What does “A Statement of Gospel Obedience” mean for the church?

By Patrick Scriven | Photos by Patrick Scriven

As delegations prepared themselves for jurisdictional conference, many people anticipated that the Western Jurisdiction would respond in some way to the reluctance of the General Conference to acknowledge the diversity of opinion that exists on the topic of human sexuality. Since the defeat of the Hamilton-Slaughter Amendment (Click to read) some have hoped for and sensed a growing passion for a ‘Church in the West’ that embraces a more progressive, and some have said prophetic, vision for what the church could be.

Since the Western Jurisdictional Conference concluded there has been significant interest in the “A Statement of Biblical Obedience” petition that was passed overwhelmingly by the body. At the Western Jurisdictional Conference it was announced that Bishop Melvin Talbert will lead the Western Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops in its Strategic Plan for Gospel Obedience. Given Bishop Talbert’s strong support of GLBTQ rights prior to and during the 2012 General Conference, progressives are likely to appreciate this choice. During that event, Talbert spoke to the “Love Your Neighbor Coalition” saying

that the derogatory language and restrictive laws in our Book of Discipline are immoral and unjust and no longer deserve our loyalty and obedience.”

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