wrong. And so this long-overdue split will occur next spring. But those Christians who willingly endure these painful divisions and take their stand on the truth of God’s word that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, will one day stand before the judgement seat of God and hear the words, “Welcome home.”