News The 'Splainer

The ‘Splainer: What’s the United Methodist special session all about?

Supporters gather around Susan Laurie, center, during a service of Holy Communion on May 10, 2016, the first day of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Laurie, a lesbian, was ordained in an unauthorized service in the lobby of the Oregon Convention Center. Photo by Mike DuBose/UMNS

The ’Splainer (as in, “You’ve got some ’splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which RNS gives you everything you need to know about current events to help you hold your own at the water cooler.

(RNS) — You’ve probably heard that the United Methodist Church is meeting this weekend in St. Louis and that it has something to do with sexuality and a possible schism.

The special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference runs Sunday (Feb. 24) to Tuesday at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis. Saturday has been designated a day of prayer and preparation.


RELATED: Ahead of St. Louis meeting, one United Methodist offers prayers along the way


What is this meeting all about, and what are all these plans? Let us ’Splain…

Didn’t the United Methodist Church just have a meeting?

Yes, the General Conference — the denomination’s decision-making body — meets every four years. The last meeting was in 2016 in Portland, Ore.

Locked in a stalemate over petitions regarding LGBTQ inclusion — with rumors swirling about schism and one delegate fretting, “I believe we are confusing God at this point” — delegates at that meeting voted to defer all decisions on related legislation to a specially appointed commission. They also left the door open for a special session.


RELATED: United Methodist conference seen as confusing even to God


Currently, the denomination’s rulebook, the Book of Discipline, includes language that bars gay and lesbian members from ordination and marriage.

Now the 864 General Conference delegates, which include both clergy and laypeople from around the world, will gather to receive and act on a report from the Council of Bishops, based on recommendations from that specially appointed commission, the Commission on a Way Forward.

The last time such a special session was called was in 1970, also in St. Louis, according to General Conference Secretary Gary Graves. That session completed the merger of the former Evangelical United Brethren Church and the former Methodist Church to create what is now the United Methodist Church.

A copy of the Book of Discipline rests on a table during an oral hearing on May 22, 2018, in Evanston, Ill. The United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, heard arguments regarding a request from the Council of Bishops for a ruling on whether United Methodist organizations, clergy or lay members can submit petitions for the special General Conference in 2019. The hearing was part of the court’s May 22-25 special session. Photo by Kathleen Barry/UMNS

Is this is a new debate?

Whether to ordain and marry LGBTQ people in the United Methodist Church didn’t suddenly become a topic for debate at the 2016 General Conference. The question has been part of the denomination from its beginning in 1968, said Barry E. Bryant, associate professor of United Methodist and Wesleyan studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary near Chicago. And it has been debated at every General Conference since 1972.


RELATED: Historic United Methodist church sees ‘hopeful’ time for LGBTQ Christians


That year, responding to a growing push for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. at the time, language was added to the Book of Discipline stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers, appointed to serve or be married in the church.

In 2000, nearly 200 people were arrested in a peaceful protest against the denomination’s policies outside the Cleveland Convention Center at that year’s General Conference meeting.

What are these plans we keep hearing about?

The Commission on a Way Forward included three plans for the church in its final report.

Those plans include:

  • The One Church Plan, which would allow individual churches and regional annual conferences to decide whether to ordain and marry LGBTQ members.
  • The Traditional Plan, which would strengthen enforcement of current language regarding LGBTQ people in the denomination’s rulebook.
  • The Connectional-Conference Plan, which would reorganize United Methodist churches by conferences based on their LGBTQ policy, rather than by geography.

Last year, the Council of Bishops voted to recommend the One Church Plan, which gained two-thirds of all bishops’ approval.

Later, the United Methodist Church’s top court, the Judicial Council, decided to allow any organization, clergy member or lay member to submit petitions for consideration by delegates as long as they are “in harmony with the purpose” of the special session, which is to act on the bishops’ report. It also ruled parts of the One Church Plan and Traditional Plan unconstitutional, meaning delegates will have to amend those plans, according to Graves.


RELATED: United Methodist court filings detail proposals for averting schism on sexuality


So far, the General Conference Committee on Reference has approved 78 petitions to be considered by delegates. That includes the petitions that make up the three plans put forward by the Commission on a Way Forward.

It also includes two more plans: a modified Traditional Plan and the Simple Plan. The Simple Plan would remove all language about “the practice of homosexuality” from the Book of Discipline.

Pride flag colors at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington in 2013. Photo by Elvert Barnes/Creative Commons

So what’s going to happen at this meeting?

Nobody can say.

To begin, Graves said the Commission on the General Conference has proposed a “prioritization plan” that would have delegates assign high priority or low priority to each plan or petition that is not part of a plan in a vote on Sunday. That would determine what order delegates would vote on those plans and petitions.

Then the meeting could pass one of the five plans or parts of a plan or an amended version of a plan. It also could become deadlocked in the same amendments, motions and points of order that have paralyzed past General Conferences.


RELATED: What will happen at the special session? Here’s what United Methodists predict


And some say whatever happens in St. Louis will not be decisive. The Rev. Jim Harnish — one of the coordinating team members of the advocacy group Uniting Methodists, which supports the One Church Plan — said, “Whatever decisions are made in St. Louis, the conversations regarding human sexuality will continue. The changing concerns around this important subject will need continued attention from a biblical and theological perspective.”

Is a schism really likely?

It has happened in other denominations — Lutherans, Presbyterians and Episcopalians all have split over similar theological differences.


RELATED: A flourishing United Methodist church considers a way out


One group, the Wesleyan Covenant Association, which supports the Modified Traditional Plan, has said if another plan passes, it likely will form its own denomination with its 1,500 member churches in the U.S. The association has been preparing for that, according to WCA President Keith Boyette.

“While the WCA Council will make the final decision at the meeting on February 27 and 28,” Boyette said, “if the One Church Plan or the Simple Plan passes, my recommendation to the Council will be for us to announce the formation of a new denomination.” 

Why is everybody paying attention to this meeting?

For one, the United Methodist Church is a huge denomination, with more than 12.5 million members around the globe. It’s growing quickly in many African countries and the Philippines, and it’s the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States, with nearly 7 million members alone. It includes not only churches, but also colleges, universities and theological schools; a publishing house; and more.


