Will the Courts Change General Conference?



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Yesterday, the same-sex marriage ban was struck down in Alaska. This means in about 10 days, the number of states with marriage equality has nearly doubled from 16 to 35. By the end of this year we could have marriage equality across the nation.

The Bible has same sex marriage in it. 1 Samuel 18: 1+ "the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul." David was polygamous and married women too, but he clearly loved and preferred Jonathan as his soul mate. When Jonathan dies, David says his love for Jonathan was better than any women. (2 Sam 1: 26) and the word love there is the word for love used over and over in the Song of Songs - it is romantic love.

Sarah Rohret more than 7 years ago

The Courts Should Not Change General Conference

The church is not responsive to the culture, and it is culture that is pushing the court decisions.

Polygamy and slavery are reported to have existed during the time the Bible was written. At no time were either promoted. Paul presented Christianity to slaves as a way to deal with the tough situation they were in; at the same time he admonished Christian slave owners that their Christian slaves were their brothers in Christ and should be treated accordingly.

Nowhere in the Bible is being a woman considered a sin.

All biblical references to homosexual activity are framed as being a sin.

And it is hard to overcome your own personal impulses. My problem is food is my drug of choice and it is a battle I have yet to overcome and I wish it was not a battle I had to face. My life has a big hole in it because I had a father who was dangerous to love and it hurts everyday of my life that I will never have the experience of a quality father-daughter relationship God probably wanted me to have.

Guess what, life is imperfect in a sinful and broken world. Every last one of us are sinners in need of God's grace. I have to wonder if some liberals understand that about themselves. I get you think you are doing something good for a specific group of people; but look how you are treating your fellow church members who do not happen to agree with your enlightenment.

And just for the record, Methodism did not come into existence because John Wesley saw social justice issues that needed to be tackled. In fact, he did not set out to change the church or the culture. He set out to live a holy life centered in God and that led him to unlikely places. His driving passion that brought Methodism into existence was a desire to see rank and file individuals living a holy life centered in God 24/7. The UMC drifted from the original message and reason for its existence a very long time ago!

Orter T. more than 7 years ago

What are we doing folks

I totally agree with the "too little, too late" writer. We blew it in 2004.

I feel if we would have a United Methodist Conference for just the United States; this would not even be a question; we would have gay marriage years and years ago.

I feel Victor is dead wrong! Homosexuality is NOT a choice. That has been proven over and over again. I personally have a friend who for 40 years has made the comment that she wishes she was not gay; it would be easier if she would be straight.

From the 80's - God doesn't make junk. He made us black and white, gay and straight, male and female. That is what He wanted.

If we are taking the one passage literally - let's read some of the other passages: don't cut your hair, don't eat pork, don't work on the sabbath etc etc etc. Does anyone really follow those to the letter of the law?

The one thing God does say over and over again is love one another. I suggest we do so.

Lynne more than 7 years ago

Will the Courts Change General Conference

Lynne, there is no proof that homosexuality is not a choice. There are only theories, speculations and wishful thinking that by "coincidence' coincide very well with the relatively recent change in our society making homosexuality a matter of political correctness.

To me, the idea that God makes us gay, when His word says homosexual practices are sinful, paints an unbiblical picture of a cruel god. We all have a sinful nature but we don't have to live sinful lives, for Jesus Christ came to free us from both the guilt and the power of sin through His death and resurrection (1 Jn 3:8). Jesus loves us and wants us to be free of sin, and we can be free of all sin (Jn 8:31-36).

Actually, I didn't quote just one passage, I quoted several.

Jesus declared all foods clean (Mk 7:19) and declared that the Sabbath is made for people and not people for the Sabbath (Mk 2:27). Nowhere does the NT (or the OT) say that homosexual practices are anything but sinful.

Yes, God says to love one another, but love is defined by God and His word, not by us. I don't believe it is loving to tell people who are committing any sin that their sin is not sin and that God in fact blesses it and made them that way. That is not how God defines love in His word (Jn 14:15, 15:1-17; 1 Jn 3:1-10, 4:7-21, 5:1-3). I love people by telling them the truth, by sharing the Good News of salvation through repentance, faith and confessing Jesus as Lord (Mk 1:15, Rom 10:9), by making disciples which means teaching others to obey all that God commands (Mt 28:19,20).

Victor Galipi more than 7 years ago

Picking and choosing

Please don't just pick and choose scripture without thinking about why the author wrote things down. ... Jesus never speaks on a whole host of different issues, homosexuality included. Instead you have others write about specific things that they don't like found in Roman society, which happens to not be the society where we live. Monogamous, loving relationships between two people of the same gender were not a part of Roman society and not what Paul writes about.

It is interesting that you use Matthew 28:19-20 to justify yourself. For Jesus says to teach "them to obey everything that I have commanded you" and Jesus commands nothing about homosexuality. You cannot say Jesus is talking about obedience to scripture because Jesus often points out exactly how scripture is wrong. No, instead Jesus says to obey what he taught. Which has nothing to do with persecuting, nothing to do with homosexuality, and everything to do with loving the oppressed and the oppressor.

