Author: Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, Executive Director, Mainstream UMC
Mainstream UMC is not the only group raising money ahead of the harmful Traditional Plan taking effect in just a few days, January 1, 2020. The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), the most far-right, far-out-there group in the church is also raising money. You can see their full Thanksgiving email below from their President Mark Tooley. Clearly the most strident of the anti-gay coalition, Mr. Tooley claims among other things that “IRD is the only group in America devoted exclusively to church reform and accountability.” He is “honored” at being labeled “dangerous.” Indeed, they are the Breitbart News of the church.
Remember, it is John Lomperis, the IRD’s UM Action executive director who stalked Rev. Anna Blaedel on the internet and filed the complaint from another annual conference that led to Rev. Blaedel stepping down from ministry. IRD believes they are doing the church a favor by harming LGBTQ persons. This harm is their “accountability.” More of the same is no doubt why they are trying to raise $350,000 before the end of this year. Mr. Tooley wants the IRD to “move forward aggressively” in 2020.
You can watch an important 23-minute video exposing the IRD called “Renewal or Ruin.” It is from 12 years ago and is shockingly accurate as to what is still happening today. The video includes UM Bishops speaking out about the attacks on the UMC. The IRD is not even an organically Methodist group, they are a right-wing political group targeting multiple denominations—including the Methodists. Here is the video: https://vimeo.com/381786. Every Centrist and Progressive in the church needs to be informed.
Please help Mainstream UMC counter the IRD’s reactionary, harmful rhetoric and actions by making a donation today. We are committed to ending the harm to LGBTQ persons and their allies. We are committed to balancing the narrative in the church. Together we can change to a regional structure in our church that allows the US and Western Europe to move faithfully forward. Your end-of-the-year donation is important and tax-deductible. Thank you!
You can donate online here: www.MainstreamUMC.com/donate.
(If the web-links above do not work, please cut and paste them directly into your browser. Thank you.)
You can also donate by mail:
Grace UMC in Olathe, Kansas is the host for Mainstream UMC. The Center of Grace serves as the fiscal agent and provides financial accountability. Please make checks payable to:
Grace United Methodist Church
Memo: Mainstream UMC
Olathe, Kansas 66061
Read the Thanksgiving fundraising appeal from the IRD below. (Please note: the critique of Diana Butler Bass is outrageously biased. All the links in their email have been removed.)
[Begin IRD Email]
November 26, 2019
Dear IRD friend,
Diana Butler Bass is a popular Episcopal writer who actively touts liberal theology and politics. She’s written about 10 books and speaks often in churches, especially Methodist, Episcopal and Presbyterian, among others.
As Bass recently recounted on Twitter, she was originally a conservative Christian but then studied religion at Methodist affiliated Duke University, where her traditional faith was shaken. A professor there claimed that the Council of Nicaea, which crafted the great Nicene Creed articulating Christian orthodoxy that we recite in church, was just a political manipulation by the Roman Emperor Constantine.
Bass was so distraught she reports she vomited in the nearby restroom. Sadly, she didn’t question this professor’s claims. And she didn’t explain what parts of the Nicene Creed are bad or manipulated. The Virgin Birth? Christ’s resurrection?
Many distinguished people on Twitter, including some liberal clergy and seminarians, responded to her, explaining the bishops at Nicaea had already been persecuted for their faith and were unlikely to bend to Constantine or anybody else. And these bishops were just expressing what the early church had from the start believed about God and the Bible.
Instead of admitting these points, Bass went on a tear against IRD, responding to my blog, which just quoted these thoughtful responses. Bass warned that IRD is “dangerous” and “exceptionally skilled.” She warned readers NOT to circulate IRD material because it is so subversive.
Other well-known religious liberal activists joined the Twitter conversation, sharing their own angry complaints about IRD’s effectiveness at countering their agenda within the churches. There was no substance to their response, just apocalyptic warnings and accusations.
Well, good! I’m honored we are seen as “dangerous” and “exceptionally-skilled” by activists who think the churches should be a liberal playground for their political activism. IRD stands up for the truth of historic Christian teachings based on the Bible. We believe churches should proclaim the Gospel, not a far-left political agenda replacing the Kingdom of God with Big Government or the Sexual Revolution or anything else.
This month I celebrate 25 years with IRD! So much has changed over the past quarter century. But the liberalism that once was mostly confined to Mainline Protestantism has now metastasized throughout American Christianity, including into many evangelical churches. Our battle has expanded!
IRD is the only group in America devoted exclusively to church reform and accountability. We believe America needs strong churches if we are to thrive as a healthy democracy.
As we approach the holidays, IRD needs your help more than ever. We must raise $350,000 before year’s end to pay our bills and robustly continue our work into 2020.
So I’m asking you to consider a special gift now that ensures IRD’s mission for healthy churches protected from liberalism and firmly committed to the Bible can move forward aggressively.
Your gift of $50, $100, $500 or whatever you can give is much needed and appreciated. Please donate online here.
(If you prefer not to donate online, checks can be mailed to IRD.)
This Thanksgiving, after 25 years with IRD, I’m grateful for faithful supporters who make our ministry possible!
Grateful to you! And Happy Thanksgiving!
(If you have any thoughts or comments, I’m always delighted to hear from you!)
Mark Tooley, IRD President
P.S. Your gift of $25 or more ensures you’ll receive our quarterly Faith & Freedom journal with the latest updates on church controversies, along with other special reports.
P.P.S. Subscribe to IRD’s new foreign policy magazine Providence! It helps Christians understand America’s duties in an always troubled world.
[End IRD Email]
Please donate to Mainstream UMC today! www.MainstreamUMC.com/donate. Thank you.