RELATED: Methodist university presidents call on denomination to amend LGBTQ policies


Jan Lawrence, executive director of pro-LBGTQ Reconciling Ministries Network, said the debate over LGBTQ inclusion is “a symbol for a lot of other stuff.”

“Don’t think this General Conference is about queer people or church unity,” she told supporters at a Reconciling Ministries event last month outside Chicago, adding there are “a lot of things we need to fix.”

Bryant pointed to different interpretations of Scripture and tradition, issues of race and the tensions of being a global denomination, to name a few.

“We’re certainly not the first and we’re not the only denomination dealing with it,” he said, “it’s just that, historically, Methodism is sort of a microcosm of American society.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

278 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Conservative Methodist conferences and individual congregations are unlikely to budge on their position, which could very well lead to schism of some sort. However, I would never attend any church for any sort of service, other than weddings and funerals, that was not LGBTQ affirming.

  • Your last sentence would have been more accurate if you had written:

    “I just don’t recognize and follow the Word of God anymore.”

  • You are the one playing clairvoyant mind-reader, rejecting God’s Word as if you knew better than God Himself what He did and didn’t say.

    All I did was repeat the essence of your post back to you; no mind-reading required for that.

  • Nope. Your notion of “essence” included more pejorative supposition than condensing of original material. You are still trying to play “boss’ when you have yet to establish any credibility of your own. Thus, you are the “book” to ignore. Go fish elsewhere.

  • I personally support the One Church Plan because it legalizes same-sex marriage and begins the process of equal ordination. I know it’s not perfect and dialogue will need to continue. What this does is remove the dangerous phrase that LGBT people are somehow “incompatible with Christian teaching” a phrase that has killed too many young youth I do not know. It legalizes marriage in places where marriage is already legal within civil marriage; this plan enables religious marriage in those jurisdictions. This legislation ends the absolute bar to ordination for LGBT Christians in the United Methodist Church. Most importantly, it ends church trials. You could no longer be prosecuted for coming out as LGBT, for getting married, or for blessing a marriage. Regarding conscience protections: Many of my fellow LGBT United Methodists have objected to the conscience protections written into the One Church Plan that ensure that no one is forced to officiate at a same-sex wedding. Well take this in: Every. Single. Country. and State. that. has Legalized the freedom to marry has included conscience protections for ministers objecting. This is completely the same type of language that governments have used when enacting marriage equality. This is a good deal and we must take it or risk breaking the church. I highly envision future General Conferences will get rid of the rest of any discriminatory policies the denomination has. I know we will have to work hard for truly equal ordination for after the One Church Plan passes, but what is important is this ends the absolute bar to ordination for qualified LGBT candidates. We will win. I also hold my fellow United Methodists in high regard who support the Simple Plan. They want to get rid of all discrimination in the church and we are working together. The Simple Plan is oriented towards LGBT equality. So is the One Church Plan. The One Church Plan is a progressive plan that will move us in a progressive direction and legalize equal marriage and will begin a future in which LGBT candidates can be *officially* ordained while out. The One Church Plan is very much like the Simple Plan in that it legalizes equal marriage. It makes ordination more possible. The One Church Plan was created to be a progressive piece of legislation that makes equal marriage possible. The One Church Plan and the Simple Plan end the absolute bar to ordination and both end the dangerous statement that our love is incompatible with Christian teaching. There is progressive support for the One Church Plan and equality is possible. We cannot let the feeling of defeat be our guiding principle. We are on the cusp of legalizing same-sex marriage in the UMC. The One Church Plan is a Progressive Plan. We have the very real possibility of adopting a plan that enables equality in the church. It will send progressive shockwaves through the United Methodist Church and will send the message that United Methodists as a whole support same-sex marriage. We can do this! Equality is possible and by supporting the One Church Plan we can create a future we can be proud of. I am praying for everybody in the UMC. Equality is possible and the One Church Plan is a progressive plan. We are on the cusp of history and we can do this!!!!!

  • But ultimately, I pray that not my will be done, but the will of the Lord’s
    Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream.
    Justice, Justice ye shall seek. Let thy will be done in Jesus’ name Amen.

  • Any “credibility” I may have on this issue comes from adhering to God’s Word.

    Your lack of “credibility” stems from your having abandoned it.

    If you don’t want people to comment on your posts, the solution is simple: don’t post!

    Now go ride that line off into the sunset.

  • I am hoping that separating along the exact same lines as they did over slavery, segregation, and women in ministry will cause them take pause.

  • I think keeping a sect together and just trying to smooth over the cracks is a terrible idea. Its not worth the effort.

  • Obviously the appeal of religious fundamentalism is the ego boost one gets while acting like a rude bigoted horse’s posterior when pretending to be the sole voice of God on earth.

  • “That year, responding to a growing push for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. at the time, language was added to the Book of Discipline stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers, appointed to serve or be married in the church.” Their first error was allowing practicing homosexuals into membership. That would lead them to think they had rights within the church to call themselves Christian, when they are not. Christians are not in rebellion against Christ, nor proud of it.

  • Separation is a terrible evil in the Christian tradition, and has been especially disturbing for Methodists given the awful reasons we split up in the past. The South has generally recognized it was wrong and come back to the fold before multiple times.

    Maybe a separation can be healed in the future, but it would be better to just stay together and slowly teach our sisters and brothers the error of their ways.

  • There are literally thousands of sects in Christianity. Unity for its own sake doesn’t have any essential meaning.

    When one group of a sect wants to treat other members of it as less than people there is never going to be a solution which keeps both happy. In the end all you end up doing is slowing down the recognition of divisions already there. Nobody should bother trying to do so.

    “The South has generally recognized it was wrong and come back to the fold before multiple times.”

    It only took a century and a half before Southern Baptists recognized the evils of supporting slavery and racial discrimination. However they still support other forms of discrimination and never disavowed using religion as a cover for bigotry. There is no contrition or recognition of an evil, just a change of form.

  • Yes, there are sects. Most Christians mourn that, as does the Methodist tradition specifically.

    No one said that unity means everyone gets to be happy. But the Church is not a country club. It doesn’t have to agree with our tastes.

