United Methodism has lost almost 2 million members in 20 years because church leaders aren't paying attention to the Bible, a United Methodist minister told the National Convocation of Good News meeting this week in Colorado Springs.
The Rev. Edmund Robb III said theological liberalism has overtaken the church, causing members to stop believing in the virgin birth, original sin, and the bodily resurrection and second coming of Jesus.
"Liberalism is simply an anesthetic to put man to sleep while his belief in God is amputated," said Robb, quoting fundamentalist orator William Jennings Bryan. Robb is pastor of the 1,400-member Woodland United Methodist Church outside Houston.
Robb's speech to the evangelical United Methodist caucus was a joint effort between him and his father, Edmund Robb II, who suffered a stroke and was unable to speak to the Good News convention.
More than 500 people from across the country attended the four-day convention.
The elder Robb is founder of the Washington-based Institute on Religion and Democracy. He has been a longtime critic of mainline Protestant churches and of the National and World councils of churches because of what he considers their liberal tendencies.
The younger Robb said here that the 9.2 million-member United Methodist Church has lost its confidence in the Bible and has become more interested in making "political pronouncements, championing the latest social fad," which he called "cannibalization of the Gospel."
Methodism, said Robb, "began as a mighty marching army" but has become "a tedious bureaucracy" that allows "a cafeteria-style approach" to the Bible in which members can "pick and choose what they wish." Archbishop Takes Over 2 Schools in Detroit
Roman Catholic Archbishop Edmond Szoka has taken direct personal control of two mostly black parochial schools in the Detroit archdiocese because of heavy deficits incurred by the schools during the past year.
The move, which church spokesmen here described as unprecedented, affects the St. Therese-Visitation Grade School and the St. Martin de Porres High School in the west side of the city. Each school faces an annual deficit in excess of $100,000.
Under the archbishop's action, according to spokesmen, the archdiocese will pay the school's year-end bills. But the operations are expected to stem the tide of red ink by the end of the 1986-87 school year.
Jay Berman, spokesman for the archdiocese, said Archbishop Szoka intervened to show his interest in keeping the two schools open.
The student bodies in the schools are mostly black with a large percentage of non-Catholics.
The archbishop described the high school as a "model of what a Catholic school can be in the inner city" and a "model for evangelization." Billy Graham Reports 10% Rise in Revenue
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association received $55.3 million in income last year, up about 10 percent over 1984, according to its latest annual report. Expenditures were put at $55.1 million, leaving a balance of $216,576.
The combined revenue of the association and affiliated organizations, including book, motion picture and broadcasting operations, totaled $72.8 million. With expenditures of $73.9 million, there was a deficit of $1,141,542 for the combined operations.
Finance chairman George H. Wilson said 86 percent of the association's income came from direct mail appeals, 6 percent from other fund raising, 5.4 percent from administrative overhead, and 2.6 percent from miscellaneous sources.
Of the expenditures, he said, 89 percent went directly into ministries, 5.7 percent was used for administrative costs and 5.3 percent went into fund raising.
The Graham association is spending $12 million on the Second International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists, which will open in Amsterdam today. It is bringing 8,000 traveling evangelists from 178 countries and territories to the Dutch city for 10 days of training and inspiration. Britain's Black Catholics Alienated, Study Says
Many black Roman Catholics in Britain are becoming increasingly alienated from the church, according to a report commissioned by Cardinal Basil Hume, archbishop of Westminster.
The "With You in Spirit?" report accuses white Catholics of causing anger and sorrow among black people.
The just-published document alleges that black people are snubbed by priests; that many of the white laity either patronize or ignore blacks; that there are no black priests in the Westminster Archdiocese; that black priests visiting from outside the archdiocese are treated badly, and that racial discrimination is rife in Catholic schools.
The report was produced by a 10-member ecumenical committee that included five non-Catholics. The most senior churchman of the group was Canon Ivor Smith Cameron, a member of the Church of England's General Synod.
Neither Cardinal Hume nor any of the Westminster area bishops were involved in the study. Catholic sources have described the 97-page document as "a real hot potato."
Leela Ramdeen, a native of Trinidad and chairwoman of the committee that drafted the report, said that racism in British society and in the church is an "oppressive reality" about which outspokenness is needed. "There is a rage for justice in the black community, and the church must take the lead," she said.
Among its 52 recommendations, the report urges the establishment of a resource center headed by a black Catholic to encourage blacks to participate in parish councils and similar bodies, monitoring of Catholic schools to make sure that racism does not influence admissions policies, making liturgy more relevant to young blacks and recruitment of black priests. Editor of Friendship Press Retires
Ward Kaiser, executive director and editor of Friendship Press, the publishing arm of the National Council of Churches, has left that post in an early retirement.
Kaiser, 63, had been the top editor at the operation since 1977. He joined Friendship Press as an editor of youth publications in 1957. He was associated with the New York-based NCC for more than 30 years, initially working in France for Church World Service, the council's overseas relief and development arm.
A native of Kitchener, Ontario, he is a member of the United Church of Canada. He earned degrees at the University of Western Ontario in London and Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Kaiser said his immediate plans include writing a book, consulting with publishing firms, lecturing and editing.
NCC officials said they were beginning a search process to hire a new executive editor.