2016 Book of Resolutions, #4056
God’s vision of abundant living is a world where we live out of a theology of “enough,” a theology based in the knowledge that we are grounded in Christ, that our sense of personal value and esteem grows from our Christ-centered life. (The Book of Resolutions 2000, #188)
Scripture calls us to be compassionate and just stewards of our wealth and warns us of the sin of greed and its devastating effects. The Law ensured that the basic needs and rights of the poor were protected from the greedy (Exodus 23:6-11; Leviticus 25:35-55). The prophets warned that an economic system based on greed is contrary to God’s will and leads to society’s ruin (Amos 8:4-7; Jeremiah 22:13-17). Echoing the Law and the prophets, Jesus condemned the rich for the hypocrisy of greed and the barriers greed creates to attaining salvation (Luke 6:24; 16:1-15; Matthew 18:16- 22). He taught that in God’s economy that everyone would have enough (Matthew 13:31-32; 20:1-16). The early church rejected greed by sharing their wealth among their members (Acts 2:44- 45). When their salvation was jeopardized by greed, Paul warned them that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).
In our Wesleyan tradition, greed is an impediment to holiness. John Wesley taught and practiced that excessive wealth, absent of effective stewardship and radical charity, prevents a believer from growing in grace and cultivates sinful actions and attitudes.
Wesley said that greed is “destructive of that faith which is of the operation of God; of that hope which is full of immortality; of love of God and of our neighbor, and of every good word and work.” (“The Danger of Riches” I.11)
Therefore, we follow in this Methodist tradition and oppose public policies that have encouraged speculation; and tax policies that have concentrated wealth. We oppose “free trade agreements that strengthen the movement of money and goods but do not permit the free movement of labor across borders. International trade agreements without strong, just systems for corporate accountability have often decimated local cultures and their social support systems and have deeply affected environmental and economic sustainability. The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership also has weak environmental, community, and labor protections. We also support efforts to revise tax structures so that the wealthiest pay enough for all to have guaranteed social protections (Social Principles, ¶ 163; see also the 2012 Book of Resolutions, #4052, “Economic Justice for a New Millennium”).
Call to Action:
At the General Church Level:
That the General Board of Global Ministries, the General Board of Church and Society, and United Methodist Women sup- port national and international measures that reject trade agreements that encourage the free flow of capital across national lines without environmental, economic, and social regulations or provisions for labor migration. That we support policies that promote the social, economic, and political self-determinations of all nations and peoples.
That The United Methodist Church support progressive taxation to more equitably distribute income and wealth across all income brackets. This includes a focus on taxing income and property rather than taxes on items of daily consumption. Taxes on daily consumption disproportionately impact people with low incomes.
That The United Methodist Church increase its efforts toward debt cancellation for nations of the Global South and challenge usurious loan practices in the United States that push interest on those unable to pay, intensifying poverty.
That the General Board of Global Ministries, the General Board of Church and Society, and United Methodist Women work with partners to support public policy that regulates global financial industry’s currency speculation that has had a devastating impact on both developed and developing nations.
At the Local Church Level:
That local congregations challenge “overconsumption” in a culture that does not take into consideration the consequences of such consumption including disproportionate resource use and waste.
That local congregations examine their investments and endowment funds to determine how they can be better invested in underserved and impoverished communities with regards to community development, coops, credit unions, and projects concerning the affordability and accessibility of housing, healthy foods, and energy.
That local congregations advocate for just tax structures that ensure that all people have adequate resources for housing, affordable healthy food, clean water, energy, health care, and public transportation.
That the people called United Methodists search the Scriptures concerning systemic greed, pray for forgiveness where appropriate, and develop relationships of mutuality and reconciliation across class, status, race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and age while advocating for a system that, like the early Christians and John Wesley, values a just distribution of our common resources.
READOPTED 2008 AMENDED AND READOPTED 2016
RESOLUTION #4056, 2008. 2012 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #211, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
See Social Principles, ¶ 163A, D, E
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