3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to His holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.Jude verses 3 and 4, from the New Living Translation
As I’ve been sharing the past few days, there are words that once had a good and powerful meaning–but now in the United Methodist Church have become the new cuss words. They say there are words we just don’t use in public because they sound offensive; at least to them. Today’s new cuss word is Faithfulness!
When I was ordained in the UMC, there was a series of questions asked of me. It was a serious and holy moment for me. I was making a commitment for my future. And I was expected to be Faithful to them. They were the same questions asked to every person seeking ordination. These came from John Wesley, himself. To answer NO to any of these questions would result in denying a person ordination. Here they are:
- Have you faith in Christ?
- Are you going on to perfection?
- Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?
- Are you earnestly striving after it?
- Are you resolved to devote yourself wholly to God and his work?
- Do you know the General Rules of our Church?
- Will you keep them?
- Have you studied the doctrines of The United Methodist Church?
- After full examination, do you believe that our doctrines are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures?
- Will you preach and maintain them?
- Have you studied our form of Church discipline and polity?
- Do you approve our Church government and polity?
- Will you support and maintain them?
- Will you diligently instruct the children in every place?
- Will you visit from house to house?
- Will you recommend fasting or abstinence, both by precept and example?
- Are you determined to employ all your time in the work of God?
- Are you in debt so as to embarrass you in your work?
- Will you observe the following directions? a) Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly employed. Never trifle away time; neither spend any more time at any one place than is strictly necessary. b) Be punctual. Do everything exactly at the time. And do not mend our rules, but keep them; not for wrath, but for conscience’ sake.
Look at questions 6 and 7–do you know the General Rules of our Church, and will you keep them? Now look at questions 8, 9, and 10. Move on to questions 11, 12, and 13. A considerable number of our Bishops and an even greater number of clergy have failed to be Faithful to their answers. I will show some grace towards them and suggest maybe they changed their minds. And if this is the case, then they should have surrendered their credentials and found a place that aligned with their beliefs. I mean, if you join an organization and later found out you disagreed with their actions, then you just quit! Right? Our disobedient clergy and bishops (who are supposed to be clergy also) have chosen to stay and break their vows of Faithfulness.
Now, there is another reason why they may be remaining in the United Methodist Church, even though their answers to questions 6 through 13 are now a resounding NO! They flat out LIED! Now, I’m not judging anyone–but Jesus did say that you would know a tree by its fruit. Many of those ordained in the past few years in our Conference are clearly on the progressive side. Again I allude to questions 6 though 13. They affirmed a Yes with their words, but now their thoughts, attitudes, and actions repudiate what they said at their altar of ordination. And I don’t think they’ve had a change of heart. It was in their mind and heart at Ordination–so the only conclusion one can reach is that they did indeed, LIE!
At the heart of the Body of Christ, the Koinonia, is the requirement, by God Himself, that we, all of us, lay and clergy, be Faithful To The Faith We Affirmed At Our Conversion, and for us clergy-types, that we affirmed at our Ordination! When Faithfulness is abandoned, thrown away like bags from a fast food restaurant out of a car window, then what can possible follow but decline and decay. This is what is happening in my beloved Tribe. We need to remember what Jesus said about making promises:
Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.Matthew chapter 5, verse 37 from the New Living Translation