PETITION TO THE 2019 GENERAL CONFERENCE
AFFIRMING THE CURRENT DOCTRINE AND DISCIPLINE OF THE UMC

Sponsored by the Arkansas Connection of Orthodox Wesleyans
Total Number of Pages: 3

Title:
Affirm Current Doctrine and Discipline Concerning Human Sexuality
Discipline Paragraph:
Book of Discipline 2016, Social Principles of the United Methodist Church, Marriage

Social Principles of the United Methodist Church, Human Sexuality
¶ 304.3 Qualifications for Ordination
General Church Budget Implications: None
Global Implications: Yes

Rationale:
The United Methodist Church is in continuity with the “holy catholic and apostolic church” (The United Methodist Hymnal, #880 The Nicene Creed). The historic and Biblical position of United Methodism on human sexuality has been consistently reaffirmed since 1972 despite consistent attempts to alter our position at subsequent General Conferences.

That position was once again reaffirmed at the General Conference of 2016, that defines “marriage as the union of one man and one woman” (Book of Discipline 2016, Social Principles of the United Methodist Church, Marriage).

This position is grounded in the doctrine of the United Methodist Church that clearly confirms the authority of the Old and New Testaments, which “is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice” (Book of Discipline, Confession of Faith, Article IV). Furthermore, the Scriptures exhort us to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

The 2016 General Conference also reaffirmed our conviction that “Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage” (Social Principles of the United Methodist Church, Human Sexuality).

The 2016 General Conference also reaffirmed our confidence that “all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God;” and yet continues to maintain that “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching,” while balancing that view by continuing to “implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends” (Book of Discipline 2016, Social Principles of the United Methodist Church, Human Sexuality).

And the 2016 General Conference has again made clear that “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church” (Book of Discipline 2016, ¶ 304.3 Qualifications for Ordination).

We value denominational unity, provided that it does not compromise our existing, consistently-affirmed core convictions on marriage and Scriptural holiness. Moreover, the core of the Christian doctrine and Scriptural holiness is not determined by cultural context or changing historical realities, but is grounded in that which has been “believed everywhere, always and by all” (Vincent of Lerins) and has been confirmed in the experience of the community of faith in the church universal.

Petition:
The Arkansas Annual Conference petitions the 2019 General Conference, assembled in St. Louis, February 23-26 to retain our current core convictions in regard to human sexuality, particularly as related to marriage and ordination.

Date: June 6, 2018
Tom Letchworth
Elder, Arkansas Annual Conference, retired
501-207-1294
revlworth@yahoo.com

Signatories:

Tom Letchworth
Bob Hager
Dee Harper
Bryan Fink
Christopher Bounds
Jeff Warrick
Joe Head
Deborah Head
Pat Bodenhamer
Mary Baker Meier
Troy Conrad
Steve Pulliam
Jim Lenderman
David A. Moore
David Jones
John Miles
Justin Ledbetter
Debby Bodenhamer
Paul Coy
Tommy Toombs
Todd Vick
Ann Ferris
Andrew Thompson