Methodist Evangelical Movement Founder Dies

Dr. Bill Hinson, president and founder of the largest evangelical movement within the United Methodist Church (UMC), died on Sunday, December 26, 2004, while recovering from a massive stroke.

As a leading conservative voice within the UMC, Hinson helped found the Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church in 1995, and was serving a two-year term as its president when he died. He was 68.

Hinson was also the host pastor for a meeting in Houston where the Houston Declaration on the authority of the Holy Scripture was drafted in 1987.

¡°Bill was a courageous prophet and preacher of the Gospel,¡± the Confessing Movement wrote in a statement. ¡°He was a tireless and winsome witness to the apostolic faith.¡±

Hinson also served as the senior pastor of one of the largest United Methodist congregations in the nation, the First United Methodist Church of Houston. After serving for 18 years, he retired in 2001 and began serving on the staff of First United Methodist Church of Huntsville.

¡°We loved and appreciated having him with us. He was always an asset to us,¡± said Rev. Don Cross, pastor of First Church in Huntsville. ¡°I called it a journey, and it was just too short.¡±

¡°Hinson was a traditional preacher who emphasized Scriptural authority and evangelism, and was involved in missions around the world,¡± he added.

Accordingly, Hinson served on the World Methodist Council¡¯s executive and evangelism committee, and served as president of the Council on Finance and Administration. He was also a member of the Board of Global Ministries, a trustee for Asbury Seminary, and a delegate to several General and jurisdictional conferences. He also wrote several books on evangelism, discipleship and other topics, according to the United Methodist News Service.

Hinson received degrees from Georgia Southern University, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and Boston University, as well as honorary doctorates from Asbury Theological Seminary and Houston Graduate School of Theology. Honors included the Denman Evangelism Award from the Texas Annual (regional) Conference in 1985 and the Philip Award for Outstanding Leadership in Evangelism 2000.

Hinson was recognized this year for suggesting the United Methodist Church ¡°amicably separate¡± between factions that hold traditional teachings of Christ and those who wish to ordain homosexuals. His suggestion, which was made during the UMC¡¯s quadrennial conference last May, took note that the contentious issue was keeping the larger church from focusing on what was more important: missions and evangelism.

Hinson is survived by his wife of 48 years, Jean Laird Hinson, three children and 13 grandchildren.

Visitation was set for Dec. 27 at First United Methodist Church in Huntsville, followed by the funeral service Dec. 28.

For more information, visit the Confessing Movement website at: http://www.confessingumc.org/