Visions for the UMC Part Two with Rob Renfroe
June 22, 2023
The last part of my six-part series on denominations and their future comes out today. These conversations have been heavy because they represent important issues for our time. Denominations are at a crossroads. Today I finish with a conversation with Rob Renfroe who is the president of Good News for United Methodists.
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Welcome to the more to the story podcast this is the very last episode in the series. I have been running in the summer of 2,023
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Andy Miller III: highlighting the futures of 3 denominations that I cared deeply about. That's the savage army, the church in Nazarene and the United Methodist Church and the Global Methodist Church. So today we have the final episode, hearing from a voice in the United Methodist Church, particularly from the Conservative side. But you're going to have to wait just a second because, I want to let you know that this podcast is brought to you by Wesley Biblical Seminary, where we are developing trusted leaders
00:12:14.340 --> 00:12:35.420
Andy Miller III: for faithful churches. And we do that by serving a host of the nominations and independent churches, and we think there are faithful churches all over the world who are looking for passers, particularly with the emergence of the Global Methodist Church. An exciting thing for Wesley has been that we are in this position where we've been approved by gold Methodist church, and our course of study has been approved.
00:12:35.420 --> 00:12:53.259
Andy Miller III: so that in the last 6 weeks we have had 150 students accepted into our course of study program and the number is growing. So we are so excited to serve the Gold Method church. In addition to the other denominations that we have historically served. So you can check us out at Wbs. Edu.
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Andy Miller III: Secondly, I'm thankful to my friend Bill Roberts for sponsoring this. Podcast he is a financial planner who does that from a Christian perspective. And he's particularly good with helping people who do who are like dealing with housing allowances and helping pastors think about the market when that's not something that
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Andy Miller III: we normally do. Also, I want you to know that I have a study available and a very special offer because our guest. Last time I I randomly throughout an offer.
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Andy Miller III: When he was on the podcast. Last time, I decided to put out there again my study of the little book of Jude. 6 video, 6 sessions that walks small groups and Sunday school classes through those 25 powerful verses I am offering a
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Andy Miller III: 50 off that study for your small group, your sunny school class. If you enter the code Gmc. Or you, Mc, we'll see which one gets the most may the best denomination win, we'll see. So I'm excited to be. I'll offer that at this time. All right. Well, it's I'm really glad to invite my friend in Rob Renfro, Reverend Rob Renfro, who serves as the president of good news. He's a retired elder from the united method.
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He served in a local church for many years. Rob, welcome back to the podcast
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Rob Renfroe: thank you, Dr. Miller. It's exciting to be here with you and man. What great news to hear about that course, to study. And how many are connecting with you guys? I'm so glad you all are going to be right from the very beginning putting your DNA into the Gmc. And helping us be a truly Biblical Westland Orthodox Church, but with a real heart for people and for service. So I'm thrilled that you're doing that. Oh, it's it's it's been awesome. They are so hungry. The students who have come in
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Andy Miller III: through the course of study. I I I'm sorry. I'll I'll reveal some of my cards as I show this. But we have had students right us who've been
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Andy Miller III: in other seminaries. Course of study program. And just in the first week they've been emotional. They've said we've never prayed at the beginning of a class before, and I know that sounds silly to say to some people, but it's like this is what they've been looking for. And also it's a challenging situation. Our one thing we're doing is that
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Andy Miller III: people who go through the course of study
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Rob Renfroe: can take it, and they can then pay an additional fee, and to convert that to a master's credit, too, so excellent, very cool. I'm turning this into commercial, but it's that's worth advertising, man.
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Andy Miller III: So if people can become a full elder for $8,000, and they can do it all online, and they can become a deacon for $4,000. And they could do that very quickly. They could do it in 2 or 2 to 5 years.
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Andy Miller III: Okay, sorry. I can't help that. That's run through my mind all the time. We're really so happy to serve that. So so, Rob, you know, we've had you on the podcast before. But today, just in case, people don't know the format. I've talked to this people in Salvish Army who have 2 different perspectives of the future of the savage army of global Methodist Church. And now the United Methodist Church, really focusing on the 9 Methods church in last week.
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Andy Miller III: I publish a podcast with Adam Hamilton. And I'm guessing, you're going to have a very different perspective than him. But I'm asking you both the exact same questions, and I'm not here to debate you rather than my point is to pull out as much as I can questions just to offer some clarity, so people can hear those answers.
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Rob Renfroe: Good. I'll begin just by saying that Adam and I see some things very differently, but I have a great respect
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Rob Renfroe: for him. He's been a great leader at his church. He has a myths organizational and intellectual capabilities. he works very, very hard, and he's made himself available for the denomination all throughout. So even though we do see some things very differently.
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Rob Renfroe: He knows that he admit it as well as I do. We've been in many conversations together. I don't want it, and you're not saying it up this way. I don't want to see it as a debate between Adam and and me, because, we're just gonna talk about different of opinions, and I wish I haven't. Very well.
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Andy Miller III: Yeah. And he said something very similar. You would anticipate that to a very cordial conversation we had, and he recognize that he and I are different, and I've tried to keep that at check as best I can through these various conversations, Rob, before we get started. You want to just give us a quick
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Rob Renfroe: Who? Who is Robin for a type of piece? I gave a little introduction to you, but tell us a little about yourself. Well, I grew up in a
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Rob Renfroe: one United Methodist until 1,968. I was born in 1955, but I grew up in a Methodist, then a United Methodist Church. And if your listeners have seen the Jesus Revolution right at the tell end of that. Somebody came to be our summer youth directors before we had real youth pastors and and all year long.
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Rob Renfroe: and he was a a part of that movement, and he was the strandest
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Rob Renfroe: a guy you've ever met in your life. When he showed up we didn't really We weren't charmed by him. I will tell you that. And he ended up leaving us all to Jesus, and that summer, and his name is Eddie Wills, and I'm eternally grateful that my, you know I methods church brought him in. I'm not certainly knew what they were doing, but they brought him in. I'm grateful for that.
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Rob Renfroe: and I'm very full to him on the impact he's had on my life, my brother's life, and many, many of us. And that's when I really became a you know, a a conscious follower of Jesus Christ, and I'll tell you some, and he is really
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Rob Renfroe: back at that time. God, I think.
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Rob Renfroe: put something in my hardness. It's funny that he did. One was, I realized there were other really good people in the United Methodist Church who had never really heard that they needed to accept Christ. Personally, I think the message that we've gotten growing up. Maybe I just didn't hear it, but I think I'm telling you correctly it was, let's be good people. God loves us. Jesus is a great example. Maybe they talked about His being our Savior. But there was never that.
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Rob Renfroe: Yeah, you need to come to Jesus moment. Okay, it's more than being good. People have been influenced by the teachings of Jesus is having this personal commitment to a born again experience.
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Rob Renfroe: And so I realized that there are a lot of good people going to church every week that we're not hearing that, and I wish I could tell you my call to ministry with some big lightning bulk experience. I always wish I had that, but it was just like, Lord, you know. How long did folks send them methods, please? No one's telling them how to accept Christ, and I think I should do that unless you stop me.
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Rob Renfroe: I I think that's what I'm supposed to do. So that that was kind of my call. So I wanted to tell people about Jesus in particular, people were coming to church and not hearing it, and the other thing very early on. I just realized even back then. So at that time I would have been like 17 years old.
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Rob Renfroe: You know I Methodist church is in trouble.
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Rob Renfroe: I looked at the pastors who were coming to our church. We had one.
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Rob Renfroe: and this guy could not
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Rob Renfroe: find the Book of Romans, and he certainly couldn't explain it to us when we had a Bible study.
