Session Two  |  Rev. John Stephens

VIDEO INTRODUCTION
Welcome back to our second of four sessions exploring the decisions we are facing as a church.  Last week’s video was from Rev. Adam Hamilton who argued in favor of remaining in the United Methodist Church.  Today’s video is from Rev. John Stephens, the pastor of Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston, TX.  This video is part of the same Zoom call presented to the Northwest Texas Annual Conference. At the conclusion of this video there will be a time of questions and discussion.
POST VIDEO QUESTIONS
How important, in your mind, is it for a denomination to have a clear definition of marriage?

Rev. Stephens talks about compatibilists and incompatibilists.  He defines a compatibilist as someone who believes a certain way, but is comfortable being in a church with those who believe differently.  He defines an incompatibilist as someone who believes a certain way, but is unwilling to be in a church with those who believe differently.  Is there a difference between belief and practice?  Is there a difference between these things in a local church or these things in official doctrines and practice of a denomination?  For example, we are all likely comfortable being in a local church with a variety of beliefs and practices, but is that the same as being in a denomination with a variety of official doctrines and practices?  How comfortable are you with being in a denomination with a variety of official doctrines and practices over issues like the resurrection of Jesus, the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, the meaning of salvation, or a definition of marriage?

If a regional conference is created in the United States, as a Bishop from Africa believes will occur, what do you think will be the result?  Would it be helpful or hurtful for a denomination to have dramatically varying practices and beliefs depending on location and culture?

Other denominations, the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, Lutheran Church, and Disciples of Christ Church have changed their doctrinal positions regarding marriage and the ordination of LGBTQIA persons.  How have you seen those churches in Amarillo impacted by these changes?

What important parts of the United Methodist connection would you miss the most if Polk Street were to leave?