(Reposted with permission from Rev. Dr. Warren Lathem)
It is the statement made repeatedly by Institutionalist Bishops and Progressive Bishops as well as other leaders in the UMC that we do not need to separate because “nothing will change.”
That is the “Big Lie.” Nothing will change.As more churches disaffiliate and as more churches are aggressively closed and assets collected by the Conference, the shift of votes in the General Conference will tend more and more Progressive. Soon significant changes will appear in the Book of Discipline.
But never fear. The Big Lie assures us that we will not have to change with the disciplinary changes. We will never have to celebrate a same sex wedding if we do not believe in the same. We will never have to host the same in our church. We will never have to receive a gay or transexual or bisexual or… pastor in our churches if we object.
Please be aware the same people who say these things, promising an “Open Table” and a “Big Tent” are closing churches among small Traditionalists Methodists at an alarming rate, are punishing vocal Traditional Pastors by punitive appointments, are threatening the largest churches in the denomination, are using episcopal power in agenda driven decisions which have significant negative impact on Traditional churches and pastors. Whole conference Cabinets and Boards of Ministries and Trustees and Committees on Finance and Administration are stacked with Progressives eliminating any significant Traditional voice from the life of the Annual Conference.
Separate but Equal was never true. It will not be true in the future of the UMC. Yet how ironic it is that the Separate but Equal argument is being made by Progressives.
Traditionalists are already marginalized by most of the Episcopacy. The General Boards and Agencies have a 50 year history of distain for Traditionalists. Almost every UMC Seminary has absolutely no tolerance for Traditionalist faculty or students. Most Traditionalist pastors have at least one horror story of the prejudice they have experienced from one or more of the above. Some of us have many.
The Progressives’ belief that their cause is just forces them to impose their will on any of us who espouse what they consider injustice. Our archaic, “fundamentalist,” bigoted, discriminatory, hateful beliefs and practices simply cannot be tolerated. Their higher moral ground gives them the position to force all beneath them into submission. And be sure, they will.
However, the Big Lie will constantly appear in Progressives’ advancement of the status quo, the preservation of the institution, and the entrenchment of their power and privilege. It will be used to assure local churches “nothing will change.” And tragically, many local churches will believe it.
Then they will be appointed a pastor who embraces a sexual morality that they would never endorse. Many will simply walk away, as millions have already done. Church closures will rapidly accelerate. Millions of dollars will flow into the Conference coffers further supporting a dying institution.
But the Big Lie assures us nothing will change. Where do such lies come from? The origin is the Father of Lies, the Devil. So when you hear this Big Lie, recognize its origin. Then decide if you want to believe it. Do so to your soul’s peril.