Another Choice

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Abuse of Scriptural perspective of Homosexuality

Often in a defense of an idea, certain key statements will be made that are foundational to the contention. One of those key statements in this article is:
"the official United Methodist position on homosexuality is an opinion, not a doctrine. It was decided by a majority vote of General Conferences and is not one of the Articles of Religion or any of the other standards of Methodist doctrine."
Ironically the author seems to be unaware that his statement is "an opinion" and far more of an opinion than the doctrine that homosexuality is sin. Notice the author makes this statement with out any objective evidence to support his contention. The readers are expected to accept his statement as truth without evidence. Actually, his statement is false and only those who are theologically illiterate would consider it to have any truthful merit.
This reveals the inadequacy of theological education in the United Methodist Church and is particularly disturbing when clergy makes such statements revealing a lack of elementary understanding of the process of basic exegetical and hermeneutical skills. How can someone be a pastor, leading others to live a Christ like life, when they apparently don't have the basic skills to competently and objectively handle basic interpretation principles of the Scriptures ?
Those that are theologically and Scripturally competent, clearly understand that the official United Methodist position on homosexuality is NOT an opinion, but is Christian Doctrine with nearly 4000 years of precedent, and sound logical and hermeneutical evidence to support that doctrine. Those who seek to change it, seem to be unaware that they are expressing their opinion that God is wrong.
Notice the author sets a false premise (the doctrine is just an opinion) and continues his line of argument under the assumption this false premise, is true. "To raise an opinion about homosexuality or even a law in the Discipline to the level of an orthodox doctrine is a violation of Article I of the Restrictive Rules (¶17)". Students of logic will easily identify the use of logical fallacies employed by the author. It appears that the author hasn't a clue that he is using logical fallacies to support his idea.
The word "doctrine" is used in 1 Tim. 1:10, which states:
" ... the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,"
The word doctrine, used in this verse, is, "didaskalia" (διδασκαλίᾳ), which means, "teachings". This can be confirmed by any Greek Lexicon. The uses the word sound (hygiainousē) before the word doctrine, implies there is unsound doctrine. In the first part of the verse, some Christian doctrines are mentioned, including, the Christian position on homosexuality. According to this verse, to state the , "position on homosexuality is an opinion, not a doctrine" is denying the clear, straight forward statement of this verse. The Methodist position affirms this verse.

Douglas Zachary more than 2 years ago

Homosexuality Continued

Another key statement in this article is:
"but homosexuality that leads to long-lasting relationships is not the homosexuality referred to in the Bible. The many passages of Scripture that talk about including outsiders are just as authoritative as the few passages that talk about homosexuality.”
The author is operating on the presupposition that there is a distinction between homosexual abuse and homosexuality in a loving relationship. Then, he uses this presumption as a basic premise and "interprets" the Scriptures to fit his presupposition. Of course those who are theologically literate will quickly see the flaw in his exegesis and hermeneutics. He interprets Scripture in a subjective manner to get a meaning that he wants, instead of interpreting Scripture to see what God is revealing. This is a dishonest approach to Scripture and should be considered abusing the intent of Scripture. Therefore, once again notice the author gives no objective evidence to support his claim, but expects the readers to accept his supposition without questioning it. Traditionally this distinction has not been accepted. The precedence has been that any, and all forms of homosexuality is unacceptable. The burden of proof to give objective evidence to support his claim lies with the author and he gives no evidence. Without any objective evidence, we should not accept the distinction the author is trying to suggest.
I appears to me that the author’s perception of Methodism is that it is merely an institution that can vote on what ever changes the General Conference decides without the consideration of what God’s will is.

Douglas Zachary more than 2 years ago

Homosexuality Continued (3)

Another key statement built on a false premise:
“The definition of marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” is part of the Social Principles, not a doctrine,”
Consider Gen. 2:24 and Matt. 19:4-6
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Notice in Matthew, Jesus is speaking. Jesus is teaching doctrine. To contend that “The definition of marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” is part of the Social Principles, not a doctrine,” is Scripturally absurd. This passage is not a gray area in Scripture where the meaning is not completely clear, nor is it a difficult passage to interpret, that demands a lot of skill in hermeneutical principles. The only way a person can approach this passage and contend marriage is a social principle and not a teaching of Jesus (a doctrine), is if there is a very strong bias against what Jesus is clearly teaching in favor of changing people’s perceptions to fit a preconceived idea. Remember sound doctrine vs unsound doctrine ? The author is proposing unsound doctrine (his teachings), which is contrary to what Jesus teaches. This is not the way theologically competent Christians handle Scripture. We don’t interpret Scripture in a subjective manner and make up our own doctrines to fit the cultural norms of our society. The reader will have to chose between the teachings (doctrine) held by the author, or accept the teachings (doctrine) of Jesus. What is a Christian to do ? (obvious)

It would seem that the author has little regard for the authority of God's written revelation of His will for mankind.

