Do you approve of our church government and polity?
Having studied the United Methodist form of discipline and polity, the question now shifts to approval. I just right-clicked on the word “approval” and took a look at the suggested synonyms. They include words such as endorsement, support, sanction, consent, and agreement. So having studied the structure, government, and polity of the Church, am I ready to endorse it? Am I ready to support it? Am I ready to consent to it? Obviously the answer is yes. I’ve counted the cost and am willing to submit myself to the government and polity of this denomination.
To me, this is a question of loyalty and accountability. During the service of ordination, the Bishop will ask those of us being ordained and commissioned a question that, I believe, applies to this historic question:
Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church, accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline, defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word, and committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you, and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry?
I bolded some words there. If I desire to be an ordained minister in this tradition, it requires loyalty to the Church, acceptance of its order, defending it, and committing myself to be accountable. That’s a big commitment. This colossal level of obligation beckons an answer to the question: Do you approve of our church government and polity? If one doesn’t approve, agree, endorse, support, etc….then submission and loyalty is difficult to achieve.
I do approve of our church government and polity. There may come a day that I feel like Commissioner Gordon did in Dark Knight Rises: “There’s a point, far out there when the strutures fail you, and the rules aren’t weapons anymore, they’re…shackles…”, but if that day comes I pray that my brothers and sisters in the order of Elders will hold me accountable to the vows I have made and that I’ll have the personal integrity to work for positive change and not undermine or ignore the covenant I’ve agreed to.
Do you approve of our Church government and polity? I do so approve.