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Rob Renfroe: And I tell you this, this would have been again in the seventies. This was kind of coming out of the Vietnam war, and even then a lot of the gospel of social activism and and fighting against the war, which is fine. But there, again was nothing that was rooting as to a real close relationship with correct. And so
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Rob Renfroe: back. Then I just realized I need to do something to help you. And I method. I need to tell people how to accept Jesus and God. I think you have something for me to do to help you, and I messages church. And so I did some things in my conference, and then Dr. Kinson, who was at first Methodist. He got me connected with the confessing movement.
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Rob Renfroe: served as a president of that. It's kind of a figurehead position. I'm not demeaning it, but we had to have had an executive director, Pat Miller, who's done a great job running it.
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Rob Renfroe: And then I became president of good news, and that's more than a figurehead position. It's real working position. But my heart is always been in the local church. So I've served a number of different churches. Last church I served was the Woodlands method just north of Houston was there this second go around? It was there right when I came out of seminary, but this last time for 21 years, and have we had.
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Rob Renfroe: you know, 25 different mission trips to the Latin America been to Africa 3 times, and serving God's people, serving a local church, helping people be engaged in serving the poor and the needy coming to real faith in Christ. That's really been my heart.
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Andy Miller III: The opportunity to be able just put these out there in a way to demonstrate, like you do this out of a love for this tradition that you've been a part of so thanks for setting the stage for that. So my first question is this, if I was a reporter for the BBC. And I asked you to explain what is going on in the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.A.
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Andy Miller III: What would your answer be?
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Rob Renfroe: I would say. Back in 1,968 United Methodist Church was formed, and even at that time. It was a very diverse group of people, not so much diverse in terms of ethnicity or sociological levels or groupings.
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Rob Renfroe: but theologically, there were some who would describe themselves as very liberal. There would be, others would describe themselves as very conservative. And there'd be people somewhere in the middle. and
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Rob Renfroe: the differences today are about sexuality. Those are the ones that come to the 4. But they've always been these deeper issues, even from the very beginning, and many of us realize that I mean as soon as we I, as soon as I became a pastor, if not before I realized we were 2 different tribes. And so there's some up. As to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith. What we use to describe orthodoxy I'm not going to mention all of them, but things like the Trinity, things like the
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Rob Renfroe: a divinity of Jesus, the fact that He died on the cross
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Rob Renfroe: for our sense that he was physically a resurrect. No doctrines, we would say, are essential for the Christian faith. Then you have people that are that are progressive, some of whom say, those things are not essential for the faith, and we would even have some progressives and I messages church pastors, perhaps bishops
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Rob Renfroe: who would say they don't fully affirm those things. What's really much more important is that the the Church be a place where all people are accepted, where we fight for social justice and to kind of make the world a a better place, and we do it in the name of Jesus. And then there are those in the middle, the the day we call them Centrist, who may in some places come down a little closer to us, and other places come down to others.
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Rob Renfroe: But it became apparent that we are. I I would describe as 2 different tribes. We just have 2 different views about what God is calling us into the world to do and be with 2 different views about what it means to follow Jesus to different views about some of the most important theological doctrines. And so some of us have just come to the decision that we would be better by saying, God bless you.
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Rob Renfroe: and you take off and do what you think God is calling you to do. Let us take off and do what we think God is calling you to do. Kind of maybe you. You know, Paul, and barn of this moment, and
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Rob Renfroe: a, and then just be free to pursue our differences.
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Rob Renfroe: So it's been a difficult road. It's it. This is very late in coming, I can tell you. 20 years ago I knew this day would come, and we needed to find a way to get there. but so that's what it is. You've got 2 different tribes theologically, and it's just time to go our separate base.
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Andy Miller III: I saw an expression of that Recently. I think this statement came several months ago, but a bishop from Iowa said something like I I have have the quote there. it is an important. We agree on Jesus. Yeah, that she said that when she was running for Bishop.
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Rob Renfroe: And so, you know, it's very important to them that we all agree on a particular sexual ethic.
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Rob Renfroe: but it's not important to them that we all agree on who Jesus is. And if if she had said, hey? There's a lot of different ways to see Jesus. Some of us see it. And Boris Healer, some of this is Redeemer, some of the Lord, some is Savior. some is, you know, this faithful friend who gave his life there, there's a lot of different. But there was no nuance there. I mean just? Is it? Is it important? We all agree on Jesus? No, it's.
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Rob Renfroe: And that begins to tell you.
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Rob Renfroe: Understanding of Jesus.
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Rob Renfroe: is not something that we all agree upon.
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Rob Renfroe: And when you start getting to that level.
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Rob Renfroe: and when you understand some of the things that seminary professors and
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Rob Renfroe: pastors talking about Jesus, he's just one of many ways to God. some united messages, pastors who are just out. Are you probably seeing the recent articles saying Jesus did not die for our sins at that point. This may sound too harsh, but at that point I'd say it's not. We're just different tribes, and maybe different face. I mean Christian is Christ. I mean it. It's who He is, what He did for us, and if we have really divergent views on Him, we may not even have the same
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Andy Miller III: the same thing. It's interesting, because this is the third set of conversations I've had. The issue of Christology has come up in each one. And it's interesting to me. Part of the reason that comes about is there is basically in a certain progressive perspectives which suggest that Jesus was simply uninformed or wrong.
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Andy Miller III: And so I, this, this real it in. And you might think, Oh, okay, you're just kind of like, we have different interpretations about one or 2 verses like no, no, that that's not it. I like. This is a different, a different faith, you know you're so. One of our bishops
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Rob Renfroe: wrote a a post that Jesus, when he dealt with this our Phoenician woman
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Rob Renfroe: that he had to get over his prejudices and his bigotry to see her as a real person, and not to treat her according to her ethnicity and her gender.
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Rob Renfroe: So when I I spoke at a local church, who was thinking about this affiliation about this very thing, and of course I I sometimes tell people, if you don't know about the differences in the United Methodist church. When I describe to you some of them, I'm gonna sound like a crazy person, right? Because what I'm gonna tell you so far out there, I'm gonna sound like the guy walking around centuries ago telling everybody, Hey, the world's around. And you and everybody, you know, is certain that it's black, and I'll just sound like a nut case.
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Rob Renfroe: So I told him this, and they had a young man in the church. He was at that lunch who was going to Perkins Seminary, the one in in Dallas, one most of the folks in our annual conference had gone to.
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Rob Renfroe: and they said, Well, I'd like to hear what I forget his name. I'd like to hear what Jim says about this. He's going to seminary. And she said. actually a couple of weeks to go.
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Rob Renfroe: This very thing came up.
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Rob Renfroe: and many of the students said that Jesus was prejudiced and bigoted. And so, you know, they all the the folks.
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Rob Renfroe: even Centrist, want to tell you. These are just, you know, Rob, just like cherry picking. They're just a few little examples. And yeah, every group has their nut cases. And it is, that's not who we are. Look.
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Rob Renfroe: is that who the I message church is? We can debate. That is that something that the United Methodist church allows.
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Rob Renfroe: Yeah, it allows its pastors. It allows its professors. It allows. It's bishops to teach that Jesus was bigoted to say that he didn't die for our sense. Some will say it was not physically resurrected, I mean, if if you allow it.
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Andy Miller III: it doesn't matter if that's quote you, you've already given in, and you have allowed a huge camel's nose to get under your tip, man, and it's going to pull that Ted down eventually. Yeah, well, I I obviously, I think that that's a perspective that I I agree with you. And so I think we hear that. But that's not the perspective that others others would have. So the a big question in the second question I have is related to what's going to happen at the next General Conference in 2,020 or 2,026. Do you anticipate.
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Andy Miller III: or do you expect the book of Discipline to change the definition of marriage and the standard forordination.
