United Methodism, What's Going On? Keith Boyette
January 20 2022
The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) is the renewal group bringing the Global Methodist Church into existence. Today I talk with the WCA’s president, Keith Boyette. This conversation is a hopeful sign about the future of the church. Here are the links:
YouTube - https://youtu.be/jNNTfdPd2w4
Audio - https://andymilleriii.com/media/podcast
Apple Podcast - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/more-to-the-story-with-dr-andy-miller/id1569988895?uo=4
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Welcome to the more to the story podcast with Dr Andy Miller, I come to you from Wesley biblical seminary in Jackson Mississippi where I serve as a Vice President for academic affairs and Professor of Theology.
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Andy Miller III: I have had a keen interest in an eye towards what is happening in the United Methodist church in part because I have a variety of friends, I went to through seminary with.
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Andy Miller III: My in laws have been actively involved in that church and I have heard about the movement in the United Methodist church for a while.
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Andy Miller III: And many of you have heard this now, we also had a conversation with mark Tooley on my former podcast called captain's corner it's in my archives as well.
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Andy Miller III: But today we are blessed to have on the podcast with us Reverend Keith boy yet who serves as the President of the Wesley and covenant associated Keith we saw admire you thanks for coming to this podcast.
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Keith Boyette: Well, thank you so much Andy it's a joy to be with you and i'm grateful for the invitation.
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Andy Miller III: yeah well we're certainly glad to hear from you, who are at the forefront of this battle we've been praying for you and look there's this like certain people have gifts.
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Andy Miller III: That God has given them and experiences and i'm just laying my cards out in the table here God has equipped you for this time and we thank God for your leadership in the western covenant association.
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Keith Boyette: Well, I say that journeying with God is a great adventure you never know what he's got around the corner he's always laying that next step and.
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Keith Boyette: Our calling is to be faithful to take the next step, he makes available it's wonderful that you can look back over a lifetime and see the handprints and footprints of God.
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Keith Boyette: But certainly he has woven together lots of experiences relationships and given me gifts and abilities that I believe he's using in this day I pray he's using in the state.
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Keith Boyette: and beyond, being a faithful steward of them in these days.
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Andy Miller III: yeah well I just so y'all know I think you get the idea, the Western covenant association is is like similar, as I said in his pocket casts the wesleyan orthodox branch.
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Andy Miller III: Of methodism and and we'll get into the details of what that means and what the global Methodist churches, but keep the kind of with what you're saying there, what is it in your experiences that as you're.
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Andy Miller III: Looking back and see how God has prepared you what are those experiences that are prepared, you for this moment personally.
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Keith Boyette: Well, I could I could probably do an entire podcast, so I will.
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Keith Boyette: Okay short version God saw fit to have me born and born into a deeply committed family so that's number one family submitted to the Lord.
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Keith Boyette: He enabled me to come to faith at a very early age and to be very serious about my faith, for whatever reason, as I saw it.
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Keith Boyette: where he would have me be vocationally when I was a teenager he led me into politics and then into the practice of law.
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Keith Boyette: And I practiced law for 13 years as a trial attorney in Richmond Virginia, where I was deeply committed.
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Keith Boyette: lay leader in my local church taught Sunday school very invested in small groups very desirous of maturing in the Christian faith in February on February 4 of 1990 when, God called me to leave the practice of law to pastor a church were him I was saying.
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Keith Boyette: Senior shareholder director of the law firm chair of its litigation section at that time I responded to that call and went to asbury cemetery where I had a whole host of other experiences that God is certainly woven into what I have done.
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Keith Boyette: He then enabled me to be part of the pestering 150 year old church and then planting a brand new faith community and spotsylvania Virginia.
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Keith Boyette: Where I was the pastor for 19 years and then a new church plant and during that time he enabled me to serve on the Judicial Council of the United Methodist church.
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Keith Boyette: Which is the churches Supreme Court, so you weave together that legal background the theological training and the ministry the pastoral ministry the experiences i've had with church long and church organization.
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Keith Boyette: I think you can see how all of those things come to.
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Keith Boyette: be combined in this current season in my life as president of the western committed association.
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Andy Miller III: wow, this is it, I mean dealing with constitutional issues as it relates to how some even how the Methodist church has been incorporated, what it's bylaws are I mean that has been in part the battle over the last 40 years is like.
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Andy Miller III: figuring out what these various clauses mean where they are and then how you get to that and then much less trying to figure out how you resolve some of that so.
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Andy Miller III: A lot of my listeners come from the Salvation Army or from maybe a smaller denominations within the West and holiness tradition, a, this is a hard thing to summarize, but could you summarize what what has led in the I methods were wise lead Methodist church to where it is today.
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Keith Boyette: Sure, so as perhaps many of your listeners would know the United Methodist church into distance in i'm.
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Keith Boyette: In i'm sorry I.
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Andy Miller III: know.
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Keith Boyette: I had a phone call coming in and.
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Keith Boyette: So let me just, hopefully, you can edit this part out.
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Keith Boyette: So, as many of your viewers and listeners would know in 1968 the United Methodist Church was formed out of a merger of the Methodist Church and the evangelical united brethren church to Wesley and movements and in that merger.
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Keith Boyette: We began to wrestle as a church with how we would do theology how we would view human sexuality and.
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Keith Boyette: How we would define marriage, what would be our ordination standards very early the Church has experienced conflict basically since it's very beginning around these topics.
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Keith Boyette: And literally every four years at our general Conference, which is the global decision making body for the United Methodist church.
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Keith Boyette: Various attempts have been made to change the historic position of the United Methodist Church, which of course defines marriage is between as being between one man and one woman.
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Keith Boyette: and defines our ordination standards is requiring us to be faithful in heterosexual marriage and chased in singleness.
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Keith Boyette: And so that battle of is raged.
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Keith Boyette: It first was fought out legislatively in the General Conference by persons making petitions to change those disciplinary provisions those petitions have always been defeated.
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Keith Boyette: When when that became.
