RMS Titanic and The United Methodist Church -- An Apt Comparison??

RMS Titanic and The United Methodist Church ---
An Apt Comparison???

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
2 Timothy 4:3,4 NKJV

Reaction to this suggestion will bring hasty and indignant denials from members of The United Methodist Church hierarchy at all levels. Similar objections may also come from some lay persons and pastors who have been insensitive to the trends taking place and the toll in casualties that has increased steadily for a number of decades! BUT there will be some (likely a very small minority) who will find themselves in agreement with at least some of the comments which follow as we explore the comparison of RMS Titanic with the present day United Methodist Church.

Note the spiritual "icebergs" with which The United Methodist Church has collided over a number of decades:

    Unadulterated Unbelief

    Circulating among the ranks of United Methodists in one form or another is the heresy that the Scriptures cannot be fully trusted in terms of events reported therein. A classic example -- early in the beginning years of the 20th Century the virgin birth of Jesus was called into question -- denials begin to surface -- Joseph or someone else was the real biological father of Jesus (one "theologian" really had a wild idea on this), but it really doesn't matter! The Jonah experience was another event they jumped on with both feet hard -- it never literally happened -- it's just a kind of fairy tale thing from which we might learn a "spiritual lesson!" The Red Sea crossing was also included in this Methodist version of a shoot-out at the Theological Corral. The Israelites actually crossed over a swampy area where the water was at a maximum depth of about three inches or so, didn't you know?

    One elderly saint upon hearing a pastor throw this garbage at her for the first time, stressing that there was no "miracle" in the opening of the Red Sea, frowned a bit, and then she broke out into shouts of praise to God. The skeptical pastor asked her what all the praising was about and she replied, "My! My! What a miracle that must have been when God drowned all those Egyptians in three inches of water!"

    Such realities as the impending judgment and wrath of God, the actual existence of a deadly enemy identified as Satan (Lucifer), demon spirits, and an eternal hell as the permanent residing place of those who have rejected God's offer of mercy and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ, are more often denied than we would want to admit!

    The ultimate expression of unbelief within United Methodism is the denial of the claims and demands of Jesus Christ and the fact that He is exclusively the only way of salvation and hope -- this in effect declares all other religious expressions in the world to be false when it comes to addressing the basic needs of humans, the remedy for human sin, and the eternal destiny of humans after earthly life has been terminated! Fortunately there are those United Methodists who are in full agreement with every claim Jesus made regarding Himself and the four absolute demands He placed on each human being in order to become a Christian.

    Those persons, laity and a minority of pastors, stand in sharp contrast to the results of a Barna research project which determined that unbelief is quite rampant among United Methodist pastors with only about 27 per cent holding to a Biblical world view. The Biblical world view is defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists and that it is based on the Bible. Further, a Biblical view holds to the accuracy of Biblical teaching, the sinless nature of Jesus, the literal existence of Satan, the omnipotence and omniscience of God, salvation by grace alone, and the personal responsibility to evangelize. This means that about 73 per cent of UMC pastors fall into the skeptical category when it comes to God's revelation by means of a body of inspired writings commonly known as the Bible! If you disagree, then take the issue up with George Barna -- he did the research and released the information. You can type in Barna Research Group into your web search field, go to his web site and confront him on the issue.

    Disgusting Diversity

    A proud spirit has reared its ugly head in recent decades and boasts repeatedly about "diversity" in The United Methodist Church. Further, it is claimed that we need to actively celebrate our "diversity." That diversity may involve our belief systems (one believes Jesus was literally resurrected from the dead while another does not), our gender identity as females and males, our ethnic backgrounds, and our sexual orientations.

    Jesus never stressed our diversity but rather the reality of unity in Him. On condition of repentance from all sin, including sexual sin, and receiving Him as Savior and Lord, distinctive differences disappear as confirmed by the apostle Paul in Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:9-11.

    What is meant when the Scripture states that, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." or "...there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all?"

    The "diversity pot" is stirred further with an emphasis on our differences in sexual orientation, but each has his or her gifts to contribute no matter how we are sexually "oriented" and this should be further cause of celebrating and advertising the fact that we are a pluralistic denomination enriched by our "diversity!"

    Again, what is meant when Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and said, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."? (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

    It doesn't appear that there are any grounds for celebrating "diversity" in that crowd, but rather unity in Jesus Christ due to the miracle of their deliverance from lifestyles which were indeed quite diverse but destructive nevertheless!

    Could it be that this diversity thing is so heavily emphasized due to failure to make our personal acquaintance with the Son of God Who alone gives His Holy Spirit to lift us up and set us free from the pit of carnal diversity and the division it brings about?