    I was referring to Southern Methodists. They broke over slavery, but came back. Some left over women being pastors, but most of them came back too. There was a threatened schism over de-segregation, but with a small allowance for the South to adjust, they stayed. Today in the South, we constantly have services to remember our failings on those issues. Its not perfect, but we have stayed together in a way other Main Line churches have not.

  • “Most Christians mourn that”

    The sheer number of Christian sects belie that statements. The fact that you generally do not see sects amalgamating and merging show many are satisfied with the divisions and differing ideas.

    “But the Church is not a country club. It doesn’t have to agree with our tastes.”

    Actually for the most part, given the sheer number of sects, it very much is one. Aside from peer pressure appeals or family tradition, one has no reason to stay in a church which does not suit them. Especially ones which attack them and those they love.

    Its not a matter of taste or agreeing. Its a matter of how a sect treats its own members, family and whom they.

  • Yes, there are a high number of sects. The majority of Christians only fall into a few of them though: The Catholic, Orthodox, and the Anglicans (and their full communion partners who are only split by self governance, not belief). These three major branches seek unity and decry schism. Only about a fourth of Christianity belongs to the mess of other sects.

    In America, we see a great number of sects because of our culture. I am not convinced that this will last. It is a matter of how people treat one another, and these small sects that break away for the sake of their own pride end up folding back into other sects or slowly dying off.

  • Anglicanism is not a sect on par with the size of the Catholic or Orthodox Church. The “major branches” owe much of their size and ability to expand to being official churches of imperialist powers. Seeking unity and decrying schism has not been a winning strategy over the centuries. It has been a recipe for trouble in all that time.

    “In America, we see a great number of sects because of our culture. I am not convinced that this will last.”

    Because our culture is becoming more homogeneous? Nope.

    ” It is a matter of how people treat one another, and these small sects that break away for the sake of their own pride end up folding back into other sects or slowly dying off.”

    I detect a bit of wishful thinking there and animus here rather than a statement of informed opinion.

  • You either believe the Bible or you don’t. You don’t. Riding don’t. Rick does.

    Question is, do the **Methodists** believe the Bible? If **they** don’t, they are Toast.

  • You are actually proving my point.

    Fundamentalism gives people that satisfying ego boost that enables acting like a rude troll and pretending they are the sole voice of God on earth. That their personal ideas are exactly what the Bible says. Regardless of everything around them.

  • Which is what was said of opposing slavery, segregation, and allowing women in the pulpit. Those things went against the “plain reading of scripture,” until they suddenly didn’t and the next generation admitted their mistake.

  • Yes, exactly. The “plain reading of scripture” isn’t a good enough argument on its own in light of the atrocities it has allowed in the past. The whole narrative of scripture must be considered in concert with the observable world.

  • Tater’s projecting again.

    She obviously posts here because she gets a kick out of being a rude troll, and therefore assumes everyone else is too.

  • The plain reading of scripture is the only means of interpreting scriptural items. There was no New Testament support for your examples, only that of homosexuality

  • Because we NEVER see rude, dishonest, insulting and arrogant things claiming to be the sole voice of God on Earth posted by Christian fundamentalists.

    They are always such polite and respectful people to all.

  • But probably quite the mouse in real life.

    If she needs places like this as an escape valve, her posts at least have entertainment value.

  • “Any “credibility” I may have on this issue comes from adhering to God’s Word.”

    So, in other words, you have no credibility at all. The whole notion of “God’s Word” is an evidence-free delusional and/or fraudulent claim by ancient men seeking to either explain their existence and/or to gain power over other people.

    But, if you have some legitimate supportive evidence for “God’s Word,” please reveal it. Imagine the acclaim you would receive for being the first person in thousands of years to provide the evidence!

  • No, the “world” did not turn against slavery, and still has not — there are more people enslaved today than at any other given point in history.

    The Church, beginning in late antiquity, turned against slavery, and by the early Middle Ages it had disappeared from the legal record of Europe. Its resurgence was a result of the age of exploration which brought the Christian world into increased contact with the Muslim-driven slave trade. And Christianity (or “zealotry,” as the more worldly and sophisticated tended to call it) came to the rescue a second time, too.

    Not all Christians were abolitionists, of course, but pretty much all abolitionists were Christian. Sans the Imago Dei, nobody could come up with a compelling rationale for abolishing something that is a universal in human history.

  • The world has turned against the “plain reading” on homosexuality, but Christ hasn’t;
    He hasn’t rescinded them yet

    Leviticus 18:22 – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

  • Wow! This is the first time I’ve accessed this site & I was not prepared for how mean & unloving the comments are. Do some of you consider yourselves Christians? Surely then, you must have read Christ’s words in the Gospels about sharing the “good news.” Not much good news evident here that I can see.

  • The entire point of being a Fundamentalist is to claim, with a straight face, that “God agrees with everything I say and do”.

  • The LGBT lobby never tires of talking about slavery and segregation, despite the fact that neither has a thing to do with anything the LGBT lobby pushes for.

    It is worth noting that the majority of Christians belong to denominations which do not allow women in the pulpit.

  • 26 “‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.
    “‘Do not practice divination or seek omens.
    27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
    28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.

    So what about all of these commands?

  • I am sure you meant to write “in light of the atrocities those who claimed to follow it committed”.

    The Scriptures themselves cannot be the source of atrocities.

  • No.

    Your problem is that you’re an English-speaking American for which there is one and only one “slavery”: Uncle Tom’s Cabin chattel slavery.

    Historically that is an anomaly and when St. Paul was writing “slaves” existed in classes with varying degrees of liberties and rights.

    And Paul makes his expectations clear.

  • Not only was slavery resurgent as a result of contact with the Muslims, it is still fairly common in Muslim countries.

  • And, Sandi in abominablELand, you are just another sinister Christian.

    You have frequently posted some of the ugliest Bible verses, such as these:

    “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22) and “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)

    As is so typical in the Bible, there is no reasoning presented to support these ugly assertions. And, of course, you don’t present any reasoning either. You simply accept the Bible as the ultimate authority without any legitimate justification.