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Keith Boyette: unsuccessful to change it legislatively, then the strategy was to try to attack those provisions.
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Keith Boyette: Judicial by bringing cases before the Judicial Council to have the Judicial Council adopt the changes that people wanted.
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Keith Boyette: That happened to be during the eight Year period that I served on the Judicial Council the Judicial Council.
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Keith Boyette: unit uniformly rejected those challenges affirm that the teachings of united Methodist church their constitutionality so when that was successful, then.
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Keith Boyette: The strategy was adopted, of what I would call a crazy ass tickle disobedience where.
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Keith Boyette: actions were taken in violation of the discipline as a way of trying to highlight what the persons who took those actions would have maintained were unjust or or wrong in their eyes.
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Keith Boyette: For a season, the systems of the church work properly and when those actions occurred there were church disciplinary proceedings that occurred that held people accountable.
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Keith Boyette: But over time bishops some bishops began to align with those who were engaging an ecclesiastical disobedience, so they would not then hold people accountable.
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Keith Boyette: And the level of disobedience increased and some annual conferences voted disagreement with the discipline of the church those conferences sport held accountable, and so the conflict just increased i'm almost done all.
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Keith Boyette: Right now, in 2019 and 2016 at the General Conference in portland Oregon it was very clear once again that the historic teachings of the church we're going to be reaffirmed.
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Keith Boyette: And it also became clear that we were at a at a blogger head, that there was irreconcilable conflict that this was not going to go away and so.
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Keith Boyette: At the General Conference established a Commission on the way forward, which was supposed to determine how are we we're going to resolve this once and for all.
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Keith Boyette: We had a special General Conference in 2019 the solution of at least some people was something called the one church plan my summary of that is that each person would have been permitted to do what seemed right in their own eyes obviously they others would characterize it that day.
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Andy Miller III: But it's not like judges.
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Keith Boyette: yeah that's right.
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Keith Boyette: But that was defeated and once again the historic position and teachings of the church for reaffirmed by the General Conference.
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Keith Boyette: It was a very vitriolic General Conference, the the strife was on display and in the aftermath of that.
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Keith Boyette: It became clear to people that if we continued as we had for more than 15 years down this pathway that we would tear the church apart, eventually, and so there was a decision made to see if we could find a process that would lead essentially to be amicable separation of the Church.
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Keith Boyette: And i've certainly can go into more of that, but that kind of gives you an overview from basically 1968 right up until.
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Keith Boyette: we've been in this battle, one of the things that makes the United Methodist context different from other denominations in the United States is that we are a global church.
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Keith Boyette: About half of our membership is located outside the United States predominantly in Africa, but also in the Philippines and in Europe.
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Keith Boyette: And the overwhelming majority super majority of Methodist outside the United States are theologically conservative and committed to the historic positions of the Church.
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Keith Boyette: And, and so they have they have been a major part of holding the line the other mainline denominations in the US are largely us centric they don't have international members and so they've been much more impacted by the influence of the Culture around them.
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Andy Miller III: Right What would it be like if it was just the United States, what would the numbers be like for the Methodist church regarding this move away from the White your discipline yeah.
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Keith Boyette: Clearly, in the United States, the.
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Keith Boyette: journey, the direction because been increasingly progressive or liberal.
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Keith Boyette: US firms that are are are bandied about and I would say that somewhere The numbers are somewhere between 60 and 65% of the US delegates now there's a big difference.
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Andy Miller III: yeah I mean.
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Keith Boyette: Those who go and represent the church at General Conference and the rank and file members in the Pew.
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Keith Boyette: My perception is that lay people continue to be largely or at least majority theologically conservative, but that the clergy of the church United States are majority theologically liberal.
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Andy Miller III: Right interesting.
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Andy Miller III: it's one of the challenges that comes in and i've addressed this within the context of the Salvation Army my denomination but it's certainly true other locations as well that when an institution is formed and they develop some type of system.
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Andy Miller III: For for ordering their life together some polity or governance model what ends up happening is you come to a common agreement in at some point.
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Andy Miller III: Every person buys into that agreement in my denomination that comes in context of becoming a soldier member of the Salvation Army, you say I believe these things i'm a part of this movement.
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Andy Miller III: That doesn't mean there can't be some institutional changes that we can do.
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Andy Miller III: do some things better or worse, through the years, but the essence of our faith our theology is centered in a common covenant.
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Andy Miller III: And what what i've said, is it like certain certainly there are people within.
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Andy Miller III: My denomination and probably most animations that want to see a movement towards a different source of biblical revelation that would allow there to be.
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Andy Miller III: A liberalisation of on human sexuality like I think that's pretty pretty like people want that happened.
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Andy Miller III: My challenge to them is this and i'm curious if this is what you seen I met churches that when people make that move I believe they're, the ones who have stepped away they're, the ones who are moving.
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Andy Miller III: And it has to be incredibly frustrating and and really we're just starting to feel that in the Salvation Army how have you dealt with those those inconsistencies or those challenges and through the years yourself.
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Keith Boyette: Well you're you're writing and need that.
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Keith Boyette: In the United Methodist church when you become an ordained elder in the Church.
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Keith Boyette: You have to answer certain questions their historic questions that have been asked of the fittest since the days of john Wesley among them.
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Keith Boyette: Is the question have you studied Do you understand, and will you follow our doctrine and discipline, basically, and every united Methodist person who is ordained an elder has had to respond, yes, and I will.
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To the yes.
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Keith Boyette: And so I regard that as a covenant that we have entered into and, like you, I believe that.
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Keith Boyette: person's may have a different perspective on certain practices or teachings of the Church.
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Keith Boyette: But if they have said yes to those things they have said, I will live within the teachings and doctrine and discipline of the church until the church by its ordinary means.
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Keith Boyette: Changes those doctrines or teachings I don't have the ability, as an individual to say well i'm going to turn my back on that and I have freedom to do whatever I want.
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Keith Boyette: If I cannot remain within the Covenant that I have made the choice I am faced with is to surrender my credentials withdraw from the ministry and step away from.