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Rob Renfroe: Yeah, look, yes, I do. I mean, this is what progresses have been fighting for. This is what centrist
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Rob Renfroe: have said that we need to adopt. And some people are still under the misimpression. I just read something recently that maybe the language won't change, because we'll still have enough delegates from international churches and locals, and there'll be some remaining traditionalist
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Rob Renfroe: and together we'll hold the line one more time. Well, first of all, look at that math. We hold the line one more time or not. I mean, it doesn't matter if you have rules if nobody enforces them right. And we? We never said that The United States Church is going to change its articles of religion. The great doctrines we just said that our bishops are not going to enforce that people have to preach them and and and and teach them, but on this one
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Rob Renfroe: we will not have the votes to hold the line, we can we? We have very good vote counters, and we've got 3 or 4 of them, and they all compete. Every general conference to see who can get closest to what the actual vote will be, and they almost all get within one or 2 of the actual vote.
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Rob Renfroe: And they have looked at this very closely, and there is no way that we will hold the line. So this is something they said that they want to do. They need to do all 5 jurisdictions.
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Andy Miller III: Those are geographical areas, organizational areas within the United Methodist Church. In the Us. All 5 of them have passed resolution stating that they want to get rid of the present language in the Book of Discipline. So yeah, it's a foregoing conclusion that it will change. So so with that with with the fact, I mean. And I think and Adam said that too. I'm not given anything too much away like, yeah, he anticipates it to change. But with that.
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Andy Miller III: both on the conservative side and the Progressive side, there's There's some challenges with that. So like should traditionalists who have remain, you know Methodists be allowed at that point to pursue.
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Andy Miller III: options similar to what's existed now, like once the things change, once it change, because so many people have been said, well, just hold on, we'll see. It's not going to be that bad.
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Rob Renfroe: Yeah, you're exactly right. And and before I get there, let me just say, Look I
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Rob Renfroe: you know I wouldn't feel good about somebody in a different denomination, critiquing the Gmc. And telling the Gmc. Here all your problems here all your failures, and for those I'm still. Emc. okay, you are. You are still your. I'm going to stay in the 9 Methods church until the end of 2,024, because I want to go to General Conference. I want to
00:32:17.510 --> 00:32:47.260
Rob Renfroe: advocate for and partner with our our brothers and sisters, especially in international churches outside the Us. So that they can have the same pathway out that we've had. There's we may get into it. But for some technical reason I'm not saying there's anything that's been done wrong here, but it's been decided that the pathway that has allowed churches in the Us. To get out does not apply to them. So I'm staying in to help for that. So I'm still United Methodist. I get
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Rob Renfroe: that. I'm gonna leave. I get that people who are United Methodist or not really appreciative, that I'm still here. But that's the only reason I can feel good about talking about these issues, because I'm still part of the United Methodist Church.
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Rob Renfroe: so yeah, I I've heard bishops have said this. I've when I have
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Rob Renfroe: spoken in churches. I've had district superintendents and pastors follow up right behind me and tell the church you don't need to make any decision. We don't know where this is going. We don't know if they're going to be any changes. Wait and see. But what's happened is, and understandably so. The bishops are tired of this. This has been a very difficult season, not just for traditional churches trying to get out, but for them and for
00:33:33.680 --> 00:34:03.329
Rob Renfroe: so they are really ready, and even, I believe it was Bishop Bickerton who at their last council meeting, said, All right, let's be done with the d word. Let's get rid of. We're we're done with this affiliation at the end of this year, and let's move forward. It's like the whole. You can't do that yet, because you've had people representatives of the 9 Methodist church telling churches telling people don't leave. You don't have to decide. Now let's wait and see if there are any changes, then you can decide.
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Rob Renfroe: Well, if you've told them that you are on, or bound to keep that word. So yeah. Paragraph 2553, that is allowed churches to leave should either be reinstituted, or something very closely to it.
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Rob Renfroe: That just seems to me to be the honorable right just in and fair thing. I probably had a dozen conversations with people who are in churches that are staying, who are saying like, Well, I I'll wait till I see it like they'll wait for that that moment. Well, that's that's just a terrible mistake. I mean. God bless them! They're probably people believe the same things I do. But, man, if you cannot read the writing on the wall, you know. I I know it's hard to make these decisions. But
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Rob Renfroe: what we've told people is, you're very unlikely to get as good a deal or better a deal.
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Rob Renfroe: Then you're getting right now, because General Conference 2,024 is going to be more liberal than the last general Conference. We had your annual conference that has to vote on leading you out. Most many of the traditionalists will have left, so they're going to be more liberal. So the idea that if you just wait and see.
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Rob Renfroe: and that and then when things change, then you're gonna say, Hey, now we want out we're gonna work
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Rob Renfroe: because it's fair and just.
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Rob Renfroe: But it's gonna be a challenge. And man, if you can still get out by the end of this year. Get out it it's
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Rob Renfroe: And my mother used to say, none of us so blind as they who will not see, man, you've got to be really blind not to see that the United Methodist Church is changing, and it's going to keep changing. And it's going to get
00:35:50.070 --> 00:35:53.299
Rob Renfroe: further and further away from the church that people have known.
00:35:53.960 --> 00:36:07.629
Rob Renfroe: It's shifting gears a little bit. Do you support a plan to give international churches the same opportunities to disaffiliate that churches in the Us have possessed. Yeah, absolutely. And
00:36:10.020 --> 00:36:19.269
Rob Renfroe: I I I really want to believe that even though our bishops and other denominational leaders are ready to be done with this
00:36:19.500 --> 00:36:30.780
Rob Renfroe: that they want even for a second, contemplate not offering persons outside of the Us. The very same pathway out that we have had.
00:36:30.790 --> 00:36:32.769
Rob Renfroe: Sometimes.
00:36:32.940 --> 00:36:46.360
Rob Renfroe: you know, words get thrown back and forth one of the words, it's thrown at us all the time, because we work closely with people from Africa and the Philippines, that we're colonialists, that somehow we're using them, or we're buying them off and all that kind of stuff.
00:36:46.510 --> 00:36:57.929
Rob Renfroe: but, man, the definition of colonialists is, we've got one set of rules that privileges people in this country that do not work
00:36:57.960 --> 00:37:17.440
Rob Renfroe: for those that are for that are in developing under developed countries. So I just have to believe that those who are in charge of the United Methodist Church will want to create a pathway that will allow those churches to leave. And you know, Andy,
00:37:17.790 --> 00:37:20.680
Rob Renfroe: some people who are in the center.
00:37:20.720 --> 00:37:39.199
Rob Renfroe: they have, really crowed about the fact that some of the bishops in Africa said they reject the Wca. And they reject Africa initiative, which is the group of African leaders, pastors, and late persons that we work most closely with in Africa, and and that they're they're going to remain United Methodist
00:37:39.420 --> 00:37:43.830
Rob Renfroe: and Centrist and Progressive seen believe that so
00:37:43.840 --> 00:37:56.599
Rob Renfroe: great make an exit pass for the Africans. There won't be many going. According to your belief. It's not going to cost you much, so just give them a fair exit, and we'll see we'll see what happens.
00:37:57.080 --> 00:38:10.390
Andy Miller III: Yeah. well, I'll encourage people just to look at. They compare the answers there with the 2 different people who have answered that question. So the fourth question. So we'll keep moving here because I love to get through them all if I can.
00:38:10.460 --> 00:38:33.239
Andy Miller III: I love to talk. So you keep pushing me forward. Okay, I appreciate. It's easy for me to follow up and just talk, because because that that last issue any. There's all sorts of ramifications and implications behind that of what it means to be a global church. And the way that, like regionalization happens and every denomination I've talked to. By the way, Rob, there's the same thing as tactic is being tried.
00:38:33.250 --> 00:38:46.539
Rob Renfroe: I said I wasn't going to talk about it. And there I talked. I can go in. Well, you can call it a regionalization plan. I call it a segregation plan. Okay, we're gonna send People who don't look like you and me
00:38:47.260 --> 00:39:11.099
Rob Renfroe: people do. Don't have the finances. You and I do people. Many don't have the education you and I do. We're going to create a set of rule. We're going to set them over here so they can't really impact our church. As a matter of fact, Mark Pollen, who was president of Mainstream Umc. After the defeat of 2,019 for those who wanted to liberalize our point of view, he brought out an article that was absolutely incredible.
