THE Issue Facing American United Methodism

August 8, 2018 by Bob Phillips    I begin with a one-question quiz.  It is multiple choice. In 25 years the typical American United Methodist of today will be: A. A registered Democrat B. Living in Sun City, Arizona C. Dead The correct answer is “C.” In 25 years demographics and median age declares the […]

The One Church Plan

August 8, 2018 By Walter Fenton    In the coming days we will briefly describe and analyze the various plans that are slated to come before the special, called General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, February 23-26, 2019. Readers wanting to read the official reports, plans, and enabling legislation can click HERE. The One Church […]

E Unam Pluribus

August 6, 2018 By Chappell Temple At the risk of being misunderstood, I’m pretty close to being done. Not with Jesus, or even with His church, mind you. And please don’t think that I’m either deeply depressed or unduly discouraged about the prospects of God’s Kingdom in this world, for in the words of Handel’s Messiah, I’m more […]

When Unity At All Cost Is Too Costly

August 2, 2018 By Paul Lawler “When is unity at all cost too costly?” This question is not intended as an endorsement for dividing The United Methodist Church. However, in the following, I want to at least make the argument that separation is not always the improper thing to do. I write this after hearing many colleagues […]

FAQs, Number 2: The State of The United Methodist Church

July 26, 2018 Over the past several weeks a number of important developments have occurred in the UM Church, and the Wesleyan Covenant Association has received a number of questions regarding them. This is the second issue of Outlook attempting to help WCA members navigate the latest news. You can see our first FAQs by […]

Choices Abound!

July 19, 2018 by Keith Boyette In a recent article, I shared about The Long and Winding Road to St. Louis. Well, we have now journeyed further along that road. A lot is happening and we want to keep you informed. As required, petitions for the special General Conference, which will meet in St. Louis, […]

FAQs – The State of The United Methodist Church

July 18, 2018 Over the past several weeks a number of important developments have occurred in the UM Church. The Wesleyan Covenant Association has received a number of questions regarding them. With this issue of Outlook we are beginning a running FAQ post to help people navigate the latest news. We will archive all FAQs […]

Who Do You Say That I Am?

July 12, 2018 By Keith Boyette The question reverberates down through the ages. When Jesus first asked, “Who do you say that I am?” he directed it to those who knew him best – disciples who had walked with him for an extended period of time – who had seen him in public and private […]

Commission on Way Forward’s Report Not Released

July 9, 2018 The July 8 deadline for the filing of petitions to be considered at the 2019 special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church has now passed. The petition deadline passed without the release of the anticipated report of the Commission on a Way Forward (COWF) or any update from […]

Four Marks of the Next Methodism

July 5, 2018 By David Watson Let’s face it: no one really knows what is going to happen at The United Methodist Church’s called General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, February 23-26, 2019. Division? Restructuring? Fragmentation? Slow demise? Despite widespread conjecture and one or two wild conspiracy theories, your guess is as good as mine. […]

Going Forward with Scripture

June 27, 2018 By Walter Fenton “Given the current challenges directed to the unique place of the Bible in the church, we affirm that the core of the Christian faith is revealed in Scripture as “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3; NRSV). We look to the Bible therefore […]

The Long and Winding Road to St. Louis

June 21, 2018 By Keith Boyette Will February 26, 2019 ever arrive? Yes, in due course, and God will still be sovereign over His creation and His church will still be a prevailing church. We can hope that The United Methodist Church will still be counted as a faithful part of the church universal. Much […]

Wesleyan Covenant Association Accredited by National Financial Accountability Organization

June 19, 2018 The ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) announced today the accreditation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association of Reynoldsburg, OH. ECFA accreditation is based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising. The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) joins a growing number of Christ-centered […]

Seeking Higher Ground: Conversations in the UMC

June 14, 2018 By Carolyn Moore As conversations around the future of the UM Church heat up in this annual conference season, I hold a prayer that we will elevate our discourse above the level of emotion. Here are a few things I’d like to hear in discussions around what comes next: Let’s talk Christologically. Does […]

The Dis-United Methodist Church and The Quest for Unity

May 31, 2018 Editor’s Note It is easy for those who have been around The United Methodist Church for years to assume everyone knows how we have come to our current impasse. However, despite declining membership and worship attendance in the U.S., there are still plenty of growing congregations with new people joining every day. […]

Judicial Council Rules Against Council of Bishops, Allows All United Methodists to Submit Petitions

May 25, 2018 By Walter Fenton Earlier today The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council (its “Supreme Court”) issued an 8-1 decision repudiating the Council of Bishops’ argument that only its preferred option for a way forward could be presented to the special General Conference scheduled for February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. In a […]

Have the Talk

May 24, 2018 Preparing for the Days Ahead The Wesleyan Covenant Association highly recommends that pastors and laity become informed as possible about where the UM Church is potentially headed and how the various plans could impact their local churches. To that end we will run a series of articles that will help resource pastors […]

Council of Bishops Attempts to Clarify Confusion It Created

May 18, 2018 A Statement from the Wesleyan Covenant Association The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops (COB) released a statement today trying to clear up the confusion it created with the release of a prior statement and a variety of interpretations of it that came from a number of bishops. According to the latest statement it […]

Being Open to the Spirit of God: Wesley’s Theology of the Means of Grace

May 17, 2018 By J. Warren Smith Although John Wesley was highly critical of Augustine for his denial that perfection was possible in this life and for his doctrines of the irresistibility of grace and predestination, nevertheless, he and Augustine shared two related theological commitments: the corruption of human nature due to sin and the […]