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Keith Boyette: Being a united Methodist pastor and, of course, our our polity has ways in which those who would want to see a change in some particular.
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Keith Boyette: can legitimately seek that change, and it has always been my contention people ought to be free to propose, you know what we think there should be a different definition of marriage.
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Keith Boyette: Right, I do agree with that, but they ought to be free to make that argument to a General Conference free to submit a petition.
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Keith Boyette: free to advocate that in the debate and General Conference and then General Conference takes a vote and.
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Keith Boyette: If they don't win, they need to continue to comply with the teachings of the church if that if if they're not going to depart the church because of conscientious disagreement, the problem with, and so, you would think that persons who are are.
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Keith Boyette: Not wanting to continue to abide by the United Methodist churches doctrine and discipline, who have been unsuccessful repeatedly and trying to change that.
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Keith Boyette: That they would say it's time for us to move on, perhaps to another part of the body of Christ nerd and.
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Keith Boyette: That has already adopted the positions that were advocating for and but they don't do that they have not done they've seen this as a.
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Keith Boyette: cause that they need to continue to fight and, as I said, they've become more disruptive and dysfunctional in that which has led to chaos, you know in in the United Methodist church.
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Keith Boyette: So yeah I frequently get asked in this context you, you are part of a part of the church that has repeatedly prevailed in this debate, the discipline of the united Methodist church currently aligns with what you believe, why is it that you and others, like you, are the ones who are departing.
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Keith Boyette: frying.
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Keith Boyette: This church to start something new, why is it those who have repeatedly failed to make a change being left in charge of the church and and that and the simple answer to that is that.
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Keith Boyette: Where where there is no accountability, where where there's no means well First they have evidence, they are not going to leave they don't they they don't want to leave, they want to continue this battle, so our choice and there's no accountability for them.
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Andy Miller III: Right so.
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Keith Boyette: Is our choices either to stay in a church, that is badly broken and dysfunctional and that there is no hope of resolution and reconciliation and healing in order to say.
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Keith Boyette: We have done the best we can, to advocate for what we believe that we're firmly committed to it's time for us to step away from that and to create that which will be wholesome and.
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Keith Boyette: Order ordered and capable of advancing the Gospel and not inwardly focused on these endless debates and conflicts.
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Andy Miller III: Right it's irreconcilable differences at this point, particularly theologically to relate to the doctrine of Revelation now here's an interesting things like for me now, I think this is where I would be if my denomination today.
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Andy Miller III: change its understanding revelation and said we no longer a firm scriptures authority over the individual believer or the life of the church and then change on any host of.
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Andy Miller III: Of doctrinal statements and lifestyle commandments I would see at that point, I would be sad.
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Andy Miller III: The the church would have left me at that point, and I would then consequently institutionally organizationally leave the church I would that's the step, I would take I would.
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Andy Miller III: Even that meant my livelihood my commitment to the Gospel into the work of God in the world who would call me to do that.
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Andy Miller III: And i'm not it's easy for me to say that in this context, because I well at this point my denominations held unorthodox lines as as yours so it's like.
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Andy Miller III: i'm telling somebody else to leave that's what it sounds like that's not what i'm saying exactly i'm just if these are the beliefs, that you hold.
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Andy Miller III: Is this a healthy place to be and it's not an old man that's where you are in, I want to get to this discipline issue, because the enforcement.
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Andy Miller III: Is is really a key thing like you can have the right laws written all day if they're not enforced it's not a society and the same thing is true with within the life of the church and i'm beginning to see this Salvation Army.
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Andy Miller III: Were there other Methodist like smaller denominations.
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Andy Miller III: Are you have you have a policy, you have theology, you have the articulated but then even leaders equivalence to bishops that you might have in your denomination take on a whole nother line.
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Andy Miller III: At some point, they need to be held accountable and if they're not being held accountable, we are losing that which unites us.
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Keith Boyette: And so, so to your point the the failure in United Methodist polity is that there is no way to hold bishops accountable to.
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Keith Boyette: Their consecration as bishops, so if they the way we elect bishops occurs regionally so.
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Keith Boyette: In the southeastern part of the United States, we vote for our who our bishops, are they serve in the southeast they're part of a college of Bishops in the southeast and.
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Keith Boyette: They relate to one another, and so, when a complaint is filed against the Bishop it is their college of Bishops that handles that complaint human nature being what it is.
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Keith Boyette: You know you you they they have historically bent over backwards to support one another.
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Keith Boyette: There is no way for the church at large to hold them accountable so, for example in 2016 the Western jurisdiction elected a practicing lesbian.
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Keith Boyette: As a bishop Karen all have eaten her election was challenged and and the case went to the Judicial Council of the United Methodist church.
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Keith Boyette: I argued that case, on behalf of those who were challenging her election, the Judicial Council held under church law that it was unlawful for her to be consecrated a bishop and directed that this be dealt with discipline narrowing.
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Keith Boyette: Okay we're here we are in.
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Keith Boyette: Five years later, and she has not been removed as a bishop, even though the Judicial Council said her consecration was unlawful so that just illustrates that the Church is broken unable to hold itself accountable to its own doctrines and discipline.
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Andy Miller III: So you put your former like litigator hat on so you it's almost as if there isn't a rule of law anymore.
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Keith Boyette: But we are lawless.
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Keith Boyette: Now the Church is working in some other areas, in spite of that, but when this is the fundamental issue that occupies and takes up all the atmosphere in the Church.
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Keith Boyette: Those other areas are also adversely impacted so it in people's commitment to their local church it, you would I mean i'm a person who who, from my earliest days firmly believed in the necessity of tithing okay.
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Keith Boyette: So.
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Keith Boyette: I have always tied whether I happen to like the pastor that was appointed to serve me or not.
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Andy Miller III: yeah sure.
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Keith Boyette: it's god's money it's not my money it's not a you know, and so, but but because there's this brokenness that affects people's willingness.