00:39:11.190 --> 00:39:21.590
Rob Renfroe: and it talked about the funding our work in after a book of those calls. Why would we want to fund people who don't appreciate or understand our culture.
00:39:21.770 --> 00:39:23.450
Rob Renfroe: not our theology.
00:39:23.470 --> 00:39:24.800
Rob Renfroe: It's culture.
00:39:24.930 --> 00:39:45.169
Rob Renfroe: Yeah. Yeah. So when when did Christians ever say, Hey, we gotta defend our culture. It's no. We're here to transform the culture to critique the culture where we do find good in it, we bless it, and we thank God for his pervenient grace. But we we're not here to defend American culture. I would think progressive would be very critical of that.
00:39:45.200 --> 00:39:50.219
Rob Renfroe: But You know the fact that they are willing to talk about
00:39:50.390 --> 00:39:56.760
Rob Renfroe: defunding mission work that they've done there. Because these Africans don't get it.
00:39:56.970 --> 00:40:06.640
Rob Renfroe: Man, you talk about Colonial, you you talk about something that's pretty ugly and pretty nasty. I I would hold that up as a shining example of that.
00:40:06.770 --> 00:40:26.470
Andy Miller III: You know. I this is going to seem, maybe, like it, not a good comparison. But, as I said, top of podcast. The course of study for the Gmc as the academic Dean is right in the front of my mind. One of the things that's been interesting is that a lot of other seminaries have used the words well, we need to dumb down our curriculum
00:40:26.500 --> 00:40:48.159
Andy Miller III: for courses. Study. I'm sorry I like, and and one thing it's been interesting is the students. Now I'm sure there's some who right now are turning papers who wish they didn't have to turn in papers, or whatever it is. There's a way of looking down upon a different kind of different context. Like all we we need that we can't give them this. Now, of course, we have a different.
00:40:48.280 --> 00:41:01.869
Andy Miller III: We understand people are coming with different experiences. They need to come to each student as best we can. But it just reminds me of that that often like where we look down at others when they come in a different environment. And you know what, Rob, I'm probably guilty of that, too.
00:41:01.920 --> 00:41:08.099
Andy Miller III: I just want to be fully honest. I can do that. Okay, let me get a next question. This is interesting. This is a real, real challenge.
00:41:08.160 --> 00:41:09.959
Rob Renfroe: How do you see
00:41:10.060 --> 00:41:17.480
Andy Miller III: centrist and progressives working together in the future regarding human sexuality. I mean, one of the things that's going to come up is like rather or not.
00:41:17.670 --> 00:41:25.200
Andy Miller III: There's going to be. People will be forced to perform a a homosexual wedding.
00:41:25.210 --> 00:41:28.970
Rob Renfroe: Well, they will probably all tell you that right now.
00:41:29.050 --> 00:41:32.580
Rob Renfroe: you know, we're gonna value everyone's conscience.
00:41:32.610 --> 00:41:49.199
Rob Renfroe: And so you know the plan. As I understand it would be, every pastor would make his or her own decision about whom to marry. So you don't have to marry a couple if you don't want to, but you can if you design, and every annual conference would make its own decision about whether or not toward dating
00:41:49.210 --> 00:41:51.250
Rob Renfroe: practicing gate persons
00:41:51.480 --> 00:41:59.859
Rob Renfroe: here. Here's here's the problem that's not going to last very long without becoming a major bone of contention.
00:41:59.900 --> 00:42:14.780
Rob Renfroe: because I truly believe that progressives see what they refer to as full inclusion of gay persons. As a justice matter. It's a kingdom matter it? It's a matter of love and the ethic of Jesus that we accept all, make room for all.
00:42:14.980 --> 00:42:16.060
Rob Renfroe: And
00:42:17.020 --> 00:42:36.059
Rob Renfroe: if you think that the United Methodist Church long term is going to allow you to practice in justice in its name. It's not gonna work like that, you know. If right now we had a 9 methods, Pastor, who said, You know my conscience won't allow me to marry a interracial couple.
00:42:36.570 --> 00:42:52.280
Rob Renfroe: we'd say, Well, God bless you, but get the heck out of our denomination, man, because that that's a bigotry that's unjust. That's not the spirit of price. Maybe you can find some a conservative, crazy denomination that agrees with you.
00:42:52.370 --> 00:43:04.340
Rob Renfroe: but we're not doing that. So go someplace, else if we had a you know I method is Pastor, who said, I don't feel good about women's ordination, and I'm not going to work with women pastors to say, Dude, that that's
00:43:04.340 --> 00:43:27.139
Rob Renfroe: we've we've decided that long time ago. It. It's what we understand the Scriptures to teach. And we think that it's something we all have to. Well, I'm not going to do it. Well, God bless you! Go join in the Southern Baptist denomination. They're trying to figure out what they're going to do with Rick Warren and all that. But go join them, at least for a while, and you won't have to work with female and pastors. But you cannot be a united messages, pastor.
00:43:27.210 --> 00:43:45.280
Rob Renfroe: and not feel good about working with female pastors. So if you think that long term progresses are going to say, Yeah, we've got pastors who are not going to do what we think is just and fair and kingdom work.
00:43:45.370 --> 00:43:59.809
Rob Renfroe: I don't think it's gonna last. And so what I predict is that the progressive want to speed up the process where persons are required to form gay marriages, and every annual conference is required to ordain practicing gay persons.
00:43:59.810 --> 00:44:25.160
Rob Renfroe: and the centrist are more likely to get their little slower because they've promised. Hey? Things aren't going to change real big. They're not going to go crazy. If you want a conservative pastor, you can always get one. We're never going to force you to do anything. You don't want to do And so I think they're going to have that tension. And then Andy, further along. And again, this is where I start sounding like a crazy person.
00:44:25.930 --> 00:44:38.470
Rob Renfroe: This is not going to be the last sexual ethics question that the 9 Message Church will have to deal with, because we've already had United Methodists pastors.
00:44:38.480 --> 00:44:57.240
Rob Renfroe: we've had one bishop who, in a private conversation they've begun to talk about. There are various forms of marriage within the by a faithful marriage, including polygamy. And as polyamory, becomes more and more a part of our culture.
00:44:57.270 --> 00:45:03.330
Rob Renfroe: when you worship the altar of inclusivity and diversity. What do you say? No to
00:45:03.580 --> 00:45:16.670
Rob Renfroe: I I mean, you can't say the story of Adam and Eve teach this 2 persons because you've already said, it doesn't teach a man and a and a woman. You've already decided love is love period. So what about the love between
00:45:16.920 --> 00:45:26.049
Rob Renfroe: more than 2 people? Well, if they're committed, they're loving their family. Don't we let people define family for themselves it
00:45:26.090 --> 00:45:52.480
Rob Renfroe: these days? So what I have never seen is where the Centrist have enough theological backbone to say no to the progresses, not only not on the central Christian matters, not just sexuality, but as they teach these things. I mean, they've never written about the bishops who said Jesus was bigoted and prejudiced. Okay, they they've never written about seminary, professor saying that Jesus is just one of many different ways to God.
00:45:52.480 --> 00:46:09.149
Rob Renfroe: So where are they going to say No to And so I expect that the the sexual ethic of the United Methodist Church is going to be pressured to become more and more liberal, and
00:46:09.240 --> 00:46:17.069
Rob Renfroe: who will become the new Conservatives, will find themselves in a very uncomfortable position. Either they're going to have to go through this toll battle again.
