Where Do Traditionalist Methodist Stand On Climate Change?

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers - FAQ

Did God Really Say Climate Change Is Real?

Question: Where do Traditionalist Methodist stand on climate change?

Answer: Great question.

The planet’s climate is under constant transformation and has been since earth’s creation. In chapter one of Genesis we read that the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep. Then light burst forth. God separated the water on the earth from the water above it and he called the water above “sky.” God caused the water on earth to be gathered into one place so that ground appeared. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” We do not know the number of hours, days, years, centuries this process required. Some interpret the word “day” in Genesis to be twenty-four hours. Others interpret the word “day” to represent and event, like saying, “One day I made up my mind to …”

Regardless, during this process the earth’s climate was undergoing dramatic changes – and it has yet to stop.

Climate reacts to forces in the atmosphere and on earth. Some scientists argue humans are now the dominant force behind climate change. But are we? Had we lived during the days of Noah, “When men began to increase in number on the earth …” would scientists have blamed the increase in human population for the Great Flood? Did the the increase in livestock and raw sewage entering streams cause the skies to burst forth with rain and the creeks, streams, and rivers to “well-up” from beneath?

Drought was a constant problem in the Old Testament. Drought caused famines in the time of Abraham (Genesis 12:10 ), Isaac (Genesis 26:1 ), Joseph (Genesis 41:27 ), and the Judges (Ruth 1:1 ). Drought also impacted the Israelites during the days of David (2 Samuel 21:1 ), Elijah (1 Kings 18:2 ), Elisha (2 Kings 4:38 ), Haggai (Haggai 1:11 ), and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:3 ).

Did human behavior cause these droughts or did God have a hand in it?

In the Book of Revelation we read, “hail and fire mixed with blood was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.” Revelation 8:7

Will climatologist blame this event on global warming, climate change, and the burning of fossil fuels?

Trees affect our climate, and therefore our weather, in three ways: they lower temperatures, reduce energy usage and reduce or remove air pollutants. When we lose a third of the trees and all the grass, we can expect a substantial increase in global warming, a strain on our power grids, and an increase in air pollution.

And what of our water supply? “Something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. And a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. A third of the waters turned bitter. Many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” Revelation 8: 8-10

Scientists warn of rising sea levels, but if the event mentioned above occurs, the melting of arctic ice at the Poles will be nothing compared to the sea-coast flooding we will experience when large tsunamis hit the coastlines of populated continents. Whole navel fleets will be wiped out. With a third of our streams and rivers toxic, those living further inland will scramble to find clean drinking water.

And what of the sky? “A third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.” Revelation 8:12

The first thing we will notice is an increase in darkness — then extreme cold. The planet’s temperature will drop several degrees Fahrenheit over the course of weeks and months. With less sunlight, the amount of photosynthesis will decrease. Plants will begin to wither and die. Animals that rely on vegetation to survive will be left with a shrinking food supply.

We might imagine that people would rush to spend time in the sun during the reduced daylight hours, but “the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire.” Revelation 16:8. We will long to stand in sunlight, but the sun’s intense rays will prevent us from enjoying its warmth.

Sea levels will rise dramatically. “Every island fled away.” Revelation 16:20

Tectonic plates will shift, leveling whole mountain ranges. “The mountains could not be found.” Revelation 16:20

Rivers will shift or disappear. “The great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up.” Revelation 16:12

Traditionalist Methodist believe climate change is real, but is global warming man’s fault? God’s? A little of both?  A new heaven and a new earth  are promised for those who accept Christ as their savior. Revelation 21:1. But God also commands us to be good stewards of our planet. It is our duty to protect and preserve what God created. It is also our responsibility to let others know that Christ can change each person at a soul level if they will only ask him to do so.

As Traditionalist Methodist we should be good stewards of creation and seek to leave things better than we found them. (The “campsite” rule.) But we should also be good stewards of the words of instruction given to us by the Creator and seek to share God’s Good News with all we can whenever we can.

Do Traditionalist Methodist Believe Everyone Is A Child of God?

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers - FAQ

Do Traditionalist Methodist Believe Everyone Is A Child of God?Question: Do Traditionalist Methodist believe everyone is a child of God?

Answer: Great question. According to United Methodist teaching, Traditionalist Methodist believe the Apostle Paul’s summary of the condition of mankind: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.

But that does not mean that all UMC congregations teach this. “We believe that all people are children of God.” – Collister United Methodist Church. “Everyone is a child of god,” Becky Hall, Executive Director of Christ United Methodist Church in Chattanooga and a delegate to the UMC Conference. “Seabold United Methodist Church believes that everyone is a child of God.” “We believe that everyone is a child of God.” Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church.

But what does Christ say?

“While everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” Matthew 13:25. And, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.” Matthew 15: 13-14. “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the darnel weeds are the children of the evil one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Matthew 25:31-46

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:47-14:12

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12.

“You are doing the works of your own father,” Christ said. But they protested, “We are not illegitimate children. The only Father we have is God himself.” Christ replied, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.” John 8:44

“God predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:5. Paul writing to the church in Ephesus.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Galatians 3:26. Paul writing to the communities in Galatia.

