In response to Donald Haynes’ recent proposal in the United Methodist Reporter, a useful discussion has ensued over at WesleyBlog. In one of the comments David writes of the challenges facing the current system:
Third, congregations (in general) have a live and grwoing distrust of authority at all levels -conference, district, pastor, and-dare I say -God. This is partly the fruit of postmodernism and partly the result of fuzzy denominational leadership on key issues over recent decades. We are reaping what has been sewn.
In my experience, part of the distrust (and relativism) is due to a combination of short pastoral tenure and a lack of theological discipline (leadership) in the denomination. When we have a system encompassing so many theologies, congregations will often face radical changes in theology & basic ministry philosophy every couple of years. It’s easy to imagine these congregations getting to the point where they don’t pay much heed to anything a pastor says: they know that whatever they hear now, the next guy will say something different.