In fact, Jesus commandments can be boiled down very simply. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. And who is your neighbor? [Comment edited for length].

Allen more than 7 years ago

Too Little Too Late

The United Methodist Church missed the boat in 2004 when the General Conference passed the warm, fuzzy "let's hold hands and get along" resolution rather than setting the stage for division. had we divided then, we would have two growing, serving, thriving denominations today.
As the previous comment illustrates, folk are simply not going to change their minds on this. While I see a good bit of the Bible as promoting polygamy, the commentator sees it as endorsing heterosexual monogamous marriage. We're reading the same book, but we ain't coming to the same conclusion. I honestly don't see that changing.
Of course, I never thought that my home state of West Virginia would actually have marriage equality without bloodshed. Yesterday, I was proven wrong - joyfully so!
When it comes right down to it - marriage isn't about religion or the Church. We're just sticking our ecclesiastical noses where they don't belong. Marriage in our country and culture is a legal contract. The Church came rather late to even being involved. Further, legal marriage is not reserved for Christians. Atheists, agnostics, Unitarians, and Muslims marry every day in this country. legally, friends, we ain't got nothin' to say about that!
No, I don't see much of a future at all for the UMC at this point. And I don't think that those we have driven from our ranks with our theologically bankrupt politics will ever come back. And, finally, I think that the 2016 General Conference is way too far in the future to be of any help at all.

The Rev. W. Brent Sturm, O.S.L. more than 7 years ago

Will the Courts Change General Conference

Rev. W. Brent Sturm, name one place in the Bible that promotes polygamy. The Bible has stories about people who committed polygamy, but that is the same thing as promotion. In fact, anytime the Bible goes into much detail about men and their multiple wives, it talks about all the trouble caused by having multiple wives--that is hardly an endorsement. Nowhere does God direct any man to take more than one wife. So the Bible does not promote polygamy, but it clearly does promote marriage between one man and one woman, and only between one man and one woman.

Marriage is about the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ, and Christ the Son of God started the institution of marriage long before this country or any country even existed. The Christian Church from the beginning has encouraged and presided over marriages of one woman to one man. The fact that marriage covers people of all religions (or no religions) and now, in most states, of the same genders, does not change that.

The Church has plenty to say about it, and has had plenty to say about, from all different "sides", for quite a few years now. Can members of the Church change what is legal? Sure they can, they have before, and they have as much right to try to do so as anyone else when they believe something that is legal is still wrong.

However, I do agree with some things you said, though not for the reasons you said them. TUMC did miss the boat in 2004--and 2008 & 2012--when we failed to make a stronger and clearer stand for what is Biblical, including in our Book of Discipline.

Also, you are right that "folk are simply not going to change their minds on this"--to a point. Many won't but some will; and there are those who have not yet made up their minds. My hope is that many of our bishops are undecided and can be persuaded to at least keep our Discipline covenant (even if they don't agree with it), as has Bishop Peggy Johnson.

Finally, unless more bishops either change their minds or take more action on their stand on the word of God and the BoD, I agree that with you that TUMC has little to no future. We will either become what Wesley feared, a form of godliness denying the power, or we will split--fragment, more likely. Or should I say we will continue to, because we are already fragmenting to the tune of thousands of members lost every year.

My hope and prayer is that GC 2016 can make a difference for good, but it won't if things continue as they are now.

Victor Galipi more than 7 years ago

Will the Courts Change General Conference

The rulings had nothing to do with same sex "marriage" and "marriage equality" has not come to the Southeastern and South Central Jurisdictions.

Marriage is defined by God in His word (Gen 2:24), Mt 19:3-6, Eph 5:31), not by justices in the courts. No court rulings or laws of the land will change that fact.

"With the inevitability of marriage equality across the United States being openly discussed in the media, why is it still a question for our church?"

Because the church is the Body of Christ, Christ is our Head, and we are to have the mind of Christ, not have our minds made up for us by the media or by the whims of society.

The "lazy way forward" is following the trends of political correctness; following the word of God in the face of this is the difficult choice, but it is the correct one.

Being anti-slavery was not a matter of political correctness and following society, it was a matter of following the NT to the logical conclusions of its implications concerning slavery. "Marriage equality" is all about following society, not leading according to the word of God.

Furthermore, slavery was forced upon people, while homosexual practices are a choice--a choice that is clearly contrary to the word of God (Rom 1:18-32, 1 Cor 6:9-11, 1 Tim 1:8-11). No amount of reinterpretation that flies in the face of over 2000 years of orthodox Christian interpretation and application will change that.

The Methodist Episcopal Church had gains in membership because they were obedient to the word of God, and because they were spreading the Gospel of freedom from sin through repentance and faith (Mk 1:15).

The United Methodist Church has lost thousands of members in every year of it's existence because of leadership that is pushing for "unity" at any price and being wishy-washy about the word of God.

The courts may change GC, but they shouldn't. What should change GC is repentance and return to the authority of Scripture and the God of the Scriptures.

I call on the bishops to fulfill their ordination and membership vows by leading according to and teaching the word of God, not the courts, and not reinterpretations of the word of God.

Victor Galipi more than 7 years ago