Keith Sweat...The Hermit Preacher
I encourage everyone , especially seminarians, to always be reading at least one book that is older than you are. We have 4,000 years of theological reflection available to us. There is much worthwhile that was not written by Adam Hamilton.
10 January, 2017
After concluding my current appointment in June 2017, I will no longer be available for appointment in the United Methodist Church, I will leave clergy status and return to the laity. I communicated through the District superintendent my primary reason is, “I can longer reconcile the Bishops’ commitment to unity of property and purse with my commitment to unity of purpose and mission.” Both the district Superintendent and our Bishop have responded with courtesy and charity.
I am making my decision public now because my leaving will likely coincide with anticipated actions and statements by United Methodist administrative bodies which will be inflammatory. I do not want this course to be seen as an unthinking emotional reaction to any one of those. This is a call I am following after much time in study, conversation, prayer, and solitude.
If there is an event which affirmed this call, then it is an assembly of orthodox/evangelical laity and clergy I attended in my conference in November. It included many of us who attended WCA in Chicago. Many times, clergy responded to pleas for guidance from the laity with, “As clergy I cannot recommend…”, “As clergy I cannot say…”, and assorted other, “As I clergy I cannot…”. What I heard was, “As United Methodist clergy one cannot faithfully teach and counsel the flock.” On the great matters that are before the church I have concluded that (regardless of the position one takes) that one has more credibility as laity than as clergy. As laity, I will work as a preacher of reformation–on my own time and my own dime.
The United Methodist Church needs reformation. There is no indication that reform will come through the clergy. Perhaps, it may come through an awakened laity. Beginning in July of this year, I am making myself available as a voice for that revival and reformation whom God may use or set aside as God so pleases.