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Keith Boyette: To give for the ministries of the church and so that, ultimately, impacts, the ability of the Church, the United Methodist church to be the instrument of God.
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Keith Boyette: to share the Gospel with the world and to do acts of mercy and justice and on and on and on, it weakens the church and after a while people say, well, the Church, no longer stands for what it says it stands for, how can I, how can I have confidence in this church.
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Keith Boyette: How can I have confidence in its leadership and and and to those who are are not Christians, I mean they see what what is happening is the height of hypocrisy you do.
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Keith Boyette: One thing.
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Keith Boyette: But you're doing.
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Keith Boyette: Something else yeah Why do I want to be part of a group, like that.
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Andy Miller III: yeah sure so so now that will make a transition here to what's happening now, let me see if I can summarize, and then you correct me if whenever I fact I get wrong.
00:26:40.110 --> 00:26:47.160
Andy Miller III: So there is a group that form, called the Western covenant association a couple years ago and it was made up of leaders all around and you.
00:26:47.520 --> 00:26:59.760
Andy Miller III: ended up becoming the institutional kind of like executive of that group but churches would would be a part of that or association which was helping to connect orthodox wesleyan groups around.
00:27:00.360 --> 00:27:11.010
Andy Miller III: Around the world, and then that's then leading into the announcement of this group that will is or will be that's where I need to help the global Methodist Church, which is a new expression at church and there's been.
00:27:11.280 --> 00:27:19.470
Andy Miller III: there's been an agreement rather not that comes in reality be interesting to hear from you that separates groups, and then there is like a some financial considerations, so that.
00:27:19.740 --> 00:27:34.890
Andy Miller III: The orthodox followers of Christ in the United Methodist church can start a new denomination and honestly I see this as an incredibly exciting time and I want to talk about that a minute, but correct me if I had if I missed anything, or I went over things too quickly there.
00:27:35.250 --> 00:27:41.010
Keith Boyette: Well, I think that is a really good nutshell kind of description of what has transpired.
00:27:41.790 --> 00:27:52.950
Keith Boyette: When the Wesley and covenant association was formed in October 2016 it had three primary purposes one was to contend for the Christian faith, as it has been historically.
00:27:53.790 --> 00:28:07.320
Keith Boyette: pronounced and practiced in the western tradition to to encourage those who hold to that position to give them courage and boldness and moving forward and to prepare for whatever.
00:28:07.830 --> 00:28:17.700
Keith Boyette: You know, might be necessary, as we went forward well after the events that we've just talked about it became clear let's say that at the 2019 General Conference.
00:28:18.030 --> 00:28:24.360
Keith Boyette: Instead of reaffirming the historic teachings the proposal to adopt the one church plan head prevail.
00:28:24.660 --> 00:28:38.640
Keith Boyette: Well, that would have been a clear sign along the lines of what you said earlier that it was time for those of us who held to a story position to to depart from the church and we would have we would have done that, by forming a new denomination.
00:28:39.840 --> 00:28:47.820
Keith Boyette: When when, in the aftermath showed the dysfunction in the United Methodist church and it became clear that we were going to have to.
00:28:48.300 --> 00:28:54.840
Keith Boyette: All of us all united Methodist we're going to have to consider amicable separation, that is when.
00:28:55.470 --> 00:29:01.950
Keith Boyette: The protocol was negotiated I was part of the team that negotiated that Protocol.
00:29:02.310 --> 00:29:10.050
Keith Boyette: And it would permit new expressions of methodism to emerge from what is currently the United Methodist church.
00:29:10.350 --> 00:29:17.880
Keith Boyette: One of which would be what we call the post separation united Methodist Church, which would have a liberalized sexual ethic.
00:29:18.240 --> 00:29:34.590
Keith Boyette: Another which would be the global Methodist Church, which would continue to adhere to the historic Christian teachings and the Western tradition and the Western coveted association has been I like to use the term we've been the midwife.
00:29:34.890 --> 00:29:56.160
Keith Boyette: Okay yep bird the birth of this new expression of methodism it is information we haven't legally formed it and began operating, but we do have a transitional leadership Council made up of clergy and Laity men and women.
00:29:57.450 --> 00:30:03.870
Keith Boyette: From all around the world and i'm the chairperson of that transitional leadership Council and.
00:30:05.010 --> 00:30:22.980
Keith Boyette: sometime in the next year or so we're we're our goal would be to have the protocol adopted by General Conference, which would occur in August September of 2022 in adept points point the global Methodist church would begin to operate.
00:30:23.460 --> 00:30:32.340
Andy Miller III: wow it just think of this is excitement for this this period for people like my in laws down and Brenda Adams, who serve in leadership in South Georgia with the.
00:30:33.150 --> 00:30:49.710
Andy Miller III: Western coming association and gone to general conferences and fought and loved at the same time like to have opportunity to have a church that explicitly is connected to Orthodox Christian teaching but it's also an opportunity Keith i'm interested to.
00:30:51.510 --> 00:31:04.500
Andy Miller III: to reshape some things that might have gotten on online in other areas i'm curious what else might change in the global Methodist church beyond affirming.
00:31:05.010 --> 00:31:16.200
Andy Miller III: I know you you're not it's not like you're the if you're in the Salvation Army, you can make this decision you'd be that you could be the general right, but I understand that there'll be a process by which these things are adopted, but.
00:31:16.650 --> 00:31:19.530
Andy Miller III: What do you imagine might change in this future church.
00:31:19.950 --> 00:31:27.570
Keith Boyette: Sir, and we say that the human sexuality issue is just the presenting issue it's what.
00:31:27.570 --> 00:31:42.060
Keith Boyette: As yield the deep fractures in the church and I submit that every generation has to fight these battles, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, is he God is the Lord.
00:31:43.050 --> 00:31:58.710
Keith Boyette: You know, are we subject to his lordship what is the Bible, is it the word of God, what authority does it have, what are the parameters in which we are to interpret the word of God.
00:31:59.400 --> 00:32:12.360
Keith Boyette: And and, and so it just happens to be in our generation that this has been thought out over and around how we define marriage and how we define ordination standards, but the deeper issues, our first.