    So, here is some legitimate reasoning:

    Unlike religion, homosexuality has never ever caused any harm whatsoever to anyone, so there cannot be any legitimate objection to people living in accordance with that innate orientation.

    Actually, the earth and humanity would benefit from more homosexuality and less heterosexuality because 1) it would reduce the vast number of unwanted/unintended pregnancies, and 2) it would provide more adoptive parents to care for the unwanted/unintended children still being produced, and 3) there would be some reduction in the release of greenhouse gases which exacerbate global warming. Therefore, the Bible should be ignored on the issue of homosexuality because the assertions contained in it have no basis in rational thinking and evidence.

    And furthermore, advocating the full social acceptance of gay people strengthens family bonds, and thus it is the authentic pro-family position. It is the anti-gay crowd who are actually anti-family by doing everything they can to tear families apart.

  • The cultic prohibitions were abolished when Christianity separated from Judaism. I count fourteen comments to you pointing that out in the last eight weeks.

    “Do not practice divination or seek omens.” is a moral prohibition and still binds.

  • No, what you’d like to do is what happened in the Episcopal Church and take over the organization and push your “sisters and brothers” out.

    Bad theology, like bad money, drives out the good.

  • Richard Rush

    The Scriptures and tradition of the Church are clear.

    You’re free, of course, not to join one.

  • It’s crap like “It only took a century and a half before Southern Baptists recognized the evils of supporting slavery and racial discrimination.” that makes clear you have zero facts.

  • there were civil, #28, 26; ceremonial #27; 26, 28 non-numbered
    The law is comprised of 3 categories – civil, ceremonial, and moral. Christ brought the moral into the New Testament, which is why we don’t sleep with animals, children, or relatives, as examples.
    Christ fulfilled the other laws, hence we are left with the moral.

  • So Jesus wants us to follow the whole law… just not the parts you decide are “moral” rather than “ceremonial”?

    How do we know which is which? Rabbis teach that there are such aspects to all the laws.

  • Read Acts 15, the Council of Jerusalem.

    The parts of the Law still pertaining to Christians are set forth there. nickel

    Nothing about things like cutting one’s hair, tattoos, etc.

    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to mention that to Biblically illiterate folk here, I’d be a wealthy man!

  • And yet the “ceremonial” law about strangled animals and food sacrificed to idols are kept in place, and in the same mentioning as “sexual immorality.”

    Talking to me about biblical illiteracy… wow…

  • Yes, abstaining from blood is enjoined in Acts 15, Abstaining from food offered to idols is mentioned by Paul. So?

  • “Atheist hypocrite” is holy hypocrite speak for anyone who disagrees with your brand of holy horse manure. You don’t have a clue and don’t want a clue about any beliefs but your own. Got it.

  • Paul was the recipient of mystical visions, such as that described in II Corinthians when he was “caught up into the third heaven”. Last I heard, Jesus is in heaven.

  • You said there were no laws “like those” there. You buy into some such scheme, unless you are just confused.

  • 1. He never actually says he was the one having the visions in 2 Corinthians.

    2. Reread the whole book and focus on those super-apostles. Its very likely that he is showing how ridiculous they are with their claims of useless visions.

    3. Even if that whole spiel is about him personally, he doesn’t describe any such specific teachings from it. He specifically says they cannot be put into words or be spoken.

  • “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and get information from him, and I stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.”

    Yup, never mentions spending time with Jesus there, unless Peter or James are Jesus.

  • 11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.[c] 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born,[d] and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to[e] me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;[f] 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
    18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days

  • A local Church is welcoming of everything and everyone non-cis hetero etc.

    Most of the other Churches aren’t.

    It would be reasonable to expect that odd one out to have a growing congregation.

    Instead it is shrinking and the Churches who only wish to see gay people burned at the stake are growing.

  • I clearly referred to Acts 15. Were you too lazy to look it up?

    And I did NOT say “like those”. I said “nothing about things like [such as] cutting one’s hair and tattooing”, that is, those items which you specifically mentioned and got called out upon.

  • He says he heard some things “that cannot be told” in that vision.

    My point being he was the recipient of mystical visions from the Lord, during any of which he could have been instructed by Him.

  • And nowhere does that say he learned anything more than the Acts account records: that Jesus is lord.

  • No, atheist hypocrites purport to tell everyone else what they really think or mean, or stand by silent while other atheist hypocites tell others what they really think or mean, all the while whining about so-called holy hypocrites telling others what they really think or mean.

    Self-awareness is not a particularly prominent prog trait, to say the least.

  • Yes, you would be the expert on biblical illiteracy, not to mention tapdancing through proof texts.

  • As with the prohibition of joining the Roman Army when it required pagan sacrifice, it is moral.

    The cultic and ceremonial proscriptions do not bind Christians.

  • kronzypantz is an LGBT apologist who has memorized from his time in the Episcopal Church all the reasons the revelation did NOT end with the death of the Last Apostle so that ECUSA can argue that “the Spirit is doing new things”, i.e., endorsing sodomy.

  • You’re pretending you can’t tell the difference between what people want and what they are doing says loads about your lack of morality.

  • My, my, my … the swivel-hipped broken field runner high tailing down the field trying not step in one of his own cow pies.

  • For that matter, I don’t even know any Churches that want to burn gays at the stake.

    But there are some who in love urge them to repent and enter the path of salvation.

  • What they taught about the Noahide laws are inconsistent with Christian appropriation of the concept.

  • I’ve seen kids who’s parents attend those Churches tell people with gay siblings they’re going to hell.

    They aren’t sad either they’re grinning.

    That didn’t come out of a vacuum.

  • They would not see it as possible for gentiles to join the assembly of God without taking on the whole law. The idea that only the Noahide law matters anymore defeats the purpose of the distinction.

  • “Righteous people of all nations have a share in the world to come” (Sanhedrin 105a). Any non-Jew who lives according to these laws is regarded as one of “the righteous among the gentiles.”

    All the Jerusalem Council did was preserve the status quo wrt Gentiles and the Torah, seeing no reason to do otherwise.

  • Yikes. That last definitely produces a chill.

    That’s a precipice I for one would not want to dance upon.

