As usual a wonderful and thoughtful post. I plan to share it on social media.
I do want to push back a little on one thing. You write in point five, ‘As for the “Marcionite” argument, we’re in a standard name-calling situation. For some reason, we think that by labeling someone we have responded, and, on the other hand, by defending ourselves from a label, we’re defending our position. Forget the label; ask whether the viewpoint is correct, or whether it can be improved upon.”
In most contexts I am with you in being careful in playing the “heresy card,” but as a fellow UM we are so unmoored from our theological and historical context that a reminder is now important. In my post on this matter I have used the phraseology of “quasi neo-Marcionism. Quasi means “seemingly or apparently.” Neo means “new,” “different,” like Neo-Orthodox was a return to the Orthodox but also something different. We UMs are in a denomination that is so unmoored from its historical context we need to be reminded that there is nothing new under the sun and what is now all the rage has already been proffered early on.
By all means, let’s have the civil conversation, but ancient heresies do put on modern clothes as well.