Methodist polity & orthodox policy

According to the polity of the United Methodist Church, there is no separate denomination for each country, nor a hierarchical transnational organization. Rather, Methodist congregations from around the world are on an equal footing. Their representatives get together every four years for a General Conference to decide on policies for all Methodists. In the General Conference currently going on in Fort Worth, a coalition of AFRICAN Methodists with American conservatives is thwarting efforts from the normally-liberal Methodists to take their church even further to the left.

See Methodists Struggle To Reflect Diversity. Once again, the Africans are the ones upholding Christian orthodoxy against the churches that once sent them missionaries.

Also, what do you think of the Methodist polity? Could that be a model for an international synod of, say, Lutheran churches?

HT: Graham Walker

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Chris H.

    A similar polity already exists among Lutherans. The Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium (ELCM) operates on such a model. Each congregation is independent and on equal footing. Each congregation gets one vote in all matters, regardless of size. Further, in order for any policy to be inacted, or changed, a consensus of all congregations and clergy must be reached. It works very well. It protects orthodoxy from large, liberal congregations pulling the synod in the wrong direction.

  • Chris H.

    A similar polity already exists among Lutherans. The Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium (ELCM) operates on such a model. Each congregation is independent and on equal footing. Each congregation gets one vote in all matters, regardless of size. Further, in order for any policy to be inacted, or changed, a consensus of all congregations and clergy must be reached. It works very well. It protects orthodoxy from large, liberal congregations pulling the synod in the wrong direction.

  • Bror Erickson

    Hmmm,
    ]souunds similar to another lutheran body’s polity, or atleast former polity.
    But here is the rub. The Church never lives by one polity or another. all are of the law and therefore corruptible. The church lives by the Gospel. Nothing will keep a church on track if the word of God doesn’t.

  • Bror Erickson

    Hmmm,
    ]souunds similar to another lutheran body’s polity, or atleast former polity.
    But here is the rub. The Church never lives by one polity or another. all are of the law and therefore corruptible. The church lives by the Gospel. Nothing will keep a church on track if the word of God doesn’t.


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