Just Say No to Local Church Options for the UMC

May 15, 2018 By Ben Witherington Annual conferences are just around the corner all over the U.S. and there will be petitions submitted to annual conferences suggesting something along the lines of a local church option when it comes to defining what counts as Christian marriage, what counts as proper sexual morality, what counts as moral […]

Sanctification: Life Shaped by Grace

May 10, 2018 By Jack Jackson One of the great benefits of living in California is the easy access to the great outdoors and especially some of the most beautiful National Parks in the United States. My family particularly enjoys Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks. As we’ve spent time in each of them the […]

A Message from the WCA

May 9, 2018 Meeting in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, the Wesleyan Covenant Association Council approved the following statement: The Wesleyan Covenant Association Council is very grateful a significant minority of The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops insisted on the inclusion of a traditionalist plan for the called General Conference’s consideration in St. […]

Justification: A Free Gift of Grace

May 3, 2018 By Christine Johnson “To anyone who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”  Romans 4:5 In a world full of increasingly clever scams, we have learned to be wary of any opportunity that appears too good to be true. Most of us would […]

Convincing Grace: the Grace of Repentance

April 26, 2018 By Andrew C. Thompson When Jesus Christ came preaching into the Galilee, he made clear that there was a precondition to our entrance into his kingdom. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand,” Jesus said, “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15, ESV). He announced the […]

The 19 Questions

April 24, 2018 Wesley’s historic questions have been asked of those considered for full connection (ordination) since as early as 1784, the first Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, presided over by Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke. The questions also have a broader Wesleyan context. Many of these questions were originally used with the people […]

Reflection on Prevenient Grace

April 18, 2018 Joe DiPaolo Some years ago, I had lunch with a pastor who was an outspoken Calvinist. After I prayed over the meal, he said, “You know, we Calvinists have a saying: everyone is a Calvinist on his knees; asking God to convict, to covert – to do it all!”  I said, “You […]

What Petitions Can Be Received by the Special 2019 General Conference?

April 18, 2018 By Keith Boyette The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops has requested a declaratory decision from the church’s Judicial Council (its “Supreme Court”) on the question of what petitions can be submitted to the special, called General Conference meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, February 23-26, 2019. The question raised by the request […]

A Very Good Question

April 16, 2018 Given the long and acrimonious debate over The United Methodist Church’s sexual ethics, fundamental differences regarding the authority of the Bible and its interpretation, and now over a viable way forward for the denomination, Revs. Rob Renfroe and Walter Fenton ask in a new book: Are We Really Better Together? Just published, […]

Grace

April 12, 2018 By David F. Watson Christians in the Wesleyan tradition love to talk about grace, and with good reason. God’s grace is another way of talking about God’s love, love that can overcome anything, including the many ways in which we humans rebel against our creator. Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, […]

Council of Bishops Asks Judicial Council for Key Ruling

April 11, 2018 The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops has asked the denomination’s Judicial Council (its “Supreme Court”) for a ruling on what petitions can be submitted to the special, called General Conference scheduled to meet in St. Louis, Missouri, February 23-26, 2019. Some bishops have argued that the only proposal that can be […]

Confidence for the Future

April 5, 2018 A Message from the Wesleyan Covenant Association “We’re an evangelical, orthodox congregation in an annual conference that leans progressive. We’re growing so fast that we desperately need to expand our physical plant. We have the funds on hand to put a shovel in the ground right now, but we’re reluctant to move […]

Harvesting Fruit from Easter

April 2, 2018 By Keith Boyette This year was a very different Holy Week and Easter for me. For the first time since 1995, I was not serving a local church and preaching at multiple services. Although disorienting, I found the change had its benefits – wonderful time to worship God – Father, Son and […]

Fully Alive

March 28, 2018 By Keith Boyette “I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” Perspective matters. We have been sold a bill of goods. Secular culture regards death as an end point.  You are born, you live and then you die. The world tells us the most […]

So Now What?

March 22, 2018 By Keith Boyette As United Methodists, we are methodical. We are a people bound together by order and discipline. We benefit from one of the fairest systems of church government that exists. Any United Methodist can petition our church’s supreme legislative body, the General Conference, to change our church’s order and discipline. […]

One Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins

March 22, 2018 By Joe DiPaolo After coming to personal faith in Christ as a 19-year old, I remember talking to my old junior high band director who was also a pastor. I shared my excitement about my new-found faith, and asked if I should be baptized again, since I had only been baptized an […]

Living Separate and Apart

March 20, 2018 By Keith Boyette In this third of four articles addressing efforts by The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops (COB) to resolve our denomination’s irreconcilable differences, we examine the final option still under study by the church’s leadership — the “Multi-Branch, One Church Model.”  The multi-branch approach is an attempt to permit […]

One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

March 15, 2018 By Beth Caulfield The most diverse gathering of people I have ever encountered participated in a Bible study program in Paris. We came from six continents, claimed many different primary languages and were almost as many skin colors. We came from a global variety of Protestant denominations and Roman Catholic churches. We […]

Should We Each Do What Is Right In Our Own Eyes?

March 13, 2018 By Keith Boyette The first article in this series addressed the present state of The United Methodist Church. Internal and irreconcilable differences, particularly in the U.S., have sapped the church’s energies leading to declining membership and worship attendance. The rate of decline is only accelerating. Well over half of the approximately 32,000 […]

A Moment in Time

March 12, 2018 By Keith Boyette The moment of decision is drawing closer for The United Methodist Church. For many months, we have awaited the plan(s) the Council of Bishops (the “COB”) will recommend to the special called General Conference to resolve the irreconcilable differences that divide the UM Church. Our Book of Discipline has […]