If my math is correct, only 54.5% of the delegates voted to maybe decide the acceleration of the decline of The United Methodist Church. I say “maybe” because I am not yet clear on what provisions of the Traditional Plan previously determined to be unconstitutional, but adopted by the majority of delegates will mean to the constitutionality or lack thereof of the whole shebang.
An insider on the winning team has offered this analysis of their victory: https://juicyecumenism.com/2019/02/27/2019-general-conference/?fbclid=IwAR3FX0Z34OJpe7rA9PWa03Tjw5il1_P3-xVFLd6DcaXkKk5NbnuyRDQ2DSA
What strikes me is the tenor and tone of what the evangelical right is claiming as their success. It is all negative and punitive toward those who do not share their rigid standards.
The One Church Plan had its flaws and would certainly have drastically changed the official, much less common, understanding of our connectional system. But it kept the doors open to those whose hearts and minds understood and practiced ministry and mission differently. The evangelical right slammed the door shut and strung razor wire in front of it.
To put the evangelical right’s coup d’eglise in some perspective, 30% of delegates were from African and 7% from Philippine central conferences, very theo-politically conservative portions of our global church. I doubt that all of them voted in lockstep with the North American evangelical right, but I am confident most of them did. If their votes are removed, North American support for collapsing any notion of the UMC as a big tent church shrinks considerably.
The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority ultimately, although from time to time majorities bridle at their restraints and do their best to hurt, if not eliminate, minority groups.
The 54.5% in St. Louis may not have all intended to do that by their actions, but that is at best an unintended consequence. Some of them knew full well what they were doing and clearly intend to cleanse the church from apostates and infidels.
The good news is that another General Conference is just a year away and it will not take many votes to swing the majority the other way. So, if you can vote to elect delegates get thee to Annual Conference this year.
Remember St. Louis 2019.