  • They would be righteous among the gentiles, but they could never be among the chosen of God. The Jerusalem council went far beyond the status-quo.

    And that is consistent with what Paul wrote dismissing all dietary laws, including those in the Noahide law.

  • That would be a great mirror-mirror analysis but holy hypocrites, like cats who are very self-absorbed, can’t see their own reflection.

  • No, they were deemed righteous among the Jews as well. Not part of Israel of course but definitely possessing a place within God’s dispensation. Which is all that really matters, in any case.

  • Why call them “righteous among the gentiles” if that automatically enrolled them in God’s people? Why hold to circumcision as a sign of joing Israel if it was all the same being Jew or gentile? The Rabbis held no such view.

    Paul spoke only of respecting the conscience of others in what we eat. He did not tie any morality to dietary restrictions as the concept of Noahide laws supposedly do.

  • I did not say it automatically enrolled them in God’s people. It was not the same. It did not make them Israelites. But it made them worthy of respect and a place in God’s economy.

    Paul spoke of respecting the conscience of others in the matter of meat offered to idols because it WAS a matter of conscience. It did not materially alter the meat in and of itself (as some may have believed it did) but it gave the appearance of condoning idol worship — IF the meat was known to be sacrificial.

    I do not understand what is difficult about this.

  • Being in “God’s economy” is different from being among God’s people.

    Paul’s explanation precludes Noahide law. Noahide law isn’t based on the perception of others.

    So if we want to say its some kind of Noahide law that we are bound to, its completely disconnected from what the Rabbis taught.

  • Unfortunately and sadly, we are witnessing Romans 1 and it’s prophetic warning taking place right in front of us, and many “church leaders” seem oblivious, or worse, willfully ignorant of God’s warning in scripture. God said without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sin, and without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sin. “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Jesus is speaking in Luke 13:3. Are we to trust in the words of the Savior we worship, or rather in a group of bishops in the church hierarchy? The church doors should be open to everyone, but conviction of sin and repentance must follow. If the Methodist Church fails to acknowledge the sin of homosexuality, then a split is inevitable. “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”1Jn2:19 The true Methodist Church of John and Charles Wesley must take a stand for Biblical truth.

  • Noahide law prohibits IDOLATRY. The Jerusalem Church’s repudiation of known sacrificial meat is about avoiding the appearance of endorsing idolatry.

    Did you actually study up on the Noahide law since we last talked, or are you just making up objections as you go along because you simply don’t like the concept?

  • The Jerusalem council gave no such explanation involving “appearences.” If they did, then it would not be in accordance with Noahide law.

    Noahide law is not a buffet that we can pick and choose from. It does not fit what Paul taught or the mandate of the Jerusalem council.

  • I repeat, the Noahide law prohibits IDOLATRY. That is the reason for the repudiation of known pagan sacrificial meat. That Acts does not explore the ethical underpinnings, while Paul does, in no way negates what was going on.

    The Jerusalem Council EXACTLY dovetails with the seven Noahide laws. The law of love of God and neighbor covers the prohibitions of idolatry, blasphemy, murder, and theft, and the mandate to establish courts of justice. That leaves blood and sexual immorality, which the Council specifically repudiated. It could not be simpler.

    You did not answer my question about whether you actually researched the Noahide law or not. Your obvious confusion about the nature of the sacrificial meat issue makes me doubt that you have made a good faith effort to get up to speed on this.

  • Homosexuality has never harmed anyone? Not according to the Center for Disease Control. This is from the CDC website.

    Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In 2010, MSM accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections.”

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been increasing
    among gay and bisexual men, with recent increases in syphilis being documented
    across the country. In 2012, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 75%
    of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States. MSM often are
    diagnosed with other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.

    HPV (Human Papillomavirus), the most common STD in the
    United States, is also a concern for MSM. Some types of HPV can cause genital
    and anal warts and some can lead to the development of anal and oral cancer.
    Men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than
    heterosexual men. Men who are HIV-positive are even more likely than those who
    are uninfected to develop anal cancer.

  • Empty, self-awarded “victory laps” for merely participating is another self-serving hallmark of the holy hypocrite. Each new effort to attack is more of same old expected rehash of malice. Old tricks.

  • All of the 44,000 Christian denominations on planet Earth see the Bible as the foundation on which they believe. American Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals think “God’s Word Says” shuts down all religious conversations. It most certainly does not. The reason it does not is because the human brain processes the word of God while reading it—thus giving many different interpretations of God’s word in various places in the Holy Bible. We have 44,000 Christian denominations on planet Earth because there is a wide array of interpretation of scripture. Therefore, what we actually have is not God’s word per se—but rather—thousands of different understandings of God’s word in hundreds of different human languages into which the Bible has been translated. Moreover, Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical preachers are famous for arguing among themselves about the meanings of passages of scripture. I have actually seen these preacher arguments on-line, and they are filled to the brim with anger, vitriol, and venom—like a pack of wild dogs ripping each other to shreds to get a half-eaten hotdog in a turned over park trash can. Your famous “God’s Word says” is laughable and shuts down nothing.

    I am a member of The United Methodist Church, and we laugh at you Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals—and how naive your preachers and pew sitters really are. Your opinions about our church, its beliefs, and its practices mean nothing to us—absolutely nothing. The whole lot of you can blow hot wind all you like, as you have done already in this comments section, and it will have no effect on anything in our denomination. We decide. Not you. I have no idea how the LGBTQ deliberations and voting will turn out this week. However, I will tell you one true thing. If the final decision is LGBTQ friendly in any way at all, American Christianity will have added one more sociocultural pressure point toward the day when Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches will have LGBTQ marriages and pastors of their own Your Millennial Generation children—who quitely hate your churches and are LGBTQ friendly—will make sure of that after all you elderly fundie pew sitters are dead and gone. It is inevitable—I repeat—inevitable. If all the other churches are LGBTQ friendly 50 or 75 years from now—your fundie churches will be too. Feel free to visit the following Christian faith blog anytime: https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

  • I agree. If the fundies here really believe in their so-called “plain reading of the bible,” they do not follow it. The Apostle Paul in the New Testament says that any believer who feels obligated to comply with any one of the Old Testament Laws—she is required to obey THE WHOLE LAW. That includes the ritual law as well, When Paul said WHOLE LAW, he meant exactly that. Better get busy fundies, and take a good look at those Levitical Laws about green spots on your houses.