00:46:17.320 --> 00:46:37.159
Rob Renfroe: Just the goal post has been moved a little bit, or they're gonna have to give in. And so folks Centrist leaders, I think, are gonna find themselves the little Dutch boy with their finger in the dyke. And there's gonna be this progressive wave man I have worked. I've been in meetings with some of these younger Progressive.
00:46:37.160 --> 00:46:56.020
Rob Renfroe: They have no problem telling me to quit speaking. You've already spoken enough. I was responding to somebody's question. You have enjoyed your privilege enough. Yeah. You let someone else be okay. We'll do so. They have no problem, saying they know what's right. They have no problem calling you down. And this this
00:46:56.300 --> 00:47:03.739
Rob Renfroe: these fellows can be having their little finger in the dyke, and this progressive flood is going to come, and I think the whole thing in the breakless.
00:47:03.770 --> 00:47:07.630
Rob Renfroe: Well, I don't take pleasure in that. I think that's what's going to happen.
00:47:08.140 --> 00:47:22.550
Andy Miller III: Centrist might say. And maybe in progressives. Well, Rob, you know, that's a that's pushing a little far, don't you? I mean? Who who wants to be married by a pastor who doesn't think they can be married? They they can't force anybody to do that, can they?
00:47:23.040 --> 00:47:25.670
Rob Renfroe: Well, that nobody is gonna
00:47:25.820 --> 00:47:42.460
Rob Renfroe: force you to marry folks. They're going to force you out of the United States. Okay, that's going to be the issue. Huh? Yeah, it's like dude. No, this is who we are. This is what we do. If you're not one of us, you need to go find some place where you can be more at home, just like if you're not going to marry
00:47:42.510 --> 00:47:53.279
Rob Renfroe: a black person and a white person, we'd say, Okay, time for you to leave the denomination. We're not going to make you force that cup force you to marry that couple. We're just going to say you can't stay.
00:47:53.400 --> 00:48:16.919
Andy Miller III: you find this interesting. I I'm sorry to keep referring back to you. You're the sixth interview I've done in this format, but if you go back to Nazarene conversation. You'll see where While that the the progressive voice there thought things he thought in general should be restricted to a monogamous couple. He did say, he thought that their their book of discipline, their manual, should have an openness for polygamy in other countries
00:48:17.060 --> 00:48:40.860
Andy Miller III: like he thought that that would be in a so I just would say like in, and I have been accused of the logical fallacy of the slippery slope. I'm saying this, but my my point is that we're already there. But I'm not. I'm not saying something is going to happen. Right? I'm saying something is happening like this. This is a reality. Well, it the the hardest thing to do, maybe, is to get people to see something they don't want to see.
00:48:41.090 --> 00:48:54.229
Rob Renfroe: And and all these churches that have stayed because we were just going to wait and see if the 9 Methods church is going to change. I I don't know what's in their hearts, but I can tell you some of them are doing that because they don't want to do hard things right now.
00:48:54.260 --> 00:49:10.720
Rob Renfroe: and if they acknowledge that the 9 message. Church has become something that they cannot be comfortable with. They've got to do difficult things right now. Nobody likes doing difficult things. Nobody likes doing it right now, if you can put it off later. And so
00:49:11.820 --> 00:49:36.160
Rob Renfroe: people want to say it's not going to get that bad. But we already have pastors who've talked about this new United Methodist Church. It's going to embrace. Everyone is going to embrace a straight, gay, queer by poly amorous Ms. Penny costs real name Isaac Simmons. He posted on Facebook at his project at Seminary now
00:49:36.160 --> 00:50:04.450
Rob Renfroe: is to create a resources, a curriculum, I believe, for polyamorous couples in churches that don't accept a polyamorism. And so this isn't just something I've come up with to scare people, and this is presently happening. You you'll say, well, that's crazy. It'll never happen. But 40 years ago nobody thought we'd be marrying gay people. I'm not talking about the rightness or the wrongness of it. I'm just saying it was beyond comprehension. And so
00:50:04.570 --> 00:50:15.709
Rob Renfroe: let me just ask you, when have you ever seen progressive? Say, okay, there and no far other. Okay, we're gonna go right here. But the next thing that's a little too crazy for us. I mean, they
00:50:15.870 --> 00:50:18.850
Rob Renfroe: I I I probably yeah, being
00:50:18.960 --> 00:50:33.529
Andy Miller III: judgmental. But I've never seen them say, Okay, we can't go that there's always a group pushing, pushing. How about? You'd be more conservative? Let's try that, as you know it. And I want to say a missed penny cost is you said to a seminar student. I just want to confirm
00:50:33.540 --> 00:50:52.820
Andy Miller III: that seminary project was not for Wesley Biblical seminary, just to be clear, just to be clear. No, I know, Rob, this has been a hard time, like it's a hard time, for in some people say it's a great time, but it no, it. I think everybody should say this has been a sad time to a certain degree for pretty night Methodists.
00:50:52.930 --> 00:51:02.570
Andy Miller III: that having been said, do you see any benefits of this affiliation for those who remain United Methodist, or for the denomination as a whole? Is there anything?
00:51:02.620 --> 00:51:04.180
Rob Renfroe: Well.
00:51:04.290 --> 00:51:10.339
Rob Renfroe: yes, I mean on an emotional level. Look. I I know how
00:51:10.420 --> 00:51:12.889
Rob Renfroe: some people
00:51:13.170 --> 00:51:29.430
Rob Renfroe: pastor some light people, and you know that this church see people like me and other traditional leaders. I know how they feel about me, because I've had people hiss at me. I've had people call me. This is my only
00:51:29.710 --> 00:51:44.269
Rob Renfroe: I know for some of them. It's not pleasant being around people like me. Okay, I I get that. I'm glad my mother's dead, cause she wouldn't understand how anybody could not love her so. So there'll be there. There's freedom.
00:51:44.290 --> 00:52:14.189
Rob Renfroe: Our annual conference just met the the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist church, and the report was, there was a really good spirit, and they were glad to have the past behind them and be able to dream and think about the future so emotionally. They're going to be released from having to be around people like me and I. You know how it is, just when you're around. Folks that you know are, you think don't like you don't trust you don't believe it's just unpleasant, so there'll be an emotional benefit to that.
00:52:14.200 --> 00:52:17.620
Rob Renfroe: Now, this one may sound a little snarky, but
00:52:18.010 --> 00:52:21.350
Rob Renfroe: I think the other benefit that I see
00:52:21.950 --> 00:52:25.159
Rob Renfroe: is that they will have to.
00:52:26.800 --> 00:52:32.960
Rob Renfroe: They will have the opportunity to address. Why the United Methods Church has not been growing.
00:52:33.020 --> 00:52:44.240
Rob Renfroe: we may talk about this later. I may preempt the question that you have later on. but the in our Methodist church was was formed in 1,968.
00:52:45.390 --> 00:52:47.880
Rob Renfroe: It's never had a year where it grew.
00:52:48.010 --> 00:53:00.449
Rob Renfroe: It's not just that it went down 5 years, and then it came up, but didn't come up to where it was before. It's gone down every year in terms of membership and and and and worship attendance.
00:53:00.500 --> 00:53:04.799
Rob Renfroe: and and one of the thoughts is well.
00:53:04.930 --> 00:53:12.119
Rob Renfroe: you know we don't grow because we have these mean-spirited conservatives, and they give our denomination this bad name.
00:53:12.200 --> 00:53:27.010
Rob Renfroe: and once we become open, and once we become a church that that truly has open hearts and open minds and open doors. People are going to come in. They're going to experience the love and grace of God. And we're really going to grow because it's not going to happen?
00:53:27.050 --> 00:53:35.060
Rob Renfroe: a. And so when that happens, it will give persons in the 9 Messages church
00:53:35.100 --> 00:53:39.760
Rob Renfroe: a really good opportunity to say, Why are we not growing?
