By Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism.
Recently 14 United Methodist bishops in Africa, collectively representing 5 million United Methodists in Africa’s growing churches, spoke out remarkably on the topics of terrorism and marriage.
Their words were very different from rhetoric typical of the long declining U.S. church.
Speaking well before the recent Paris terror, the African United Methodist bishops cited Islamist terror groups like Nigeria-based Boko Haram and Somalia-based Al-Shabab for their “atrocities and mayhem,” such as suicide bombings, kidnappings and rape. They prayed for “divine intervention” and for the “persecuted church,” pledging to search for practical counter measures to “needless suffering.”
The African bishops were too polite to mention that U.S. church agencies and officials almost never talk about terrorism per se, instead lamenting “violence,” often implying no major moral distinction between terrorism and military/police action against it. I can recall no major official United Methodist attention in the U.S. to Boko Haram and Al-Shabab, which have murdered thousands of Africans, targeting Christians especially.
Unlike protected, wealthy Americans, the Africans must actually live with and contend against these ongoing Islamist terror forces. They don’t have our luxury of detached, abstract theorizing about “violence.”
The African bishops also spoke up strongly in defense of United Methodist biblical teaching on marriage, which next year’s governing General Conference will again debate.