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United Methodism @ risk: A wake-up call Paperback – 2003
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by Leon Howell
The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), created by right-wing secular foundations, first got attention by blasting the National Council of Churches. It opposes environmental initiatives, hate-crimes legislation, government responsibility for the poor, and anti-war activists. In addition to the Methodists, it is also critical of Presbyterian (USA) and Episcopal bodies.
An unofficial group in Methodism, Good News, attacks the Women’s Division of the church, especially their social justice ministries. Women have led the church in such areas as racial justice, human rights, gender justice, and peacemaking. Good News falsely claims that the women’s group is not fully accountable to the larger church. Good News is pushing for pastors to take reordination vows that meet their doctrinal standard. They demand that all United Methodist seminary, university faculty, and agency personnel be required to “affirm classical theology” (p. 111). Expulsion from the church is possible for those who fail to comply. Another group, the Confessing Churches [Movement], deal with controversy not only by smearing faithful United Methodists but by proposing a loyalty oath with a rigid interpretation of Scripture.