00:53:39.810 --> 00:53:54.720
Rob Renfroe: And I can promise you that you 9 message churches are not going to grow just because they start marrying gay folks, and they have gay pastors. You're not going to get secular people, non-believers, non church people to start getting up early on their Sunday morning.
00:53:54.820 --> 00:54:15.890
Rob Renfroe: come to your church and sing songs that they don't understand. Give 10% of their income to your church budget and start following Jesus because you've liberalized your sexual ethic. That's not what's keeping them from being faithful followers at Jesus, or be attracted to the gospel. So you know, I message church is not going to grow.
00:54:16.140 --> 00:54:23.729
Rob Renfroe: I can give you a and again, and I feel like I'm getting another question. But all the statistics for every other
00:54:24.280 --> 00:54:28.870
Rob Renfroe: denomination that's made this change or dire
00:54:28.970 --> 00:54:32.440
Rob Renfroe: the in the Ucc. These are main line
00:54:32.740 --> 00:54:41.750
Rob Renfroe: Protestant churches. The Ucc. Since it made this change to seem a 30% decline in in membership.
00:54:41.920 --> 00:54:56.909
Rob Renfroe: the the Presbyterian church. PC. U.S.A. Has seen a 20% decline in membership. And you know, we're going to reach young people by being more open during the same period, their youth professions of faith. It's dropped 50
00:54:57.080 --> 00:55:03.040
Rob Renfroe: percent the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
00:55:03.110 --> 00:55:14.530
Rob Renfroe: One of their church growth experts has written by 2,041, that they will have 16,000 people in worship throughout the entire denomination. This was a denomination that
00:55:14.700 --> 00:55:20.740
Rob Renfroe: you know, probably 30, 40 years ago at 3 million people, and then there is a
00:55:21.020 --> 00:55:31.619
Rob Renfroe: the Episcopal Church. church growth expert is last name is Gila Z. S. C. A. T. I. E. Or something close to that.
00:55:31.840 --> 00:55:36.090
Rob Renfroe: And the the fiscal New Service reported
00:55:36.340 --> 00:55:51.169
Rob Renfroe: that he said, like 2,050, we won't have anyone in worship. So the declines have been dramatic even after they've made these changes. So my sense is when they don't grow in the future, and they won't.
00:55:51.710 --> 00:55:58.750
Rob Renfroe: They do have an opportunity to say, why, it's not the conserv this fall anymore. What are we doing wrong?
00:55:58.800 --> 00:56:11.990
Rob Renfroe: We've been doing something a certain way all these years. It's never work. We've had certain kinds of people leading us all these years. It's never worked. That will be their chance to have some genuine self reflection
00:56:12.030 --> 00:56:17.260
Rob Renfroe: and say, we need to make some changes. I pray for the sake of the King of God that will happen.
00:56:17.380 --> 00:56:37.659
Andy Miller III: Well, it'd be interesting. I'll just reveal a little bit here, since it's coming after Adam Hamilton's answer. He. He agrees with you that the the move on sexuality won't be a a cause a trigger for growth for them, but he just thinks they'll have a be more more commonality, and his church is grown. So he they have an effective organization.
00:56:37.660 --> 00:56:55.610
Rob Renfroe: and they're operating. So he, that's why he thinks that they'll just be maybe more churches being like his. Well, not everybody is Adam Hamilton. You know it's possible that His growth has something to do with his organizational brilliance.
00:56:55.860 --> 00:57:06.940
Rob Renfroe: His incredible work. Ethic is winsome, if not charming personality. You you put anybody in the pulpit in charge of a church like that?
00:57:07.050 --> 00:57:09.370
Rob Renfroe: You're very likely to see growth.
00:57:09.710 --> 00:57:17.770
Rob Renfroe: But how many, Adam Hamilton do we have in the United Methodist Church. Not many
00:57:17.920 --> 00:57:39.299
Rob Renfroe: a. A. And is it really that these churches have been declining years, 10 years and years? But they didn't have access to Adams methodology. They didn't have access to his books. They didn't have access to his teach. No, they've had it all along. What's been preventing them from that growing their churches has nothing to do with.
00:57:39.340 --> 00:57:52.190
Rob Renfroe: Let's get rid of the traditional. And all of a sudden we're all gonna become little Adam Hamilton's building kingdoms not as large as his, but, you know, impressive, not gonna happen.
00:57:52.700 --> 00:58:13.589
Andy Miller III: I I I I I hope I represented his what he said to that. Well, and any of to be fair, I didn't get a chance to bring your questions to him. I I I have you a little bit later on the same day, though, this is coming out a couple of weeks later. So this might be helpful question, because you're going to be. And I'm at the church for another year, and this is at least so this is a interesting thing. What? What is
00:58:14.250 --> 00:58:19.109
Andy Miller III: What's the biggest challenge for the Umc. Then going forward.
00:58:19.390 --> 00:58:21.490
I would say,
00:58:21.720 --> 00:58:23.810
Rob Renfroe: some of the things that we've talked about.
00:58:24.070 --> 00:58:40.850
Rob Renfroe: Let's be honest and say that we are not in a culture any longer where it's easy to grow churches. Okay? I think I, I saw something recently 7 or 8 Protestant denominations. If you include assembly gods as Protestant.
00:58:40.920 --> 00:58:47.650
Rob Renfroe: I have to. I mean, we can debate. So this is a little bit bigger than mainstream. but none of them have grown
00:58:47.710 --> 00:59:03.659
Rob Renfroe: over like the past 4 years except assembly of God. So we we don't have the cultural winds blowing in our direction. So I want to be honest and say, it's going to be difficult numerically for all of us.
00:59:03.710 --> 00:59:15.150
Rob Renfroe: but that we've got to recapture our heart for evangelism. We got to recapture a heart for serving in the name of Christ. I can go through a whole
00:59:15.880 --> 00:59:17.810
Rob Renfroe: feel about how
00:59:18.260 --> 00:59:34.009
Rob Renfroe: th this little group of Jesus followers had no political influence. who were not known for being educated to change the world, and because they lived and served in love the way that Jesus did and and the power of the Holy Spirit.
00:59:34.160 --> 00:59:41.129
Rob Renfroe: But growth will be a huge problem for them. They're going to become a denomination.
00:59:41.270 --> 00:59:50.350
Rob Renfroe: Maybe others. Maybe the Gmc will have to fight this to with silos, with large churches like Adams.
00:59:50.540 --> 01:00:17.730
Rob Renfroe: but then, with many others, that it's just barely hanging on, and especially after some of the churches that have stayed when traditionalists have left and gone up and started churches because they didn't get to 67%, you're gonna find many churches having to band together and have pastors with 2 or 3 points charges, and may not really have the resources to do much other than just kind of take care of themselves, so numerical growth will be one
01:00:17.730 --> 01:00:41.220
Rob Renfroe: financial stability will be another. So we have this group in the United Methodist Church that says the proposes the budget for the entire denomination. It's called the Gcf. A general council and finance and administration. They have just proposed a budget for the next quadrinium, that is, 40 40% less than the quadrinium beforehand.
01:00:41.230 --> 01:00:58.260
Rob Renfroe: At my own taxes. Annual conference that just met the budget was cut by about 40 to 45 so their finances are going to become very difficult, and in a top heavy church, the way the United Methodist Church has been
01:00:58.260 --> 01:01:11.389
Rob Renfroe: where you paid a lot of bishops. You've paid them well, I don't regret them that but where you paid a lot of dishes paid them well, where you have large boards and agencies with huge staffs, offices, and
01:01:11.510 --> 01:01:39.849
Rob Renfroe: magnificent buildings. they're gonna have a very difficult time doing business the way that they've always done it. And then, you know, the other challenge is going to be what we talked about earlier, how the differences between the Centrist and the Progressives regarding sexual sexuality sexual ethics. How that's going to get worked out. And I I predict either the Centrist will capitulate.