00:32:12.990 --> 00:32:28.830
Keith Boyette: The United Methodist church has has adopted and has greatly expanded the commitment to theological pluralism yeah which which basically allows different beliefs, to add here in the same body, which leads to a lot of this fracturing.
00:32:30.030 --> 00:32:45.420
Keith Boyette: We are committed the global Methodist Church is committed to the core foundational doctrines of the church universal amen so grounded in the historic curried some confessions of faith, as then given voice through.
00:32:46.230 --> 00:33:02.160
Keith Boyette: The classic doctrine documents of methodism the articles of religion in the confession of faith and the Wesley Wesley sermons and those sorts of things, so we have we have a theological alignment which.
00:33:02.640 --> 00:33:11.610
Keith Boyette: says there are basically basic core doctrines that are not subject to disagreement, if you are part of this church.
00:33:11.760 --> 00:33:17.700
Keith Boyette: Right, we can have disagreements within those broad boundaries right, though, that the.
00:33:18.180 --> 00:33:31.620
Keith Boyette: The guardrails basically number one number two the Church, the United Methodist church over its history has become much more institutional much more bureaucratic.
00:33:32.520 --> 00:33:50.250
Keith Boyette: It has developed a huge infrastructure that the local churches are having to support and and yet it's not getting the return in terms of ministry that all of that is costing to keep up so we believe in a much.
00:33:51.630 --> 00:34:15.660
Keith Boyette: leaner, more streamlined church structure that is more focused from the grassroots level up instead of being top heavy directing things from the top down, and so that that works out in all kinds of ways, it affects how we we view connection of funding.
00:34:16.800 --> 00:34:29.190
Keith Boyette: It affects how Laity are involved in in the ministry in their local church, the local church gets to define its mission field and how it's going to reach that mission field.
00:34:29.520 --> 00:34:40.290
Keith Boyette: It means we have a more permission giving environment and we stake the broad principles, but you as a local church determine how you're going to be your.
00:34:40.650 --> 00:34:57.180
Keith Boyette: Your obligation to your mission field, and you don't have to go through layers of approval in order to get permission to do that, it means that church planting and church revitalization and church development is much more locally.
00:34:58.680 --> 00:35:01.080
Keith Boyette: situated, rather than being.
00:35:02.130 --> 00:35:23.910
Keith Boyette: dictated from on high, and so, so all of this is intended to create more of a movement, then a bureaucracy, an institution, because some of the struggles, we have had in the United Methodist church have related to the fact that our bishops have a life tenure.
00:35:25.710 --> 00:35:37.320
Keith Boyette: We will have term limited bishops so that that kind of addresses some of the power dynamics and we we are reimagining.
00:35:38.220 --> 00:35:55.680
Keith Boyette: The office of Bishop to be a bunch more episodic in entrepreneurial and it's focused and not so much consumed with administrative responsibilities so that the Bishop becomes more of a visionary vision casting mentor.
00:35:57.150 --> 00:36:00.240
Keith Boyette: developer of pastors and churches.
00:36:01.290 --> 00:36:04.350
Keith Boyette: keeps the Church, more focused outwardly.
00:36:05.490 --> 00:36:08.100
Keith Boyette: On on what you know what is to occur.
00:36:09.390 --> 00:36:13.020
Keith Boyette: We, we have focused on how.
00:36:14.040 --> 00:36:36.270
Keith Boyette: We want to simplify and make more theologically consistent, the way in which we order ministry the ordained ministry and so we've made a number of changes in that area that we believe put us more in line with where the church historically has been in those areas.
00:36:37.650 --> 00:36:38.970
Keith Boyette: So there's so many things.
00:36:39.000 --> 00:36:47.580
Keith Boyette: yeah our focus, by the way, I would say, you know, the primary mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
00:36:47.670 --> 00:37:09.030
Keith Boyette: amen and and and yet the the Church has woefully failed in that disciple making priority in in the recent in recent decades, and so we have given a lot of attention to what we call transformative discipleship.
00:37:10.470 --> 00:37:19.530
Keith Boyette: Well, we may not call them fast meetings and bands, that the Wesley brothers instituted in the Methodist movement early on.
00:37:20.580 --> 00:37:28.590
Keith Boyette: A significant emphasis upon accountable discipleship where we are shaped and formed in Christian community.
00:37:30.360 --> 00:37:42.270
Keith Boyette: Responding to the sanctified grace of God being increasingly transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we increasingly embody the character of Jesus.
00:37:42.750 --> 00:37:49.440
Keith Boyette: With with the heart and passion of Jesus to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
00:37:50.280 --> 00:38:00.600
Keith Boyette: But that that that is a major focus of where we're where we're headed and we're very clear on that being the mission of the Church, we believe, as we.
00:38:01.080 --> 00:38:16.740
Keith Boyette: Major in that the the other things that are part of seeing the world transformed, and all of that will flow naturally from the transform lives of people who increasingly have the character of Jesus operating in their lives.
00:38:16.980 --> 00:38:29.610
Andy Miller III: amen oh I love hearing all this that's exciting time and it just reminds us all of us need to be in prayer for our friends who are going to be a part of the GMC as a shape this we are, we are, by the way.
00:38:29.670 --> 00:38:35.100
Andy Miller III: In prayer for you, I want to highlight this is really me first talk about talk about theology.
00:38:35.400 --> 00:38:41.400
Andy Miller III: And I loved that emphasis, of course, this means a move, and we talked about this actually on a podcast that came out recently.
00:38:41.970 --> 00:38:51.030
Andy Miller III: Highlighting my mentor at Perkins School of Theology billy Abraham a move away from the Western podger lateral if you, you heard that couldn't go back and listen to that so.
00:38:51.270 --> 00:39:00.510
Andy Miller III: The move towards theological pluralism was accompanied by an embrace of the so called wesleyan quadrilateral there's a move away from that I love that Secondly, the governance issue.
