In the Renew Christmas Newsletter I remarked, “We are on the threshold of restoration where Methodism will throw off the constraints of the world that caused the church to entertain trendy, compromised theology that has led to decline. Before us lies the opportunity for our church to be one whose identity is in Christ, built on God’s revelation of Himself, and one which is open to and led by God’s own Spirit.”
On January 3, 2020 the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation was made public. The Protocol proposes a new traditionalist Methodist denomination. It was negotiated by twelve leaders from the Traditionalist, Centrist, and Progressive groups. Two Central Conference bishops and several other US bishops were present at the negotiations.
The Protocol allows traditional Annual Conferences and individual churches to leave and form a new denomination. It stops the debate over sexuality and allows churches that leave to do so without penalty. But the Protocol is not ideal. There are aspects of this proposal which seem unfair and leave some traditional orthodox believers with difficult circumstances to navigate. Nevertheless, I believe it is our best chance for leaving our disagreements behind and move on to that which Christians are called to do.
Sometimes life is not fair. But we should remember that God uses all things for those who are called according to His purpose. I believe we are called to stop the fighting over sexuality without giving up the deeper scriptural and theological issues. The Protocol may be the best way forward that has any chance of success in 2020. You will find articles on the Good News and Renew website and on the Renew Network Facebook page that will keep you informed.
We find ourselves in a time when it is incumbent upon us to understand the presenting and underlying issues that have divided this church for decades. Please be in prayer for our Lord to guide and protect His true church as we go through these times decision.