Not Kidding: An April 1 Reflection

Rev. Dr. Alice Rogers shared the following reflection with her district on April 1, 2022 in response to misinformation about The United Methodist Church.


April 1, 2022

As a child, my siblings and I loved April 1 because we each sought to pull the best, most surprising pranks on each other.  It is a great feeling to call out “April Fools” to someone who has fallen for your prank hook, line, and sinker!
As I’ve listened to the rhetoric of some whose main goal seems to be to disparage the United Methodist Church on every front, I’ve waited for that rhetoric to be followed with “April Fools!” Just kidding! I say that because they claim that if one stays with the United Methodist Church, they will be living with a denomination that doesn’t believe in Scripture, doesn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, doesn’t believe in the Resurrection, doesn’t believe in . . . anything. You may think I am kidding, but this is no joke.  
Those who make this argument point to writings from people I would consider outliers in the United Methodist Church who have indeed written about their own personal beliefs that stray from our historic faith.  They then make the absurd leap that these outliers represent all 32 million members of the UMC, instead of assuming that most all those 32 million members hold fast to the Articles of Religion that are at the root of our denomination.  You can find all 25 of these fundamental beliefs here:  Read these, please, to see what we, the United Methodist Church, fundamentally believe.
Yes, the United Methodist Church has areas in our polity and administration that need reform.  Yes, we have “family” members who will write of their personal beliefs that may stray from our historic beliefs.  Yes, we have members who disagree about the non-essentials of the faith (issues not covered in our 25 Articles of Religion). Yes, we have and will continue to wrestle with issues of human sexuality, because we are a denomination willing to struggle with the experience and ongoing discoveries of current realities. 
But, we are NOT a denomination (as some will try to tell you) who does not believe in the “one living and true God,” “the Son of God,” “the Resurrection of Christ,” the “Holy Spirit,” the “Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation,” etc. etc. etc. And I refuse to stand by and allow them to disparage the denomination that faithfully, if not perfectly, taught me, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”
Not kidding,