Reconciling Ministries Network celebrates that LGBTQ+ persons are a good expression of God’s diverse creation and exists to advocate for the affirmation of all of God’s children in the Church and the world.
Reconciling Ministries Network is committed to intersectional justice across and beyond the United Methodist connection, working for the full participation of all LGBTQ+ people throughout the life and leadership of the Church.
Reconciling Ministries Network envisions a transformed Church that ensures justice, equity, and dignity for all of God’s children in their diverse intersecting identities.
Reconciling Ministries Network, as part of a growing justice movement in The United Methodist Church and beyond, humbly stands on the shoulders of saints who have labored for the liberation and healing of all oppressed people. In the midst of continuing challenges that seek to separate LGBTQ+ persons and their loved ones from full communion with the Body of Christ, RMN draws from the Wesleyan understanding of God’s grace that embraces all of creation and seeks its restoration and perfection in love. In this spirit, we offer this theological statement as a guide and inspiration to fulfill our prophetic call.
As we become part of an ongoing UMC, the leaders of the progressive and centrist movements in the UMC continue to proclaim that we remain in concert with the provisions of the BOD (2016) which clearly state our Doctrinal and Theological Heritage. Nothing has changed in our doctrine and theology as United Methodists. In the words of Paul Chilcote, “The United Methodist Church will continue to bear witness to the unconditional and inclusive love of the God-of-wide-embrace, known through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Deeply rooted in the scriptural witness and the Wesleyan vision of a God of Grace, it will continue…to be a place of hospitality, healing, and holiness for all people.”
We believe in the loving and creating God, who is known to us also as Christ the Savior and the Holy Spirit, the Innovator. We believe that human beings were created in God’s image to be God’s children.
We believe that God affirmed us at creation by embedding the very image of God in every human life. Because each human being is created in God’s image, we must treat one another with the same reverence with which we approach God. To do any less is to insult the graciousness of the creator who made us in their own image. Every individual is part of God’s good and loving creation. 1 John 4:7-8
We believe God is revealed in both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament. In these scriptures, we find the story of God constantly seeking reconciliation and offering love, grace, and hope to every individual.
We believe that the original source of all that we know about God and about ourselves comes through our understanding of Scripture, which is the human record of divine communication with human beings. Within scripture, there are things which can be verified through historical and scientific data, but there are also things which we acknowledge as miraculous—resistant to logic or empirical data. Among these are the virgin birth of Christ, the healings and other miraculous works of Christ’s ministry, and his bodily resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. Many of the teachings of scripture are incompletely understood by human beings and therefore interpretation and teaching on the meaning of scripture grows and changes through history under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ celebrates that everyone is of sacred worth and value in the sight of God and is of vital importance to the Body of Christ.
The earthly life and death and resurrection of Christ the Savior, who was fully human and fully God, unites us eternally with God who began our existence and the Holy Spirit who remains with us through it. We are saved by God’s decision to offer us grace and forgiveness—as shown in the incarnation of God in Christ, and the continued reforming work of God’s Spirit. We are part of the community of faith as the Body of Christ. Therefore, our biological and chosen families are diverse and depend upon welcome and acceptance of all members and the valuing of each person’s worth. Ephesians 1:3-8; Romans 12:3-8.
We believe, affirm, and celebrate the power of God’s grace as a saving force and a sanctifying influence on the life of every person. Grace is rooted in our belief that God is love. Grace is God’s love extended to humankind.
As stated in the Book of Discipline: “Grace pervades our understanding of Christian faith and life. By grace, we mean the undeserved, unmerited, and loving action of God in human existence through the ever-present Holy Spirit. While the grace of God is undivided, it precedes salvation as ‘prevenient grace,’ continues in ‘justifying grace,’ and is brought to fruition in ‘sanctifying grace.’ We assert that God’s grace is manifest in all creation even though suffering, violence, and evil are everywhere present. The goodness of creation is fulfilled in human beings, who are called to covenant partnership with God. God has endowed us with dignity and freedom and has summoned us to responsibility for our lives and the life of the world.” FROM “Doctrinal Standards and Our Theological Task” [BOD 2016, page 51 and following]: “The gracious gift of God’s power and love, the hope and expectation of the faithful, is neither warranted by our efforts or limited by our frailties.” [BOD, Page 53, under “Sanctification and Perfection.” 1 John 4:16-20; Luke 15
We believe, as the spiritual children of John Wesley, that our relationship with God is ever growing and changing with the passage of time, informed by scripture, grounded in tradition, confirmed by reason, and validated through experience.
In addition to scripture, we believe our rational minds must inform our faith. Our traditions as a church must inform our faith, and our experience as Christians must inform our faith in dialogue with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who leads us to grow and become more holy with the passage of time. We strive for perfection in love, and so are led by the Spirit to reform those aspects of our tradition that have been demonstrated through our experience to be harmful, or have been proved through our reason to be irrational, or which have simply lost their ability to demonstrate the expansive love of God which Scripture teaches us to embrace. Mark 7:24-30 (Jesus learned from the Syro-Phonecian woman. If Jesus learned, so should we.)
We believe the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are central to the life of the community of faith. Every person is invited by God to participate in them, as well as in sacred rites such as confirmation, marriage, and ordination.
Every person is a child of God and is gifted with a unique identity, orientation, gifts, and talents. We believe that the Creator made us to be in community with one another, and so the Church is our corporate expression of our faith in God. We believe that we have been given to one another to form the earthly manifestation and continued merciful engagement of Christ with the world. We describe this reality as our existence on earth as the body of Christ. Through the church, Christ continues to love the world, heal the world, and save the world. In the body of Christ, all members are essential for all gifts granted to human beings are best used in concert with the gifts of all others. For this reason, no one can be discarded, ignored, or shunned. Without all members, the Body of Christ is wounded. Leviticus 19:18, 33-34, Psalm 133; Luke 23:49; John 19:25-27; Mark 1:40-45; Mark 7:24-30; Acts 2:1-12; 8:26-40; 10:34-48; Romans 3:21-24; 1 Corinthians 12:1-26, Galatians 3:27-28.
We believe that every person is called to use all their spiritual gifts and graces in the community of faith called the Church. RMN is called by God to work with evangelistic zeal through the power of the Holy Spirit to encourage every local congregation to embrace and affirm the presence, participation, gifts, service, and witness of the LGBTQ+ persons within their community.
These gifts include a call to preach, teach, serve, administrate, and do acts of mercy. Every person is invited and called to use their gifts for the benefit of the community of faith to love God and neighbor, do no harm, and to continually grow in relationship with God. We believe this growth is part of what it means to become perfect in love. Micah 6:8