00:39:00.750 --> 00:39:14.580
Andy Miller III: This is huge now like, as far as I don't know if you would say that you're moving away from an itinerant system towards a congregational system is maybe some a hybrid between the two, but certainly within itinerant.
00:39:14.880 --> 00:39:20.370
Andy Miller III: episcopal denominations and I don't mean that I mean that with the sense of episcopal being the governing system for.
00:39:20.370 --> 00:39:24.600
Andy Miller III: The Church just for my listeners, I know you get that Keith but the, the idea is like.
00:39:25.200 --> 00:39:39.540
Andy Miller III: That the ownership and the calling of pastors comes from the top and they're sent as opposed to the church having a buy in in in within the Salvation Army and then the United Methodist church if you're just a poll.
00:39:40.590 --> 00:39:50.070
Andy Miller III: People who we talked about their key frustrations, it would be related to the nature of what happens with their their pastor maybe they get one they don't like maybe they get they lose one that they do like.
00:39:50.610 --> 00:39:59.430
Andy Miller III: And, as somebody who's been a part of that type of system for so long, I grew up in it, I was moved around because I was a kid and as an adult man.
00:40:00.570 --> 00:40:06.570
Andy Miller III: It certainly move it can disable local congregations from having buy in.
00:40:06.990 --> 00:40:19.410
Andy Miller III: I had one car HR is sent where they were hoping I would come and I did come wasn't I busting and I had never congregation or maybe that maybe I wasn't there number one choice i'm sorry to say, I mean why wouldn't anybody want me to be there, I don't know but.
00:40:20.670 --> 00:40:30.240
Andy Miller III: It was and so like you have some of these eggs or they don't even know exist right and there's something about like the church accompanying the pastor and buying into process.
00:40:31.200 --> 00:40:43.740
Andy Miller III: I can you go back to that idea is like do you feel like you're is it is it embrace a congregational ISM is in a move away from Tennessee or is it a corrective of a over power overly powerful itinerary.
00:40:44.370 --> 00:40:46.980
Keith Boyette: Well, I would, I would say, certainly it's a corrective.
00:40:47.370 --> 00:41:07.530
Keith Boyette: Okay, that is a major part of this, you know I I think this shows how desperately we need God and how inadequate, we are as human beings, I don't think there is a perfect system for deployment of clergy, there are advantages and disadvantages of a congregational system.
00:41:07.830 --> 00:41:17.430
Keith Boyette: There are energies and disadvantages of a connection will sense system, we are committed to being a connection church.
00:41:18.240 --> 00:41:28.710
Keith Boyette: We are under authority, all of us, including bishops were all under authority, and we are sent, but we believe that.
00:41:29.550 --> 00:41:34.590
Keith Boyette: The members of local Churches ought to have an enhanced role.
00:41:35.100 --> 00:41:47.880
Keith Boyette: In that discernment process, in other words, they shouldn't be passive recipients of decisions made on their behalf, into which they have had little input and I are.
00:41:48.240 --> 00:42:06.750
Keith Boyette: filling out a form that is turned in to be the kind of input, they need to be meaningfully involved in the discernment now, we have set apart individuals who have we will, in the global Methodist church, who will be deployed to the office of Bishop.
00:42:08.040 --> 00:42:20.370
Keith Boyette: It is on us to select the right women and men to serve in that position if we don't then we get the consequences of that.
00:42:20.790 --> 00:42:43.020
Keith Boyette: Okay, so we can we can design systems, all we want, we can write legislation, all we want, if you have bad actors placed into a good system, the good system is not going to remedy for failures of those bad actors Okay, so how we discern.
00:42:44.100 --> 00:42:48.360
Keith Boyette: select elect and deployed bishops is a huge thing.
00:42:49.410 --> 00:42:54.630
Keith Boyette: But, but so that's part of our system that increases the involvement.
00:42:54.960 --> 00:42:56.550
Keith Boyette: Of the people of God.
00:42:57.090 --> 00:43:13.620
Keith Boyette: The Laity and those who've been set apart as clergy in that process but but, once the persons are bishops our system, what I like to refer to the system that we hope will emerge, and this is one of those places where I can't speak authoritative Lee.
00:43:13.620 --> 00:43:14.100
Andy Miller III: Because I.
00:43:14.700 --> 00:43:27.240
Keith Boyette: think the decision on this has been to be made by our convening General Conference, but my hope is that we will end up with what I like to call a modified sent system.
00:43:27.540 --> 00:43:47.700
Keith Boyette: It will still be a sense system where the Bishop will appoint the pastor to a local congregation but as part of that process of the Bishop appointing that person, there will have been significant involvement of the Laity of that local church in.
00:43:48.930 --> 00:44:08.460
Keith Boyette: Essentially, defining evaluating persons who might be considered and expressing their preferences to inform the Bishop if I were a bishop and that's not something i've ever aspired to be nor will I have the opportunity, because this is my last rodeo.
00:44:08.640 --> 00:44:09.990
Andy Miller III: Okay gotcha.
00:44:10.530 --> 00:44:23.220
Keith Boyette: what's the globe Methodist churches launched, you know I will I will fulfilled my, at least at this point, unless God changes my calling Okay, but i'm not aspiring to that office, but if I were ever a bishop.
00:44:24.240 --> 00:44:33.180
Keith Boyette: In trusted with the really heavy responsibility of determining the primary clergy leadership for a group of people.
00:44:33.720 --> 00:44:39.780
Keith Boyette: I would welcome the input and discernment of that group of people.
00:44:40.110 --> 00:44:52.350
Keith Boyette: They know themselves best now I may see things that they don't see and I might need to filter that with through that with them, but I would want their insights and that's what we're striving.
00:44:52.650 --> 00:45:03.660
Keith Boyette: To achieve in the system that we're trying to develop, so that there is more buy in from the Laity more empowerment of the Laity but there will be a higher level of commitment.
00:45:04.170 --> 00:45:13.860
Keith Boyette: On the part of both the Laity and the clergy, who are serving to this overall process, we also are committed to a longer tenure for pastors.
