Fair and balanced reporting on Methodism

I critiqued the United Methodist position on abortion recently, so in fairness I thought I should point out something that I think they got right.  An equally controversial issue is homosexual behavior, and on this topic Methodist doctrine fairs much better.   I realize that many apostates, false teachers and others are trying to get this changed, but I thank God that to date the denomination has held firm.

From the Book of Discipline:

Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth. All persons need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self.

The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all, and we will seek to live together in Christian community. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.

Biblical.  Clear.  Firm.  Caring.  A balance of grace and truth. 

Nicely done. 

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4 thoughts on “Fair and balanced reporting on Methodism”

  1. Neil, I too have difficulty understanding why people have such a problem with the Methodist position on homosexuality. It clearly says that it is homosexual behavior, NOT homosexuals that we oppose. A homosexual [like an alcholic or adulterer] can join the UMC, they just can’t practice their sin while a member. To be clicheish (is that a word?) the UMC “loves the sinner, hates the sin”. I hope you have a happy new year!

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  2. ” A homosexual [like an alcholic or adulterer] can join the UMC, they just can’t practice their sin while a member. ”

    I was under the impression that gay people could be denied membership in the UMC. Wasn’t there a case about that recently?

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  3. Hi Alan – I’m going from memory here, but I believe the case you are referring to was in W. Virginia last year. A gay man was denied membership by a pastor and the bishop disciplined the pastor. Depending on who you believe, the man denied membership had already been active in the church but in a sort of “me-me-me” way. The inference was that he wasn’t just quietly joining, but shaking his fist at the whole institution. Not sure if the facts ever came out in a reliable forum. The sexuality topic was obviously the hot button but in principle the issue was over who has the authority to deny membership (for whatever reason).

    The short version is that indiviual Methodist churches cover quite a spectrum on this topic. A bishop in the north got ~ 60% of some group to state that “homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality are all gifts from God and that principle should be taught from the pulpit and in Sunday School.” (Coincidentally or not, Bishop Sprague also denies various essentials of the faith and is pro-abortion).

    Other churches are rather conservative. If I had to stereotype the whole weighted average Methodist position in practice, it would rough out to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” (I’m not saying that is the way to handle it; that’s just an observation).

    The church I’m in leans conservative but we have at least one gay couple that attends (apparently they feel comfortable enough there) and there are singles, I’m sure.

    This all leads to the topic of church discipline (in all areas), which I don’t have any clever solutions to. The Methodists (and many other denominations) are weak on sexual sins in general. Though I support the Methodist position on homosexual behavior, I can see why gays may feel “picked on” when heterosexual adultery and divorce aren’t always addressed in a Biblical manner (Though we did have a former pastor fired for adultery). I wonder how many pastors will marry people who are living together, or who are unequally yoked? (Or equally yoked as non-believers?!)

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  4. Coming from a person that doesn’t subscribe to any religion, but has a REAL relationship with Jesus, I totally agree that we should love the sinner, and hate the sin, as God’s Word says we should. We don’t need to, for a split nano-second, allow homosexuals to think that it’s an “OK” thing for them to continue on in their sinful lifestyle, while going to church, totally disregarding what God’s Word says concerning homosexuality. We as God’s people don’t need to justify their wrong lifestyles, because we, as God’s people, are supposed to KNOW it’s a wrong lifestyle, case closed, bottom line, and still accept them with the love of Jesus. The ONLY way this will work out the way God wants it to is if we are TRULY saved by Jesus, and we TRULY have a real and lasting relationship with Jesus.

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