  • Christian fundamentalist churches are famous for attracting people of low economic means. The doctrines of exclusivity and separation in these churches give the poor fundie believer a mental and emotional LEG UP on the Episcopal owner of the coal mine where the fundie men work. The owner of the mine is considered to be an evil oppressor whose foot presses down hard on the necks of the coal miners. That allows fundies to write of the Episcopal Church as evil—because the miner is evil. Moreover, because the fundie miners are “true” Christians, and the mine owner is not, the fundie coal miners comfort themselves with the idea that they—and they alone—are going to Heaven and the coal mine owner is definitely going to Hell. Knowledge of that lightens the sting of steel studs in the boot on their necks.

    Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are filled to the brim with BS—and every sane Christian on planet Earth knows it.

  • Where in the world did you come up with that analysis?

    The entire Christian world with some minor exceptions moved past what you described in the first and second centuries.

    The Apostle Paul in the New Testament says that any believer who feels obligated to comply with any one of the Old Testament Laws—she isrequired to obey THE WHOLE LAW. That includes the ritual law as well …”.

  • “Christian fundamentalist churches are famous for attracting people of low economic means.”

    You may as well break down and use the term “deplorables” since that is what you mean.

    The concept is: “I am the right sort of person – good breeding, well-educated, usually white, and a Democrat. These other folks, the hoi polloi, are normally Republicans and religious fundamentalists.”

    That’s why some suggest that the Episcopal Church change its motto from “The Episcopal Church welcomes everyone” to “The Episcopal Church welcomes everyone who agrees with us”.

  • “I am a member of The United Methodist Church, and we laugh at you Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals …”.

    Benjamin Franklin said “He who laughs last, laughs best.”

    Those who support the LGBT agenda will have to explain to their Maker why they scoffed at the Scriptures and gave the commands the one finger salute in the next life. “It is inevitable—I repeat—inevitable.”

    We’ll see who is laughing then.

    On the positive side you’ve provided a great insight into the mind of the folks who trashed the Episcopal Church and would liked to do the same to the United Methodist Church.

  • As to the Anglicans, they’re having a might of trouble maintaining unity among themselves.

    The Orthodox seek union in the sense that every Christian should be an Orthodox (right belief) Christian.

    The Catholics are the same.

  • Like most fundies, you thump your Bible better than you read it. It seems plain to me that you have no understanding of the New Covenant established by Jesus—and the fact that the Old Covenant has passed away. What makes you fundies so full of sinful spiritual pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness. Some of you seem to believe that you are both God himself and personally infallible.

    I have a policy of not arguing with fundies—not because they are right—but because they come into every conversation with the prior intention that “I shall not be moved by anything my opponent has to say.” Arguing with a fundie is like arguing with a tree stump.It is the very definition of futility. God may very well fling me into Hell, but you fundies have your own heavy burden of personal and corporate sins that make you too excellent candidates for the Lake of Fire. They are enumerated on my blog if you would like to see yourself as you truly are. Just read the “About” and “My Profile” sections—and any of the 370+ blog articles where I roast you fundies alive: https://faith17983.wordpress.com/ I bet you are too much of a wimp to face up to your own foibles, sins, and failures in life—just like most of the other fundies I have ever known.

  • “Like most fundies, you thump your Bible better than you read it.”

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    Trust me when I tell you that you’re nothing that hasn’t tried this crap before.

    I did take a look at your blog – it is triumphalist elitist dreck. It is the theological equivalent of bubble gum.

    The foibles, sins, and failures in life are strong in you.

  • I always laugh at how you pro-LGBT “progressives” constantly tar those who disagree with you as “Christian fundamentalists and conservative Evangelicals”. Actually, the largest groups who officially disagree with your sin-affirming pro-LGBT positions are the Catholic and Orthodox Churches – by no means either “fundamentalists” (the authors of “The Fundamentals” would laugh that idea to scorn) or “Evangelicals”. “Christian fundamentalists and conservative Evangelicals” are indeed the smallest of the Christian groups who disagree with you.

    As for your mantra of “44,000 Christian denominations”, a more insightful descriptor would be to say that there are actually three main groupings: Catholics, Orthodox, and polymorphic Protestantism.

  • We’ll see who is laughing then.

    How about your god will beat up her god? That zinger you hell lovers throw is quite pathetic.

  • Your argument is completely erroneous. People are not being harmed by homosexuality. They are being harmed by transmittable disease, lack of using safe-sex precautions. And, although medical science has already made tremendous progress (no thanks to a god), they still have much more to accomplish.

    If you had lived prior to the development of modern medical science, would you have condemned heterosexuality because it was deadly? And, if you did, and had been “successful,” the human species would not exist today.

    Or, maybe cars and trucks should be banned because accidents kill about 35,000 people in the US each year, and cause serious injuries to many thousands of other people.

    If you really wanted to make a positive impact on a major health issue, you should be campaigning to reverse the obesity epidemic in the US that has been spiraling out of control for years causing a number of serious chronic health consequences, and increasing health insurance costs for everyone. And, if you decide to mount a campaign, you should probably start in the Bible Belt where the obesity rates are the worst.

    And, if you were truly concerned about STDs among gay people, you should be campaigning to encourage safer sex precautions, and more same-sex marriage. Personally, my husband and I are very fortunate because we have been each other’s personal savior for 38 years.

  • The only so-called reasoning I’ve noticed you repeating “countless times” are quotes from an ancient book comprised primarily of delusional and deceitful assertions that you are gullible enough to accept as the ultimate authority that everyone must follow.

  • Feel free to troll anyone else anywhere else. Take the mouse in your pocket named “Everyone” with you.

  • “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor“. James 2:5

  • The difference between the two is the same as the difference between a surgeon planning to cut you open and a serial killer planning to do the same.

  • Most traditional Catholics have more in common with fundamentalists and “evangelicals” than with anyone else.

  • I am a UM commenting on a news story about the UMC. You are a hate-filled non-believer engaging in your usual grousing about what churches are doing/not doing.

