United Methodists’ “silent minority” (evangelicals) began clearing its throat at the renewal group’s first national convention in Dallas last year. This year it found its voice at a four-day convocation (July 7–10) in Cincinnati, and the evangelicals plan to make that voice heard at the highest levels of Methodism.
“We have moved out of the criticizing stage into the action phase,” said Dr. Robert G. Mayfield, general chairman of the Convocation of United Methodists for Evangelical Christianity. “Evangelicals now have power within our own hands to gain representation on our national boards, commissions, and agencies.”
The evangelical strategy to influence the United Methodist hierarchy hinges on laymen. The plan is to elect evangelical laymen as delegates to jurisdictional and general conferences and encourage “selective giving” in the pews. As the convocation met, the denomination reported basic benevolence giving was down 10 per cent from a year ago.
“We are not promoting a cash boycott but regard selective giving as sound stewardship,” explains the Reverend Charles W. Keysor (Keysor’s article “The Silent Minority,” published in Christian Advocate magazine in 1966, launched the “Forum for Scriptural Christianity” and its publication, Good News magazine, which sponsored the Cincinnati and Dallas conventions. Keysor is pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Elgin, Illinois.)
Two of the twenty-eight convocation seminars were aimed directly at showing evangelicals how to “work within the decision-making processes” of the church. One workshop, conducted by two young Ohio pastors, was called “Strategies ...1
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