RULING OF LAW
Issued July 15, 2013
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, Resident Bishop of The California-Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church has issued a Ruling of Law on the Statement of Biblical Obedience (Resolution 13-16) that was passed at the 2013 Annual Conference.
Highlights of the Statement of Biblical Obedience
*In response to our common belief that God’s grace and love is available to all persons, the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church states our belief that the United Methodist Church is in error on the subject of “homosexuality’s incompatibility with Christian teaching.”(Para 161F)
*We commend to our bishops, clergy, local churches and ministry settings,
the challenge to operate as if the statement in Para. 161F does not exist,
creating a church where all people are truly welcome.
Highlights of the Bishop’s Ruling of Law
*It is clear that the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church is the church’s book of law. However, it should also be noted that the Preface to the Social Principles of the church in which paragraph 161F is found, states that the Social Principles are: “…not to be considered church law…” (page 103 of the 2012 Book of Discipline of The UMC).
* It is also clear that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church is the only body that can change the church’s Book of Discipline.
*I find that Resolution 13-16 does not violate the legal authority of the Book of Discipline in that it does not require any person, office or body within the church to violate the Book of Discipline.
*What Resolution 13-16 does do is commend to bishops, clergy, local churches and ministry settings, the challenge to operate as if Paragraph 161F of the Book of Discipline does not exist. The act of commending and challenging persons and entities of the church to act in a particular way in response to a section of the Book of Discipline that is not intended to be church law does not in and of itself constitute an illegal act.
*Resolution 13-16, Biblical Obedience, expresses the hope of many in The United Methodist Church when it speaks of inclusion and justice for all God’s people, and gives witness to the belief that The United Methodist Church is in error when it states that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
To read the complete Ruling of Law by Bishop Carcaño: