Statements specifying six things the General Conference of The United Methodist Church may not do. The Restrictive Rules are found in Section III of the Constitution. The General Conference may not "revoke, alter, or change" the Articles of Religion, the Confession of Faith, or the General Rules of the Societies. The General Conference may not do away with the episcopacy or the right of ministers to trial or appeal. Further, the General Conference may not appropriate the net income of the Publishing House for any purpose other than clergy pensions. The Restrictive Rules were established by the General Conference in 1808, which voted that the General Conference would have broad authority over the denomination except for those items protected by what are now called the Restrictive Rules. Through the years the Restrictive Rules have been modified only slightly through the constitutional amendment process.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by Permission.