While it might sound pleasing to welcome everyone into a congregation and assure them they are God’s children, Christ, the Son of God — God himself — clearly says this is a false statement and is born from the father of falsehoods. If you wish to become a child of God there is only one way: believe that Christ, the Son of God, came to earth, walked as a man, kept the whole law without committing one sin, and died so YOU could be saved from hell.  Confess your sins, ask this Christ to become your savior, and believe he now is. Then become baptized with water as an outward sign that you are marked as a child of God and be baptized with the Spirit of Christ so you can be transformed into his image.

Will Traditionalist Methodist Keep Infant Baptism?

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers - FAQ

Will Traditionalist Methodist Keep Infant Baptism?
Question: Will Traditionalist Methodist Keep Infant Baptism?

Answer: Great question. According to United Methodist teaching, “any age is appropriate for baptism since all persons stand in need of God’s grace. Infant baptism is a powerful expression of the reality that all persons come before God as no more than helpless infants, unable to do anything to save ourselves, dependent upon the grace of our loving God.”

Article XVII of Methodist Articles of Religion on baptism state:

“Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church.”

It is clear that within current UMC structure Godly parents who wish to “commit” their child to the Lord are encouraged to do so. But how can we know we have received the Holy Spirit? The baptism of Jesus offers one example: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” As parents do we see evidence of the Holy Spirit in our child’s life?

In most cultures only after an individual reaches the “age of reason” — seven, ten, twelve … twenty — can they appreciate the words of God and become convicted of their sin. Before this moment we are:

  • Dead in our sins and transgressions.
  • Follow the ways of this world.
  • Follow the ruler of the kingdom of the air.
  • Follow the spirit who is now at work in those of us who are disobedient.
  • Gratify the cravings of our sinful nature – which is our fleshly desires.
  • Fail to realize that we are, by nature, children of wrath.

It is by grace you have been saved. This is a gift of God.” Ephesians 2:2-10

For Christ, his adult baptism indicated that he was consecrated and committed to God. An infant is wholly dependent upon others for their care and feeding. If sprinkling water on an infant would save their offspring from hell and a life of sinful behavior, a great many parents of all beliefs, even unbelief, would ask that their child be dipped and flipped for God.

In his baptism Christ was officially approved by God. “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16. As parents did we hear God speaking at our child’s baptism? Will the infant remember God speaking to them?

After the baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit was seen descending on Jesus. After our baptism of water we should experience the Holy Spirit descending upon and coming to live in us. In fact, receiving the Holy Spirit marks the beginning of our “new birth.” From that moment forward, the spiritual DNA of Christ is transferred into our spirit. This starts our sanctification — a fancy word that means “set apart,” “made holy.” The old body remains, but a new spirit begins to grow within us. The baptism of Jesus as an adult is our example.

Do you know that his Spirit lives within you? “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him [Jesus] ( you, me, and all who receive Christ into themselves). The Spirit of the Lord provides spiritual wisdom and of understanding, counsel and of might, knowledge and fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11. This is but one way to know if you have God’s Holy Spirit. Here are other ways to check your spirit and confirm that the Spirit of Christ is working inside you.

  • The Holy Spirit helps us live a righteous and faithful life. The Holy Spirit will never guide you to be unfaithful to God or act in a wicked, sinful, evil, unfair or unjust manner.
  • The Holy Spirit helps us to testify about Christ and act as a witness-emissary on his behalf.
  • The Holy Spirit helps us to minister to others.
  • The Holy Spirit also acts as a comforter who intercedes on our behalf, especially in times of trial.
  • The Holy Spirit transforms us into a person of charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness — someone who is gentle, modest, self-controled, faithful to God, and refraining from any sexual conduct outside the bonds of marriage.
  • The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of his acts and what Jesus said while he was on earth.

Will Traditionalist Methodist follow the old practice of infant baptism? Perhaps. Probably. But let us also hope that Traditionalist Methodist follow the example of Christ’s disciples who, when told to “wait for his Spirit,” gathered together in worship and became filled with his Spirit and power. In doing so, they taught and preached with authority, healed the sick, raised the dead, and forcefully expanded his kingdom here on earth. May we go and do likewise.

Will Traditionalist Methodist Welcome LGBT Persons?

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers - FAQ

Will Traditionalist Methodist Welcome LGBT Persons?Question: Will Traditionalist Methodist welcome LGBT persons?

Answer: Great question. Many Methodist have asked if members of the LGBT community will be welcomed in the new Traditionalist Methodist denomination. Before answering, I thought it might be helpful to look at what the Apostle Paul said regarding the standing of every individual before God.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romance 3:23-24 There is no one righteous, not even one. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12. In writing to the Romans Paul quoted from Ecclesiastes. 7:20: “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” and Psalms 14:3: “There is no one who does good, not even one.”

