Foreword

Acknowledgements

Julie

Visible Problem Indicators

Stewardship

Agents of Change - Issues

Institutional Dynamics

The Institutional and the Local Church

Operative Theology

Prognosis for the Future

Revival - What is Needed?

Closing Remarks

Chapter Eight
Prognosis for the Future

From an analysis of the "fruits" of past activities and emphases, we believe that these are the directions in which we are headed:
  • It appears that our church leadership is moving the UMC down a road away from the orthodox Christian faith.
  • It appears that our church leadership use a consensus of the Council of Bishops as their operative authority, rather than the Bible or the Book of Discipline.
  • The increased numbers of news releases about benevolent activities and the "bishops initiatives" serve to camouflage the deeper problems that potentially can undermine the UMC.
  • It is believed that the bishops want to "dialogue" about the homosexual issue to wear down opposition to its practice so that it will ultimately be normalized.
  • Increased political activism under the banner of "shalom" will be used to support themes such as global disarmament, internationalism, and a world without borders.(1)
  • The merging with other denominations will proceed as the uniqueness of salvation through Jesus Christ is minimized, reaching accords with other faiths such as Islam and Buddhism.
  • As the children who are raised in the church progress through the various youth programs, they will be subjected to more information that teach moral relativism. Consequently, a larger percentage will be led into sexually promiscuous lifestyles. This, in turn, will lead to greater instances of unwanted pregnancies, single motherhood, abortions, and ill-advised marriages. As children grow up in the denomination, they will be immersed in a climate that is increasingly supportive of the homosexual agenda and will start to view that lifestyle with ever greater degrees of sympathy.
  • The greatest tragedy is that countless thousands if not millions of people will never know what it means to have a truly Spirit-filled relationship with, nor salvation through, Jesus Christ.
  • Ever increasing degrees of control will be exercised over local churches and laypeople.
  • As greater control is exercised throughout the denomination, it is anticipated that evangelicals and independent hinkers will ultimately be forced out of the church, as has happened in some cases in California. As more independent thinkers leave and greater control is exercised over the United Methodist Church, it will slip into bondage.

Note:

  1. "UMs should be evangelists for God's shalom" by Edward C. Perry; United Methodist Review, Dallas, Texas; May 28, 1999, p. 5.


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