For an objective understanding of the Christian perspective on homosexuality I would suggest a video series on YouTube by Mike Winger on “Homosexuality” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_5WvYcKv18).
This can help Christians learn how to love homosexuals in the context of God’s truth.
DZ

Douglas Zachary more than 2 years ago

Civil Discourse

When offering an opposing opinion, if one wishes to be perceived as credible in a civil discourse, one restricts commentary to the argument at hand. Demeaning the individual, rather than the argument, debases your position and renders your argument as unreliable. You must start with a realization that NOT ALL "Those that are theologically and Scripturally competent" agree with you. There is currently an educated and civil debate considering a compassionate "Way Forward" currently underway, featuring minds well educated, trained and suited to this task. I am just happy that your tunnel-vision is not a part of the team reporting soon to the Council of Bishops. Indeed, I am quite surprised that United Methodist Insight allowed your submission, considering they promise to exclude abusive submissions that include "comments that demean the. author's... integrity."

Dale Milford more than 2 years ago

Non-traditional interpretation - from God?

Many times Jesus condemns the Pharisees for making the bible say what they want it to say. Are you sure your non-traditional interpretation of sexuality is from God and not your own? Can you support if with scripture? The traditional man / woman arrangement of families is all through the bible along with warnings about the evil of all immoral relationships, with special mention of the evil of same-sex relationships (such as Romans 1). What scripture clearly supports your position? Please include scripture to show how the length of a relationship has some bearing on it being moral or not moral and scripture to support how marriage as defined in the bible has changed.

We are supposed to be open to God and living the way Jesus taught, but closed to evil. John Wesley often had people examine their lives for evil. I feel you are mistaken to say the United Methodist position on homosexuality is opinion not doctrine. It is right there in the Book of Discipline. At the time when John Wesley provided us with our Articles of Religion, it was unthinkable to need to say that immoral relationships are prohibited.

Skipper Anding more than 3 years ago

There is even another choice!

We trust in the decision every General Conference has handed down since 1972. Someone said we are at this point because of a failure of love and leadership. Right on! In supporting the cause of one group of people, progressives have run all over those who do not agree with them. And leadership has failed to back the decision of General Conference and put an end to this mess a very long time ago! Up until now, the question of marriage never had to be an "official" doctrine because this is the first time Christianity has even considered trying to embrace same gender unions and accept that people deciding on a day to day basis what their gender is a significant part of their spiritual journey! Obviously, the time has come to put in writing the definition of marriage and the status of people who are hung up on their gender identity. And as far as the command to welcome the outsiders, the church has a million ways to make a person feel like an outsider who is invisible and expendable. I know because I have been there and experienced that and I am not even gay. In fact, when I first delved into this controversy, my knee jerk reaction was "I hope the gays have better luck with the church than I did." There is a reason the church is approaching 50 years of numerical decline and based on my experience it is not because we refuse to affirm the gay couples it is because collectively the UMC has zero understanding of who it is, what it believes and what its mission really is! John Wesley really did create a "practical religion for a plain people" in community with each other. Right now the UMC is anything but! The person in the pew should not be having to determine what they believe about marriage and gender or even which faction they should align with! I once read that the church in America has become intelligible to the world because it has become intelligible to those who are in it. Welcome to an accurate description of the UMC in which the 'U" stands for Unintelligible; which is exactly what most three year olds pitching a temper tantrum are!

Betsy more than 3 years ago

I've always been amazed

....at right-wing ideologues claiming Wesley's endorsement for their positions. A champion of inclusion is not likely to favor exclusion regardless of the circumstances. Wesley predated what is commonly called "The Victorian Era," referring to reign of Queen Victoria in Great Britain, which lasted from 1837 to 1901. While Victoria herself was somewhat naïve in some respects (she reportedly questioned her parliamentary leaders' inclusion of lesbian sexual contact with a dumbfounded comment to the question of "what do they do[sexually]?" but otherwise she is often miscast as a prude. As for British society, it is said some prudish customs developed in that era - in some circles it was said to cause fainting to refer to a table having "legs" and so forth - prudery became an emblem of Upper Middle Class status. It was decidedly Post-Weslayan, and not at all reflective of the UMC's Founder at all. As a clergyman who served the poor he had no doubt seen it all. Even Charles Dickens, the premier literary figure of Victorian Britain, created the comical villain "Mr. Pecksniff" in his novel "Martin Chuzzlewit" as a caricature of the prude so much so that "pecksniff" is widely understood as another term for a person obsessed with sex. The ideal of prudery as a "Christian" or even as a Methodist bona fide, however, is purely impressionistic. but the same prudery affects the right-wing in general and in the UMC today. It is merely a remnant of the popular culture of Victorian times, much as Starbuck's is of let's estimate, our culture from 1990 on or so. I've been to a Starbuck's maybe a dozen times, not being a coffee drinker, and most of those were in airports. It's like people saying because I'm a Texan I must ride a horse. I haven't since I was 12, not because I hate them (I was actually quite good) but horsemanship was an avocation I did not seek because to do so would mean less time for other pursuits, not to mention the high cost of private equestarian husbandry. So also is it ridiculous to assume co-religionists share prudery with those obsessed with what others to in bed and elsewhere. To further connect the dots, our right-wing is obsessed with what LGBT folks do. They certainly think of it a lot more that queer folk do.

George Nixon Shuler more than 3 years ago

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