The Revolution Begins May 1st

The Revolution Begins May 1st March 10, 2022

Forgive me for approaching what many take as serious business lightly. What some people believe is a revolution is really nothing of the sort. It is not even a reformation. It is a tantrum. May 1st is International Labor Day. I remember the pictures of the annual parades displaying the Soviet arsenal. Unfortunately, Americans do not know the holiday comes from our own labor history. The Haymarket bombing and the show trial that followed are the stuff of tragic comedies. And that is how I feel about the launching of the Global Methodist Church on May 1st 2022. It is a tragic comedy.

A Misunderstood Revolution

I received a call from a lay person who had concerns about the upcoming schism. He asked when “the liberals” were leaving. The person was understandably confused. The group who got their way at General Conference 2019 is also the group planning to leave the United Methodist Church. Why? The “traditionalists” got their way on what is euphemistically called “human sexuality.” Was this not the issue? If it is, why aren’t the liberals the ones walking away?

The reason is simple. Homosexuality was never the real issue. It is a shock to many people to know this. The point is to destroy an institution that promotes good in the world. I have written about this in previous posts. The lusts are of a different kind. The Wesley Covenant Association does not act in good faith. Power and money were the goal with extortion being the means.

Annual Conferences are now asking for a ruling from the Judicial Council on whether Annual Conferences can disaffiliate from the denomination. The reason for that is local WCA groups intend to push for this in some Annual Conferences including mine. The purpose is to cause harm to other people in the Conferences.

The Politics of Grift

Let’s look at the practice of political grifting as an example. The first step a political grifter must do is choose something to be a target. The second step is develop an instrument by which the world can be informed as to how bad the something is. The final step is to ask for money in order to “continue the fight.” Grifters do this all of the time. One definition of grifting is “to engage in small-scale swindling.” In other words, “for you donation of just $25, $50, or more, together we can stop” whatever. The problem is the grifter has to produce some evidence that it is working. And it does not matter who is harmed.

Political grifting was inspired by the Church. And church leaders have done a lot of it over the years. Johann Tetzel is the most infamous example for Protestants. Religious grifting primarily appeals to fear. But it also appeals to bigotry, resentments, and outright racism. Lies are how people are ensnared by grifters. Exploitation is the primary method.

A Revolution That Isn’t

What if they held a war and nobody showed up? But why would someone hold a war? Because, they decided to take by force if necessary whatever they wanted. The May Day church launch will have people present. They will not have the numbers they hope to have. No one ever does. Jesus chose twelve and lost one of those. But a “traditionalist” revolution means taking apart something to keep it from changing.

Brexit was about “taking back your country.” The question is, “from whom?” The simple answer is “the enemy.” Who were Britain’s enemies in the European Union. Obviously, their NATO allies. The WCA/GMC folks look at people like us as “the enemy.” How were they harmed by us? We are obviously the enemy because of how these folks act. Do the WCA/GMC people wish the UMC well? I sincerely doubt it. One reason being that when good wishes are offered from people staying in the UMC to those who intend to leave, it is never reciprocated. Now why do you think that is?

Law And Control

Rev. David Livingstone makes a serious point about the theology of the GMC’s proposed Book of Doctrine and Discipline. I will let him tell you about it.

Here’s the shocker for me. “Will you obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in them all the days of your life by the grace and power of God?” This seems to replace the current question, “Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as Lord…” Note, first, the reversal of law and grace. This is a consistent theme throughout the BDD. It is a law book, within which grace makes some appearances. Note, second, that we no longer “put [our] whole trust in his grace”. We promise now to keep God’s will “by the grace and power of God.” Grammatically, it’s a small change. Theologically, I think it’s significant.

A local WCA leader indicated the same recently, “Clergy joining the GMC will be required to pledge themselves to traditional doctrine, however, and in the GMC, there will be enforcement.” Progressives know there is a difference between “Law and Order” and “Law and Justice.” But this goes beyond order. The writer implies enforcing pledges is not done in the UMC. There is also a difference between order and control. Essentially, control denies justice. This is a shame because Free Grace and Free Will are important parts of Wesleyan doctrine and the Bible. God does not seek to control. Jesus offers grace and freedom.

Sadly, the religious resurgences of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century have sought control over societies. Religious resurgences of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries sough to open societies. We need this trend back.

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