It seems as time moves along I find myself in disagreement with at least some of the bishops of the United Methodist Church, including the present bishop of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference where I hold my membership as an ordained elder. I responded to one of her letters prior to registration for an annual conference session. I believe I made my position clear to her in the following words >>>
In your recent letter you reiterated concerning persons registering to participate in discussions related to the fallout following GC 2019 held earlier this year. You clearly stated that if any of us were going to try to convince others that we were right, DO NOT register!
In the first place, my calling from God as I entered the pastoral ministry 60 years ago as of June 21 was not to convince anyone that I was right! My calling was and is to preach and teach the truth of God’s inspired Word. The choice people make after being exposed to the Word of God presented is their responsibility.
In the second place, however, I know I am right on several critical issues related to the Christian faith such as:
1. Jesus Christ is exclusively the only way of forgiveness from sin and hope of being a resident in His Kingdom forever. Years ago there was a magazine printed for U.M. pastors titled, Circuit Rider. One issue showed a picture of a statue of Jesus with the question, “The Way, the Truth, the Life?” imprinted over it. The issue was devoted to a debate as to whether Jesus is the only way of salvation and eternal hope or the other religions in the world are on an equal level with Christianity and have valid claims in addressing the issue of eternal destiny! Either the radical “I am” statements of Jesus as stated in the Gospel of John are true and exclusive or He is the biggest liar and fraud to ever walk on two feet and certainly not worthy of 1 second of our time! Further, all that He said and did are true. If not, then throw the Bible into the garbage can, close the churches, and live the rest of our lives always wondering what happens when we die!
2. Jesus placed 4 demands on us humans. Unless we are converted and become as children, unless we repent, unless we draw life from Him by faith, and unless we are born again we will have no part or place in His eternal Kingdom!
3. The miracles as recorded throughout the Scriptures literally happened as reported in all the details, whether it be the Red Sea crossing, an iron axe head floating in water, a man swallowed by a great fish, feeding thousands of people with a few loaves and fish, the virgin birth, or a host of others. In my elective courses at seminary I chose to do one on contemporary U.S. theologians and one on European theologians. One of the wildest among many was one who said that Jesus was likely conceived when Mary was intimate with a mercenary on duty with the Roman army and he was an ancestor of the German people! How is that one for inspiring your faith and to know that Jesus had German blood running through His veins?
4. Jesus is going to return to this sin saturated planet at some point in the future. And yes, I know, it is common to deny this and be skeptical as to whether He really will come back. But He specifically promised He would return with many changes planned as He establishes His Kingdom. Having been personally acquainted with Him now for over 62 years I know I am right when I say that He always keeps His promises!
5. God is not only a God of love and compassion, but He is also a God of wrath and judgment! Starting in the book of Genesis and continuing all the way through the book of Revelation the truth of this is constantly repeated. The ruins of past cultures are mute evidence of the fact that a society of people cannot endlessly defy God and His standards for a sane, sensible, serene, stable, and secure nation and expect to survive. The once mighty Babylonian and Roman empires are prime examples!
6. God has clearly drawn the boundaries on human sexuality making clear to all who with open heart and mind take an honest look at those boundaries. He has spelled out explicitly what is sexually acceptable and what is not, even to the point that some immorality is not merely a sin, but an abomination!
Still contending at Circuit Rider's Range and blogging at Musings of a Maverick
Clayton D. Harriger, Retired Elder
Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
cc: Members of the Cabinet 44 5 Comments Like Comment Share