00:45:15.150 --> 00:45:25.590
Keith Boyette: The you know, the current system, some pastors served for a number of years, but others or maybe only there for four years, three or four years and then they're moved on.
00:45:26.790 --> 00:45:38.700
Keith Boyette: And that occurs some time for no reason it's related to their current church assignment, but because the need elsewhere, well, we hope that this system will result in longer 10 years.
00:45:39.270 --> 00:45:54.270
Keith Boyette: And that there will be less of those unexpected calls where both the the clergy person in the congregation suddenly find out that their life has been turned upside down by a change in pastoral leadership.
00:45:54.690 --> 00:46:12.990
Andy Miller III: wow what a huge opportunity, it reminds me of Alexander Hamilton here at the the early days like trying to see into a future where these problems might be into to get the legislation or the the policies in place that can implement them what a task What will this mean for.
00:46:14.070 --> 00:46:24.450
Andy Miller III: I mean, I guess that the the convening General Conference or whatever it might be called will shape the how localized This is like will there still be.
00:46:25.560 --> 00:46:31.290
Andy Miller III: A Mississippi conference or Georgia Connor I mean all those things aren't determined yet right or.
00:46:31.320 --> 00:46:39.600
Keith Boyette: That that's essentially correct, so I think it may be helpful to your your viewers and listeners to to kind of hear the process.
00:46:40.740 --> 00:46:51.720
Keith Boyette: We will legally form and launch probably begin operations, probably 12 to 18 months before we have our convening General Conference.
00:46:51.780 --> 00:46:57.180
Keith Boyette: Okay, so, just like in the United Methodist church and many other churches.
00:46:58.350 --> 00:47:06.240
Keith Boyette: When convening Conference cannot find another convening Conference, so the convening General Conference really will have the ability to come in.
00:47:06.780 --> 00:47:17.040
Keith Boyette: And essentially if they want to start from scratch, but we have the transitional leadership Council that I referred to, has.
00:47:17.760 --> 00:47:31.260
Keith Boyette: adopted a transitional book of doctrines and discipline and that that book of doctrines and discipline will govern our movement from our legal formation until we get to that convening General Conference.
00:47:31.290 --> 00:47:38.070
Keith Boyette: gotcha now there are different ways that churches may become part of the.
00:47:39.180 --> 00:47:47.610
Keith Boyette: Of the global Methodist church under the protocol, and one of those ways is that an entire conference within the United Methodist church.
00:47:47.910 --> 00:48:03.330
Keith Boyette: may be able to vote that they want to leave the United Methodist church and align with the global Methodist church, so if the Mississippi conference, for example, did that they would you know stay together as the Mississippi conference.
00:48:03.690 --> 00:48:04.290
Andy Miller III: In a.
00:48:04.620 --> 00:48:06.150
Keith Boyette: Global Methodist church.
00:48:08.010 --> 00:48:26.580
Keith Boyette: There may be changes down the road in conference boundaries and that sort of thing I don't know I mean we got to get there to know it, but let's assume that the Mississippi conference did not vote as a whole to come, but there were a couple hundred churches and Mississippi.
00:48:26.970 --> 00:48:31.710
Keith Boyette: That said, we're leaving the United Methodist church we're aligning with the global Methodist.
00:48:31.710 --> 00:48:37.980
Keith Boyette: church well during that transitional period, the transitional leadership Council will.
00:48:38.790 --> 00:48:49.800
Keith Boyette: collect churches into annual conferences, where they will begin to function and when we get to the convening General Conference by then we will probably have a better picture.
00:48:50.250 --> 00:49:07.080
Keith Boyette: of where the churches are that are going to be part of the new to domination and we will work through the process of defining boundaries for conferences and that sort of thing you know it's it's yeah first if God had told me in.
00:49:08.280 --> 00:49:16.440
Keith Boyette: The the January of 2017 what would be involved in this role, I know I would have run the other way.
00:49:18.060 --> 00:49:25.740
Keith Boyette: He really had to compel me to put my name into this because I knew it was a daunting task but.
00:49:25.770 --> 00:49:32.250
Keith Boyette: right that my new shirt involved in creating a denomination is literally overwhelming.
00:49:32.700 --> 00:49:33.540
Andy Miller III: I can't imagine.
00:49:33.930 --> 00:49:37.890
Keith Boyette: And then, and then, then when you deal with people who are saying you know what.
00:49:38.340 --> 00:49:52.560
Keith Boyette: I want answers to specific questions, so I know and have some security, but I also, at the same time, want to have a significant role in defining what that future entity is going to be.
00:49:52.920 --> 00:50:03.000
Keith Boyette: Well, you can't have both you know I can't give you specific answers and yet leave as much as I can to you so that's why we've adopted this transitional period.
00:50:03.300 --> 00:50:15.420
Keith Boyette: I think most people will find what has been adopted in the transitional book of doctrines and discipline to conform to what the majority of people in our movement would desire.
00:50:15.900 --> 00:50:16.560
Keith Boyette: But the more.
00:50:17.010 --> 00:50:29.520
Keith Boyette: Controversial things are, the more radical changes, I guess, I would say, are things that we have not put into the transitional book of doctrines and discipline, we will let the convening General Conference.
00:50:29.940 --> 00:50:30.540
Keith Boyette: To say that.
00:50:30.720 --> 00:50:33.150
Andy Miller III: yeah you can always pass it on to them.
00:50:33.540 --> 00:50:33.930
You can find.
00:50:35.910 --> 00:50:45.810
Andy Miller III: It interesting you know there's a couple of of similarities, I think, within my damage, I think that our COP and we'll call it the close up here soon, but the idea of often.
00:50:46.560 --> 00:50:55.410
Andy Miller III: i've been one who is publicly and imprint and it's even in Salvation Army publications advocated for the Salvation Army to re introduced introduced the.
00:50:56.130 --> 00:51:08.670
Andy Miller III: institute the practice of the traditional President sacraments you know the argument is that most of the time, people have me oh Andy you're right you're right from the Bible, and we understand where it's coming from but it's just too hard to change.