    Cancerous Complexity

    I have an 1856 Discipline of the Methodist Church. It is about 1/2 inch thick, about 4 inches wide, and 5 1/2 or 6 inches long. It stands in sharp contrast to the monstrosity of today which is stamped with the title, "The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church -- 2004."

    The UMC has done well in imitating the United States government in Washington DC over the years. Tons of stuff have been constantly added in attempting to define a top heavy religious bureaucracy, who's part of it, what pigeon hole they fit into, and what they are supposed to do! And in the make up of myriad boards, agencies, committees, etc. the "diversity" thing kicks in and there has to be so many of certain age, gender, and ethnic background represented.

    It may not be long before another type of person will have to be added -- a person who has a pimple on the end of his or her nose, because if that isn't done, then all persons with pimples on the end of their noses will feel they have been slighted and now qualify as a group which has been "marginalized!"

    However, for a great example of complexity at its best, read details and reports of the great "Believe Again!" campaign launched under the blessing of Bishop Tom Bickerton by the Western PA Conference of the UMC at its June 2006 session. The preliminary report books are filled with a lot of stuff about this for the recent June 2007 session held at Grove City College in Grove City PA. Try not to get lost as you wade through it.

    Two things to keep in mind on this issue -- first, where do you see Jesus taking time to make sure He had the right mix in the "quota" of those who had been called to serve Him -- did He throw a few out because it made for an unbalanced diversity? And why was there not a strict adherence to so many females, those of varied ethnic background, and so many youth in that original group of 12? And second, do the words of Paul have some meaning to all this when he said to the church at Corinth, "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it. (1 Corinthians 11:3,4).

    To elected officials in Washington DC -- "Thanks for teaching us how to get bogged down in complexity -- do we get an A+ for our accomplishments?"

    Damnable Dialog

    Somewhere along the way someone got the idea that Christians should sit down at a table and enter into dialog with those who adhere to a religious expression outside of Christianity. Compromise is of critical importance in these encounters and Christians are expected to view the table as a level playing field. Whatever other religions are at the table are considered to be on equal footing with Christianity -- not one is superior to any of the others at the gathering -- all are seeking truth and each has something significant to contribute for the good of the world community. So as we "respect" each other and seek to "learn" from each other, our differences will fade into the background and we will experience a "unity" which is healthy and good for all, and the world will be a better place in which to live.

    At least one United Methodist bishop has gone on record with the position that we ought not to try to convert persons in other cultures to Christianity -- they have their religions and we should not disrupt that -- live and let live is the approach we Christians should take when considering other cultures.

    That does bring up a sort of conflict in views -- shall we listen to a UMC bishop who says that we ought not to confront other cultures with the call, claims, and demands of Jesus Christ, or shall we listen to the One we profess to follow and Who said in explicit terms that we are indeed to go to people of all the nations and confront them with the call, the claims, and demands which He clearly made known during His time spent on earth. It was His parting command when He ascended back to the heavenly Father in heaven. There are at least some of us in the UMC who still believe that His command to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all peoples is still in effect so long as He tarries in His return to this sin ravaged planet. Ooops! I forgot! That's that "diversity" thing again -- with some saying the command given by Jesus is no longer in force, so just forget about it -- other religions are just as valid and address the issues of human life and destiny just as effectively as does Christianity!

    Dialog has also been powerfully used in discussions with those who are pushing the sodomite/lesbian agenda throughout our republic. Those who believe same-sex intimacy is morally wrong are pressured to engage in conversation around the table with those who maintain that same-sex relationships are as morally acceptable as are heterosexual relationships within marriage. It is further claimed that same-sex relationships are just as healthy and normal as is the relationship between a male and a female within the covenant bond of marriage.

    There are those claiming to be "evangelical" who are going along with this trend, including leaders at the highest level in the denomination.

    The rationale is that we can "agree to disagree" a bit on some issues and still work together to "make disciples for Jesus Christ" -- another slogan you hear these days like a broken record in the UMC! By the way, where do you see Jesus entering into "dialog" with those who vehemently disagreed with Him? Have you taken a close look at Matthew 23 lately?

    Tragic Toleration

    Not only is the UMC showing increased toleration but it is on the verge of fully embracing homosexuality as a morally acceptable lifestyle! Just a few changes in the wording of the Book of Discipline will do it. Those seeking such changes are very well organized, have strong financial support, and have highly intelligent people plotting the strategy to gain universal acceptance by compromise or by coercion, if necessary -- e.g. the passing of "hate crimes" legislation with the ultimate goal being that if one even speaks against homosexuality it will be a chargeable offense.

