I do indeed have a problem with the United Methodist Church's political support of a government plan, whether it is health care or any other issue. I also have great concerns with the rhetoric of the "Social Principles." Neither of these represent what I believe is the true focus of Jesus' life, ministry, and death. Read Jesus' response to Pilate in John 18:36:
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
The Bible clearly states that the kingdom of God is not of this world, so what does the United Methodist Church stand to gain by empowering a worldly government, such as our own, that desires to increase its control over the people?
The example set by the UMC disappoints and troubles me greatly, because I do not see the support of health care as scripturally correct. Nor do I understand why our denomination thinks it can speak for all United Methodists, when it has been shown the majority of Americans oppose the health care bill. Do you not think that United Methodists make up a portion of that majority?
In reading God's word, I understand that we should focus on relieving the physical burdens experienced by all people because of sin, instead of relying on a worldly government to decide what is fair health care for each individual. This world and its pain will pass, but our spiritual health will remain for eternity. Hebrews 9:27 teaches that man has one opportunity to get it right, because after we die the judgment comes. Shouldn't the Church focus on spiritual health to build Jesus' kingdom, which is not of this world?
I ask again: What does the Church gain by promoting greater power in our government? Does the UMC think that God needs help in caring for his people? Jesus did not inquire of the ruling authorities to help care for the poor. He said we would always have the poor among us, but his focus was on teaching us to care for the physical needs of others while mainly addressing their spiritual health: bringing them to know him as Savior and Lord so they may enjoy eternal life with him.
I am disappointed in the UMC and I feel betrayed by its political actions. Too much effort is put into "words" and in writing "Social Principles." God's kingdom does not consist of words, but in power (I Corinthians 4:20).
I am praying for a revival of truth in the hearts of United Methodists and a return to scriptural soundness by those in leadership positions.
Michelle Ellis is a member at Ketron Memorial United Methodist Church in Kingsport District. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.