The Constitutional Amendments of the UMC

Some are asking this question. Is There a Conspiracy Of Silence About The Constitutional Amendments?

By Dr. Bill Bouknight

What can you do?

1. Every local church has at least two representatives who will attend your annual conference: your pastor and a layperson. Discuss these amendments with these persons. Urge them to vote for # XIX (19), giving provisional members and local pastors the right to vote. If in doubt about the rest of the amendments, vote against them!

2. There is an active committee at work in almost every annual conference, informing annual conference delegates about the real issues behind these Constitutional amendments. Please assist these committees in distributing this information.

3. Your Confessing Movement is communicating almost daily with United Methodists across the world, promoting biblical authority and the orthodox Christian faith. Our work costs money. 

4. Above all, pray for God to protect and renew our beloved

United Methodist Church.•


Just imagine if 32 changes were being proposed in the U.S. Constitution. The newspapers and TV talk-shows would be dominated by the proposed amendments.

Well, we United Methodists are being asked to change our Church Constitution in 32 specific ways. But the official Church media is amazingly silent about it all. I see no articles pro or con in the UM Report, Circuit Rider, or the UM News Service.

Some of the African annual conferences that met in February or March did not even receive the official copies of the amendments–translated into their languages– until just a few weeks or even days before their conferences began. How odd that brothers and sisters in our worldwide connection are being allowed so little time to review, digest, and debate a number of amendments that will purportedly make us a more “worldwide” Church!

Is there a conspiracy of silence? Do some United Methodist leaders hope that many members of annual conferences will just rubber-stamp what General Conference did in passing these amendments?

I have a report from one U.S. annual conference that the amendments have been scheduled for the last day of conference (when many participants will have already departed) and that a total of 45 minutes has been planned for discussion and action on all 32 of them!

One amendment that deserves our support is # XIX (19) which would give most provisional members and local pastors the right to vote for clergy delegates to General and Jurisdictional conferences. If all the other 31 amendments were to fail, the Church would not suffer for it.

The most dangerous amendments are in two categories:

1. Amendment # I, if approved, would give the Judicial Council ample reason to strip from local clergy their historic responsibility to help prospective church members determine whether they are ready to receive the membership vows. Furthermore, if this amendment is approved, gay advocacy groups will argue before the Judicial Council that Paragraph 4 guarantees a self-avowed, practicing homosexual the right not only to church membership but also to all other levels of service in the Church.

2. The second dangerous category includes a package of 23 separate amendments under the general title “Worldwide Nature-UMC.” These amendments would create regional conferences across the entire Church. In the U.S., this would add another layer of bureaucracy between the General and Jurisdictional conferences. Each of these regional conferences would have some power to adapt the Book of Discipline as it so chooses. Evidently, some UM leaders want to segregate the U.S. Church from overseas United Methodists, almost 90 percent of whom live in Africa. The African portion of our Church is growing very rapidly and is predominantly conservative in theology.

Most African United Methodists believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is “the true rule and guide for faith and practice.” (Book of Discipline) Therefore, most Africans do not approve of liberalizing the Church’s position on the practice of homosexuality. That one issue has dominated the United Methodist Church in America for at least 25 years. But underneath that issue is a more fundamental one—the authority of Scripture.

These amendments can be defeated! It only takes 33.67 percent of all the voting delegates in all the annual conferences around the world to vote against them. Every vote counts!

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