01:01:40.040 --> 01:02:07.419
Andy Miller III: or this will be another big battle, and I'm I'm more convinced that the Centrist will capitulate. But I think there will be have to be some fighting before they get to that point interesting. Wow, you you you brought something that was interesting in is another question about this. I'll go ahead to it about the boards and agencies. So these are the groups for those who are not familiar with Methodism, that there have been boards that have been established to serve the Church, or represent the church
01:02:07.420 --> 01:02:31.470
Andy Miller III: at the national or international level. And it's often been these groups that have taken on causes that don't generally represent the local church like supporting abortion. And so some other Socialist type of causes in some countries, and I could go on. But I mean, you just said these groups, like one of them has a office right next to the Supreme Court, I mean, so like some really nice property.
01:02:31.510 --> 01:02:35.619
Andy Miller III: What's going to happen? What's the future of these boards and agencies.
01:02:35.960 --> 01:02:39.040
Rob Renfroe: Well, they're obviously they're gonna have to be tripped back.
01:02:39.060 --> 01:02:51.740
Rob Renfroe: And that's gonna be something that I won't be a part of, but that they're going to have to address, and what we've seen even in the past, when there were attempts to trim them back.
01:02:51.810 --> 01:03:11.620
Rob Renfroe: Some were more open to this. And they said, Yeah, we see finances are getting tight. We'll tighten our belts. There are others who really push back. And to know the work we're doing is so essential. You can't. you you can't take funding from us. We're not going to make these cuts. but
01:03:11.770 --> 01:03:15.549
Rob Renfroe: you know what should happen, I think, is
01:03:15.980 --> 01:03:26.429
Rob Renfroe: most local. Churches find very little benefit from any of these boards and agencies. As a matter of fact, I will tell you 2,016 at general Conference
01:03:26.530 --> 01:03:40.699
Rob Renfroe: we were in, and and I'm not going to give away names. But we were in negotiations with progressive and centrist leaders. and I, one of the Centrist leaders who's now been elected to be a bishop.
01:03:41.150 --> 01:03:47.070
Rob Renfroe: we're all talking about the boards and agencies are a problem. And this person said, Yeah, I know.
01:03:47.360 --> 01:03:55.760
Rob Renfroe: I've called the Board of Church and Society. That's the one that you're talking about with the you know. That's right there near the Supreme Court.
01:03:56.060 --> 01:04:20.229
Rob Renfroe: I've called Burke Board of Church in society, and just said, Please, can you quit issuing statements every time you issue a statement. I lose 3 tyers from my church, and I'm trying to pay your salary. So not only the church does not get a lot of benefit. They feel like sometimes they're being sabotaged, you know. That may change when the church is fully, much more. progressive!
01:04:20.270 --> 01:04:31.990
Rob Renfroe: But I would say, let's figure out which of these really serve the local church and the ones that don't. If there's still a mission for them rather than everyone having their own kingdom.
01:04:32.080 --> 01:04:36.419
Rob Renfroe: let's just throw them in all together. Let's put one person in charge of them
01:04:36.450 --> 01:05:03.299
Rob Renfroe: kind of lower. Not have what we call general secretaries over all of them. Look one general secretary, do all of them lower the amount of staffing and the kind of the level of staffing when it comes to pay and and you know, augmented salaries, and just drop that thing way down, and you know what I don't think anybody will notice. I I don't think anybody will feel like the kingdom is suffered a great loss.
01:05:03.530 --> 01:05:08.359
Andy Miller III: so so that they they could have a future. But it's going to be very different from how they operate right now.
01:05:08.400 --> 01:05:14.539
Rob Renfroe: Yeah, you know what we have suggested once is just let them be on a
01:05:15.230 --> 01:05:31.199
Rob Renfroe: kind of a a fee for work that look. If you produce something that benefits the local church, put it out there and let the church pay you for it. Let's don't have a portion, but that would make these boards and agencies much more responsive rather than
01:05:31.250 --> 01:05:38.049
Rob Renfroe: the thinking. You know all the money is coming in. We don't have to care about what the local church might want or think.
01:05:38.080 --> 01:06:00.239
Rob Renfroe: we'll just do what we think is right. and and because man those apportionments, you know, but make it where it's like. No, you've got to do something that somebody says, Hey, that's important enough to this congregation that we want to pay you for it. But I'm feel pretty certain this gets into the issues I like, what's the overhead, and what's the what's the kind of big
01:06:00.240 --> 01:06:16.190
Andy Miller III: group that's united. And it's obviously sharp. We had this challenge of 2 years ago where there was a group, and it seems like the same type of thing happens in the Savage army, there's more and more administration and more and more offices. So an office was created that sounded good. 20 years ago, international Social Justice Commission.
01:06:16.190 --> 01:06:31.129
Andy Miller III: Well, that then became a group that was separated out. There weren't people connected to necessarily to the Church. That was the savage family church, and then all of a sudden, they issue something that looks very similar to a critical race theory supporting black lives matter. And the same thing happened that you're saying, like
01:06:31.160 --> 01:06:47.720
Andy Miller III: even people who might be support of those ideas. It the American public was not happy with the fact that all of a sudden that came out. But why did that happen? Because it wasn't accountable to the local unit like the local. If you have a good product that we can use, let's do it. And then I think that's a
01:06:47.720 --> 01:07:04.569
Andy Miller III: a good and and that should be kept in mind for any of the nominations that are being birthed like the Gmc. But also any dominations like the the Congregational Methodist Church, is growing right now. Aim is association of Independent Methodists is growing. Now keep these things in mind.
01:07:04.570 --> 01:07:16.250
Andy Miller III: Thank you. So my last question, and where I I have to skip once because we're running out of time. What type of pastors do you think will be attracted and want to serve, or or should be attracted to serve
01:07:16.290 --> 01:07:18.200
Andy Miller III: in the future? Umc.
01:07:19.150 --> 01:07:26.170
Rob Renfroe: well, I would say 2 kinds and one is not all that different than what it is now. and that is
01:07:26.330 --> 01:07:33.219
Rob Renfroe: good people who want to help others. Okay, I think you have a lot of people who've entered the ministry, especially
01:07:33.260 --> 01:07:45.680
Rob Renfroe: churches like the United Methodist Church. because they experienced grace and kindness in their local church or in their Wesley foundation.
01:07:45.780 --> 01:07:51.829
Rob Renfroe: and it was like, Oh, the church was there for me when I was hurting, or I was confused.
01:07:51.840 --> 01:07:56.669
Rob Renfroe: and I want to. I want to do that for others. So
01:07:57.030 --> 01:08:04.379
Rob Renfroe: good people who want to do good things in the lives of others. I think they're attracted to the 9 Methodist Church.
01:08:04.420 --> 01:08:32.660
Rob Renfroe: I think there will be social justice. Warriors I that is a pejorative term. I don't mean it quite that way. But people who really see that you know the goal is to change the world, to make it a more socially just. And the church and theology can provide a helpful jumping off place or platform for doing that. So I think that's who
01:08:32.870 --> 01:08:39.900
Rob Renfroe: in the future. And and there may be people who really want to bring people to genuine faith in Christ that will.
01:08:40.240 --> 01:08:50.029
Rob Renfroe: But I can tell you who's not gonna be interested in joining in our Message Church, and that is thoroughly orthodox. Wesleyan
01:08:50.340 --> 01:08:58.749
Rob Renfroe: people of of all ages, not just young people. but middle aged people.
01:08:59.080 --> 01:09:07.479
Rob Renfroe: certainly not Hispanic people. They they are all going. gmc, certainly not Asian people. They're all going gmc.