    Stop and think for a moment of changes in our republic in just a few years' time -- companies providing benefits for "domestic partners" of employees -- the increase of exposure to homosexuality as presented by the entertainment industry -- introduction of "educational" materials into our public schools which teach our young that homosexuality is normal and even a good thing -- the increase of what are known as "Gay Pride" events in cities across the nation and formation of "clubs" in public schools which have an agenda of "selling" homosexuality as being normal and good -- i.e. publicity is now circulating about the Pittsburgh Pride Fest to be held Saturday June 16, 2007 starting at noon. The promotion states there is "Always lots of fun. Concerts, parade, and thousands of festive people."

    Even more tragic than the toleration just mentioned is the UMC's response to the slaughter of the innocents -- the fact is that there is NO response -- the slaughter is tolerated as though it is just a normal part of every day living for United Methodists and we shouldn't be upset about it nor voice any concern! How often have you heard UM bishops deplore the fact that nearly 48 million unborn children (at the time this was written) have been intentionally mutilated and murdered in our republic since January 1973? How many annual conferences have registered protests against the United States' unique version of holocaust?

    Of course that is pretty difficult to do since in stating its "official" position on abortion The United Methodist Church mentions the fact of being "reluctant" to approve abortion, but goes right ahead and gives its stamp of approval to the heinous practice!

    Unborn Babies Brutally
    Mutilated and Murdered

    since Roe vs. Wade
    January 1973

    Watch this for 60 to 90 seconds
    and see what happens!

    For the benefit of those who insist on using the impersonal word "fetus" when referring to the unborn, you'll have to take that issue up with God Himself since He explicitly refers to the unborn as persons and never so much as hints as to anything less than that. The fact that God not only identifies the unborn as persons but declares that their identity as persons exists before those individuals are conceived in their mothers' wombs!

    I rest my case on that one. Toleration is the name of the game these days and the UMC with its leadership setting an example clearly demonstrates how it can be done!

    Lopsided Lamentation

    For years the UMC has been losing tens of thousands of members on a yearly basis. The lamenting over this disgraceful circumstance has been non-stop. Leadership has attempted to try about anything imaginable to stop the hemorrhaging -- as the lamenting continues tactics have ranged from clever gimmicks and slogans to laying a massive guilt trip on the laity for not doing more to fill those church pews each Sunday!

    Have you noticed? There is no lamenting the fact that millions of unborn children have been mutilated and murdered since 1973 in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" as noted above! And there is no lamenting the fact that of those nearly 48 million victims of the United States' holocaust, a substantial number would be United Methodists had they been permitted to be born.

    The oldest of the victims would now be in their 30's -- settled into their careers, raising their families, etc. Just what contribution might they have made in the use of their gifts in the ministry and outreach of the UMC?

    If you can stand it, try thinking of the possibilities before you go to sleep tonight, and then ask God to do whatever necessary to confront UMC leadership about their hypocrisy as they lament The United Methodist Church loss of membership each year!

Back in the Bill Clinton era of politics in Washington DC someone circulated a riddle which posed a very challenging question and went something like this --

Question: What is the difference between the Titanic and the Clintons?

Answer: The Titanic ran out of depths to which it could sink!

Perhaps it's time for a name change -- substitute The United Methodist Church for the name Clintons in the riddle!

* Epilogue *

It must be kept in mind there are still those pastors and lay persons who are among the group which holds to a Biblical world view as mentioned earlier and have chosen to remain in The United Methodist Church in spite of the frustrations and the desire at times to leave. Many fine pastors and dedicated lay persons have made their exit, feeling they could no longer remain in a denomination which provides abundant evidence of abandoning many of the doctrines upon which the former Methodist Church and Evangelical United Brethren Church were originally founded.

For those choosing to remain, it will mean doing what Paul described as "fighting the good fight of faith." But it will also mean that at times you will be labeled as being "mean-spirited" "bigoted" "divisive" "uncooperative" "prejudiced" "homophobic" "un-Christian" "unloving" "narrow minded" etc. Well, you get the picture do you not? To be a "good" United Methodist you practice the philosophy of Washington DC politics -- "To get along, go along!" March in lockstep and do not question anything when United Methodist leadership issues its edicts!

Prayer is also a very powerful weapon in fighting the good fight of faith -- let's use it to see The United Methodist Church purged, purified, and used of God mightily as in the days of John Wesley and in the infant years of our beloved republic!

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
James 5:17,18 NKJV

A Significant Selah Moment!

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? even cry out to You, "Violence!" And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Habakkuk 1:2-2 (NKJV)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness....

It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

Romans 1:18; Psalm 119:126-128 NKJV

June 11, 2007
Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
Western PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy, PA
AND Non-Affiliated registered voter, Cambria Co. PA

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