An Open Letter to Dr. Jeff Greenway, Wesley Covenant Association

A Retired Bishop Speaks Out



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About the Meeting

I have talked to several people who attended the Memphis Wesleyan Covenant Association meeting. One described the atmosphere there as being surrounded by such godly people that an electrifying presence could be felt. This was a presence they had not felt in many years. If anyone went to the meeting representing the Progressive Sexuality Movement and their sense of a new or modern morality, I would not expect them to feel complete acceptance. When people take their sense of morality from what God presents in the bible, you cannot expect them to warm up to a different morality. Hope you didn’t miss the introduction by Bishop Swanson, I heard it was outstanding!

The book of Proverbs is about wisdom. Excerpts from the HCSB bible introduction: It teaches that “God’s people are to have a different quality of life than the ungodly. The highest virtue is “the fear of the LORD.” Those who follow God’s wise design for living – particularly in the areas of sexual purity and integrity of speech – will avoid perils that others fall into and will enjoy life on earth as God meant if to be lived.”

Skipper Anding more than 4 years ago


It is very reassuring to read these comments from authoritative people in our church indicating that there might have been a switch in direction along the way that is being missed by the fundamentalists. Thanks Bishop Lewis for your insightful comments.

Don E. Bray more than 4 years ago

The public bickering proves

that how Christians deal with sexuality is far from a "non-essential"!

Betsy more than 4 years ago

This article and the responses to it

Once again are absolute proof positive that the best image of unity within the united Methodist Church is cats with their tails tied together. Meanwhile people are not choosing to become part of The United Methodist Church and many long time members--like me--are tired of the mess! The church really needs to get off the fence re sexuality, accept the consequences of that decision and move on!

Betsy more than 4 years ago


Bishop Lewis served the Dakotas area from 1988 to 1996.

John more than 4 years ago

You should seek an honorable exit

The Progressives are the ones seeking to change the BOD to fit their lifestyle. You are the splinter group.

Sarah more than 4 years ago

That's Reprehensible

A person's capacity to love is not a trivial "lifestyle" like golfing or waterskiing. To use that cultural marker, you sneer at the lives of those different from you for which you should be sorely ashamed.

George Nixon Shuler more than 4 years ago

Not sneering

I am not sneering. I am telling it like it is. The progressives are trying to change the BOD. They are the splinter group. The UMC is going to split anyway, unless everyone leaves by then.

Sarah more than 4 years ago


It was the right-wing who changed it in 1972. And the doubling down on your dehumanization of our LGBT Brothers and Sisters is apparent.

George Nixon Shuler more than 4 years ago

Oh Sarah!

Rather than "Progressives" I call them "Those who care"

Change the BOD to fit their "Lifestyle"? Well, dear Sarah, I think you have confused a couple of things...

1) You said "to fit their lifestyle" but these Progressives you speak of are most likely straight heterosexual Christians. Is the lifestyle you refer to a lifestyle too much like Jesus for you? (Loving, caring, welcoming, making disciples, encouraging children of God... rather than looking to shut them out?)

2) Lifestyle... I think you mean the life of people who are gay/homosexual? Lifestyle is often how some people will describe the life of a gay person. It shows a certain disrespect, and certainly lack of understanding. Or to put it another way "bigotry" because our lifestyles are clearly choice-made. Our sexuality is not chosen by us as human beings, as children of God.

Paul more than 4 years ago

Sexual ethics, not "sexuality"

You can call it a lifestyle or whatever . . . the main thing we are talking about is a man having sex with a man and a woman having sex with a woman. The Judeo-Christian tradition has always held that such acts are wrong, sinful in God's eyes, and hurt the persons doing them.

People should never seek to find identity in the urges that arise from their genitals. Our identity is found in being created in the image of God. What we do with our genitals are ethical/moral decisions that have definite consequences.

We should be having discussions about sexual ethics – not "sexuality." And the discussion should be rooted in sound hermeneutical techniques and exegesis. Instead, there is a whole lot of condescending talk from folks like Paul here.

If people like Bishop William B. Lewis are determined to not go anywhere but stick around and keep on talking to others with out listening, then he should not be surprised if he is left alone without anyone to talk to. Which I suspect is where many of the "progressives" in the UMC are headed.

Josh more than 4 years ago

Wrong Again

Sex - actual sex acts - are a small part of life - if our lives were compared to a normal 24 hour day, the amount of time, even considering how obsessed with sex the antigay right-wing faction imagines LGBT folks have, would seldom amount to more than fifteen minutes. That is definitely not the issue. The issue is treating all as persons of dignity and worth. The right-wing, in their obsession, seeks to treat our LGBT Brothers and Sisters horridly. It has nothing to do with sex per se and everything to do with bigotry and oppression.

George Nixon Shuler more than 4 years ago