    That you would talk about “trolls” at all is yet more hypocrisy.

  • One day, your name is “Arnzen”; the next, it’s “Connelly”. One day, you’re a self-proclaimed expert on all things Catholic; the next, you’re Methodist. And you complain about others’ foibles?

  • There are plenty of young gay victims of suicide, who internalized the hateful messages directed at LGBT people by many Churches. If you’re willing to kill a young person’s soul, then you might as well burn them at the stake.

  • How many heterosexual people contract STDs, including HIV? This, heterosexuality is harmful and a dangerous, life-threatening lifestyle.

  • What an utterly foolish question. We aren’t living under the law anymore, we are under grace. It’s our job as commanded in scripture to be a witness to the perishing. If people are living with the sin of homosexuality, then salvation and true repentance is the answer. Otherwise, without Christ, they WILL perish. John 3:16 covers it ALL!

  • Well, allow me to be a witness and pay it back to you: You WILL PERISH in your sin of pride unless you repent.

  • I do repent for my sins, as well as go to confession. Repentance is a constant in the Christian’s spiritual life.

    What I DON’T do is pretend my sins are not sinful, as LGBT now do.

  • I support the One Church Plan (and the Simple Plan). What the One Church Plan does is it protects the religious freedom of ministers to marry people as well as the religious freedom of those who dissent. It gives freedom to ministers to preach regardless of who you are. It’s a pro-unity plan (and it helps queers, too!)

  • Wrong.

    The judgement that LGBT acts are sinful comes from God in His Word and the 2000 year witness of His Church, not from me.

  • BS, no one has ever spoken to God about homosexual people. The hatred for homosexual people comes from human darkness and bigotry. Don’t blame your bigotry on God.

  • so everything that Christ stood for and died for, does not matter any longer as long as people who love their sin more than Christ feel the church is inclusive

  • Furthermore, even if what you say is the truth, why don’t you let it be between God and those persons affected, instead of spouting your judgment. Ever heard of humility? Your “Word of God” actually commands that you not judge others. And you don’t speak for God, so why not take a clue and just…. shut up?

  • Rick doesn’t believe the Word of God where it says “You shall not judge lest you be judged”. And apparently, neither do you.

  • It isn’t pride for most people telling sinners the truth. It’s love, hoping they will not perish in Hell for bad judgment, or listening to the wrong people, Canis

  • STDs can affect anyone who practices a promiscuous lifestyle. The fact that the 2% of gay males account the vast majority of sexually transmitted diseases is indicative of the typical behavior.

  • You’re a little off with your comment. A Christian offers hope to these young ones confused about their sexuality. The child is told how to over come the sin that will keep them separate from Christ for eternity.
    The world offers death and life in Hell.

  • Actually, it is you hating them. Christians are trying to get them into a relationship with Christ. You are patting their behind onto the road to death and Hell

  • God does hate homosexuality. He also died for those who practice the sin, and will bring them into His family, if they turn to Him, renounce their sins, and follow Him. He is faithful to forgive.

  • Yes, they become so “hopeful” that they kill themselves. That’s on the likes of you. I know of what I am talking, because I lived it and survived it. I survived you.

  • First, these are not my arguments but a simple posting of data from the CDC website. These are actual data, not colored by your feelings. I really don’t care if you want to pretend that your same sex relationship is a marriage. If a piece of paper, from the county clerk, makes you feel better about your mental illness it is of no concern of mine. However, if my church ever conducts a gay wedding it will immediately end my membership and my sizable financial contributions. A church that values political correctness over scripture is no longer a church.

  • The Episopal church is wrong because you are following a satan-loving Curry. Christ would not indwell someone committing the heresy that man endorses!

  • English Standard Version

    Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 1 Corinthians 6:2

  • We also have what Christ taught on marriage C C:

    1 Corinthians 7 – Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”
    no exceptions given.

  • We give them hope; The world offers them death and lies – homosexuality is neither innate or immutable – just lies to push the kids closer to Hell

  • I’ve been quite happy since I accepted my homosexuality and told the lying Church to go to hell. I had a normal childhood, no abuse. Both loving parents. Yet when I was 10, I knew I was gay. You cannot explain that. No one pushed anything on me.

  • In fact it did both.

    Then again you, who purported to be a seminarian, denied that there were Catholic tribunals, so your learning curve may be steeper than average.

  • So you say.

    I don’t believe I have ever self-identified as a member of a particular religion, denomination, sect, or cult.

    If you have evidence to the contrary, please present it.

    I am very familiar with several of the major, and a number of the minor, religions, denominations, sects, and cults.

    You don’t have a “foible”, you’re presenting with a severe neurosis.

  • To say there were “tribunals” in all the thousands upon thousands of abuse cases is preposterous, and a goddamned lie. And you know it.

  • A lot of confusion because of limited press access, but the One Church plan seems to be getting a lot of attention and support.

  • Every case in which abuse was considered and the claim either dismissed as unsupported or a penalty levied involved a tribunal.

    The phrase “thousands upon thousands of abuse cases” appears to be just another of your over-the-top unsupported slogans.

    For example, the Pennsylvania Attorney General studied 70 years worth of allegations and found roughly 300 plausible incidents, which works out to about five per year.

  • I can understand someone wanting people going to Hell calling someone who wants the people free of the lies and bondage the world puts on them, seen as evil

  • “I had a normal childhood, no abuse.”

    Odd, previously you’ve asserted you’re a survivor of abuse.

    Do get help.

  • First you say you’re an abuse survivor, then you say you had a childhood free of abuse.

    Do you need some wrenches to tighten the bolts?

  • Those are your words, not mine, and you should be more careful with your words. You have no standing to determine the state off anyone’s soul, Pharisee.

  • I thought your screaming was about abuse.

    Of course, we both understand your screaming is about screaming.

    It’s attention-getting.

  • Well, here’s a fact: I’ve been gay for 60 years, and not a single STD. Neither have I had any gay friends who were HIV/AIDS. Your claim that “homosexuality” harms is BS, an extension of your bigotry.

