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Text of: 31990-FO-NonDis-O

Concerning the Meaning of the Social Priniciples

We petition that the General Conference directs the respective Boards (or Commissions), which regularly work on the Social Principles, to hear and take into consideration all of the experiences of the world wide church related to ethical questions, and from this to clearly indicate which parts, or parts, of the Principles have the characteristic of being fundamental, are in accordance with the Gospel, and are therefore valid for all Christians.

Rational: Our Experiences and Observations

1. The Social Principles make the claim that they take a stand on the human questions and problems of the contemporary wold. They formulate the opinion of the General Conference with regard to these broad fields:

a) The Natural World

b) The Nurturing Community

c) The Social Community

d) The Economic Community

e) The Political Community

f) The World Community

2. The Social Prinicples were prepared and formulated by a Board of the General Conference, which itself consisted entirely of Americans. This means that the opinions and critiques were formulated from the perspective of the existing situation in American (United States of America) society. There are many fundamental questions which can be supported and approved of by Methodists worldwide. Yet there are also questions which are not relevant to the situation in Europe, Asia, or Africa.

3. We wish to put forward the following observations:

a) Our world consists not only of East and West, but of North and South.

b) Througout Europe, Africa, and Asia there live many different peoples with their own cultures, histories, religions, languages, and varying social realities.

c) Already we observe that within the European situation changes and developments take place at different speeds. The church must take these differences into consideration in its ministry.

4. In the Cold War era these differences with our fellow Christians in Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe could not be discussed and debated. The political situation made subsequent discussions about political, economic, social and religious principles impossible at that time. A dialogue has now begun, and we experience differences in opinions about these matters. Each opinion has its correctness and no one should be made subordinate to another.

5. If the General Conference of the United Methodist Church truly wishes to comment on the human questions and problems of our time, and doesn't wish to speak only to the Christians in the United States of America, then it must seek to do justice to the diversity of the world.

Submitted by the Executive Committee of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe.





Info About Petition 31990-FO-NonDis-O

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