00:51:08.730 --> 00:51:10.050
Andy Miller III: To company or.
00:51:10.080 --> 00:51:17.430
Andy Miller III: The other thing that comes up, I imagine, like the international leadership of the Salvation Army struggles with this like they're looking at Okay, we have these diverging.
00:51:18.060 --> 00:51:29.010
Andy Miller III: What we call Commissioner or Bishop diverging bishops divergent Commissioners and these territories, particularly Western Europe well it's too complicated to really hold people accountable as to.
00:51:29.370 --> 00:51:34.710
Andy Miller III: Like We just have to hold together and let's not let's not really apply discipline in this area.
00:51:35.100 --> 00:51:43.110
Andy Miller III: But what you've shown over 45 minutes or an hour of us talking is it's worth I will, this is my my assessment it's worth getting in a fight.
00:51:43.350 --> 00:51:53.190
Andy Miller III: And there is a way forward if there is a way to work through conflict it's not good enough just to stand back and say that's a mess, but it is worth it, to fight through it.
00:51:54.000 --> 00:51:59.100
Keith Boyette: Absolutely, I mean you know, look at the first century church.
00:51:59.160 --> 00:51:59.760
Andy Miller III: hey go.
00:52:00.330 --> 00:52:14.940
Keith Boyette: admission expanded from reaching the Jews to beginning to reach gentiles and how what they had to navigate in terms of what requirements would be placed upon the gentiles to be fully Christian.
00:52:15.750 --> 00:52:25.350
Keith Boyette: And I mean that's That was a huge conflict but they managed to navigate it under the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
00:52:26.190 --> 00:52:41.430
Keith Boyette: Who are we to say that the kinds of things that we're wrestling with are things that God cannot ultimately resolve for us if we will submit ourselves to him the Church is not a democratic institution.
00:52:44.070 --> 00:52:59.550
Keith Boyette: So we don't just sit back and take a vote, I was i've been reading the Book of acts over and over again recently someone challenged me they said when they started their ministry, the first 30 days of their ministry they read the book of acts every day.
00:52:59.760 --> 00:53:17.970
Keith Boyette: For 30 days and so so i'm way into my ministry, but that was a challenge to me, so I went i've been back reading through the Book of acts every day, and you know the the important decision of what disciple was going to replace Judas amongst the 12.
00:53:18.990 --> 00:53:35.490
Keith Boyette: You know they they obviously went through a selection process and they they narrowed it down to Matthias and our service and and and then they then they they submitted to the casting of likes now, can you imagine.
00:53:35.730 --> 00:53:46.650
Keith Boyette: But enough confidence that God would be in the decision, they had raised up to individuals, both of which they felt were fully qualified.
00:53:47.100 --> 00:53:49.200
Keith Boyette: And then, they said God we're going to put.
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Keith Boyette: This in your hands, and this is the way we believe you're going to manifest it for us, you know we are we've chosen the name global Methodist church intentionally.
00:54:01.380 --> 00:54:09.810
Keith Boyette: Now there are those who question our choice of names because they're they're harkening back to the political battles of the 50s and.
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Keith Boyette: The globalization movement and all of that kind of stuff it has nothing to do with that it is a statement that we intend to be a church for the entire world, and then any intend to be a church that.
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Keith Boyette: Is impacted by Christians around the world that, as you know, I recently made a trip to Nairobi Kenya, where I met with 16 African leaders.
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Keith Boyette: Their their ministry their context, the issues they have to confront on a daily basis or very different from the issues that we have to face here in the United States.
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Keith Boyette: And it is hard work to listen and to navigate and to try to understand what each other's struggles are and to then enter into a season of prayer when we seek the mind of Christ, for how we navigate that, but it is.
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Keith Boyette: I think that's the work we're called to do, and so I would challenge your colleagues in the Salvation Army, that it is not Okay, just to say what we're going to let each person do what is right in their own eyes.
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Keith Boyette: but rather that we are called in the midst of this to humbly submit ourselves to that season of prayer and discernment.
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Keith Boyette: To our searching of the scriptures and and to finding the way we go forward together in unity, because we're under the under the lordship of Christ.
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Andy Miller III: amen beautiful they.
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Andy Miller III: My friends, this this podcast is called more to the story.
00:55:47.880 --> 00:55:55.110
Andy Miller III: And the reason we use that name is there's there's a theological reason there's more than just getting saved there's also the process of sanctify and grace that we get to experience.
00:55:55.410 --> 00:56:05.310
Andy Miller III: But also there's more to the story just saying oh there's liberal and conservative methodists you see there's much more to it and Keith has helped us into that but you're also curious Keith is there, more to the story of Keith boy yet.
00:56:06.240 --> 00:56:18.060
Keith Boyette: Sure, when I am not doing this sort of thing I enjoy time with family, I have my my wife, I have three children, I have four grandchildren, with an additional one on the way to.
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Andy Miller III: move away.
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Keith Boyette: that's huge I also I love the outdoors I love kayaking I love you know working in the woods around my house i've just been moving with it's been split so i'm a little sore.
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Keith Boyette: yeah I enjoy that physical activity, I am refreshed and renewed by Community by relationships by the communion of saints, so I love reading i'm always reading.
00:56:48.930 --> 00:56:49.830
Keith Boyette: So there's much more.
00:56:50.040 --> 00:56:52.020
Keith Boyette: To be this battle, let me tell you.
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Andy Miller III: hey man i'm glad you have that i'm sure it's nice to go back out that would shed a little bit.
00:56:56.910 --> 00:56:58.470
Andy Miller III: When you're dealing with some of these battles.
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Keith Boyette: yeah it's cathartic.
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Andy Miller III: Thank you Keith so much for your time it's a blessing, and no of our prayers for you and in all those in the Wesleyan covenant association in the coming global Methodist church.
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Keith Boyette: Thank you Andy it's been a real joy and delight to be part of this today.