If God only accepted into church those who were without sin there would be no church. We are all sinners before God. In many ways the worst sinner is the one who thinks they are more righteous than someone else — that their sins are not “as bad.” Jesus himself made it clear that those who hold this attitude are in danger of missing his grace and mercy.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.'” Luke 18:9-14

Yes, members of the LGBT community are welcomed to worship with Traditionalist Methodist. Those who consider themselves “Traditionalist Methodist” have family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, who are gay. We love, like, and interact with LGBT persons every day. A person’s sexual orientation does not exclude them from God’s love and grace, nor should it exclude them from worshipping in God’s house. The key point to remember and acknowledge is that we are all sinners in need of a savior from sin: namely Jesus Christ. He alone can free us from the bondage of sin. His Spirit can and will defeat the flesh — if not in our lifetime then in the age to come. We are only asked to acknowledge our sin (confess), agree to turn from sin (repent) and ask Christ to fight for us. He will. He came for this very reason: to die and save you from sin and the eternal death it brings.

Why Must the United Methodist Church Split Over the LGBT Issue?

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers

Question: Why Must the United Methodist Church Split Over the LGBT Issue?

Answer: Great question. Many Methodist have asked why those who support the LGBT community and want to preserve an inclusive nature within the United Methodist Church are at odds with those who oppose same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy. Before answering, I thought it might be helpful to look at the UMC Book of Discipline.

Article IV of the UMC Book of Discipline states: “We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation. It is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice. Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to be made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation.”

Regarding Scripture, the UMC Book of Discipline states: United Methodists share with other Christians the conviction that Scripture is the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. The Bible is sacred canon for Christian people. We interpret individual texts in light of their place in the Bible as a whole.

Article VI—of the UMC Book of Discipline states: “The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites does not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.”

The split within the United Methodist Church, while focused on moral issues regarding sexuality, is actually rooted in two diverse views of Scripture. The Traditionalists hold that the Bible is God’s living and final authoritative word on matters covered in Scripture. Progressives hold to the statement in the UMC Discipline that says, “We interpret individual texts in light of their place in the Bible as a whole.” Since the Law and Prophets were written at a time when women had few rights, slavery was condoned, polygamy among God’s people was acceptable (though marriage between one man and one woman was God’s stated preference), Progressives contend that sexual orientation was never correctly addressed in Scripture. If love is love and love among two members of the same sex is something God created, Progressives asks, how can it be wrong?

Traditionalist counter that if sins listed in the Bible are no longer considered sins and if acts in the Bible that God called “grievous, bad, detestable” are now “right and loving,” then all aspects of the Bible are called into question: including that Jesus is the son of God and is, in fact, God himself.

In the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, Jesus says, “Outside are the dogs (not literal dogs, but the morally impure), those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” These are the ones Jesus says will not have the right to the tree of life and may not go through the gates into the new city.

For Progressives the split is over the issue of love as they define love. For Traditionalist the split is over obedience to God’s word and God’s instructions of how we are to live our lives. Traditionalist argue that there is power in God’s word and that the spirit of Jesus can transform everyone who receives him. Progressives argue we are all God’s children, he made us male, female and male-female-combined, and he loves us as we are.

The split will not resolve these two opposing views, but it will give both factions the opportunity to form community and worship God and Jesus as they see fit.

Why Do “Traditionalist” Have to Leave UMC

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers

Question: Why Do “Traditionalist” Have to Leave UMC? Question: Why Do “Traditionalist” Have to Leave UMC?

Answer: Great question. Many Methodist have asked why those who support the teachings and tenants of John Wesley and believe the words and acts of Jesus, his disciples, and God have been asked to leave the UMC denomination. Before answering, I thought it might be helpful to look at a similar division of property from the Bible.

In Genesis 13:5-13, Abraham and Lot, due to quarreling among the two men’s families and flocks, agree to separate. Abraham lets Lot pick the territory he desires.

Now Lot was moving about with Abram but the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. Quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company.  – Genesis 13:5-13

Currently the United Methodist Church’s global membership stands at 12.5 million. In 2016 it dropped to 6.95 million people, a decrease of about 1.6 percent from 2015, roughly the same percentage decrease seen in the last two years. U.S. average weekly attendance is less than 2.66 million, a 3.3 percent decline. If we assume in 2020 that membership declines have held steady at 1.6 percent, then today there are around 6.5 million UMC members.

Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, believes around 2.5 million will join the conservative church, and 3.5 million will remain in the progressive, liberal UMC denomination. “Nearly all the 5.5 million overseas members, mostly in Africa, will join the conservative church,” Tooley says, “so the conservative denomination will have about 8 million members globally.”

On the surface it may appear that Methodist who hold to precepts in the Book of Discipline are consenting to a land-grab by the progressive, liberal faction, but I believe God will bless the new denomination in the same way he blessed Abraham. When it comes to church growth and making disciples of Christ, it’s not the land and location that matters but the God you worship and obey. Follow and serve him only and, be it a desert or a well-watered pasture, his word will not return empty.

One final note: the example sighted above regarding Abraham and Lot is in no way meant to pass judgement on those in the progressive, liberal faction of UMC or to call out those in the LGBT community. I selected that passage simply because it shows how two groups who are in conflict can agree to separate and still love and support one another.