The Rev. Adam Hamilton reiterated his devotion to The United Methodist Church during a Leadership Institute session on the future of the denomination.
In a largely autobiographical presentation, Hamilton, who founded United Methodist Church of the Resurrection 32 years ago, told about wavering between Pentecostal and Catholic upbringings before becoming acquainted with Methodist theology as a student at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
“As a Methodist, I didn’t have to check my brain at the door of the church,” he said, adding he was also attracted to the denomination’s passions for saving souls and for social justice.
Through its 53-year history, Hamilton said, the UMC has survived disagreements over a variety of issues.
“We’ve managed to hold things together,” he said. “That’s part of our strength.”
Hamilton also countered many of the accusations made in online videos by the Rev. Rob Renfroe, a Houston pastor and one of the leaders of the Global Methodist Church.
Renfroe claims, according to Hamilton, that the remaining UM churches would be “woke and broke” after changing the Book of Discipline to accept LGBTQ+ individuals through same-sex weddings and gay and lesbian clergy.
“We are not broke,” Hamilton said, “and we are not dying.”
He also countered Renfroe’s claims that the UMC would be disavowing the Trinity, divinity of Christ, Jesus’ virgin birth and the resurrection.
“The first person to question the virgin birth was Joseph,” Hamilton said, receiving a laugh from the crowd.
Hamilton is countering the claims that Renfroe makes in a series of six videos through a new Resurrection website, ProudtobeUMC.com.
Renfroe and the GMC, Hamilton said, criticized Pride Day at Duke School of Divinity because prayers were made to the “Great Queer One,” as well as a minister-drag queen in Illinois who delivers sermons as “Miss Penny Cost.”
“We’ve got a broad center,” Hamilton said. “We can lean to the left, and we can lean to the right.”
Hamilton concluded his presentation by asking opinions from the audience, as he has done since the Leadership Institute in 2016, asking whether those attending considered themselves progressive or traditionalist and whether they would be compatible or incompatible with other points of view over the human sexuality issues.
The number that were compatible was the largest percentage yet.
Rev. Cheryl Jefferson Bell, community justice director for Resurrection, acknowledged in an opening prayer that the chasm in the denomination had taken its toll.
“We all feel hurt. We all feel pain,” she prayed. “We all are weary.”
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