01:09:07.609 --> 01:09:09.540
Rob Renfroe: and and
01:09:09.600 --> 01:09:15.600
Rob Renfroe: th. There's no reason why a a young orthodox
01:09:15.960 --> 01:09:40.390
Rob Renfroe: Westland would go to the 9 Methodist Church because he knows he's going to feel very uncomfortable with. It's a a sexual ethic. He's gonna wonder whether he or she is ever going to have to perform services to the marriage services to remain, and he or she's gonna know they're gonna be in the vast minority. And in the same way I said, I know my presence makes it uncomfortable for certain people.
01:09:40.390 --> 01:09:56.530
Rob Renfroe: It's also uncomfortable for us to be in a room where you're in the cognitive minority, you know you look down upon, and the things that you hold, or deer or scoff that and mocked, and the bigger issue there, Andy.
01:09:56.670 --> 01:10:06.460
Rob Renfroe: is that these churches that have been told you'll always have a traditional faster. This is a big tent, and every every view is going to be respected.
01:10:06.760 --> 01:10:16.739
Rob Renfroe: and you're never going to have a a progressive pastor. If you're a Conservative church, you'll never have a gay pastor. If you want a straight pastor, etc.
01:10:16.770 --> 01:10:28.069
Rob Renfroe: There's gonna come a time when there are no traditional pastors to a point to traditional churches, because 3 things, one, most of us, are getting out.
01:10:28.630 --> 01:10:55.799
Rob Renfroe: Secondly, those that are staying. Many of them are staying because they're towards the end of their ministry, and it's like man, you know. I like my church. They like me. We're more mixed in theology, but we're making it work, and if I leave my church and I go, I've got 3 or 4 years. I've got to find a new church. And that's really is that enough time to really do good work together? So those that aren't getting out are going to tend to be older, they're going to retire.
01:10:55.970 --> 01:11:08.390
Rob Renfroe: and then you're not going to be replenishing the well by bringing in younger evangelical traditional pastors. So there will come a time when there's simply no body to a point
01:11:08.530 --> 01:11:27.210
Rob Renfroe: except someone who has. It might be point to compromise the sexual, ethic, and maybe compromise beliefs on the essentials of the Christian. faith. So I would say, it's your question is a good one who will be attracted in the future. The other question is.
01:11:27.410 --> 01:11:37.170
Rob Renfroe: what will be the results for churches who think they can stay. And I, even if these pastors and district superintendents actually mean it
01:11:37.370 --> 01:11:38.799
Rob Renfroe: when they say
01:11:39.060 --> 01:11:44.159
Rob Renfroe: you know, we'll always provide the kind of person you want
01:11:44.350 --> 01:11:53.510
Andy Miller III: that's just short side. They're not going to be there. Where are they going to get them, I mean, so in 1520 years will the United Methodist Church still be a big tent church?
01:11:54.230 --> 01:11:57.000
Rob Renfroe: Well. huh!
01:11:57.890 --> 01:12:03.590
Rob Renfroe: They will say they are, but they're gonna appeal to a
01:12:03.890 --> 01:12:16.110
Rob Renfroe: to a particular slice of people. So are you big to church? If you say everybody is welcome, then yeah, they're gonna say, everybody's welcome. Are you a big 10 church? If you only have
01:12:16.360 --> 01:12:38.259
Rob Renfroe: people with one view of sexuality, if you only have people who believe that the central truth of the Christian faith are not really worth fighting for, even if they hold to them. You're you're not going to have that church, and and if I can finish up with this, I I just recently had a conversation with a I'll just say a a Methodist leader.
01:12:39.250 --> 01:12:55.329
Rob Renfroe: And The question really was, why you stay. You know you think the message search is so bad. Are you staying? And I was really open. I'm here to help folks get out. I get the irony I'm staying in to help others get out. But that's that's the real truth, and I don't mind telling the truth, even if it
01:12:55.420 --> 01:13:04.119
Rob Renfroe: maybe it doesn't look good right away. And this person said, I want to be a part of church that welcomes everybody
01:13:04.550 --> 01:13:17.880
Rob Renfroe: I want. And then this person listed day straight, broken, whole black, like 6 etc. And I said, I want that same church. Everybody wants that church
01:13:18.220 --> 01:13:23.879
Rob Renfroe: we accept all people. The difference is, we don't want every doctrine
01:13:24.200 --> 01:13:46.049
Rob Renfroe: at our table. if that sounds harsh, I'm sorry it sounds harsh, but I don't want theologies that are so diverse within the the denomination that I'm a part of that. It's acceptable to doubt the divinity of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the fact that He died on the cross to save us from our sense.
01:13:46.070 --> 01:14:00.130
Rob Renfroe: I. I don't want to be in that furniture, because I think it undermines faith. I think it leads people away from the Gospel, but that will be the future, I think. United Methodist Church people who define
01:14:00.210 --> 01:14:07.239
Rob Renfroe: diversity in such a way that it makes room for every different kind of belief
01:14:07.260 --> 01:14:20.079
Rob Renfroe: rather than saying, we want all kinds of people, but we are committed to the core doctrines of the Christian faith. And if you don't believe those, and you want to come to our churches, you're very welcome.
01:14:20.230 --> 01:14:35.919
Rob Renfroe: Yeah. But if you want to be a pastor, you want to be a seminary professor, you want to be a district superintendent, a bishop. Now you've got to be there. There's there's room to play around in the orthodox space. You've you've heard the example. It's like a a baseball field.
01:14:35.930 --> 01:14:49.339
Rob Renfroe: There can be a right field, a center field and a left field. But there are fault lines, and what I have found is that the United Message Church doesn't have outlines. You can be. You can be up in the the stands.
01:14:49.340 --> 01:15:16.310
Andy Miller III: you know, in the messaging section. And you're still active, like, you're right on the field doing 5. Yeah. And so like that. To take the analogy, probably to the ridiculous level. If you're playing first base, not look into the outfield and not realizing people are running past the lines. We hope that you'll see what we're saying here, and what Rob saying, and just wake up to what it is now. And I and also I'll just close this out here and, Rob, I'll give you a chance to say one more thing in just a second, just to close out. But
01:15:16.380 --> 01:15:36.179
Andy Miller III: a. As we're finished in this series, my goal has not been to divide people further, but more or less to give people an opportunity to hear a clear presentation. I think we've had that. And so, and my appreciation to you, Rob, for coming on. I haven't since, like a anger that you have
01:15:36.180 --> 01:15:57.279
Andy Miller III: I imagine there has been anger as but it hasn't, in my view during this interview led to sin. And so, like, I think it's okay for us to be. And these are things, institutions we love. And certainly we're all in places where we're trying to evaluate that. But I mean, if we didn't have the opportunity, because we have the nature of these questions. We didn't have the moment where we said.
01:15:57.280 --> 01:16:08.490
Andy Miller III: this is what we're excited about, but you can go back to my for my last conversation with Rob, and here, where he talks about what he's excited about with what's coming in the next, a version of anything else you want to say, Rob.
01:16:09.000 --> 01:16:24.599
Rob Renfroe: I you know. The last thing to say is, I'm very grateful for the I methods church like, I said I. I found Christ or Christ on me. However, you want to describe that in the United Methodist Church. I've had great friends. I've been given great opportunities.
01:16:24.610 --> 01:16:35.770
Rob Renfroe: I was disciplined in the United Methodist Church. So I, I'm I'm leaving okay and
01:16:36.240 --> 01:17:05.910
Rob Renfroe: I it is. It is sad. that it's come to this, but I want to say I'm grateful for everything. I've just given to the 9 Methodist Church. I want to say that I pray for the 9 Methodist Church that it would be faithful to the the Gospel and to God's desire to welcome all, and to preach the truth, to continue for the faith, and to make this world a better place in the name of Jesus. And I would really appreciate you. And I messages praying the same thing for global methods.
01:17:05.910 --> 01:17:10.160
Andy Miller III: Yeah, thanks so much for your time, Rob. I appreciate it.