  • That’s right. The topic had to do with when I realized I was gay, and that was long before I was abused as an adolescent by my pastor. Adolescence and “childhood” are two different states. Maybe your mother can explain that to you.

  • Oh …. so sometimes abuse, sometimes a childhood free of abuse.

    What else varies with context and audience?

  • Obviously, not everyone who is gay contracts a STD. However, the facts are the facts. Most STD infections are the result of gay male promiscuity. It is the promiscuity, so common with gay males, that is the problem.

  • If any Simple Plan supporters are reading this, please choose the One Church Plan to reduce the harm as much as possible. It’s the most progressive piece of legislation still in contention.
    1. It legalizes same-sex marriage
    2. It deletes the incompatibility statement
    3. It ends church trials
    4. It enables queer ministry for many.
    We need to come together to pass something to make progress possible.

  • Now you’re incoherent. I’ll dumb it down for you:

    Age 0 – 15: NO ABUSE, NORMAL CHILDHOOD

    Age 15-16: SEXUAL ABUSE BY MY CATHOLIC PASTOR

    If you’re incapable of understanding this, have someone explain it to you.

  • If you’d stop shouting and constructed rational, reasonable, well-supported comments which maintained a constant presentation you’d probably not have to explain anything.

    Juxtaposing no abuse with abused, one each from different discussions, makes it clear where the incoherence lies.

  • Of course some heterosexuals are promiscuous.. But gay males, who compose only 2% of the population, account for the majority of STD infections. This tells you a lot about the life style of many gays.

  • Where do you get the 2%? And where do you get “majority”. The words used are rate-of-infection. Gay men are more likely to be infected, but that doesn’t mean they have a “majority” of the STDs. Homophobes like to shout to the rooftops about the gay plague but always contradict themselves by making ridiculous low-ball claims of the number of men having sex with men.

  • The question is the church going to please man or The Lord God Almighty? This is an Abomination in God’s eyes and if this is the direction of this church we will need to leave, we weren’t put here to please men but God (rev. 4) I can’t even understand why this is even a question for the church. But as Jesus said at the end the people would have a form of Godliness but love self more than God, so why is this a discussion

  • “A church that values political correctness over scripture is no longer a church.”

    It would have been much more accurate if you had said . . .

    A CHURCH* that values human decency and rational thinking over Sincerely Held Imaginary Truth is no longer a CHURCH*.

    *A church CHURCH is a place people go to hear Christian Hallucinations Unabashedly Reinforced by Christian Hucksters.

  • Here we go again. The information comes from the CDC website. QUOTE

    Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent
    approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most
    severely affected by HIV. In 2010, MSM accounted for 63% of all new HIV
    infections.”

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been increasing
    among gay and bisexual men, with recent increases in syphilis being documented
    across the country. In 2012, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 75%
    of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States. MSM often are
    diagnosed with other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.

    HPV (Human Papillomavirus), the most common STD in the
    United States, is also a concern for MSM. Some types of HPV can cause genital
    and anal warts and some can lead to the development of anal and oral cancer.
    Men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than
    heterosexual men. Men who are HIV-positive are even more likely than those who
    are uninfected to develop anal cancer.

    Apparently you don’t believe the CDC. Your argument is with them, not me.

  • Your entire purpose for posting this is to express your vile bigotry and hatred of gay people — to point at them and say “How disgusting!!” You’re a bigot, through and through.

  • When confronted by facts, all you are able to do is scream BIGOT. I suppose you also think the CDC is a hate group.

  • You lie to your neighbor, telling them that homosexual sins are not sinful.

    Lying to them is clearly not very loving.

  • You couldn’t sustain an argument against a competent Christian apologist if the apologists’ eyes were covered and hands tied behind her or his back.

  • Make no mistake unless the Simple Plan is adopted this debate will not end with this conference. It will simply go on until the LGBTQ faction gets what it wants or the United Methodists split. The One Church and Connectional plans are just are just expedients to hold things together until the final goal is achieved. There is 0 chance that the bishops would actually enforce the traditional rules on defrocking gay clergy for performing gay marriages. The Traditionalists should either throw in the towel now or leave because pro-gay crowd is never going to leave or stop lobbying for change and no majority or even substantial minority exists to throw them out.

  • “Personally, my husband and I are very fortunate because we have been each other’s personal savior for 38 years.”

    Or you’re sharing a bobsled to Hell.

  • Maintain comity by believing in nothing. That has always been the path of least resistance Protestantism in general has embraced. It will not however work because in the long run the LBGTQ community will accept nothing but complete submission or expulsion for these who don’t buy the party line. It will be fought church by church until they can muster a majority and then it will be the Simple Plan.

  • Interestingly everything Tracy says about the fundamentalist churches was true of the early church, pre-Constantine.

  • How you take your scolding is up to you. If a church says you are going to hell for stealing and that makes you suicidal because you like to steal does that mean there should only be 9 Commandments instead of 10 and any community with all 10 is burning you at the stake? God doesn’t explicitly explain why He made His particular list of commandments but a discerning church can discern that He had His reasons and ordered His universe in such a way that breaking them had bad consequences not just in the next life but this one as well, and that in this one the harm befell not just the sinner but the community. So that one main commandment of love one another means not just forgive one another but keep one another safe from sin. To celebrate a disordered relationship is to spit in the eye of God, to assert that you know more about how this world works than the person who created it.

  • Pick up Paradise Lost some time and give it a read. You can empathize with the devil. He is an incredibly sympathetic character as Milton draws him, kind of like Tony Soprano. That is what makes both of them so dangerous. But the thing is empathy cannot be a suspension of judgement and still call itself love. That is where liberal Christianity takes a wrong turn.

  • Please explain where God condones this and I will eat the bible but I can say He hates it and that’s right God hates it

  • He speaks to us through His Word, within the context of the Church.

    You would have to be mentally ill to ignore Him.

  • Funny I have yet to meet a gay or lesbian person I did not like. But liking someone doesn’t mean you have to suspend all judgement, and I think that is doubly or triply true for the institutional church. The point is not to drive homosexuals out of the church or community. That would be very wrong, but simply to say we cannot condone or approve of what you actually do because it is not part of God’s plan.

ADVERTISEMENTs