Two Traditionalist Arguments that Fall Flat

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Those Who Hold

Those who hold to the church's teaching of 2000 years do so to be faithful to God.

Skipper 11 days ago

Hubris.

The arrogance and hubris of 21st century progressive theologians to disregard judeao christian teachings on marriage, premarital sex, and sodomy continues to be astounding. Unfortunately, it isn't surprising.

td 11 days ago

And what do you have to say in rebuttal

To 2000+ years of Judeo-Christian understanding that has also seen same gender sex as being contrary to God's intent for humanity? We are broaching the subject after a cultural sexual revolution during which The Methodist/United Methodist Church was strangely quiet because it had already lost any clear sense of who it is and what it believes as a unique branch of Christianity.

betsy 14 days ago

Counterpoint

How many of those 2000+ years required celibacy among the ordained?
How many of those 2000 + years considered divorce to be adultery, and thus incompatible with Christian teachings?

If you want to go all in on that line, you should do so. Otherwise you are being selective in your application of scripture. One might consider that to be hypocrisy.

JR 12 days ago

Not as simple as you may think

The Western (Roman) church began requiring celibacy among clergy in the 12th century; married clergy has been common in the non-Roman West since the time of Luther. In the East, married candidates may be ordained, but the celibate may not marry once they've been ordained.

To "go all in," however, I'd also ask how many of those 2000+ years forbade incest and bestiality? The question isn't to equate their gravity but to point out that the proscriptions are found within the same pericopes as those referring to male-male contact. To accept one without the others is being selective.

John 11 days ago

Not equal of course.

You know as well as i do that divorce is not comparable to sodomy. Divorce is a one time, hopefully, event that can be repented of and usually has many contexts where the marriage may be deemed to not be valid.

And celibacy is really a tangent. All of us are called to be chaste. Only catholic and orthodox priests are required, by administrative rule but not by doctrine, to be celibate if they are ordained before marriage.

A lot of this has to do with what sins you think humans are allowed to change (if any).

Please understand, if the umc church changes its teachings on sex, traditional believers will no longer consider the church to be christian. The sexual teachings have been a hallmark of Christianity since the beginning.

For traditional believers, this isn't about rules, it is about christianity calling all of us to holy living. Is this hard? Sure. Do we have to understand it all? Of course not. Have individuals disagreed with these teachings throughout history? Certainly. But that doesn't mean that we have the authority to change the faith because non-christian society has decided that it is mean.

By definition, God's laws can not be unjust. In the end, this is where progressives and traditionals agree (if the individual believes in God). But progressives have decided that barring sex and marriage to same sex couples is unjust and therefore God's laws are wrong because they never were God's law. Traditionals don't buy that argument.

There really is no bridge to this divide; any endorsement by our church to sanction this sinful behavior for our clergy is seen by traditionals as denying God's power and authority.

td 11 days ago

The presenting issue is sexuality

And that is what I am responding to. I absolutely agree we need to broaden the discussion. As I originally stated, the United Methodist Church has lost all sense of itself as being part of a unique branch of Christianity that embraces a particular set of understandings of what it means to live a life as a Christian. The UMC no longer has anything in particular to say to anybody about what the Christian life looks like beyond show up at church and support its ministries. To define what the Christian life looks like does not mean everybody has all their "i's dotted and t's crossed" and gets everything "right"--we are all sinners who fall short in one way or the other. But in the company of others who are aiming for the same things, we can encourage and help each other.

"The Methodist theological tradition is best thought of as a tradition that has a radical optimism of the potential for God’s grace to save to the uttermost at its core. A network of beliefs and practices (especially small group formation) come from this core belief. If you are seeking full salvation, you need a group of people to come along side of you. A group can help us keep track of our priorities and whether we are moving in the right direction or need to be redirected.

Methodists believe that Christianity is a team sport. We need each other in order to move all of our lives into God’s house and learn to dwell in God’s will and receive the blessings that come therein. We need a common vision for where we are headed. We need deep unity on where the places of reliable blessing, rest, and renewal are. And we need agreement on where the potholes and gutters are that we need to encourage each other to avoid, and to help each other when we fall into them.

Put differently, Methodism is distinct because of the particular method for living out the Christian life that gives it its name." https://vitalpiety.com/2019/08/27/distinctively-methodist-entire-sanctification-and-small-group-formation/

betsy 10 days ago

Sexuality would not be a do or die issue

If the American United Methodist Church was not such a disjointed theological mess! The American UMC is personification of theological diversity run amuck. Everybody is working from their own contradictory perceptions of what it means to be a Christian of the United Methodist persuasion. And in some cases, collectively the church is most like the group of blind men who have each determined what an elephant looks like dependent on whether they were feeling the leg, trunk or tail. There is a very good reason to believe that the numerical decline will most likely render the denomination moot point before there will be any agreement as to the best way to sort out this mess.

betsy 10 days ago

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