United Methodist Church upholds ban on same-sex marriage

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The global United Methodist Church held what was touted as a historic special session of General Conference February 23-26. The conference had been called to deal with the church’s position on issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The topics are nothing new. The church has been fighting an inward battle for decades as more and more clergy have chosen to openly defy the teachings of the church, to the point of appointing an openly gay bishop, ordaining homosexual ministers, and performing same-sex weddings – all without discipline from the greater church (or, more accurately, largely ignoring any discipline).


AP Photo/Sid Hastings – Protestors chant during the United Methodist Church’s special session of the general conference in St. Louis on Tuesday. America’s second-largest Protestant denomination faces a likely fracture as delegates at the crucial meeting move to strengthen bans on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy.

Local Methodist pastors are as split on same-sex marriage and gay clergy as leaders of the United Methodist Church.

At a recent special session of its General Conference, leaders of the United Methodist Church rejected the One Church Plan, a measure that would have overturned restrictions on openly gay clergy and performing same-sex marriages, as outlined in its Traditional Plan.

Methodist pastors in Marshall County have been following this issue closely, noting how congregations locally and abroad have become fractured over a topic some regard as a human rights issue and others see as the church maintaining its Biblical understanding of human sexuality.

“I’m disappointed because the traditionalist plan represents one segment of the United Methodist Church, and it’s not reflective of the whole body,” Pastor Nan Smith of Hope United Methodist Church in Marshalltown said. “We’ve always allowed for differences in thoughts. We’re not of one mind.”

Over 800 church delegates from around the globe voted on the issue at its conference in St. Louis. The final tally was 438 to 384 in favor of upholding the Traditional Plan. In 2016, over 100 gay clergy members came out publicly in an open letter to the church. The UMC has over 12 million members, with half residing in the U.S. It is the second-largest Protestant denomination in the nation.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning
the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters.
In that case you would have to leave this world.
But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister
but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler.
Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Since 1972, the issue of human sexuality has been discussed during every General Conference, which is held every four years. In 2016, the Commission on a Way Forward was organized with a majority of bishops favoring the One Church Plan, which would have allowed individual churches and regional annual conferences to decide whether to ordain and marry LGBTQ members. February 2019’s special session was delegated as a time when just the issue of human sexuality could be discussed, free of other distractions.

“Every time we get together (the issue) comes up, so this vote at the special session was an attempt to explore it more fully, and the big question was not only what do we believe, but how we live together as a church among those different beliefs,” Pastor Jeff Kodis of First United Methodist Church in Marshalltown said.

Kodis said the conversation has been very painful and raw for people on both sides of the issue. He has been a Methodist minister for 17 years, around three of which spent in Marshalltown, and said he supports the UMC’s decision to uphold the Traditional Plan.

“As someone who has grown up in the church and who took vows to uphold the beliefs and practices of the church, for me, this just affirmed what I said I believed in the beginning. I believe their decision affirms the historic, Biblical understanding of marriage and sexuality,” Kodis said. “It really isn’t a huge issue for our congregation either way. It doesn’t rank as one of our highest priorities as a church. There’s a difference of opinion in our church body, but we have other things we focus on.”

Pastor Scott Lothe of the Laurel United Methodist Church, previously pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Marshalltown, said he is in favor of the One Church Plan, and is a supporter of same sex marriage and ordaining openly gay clergy.

“The way the division started, 40-plus years ago, language got into our Book of Discipline by the General Conference that said homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings and our ministers must not officiate, nor our churches host, same sex unions, and neither shall we ordain practicing, self-avowed, gays or lesbians,” Lothe said. “As society has changed its views toward that, there’s been this force in the church saying we need to overturn this language.”

Lothe said he believes the last time the Methodist Church was this divided was over the issue of rights for African Americans and slavery.

“This is our slavery moment – human sexuality – and in 150 years it will be something else,” he said.

The UMC, like other churches, does have LGBTQ members of its clergy and congregations.

“But it was on a don’t ask, don’t tell basis,” Lothe said.

Kodis said for him, the issue is not about human dignity and worth, which he said every person is deserving of in the eyes of the church. Instead he said the issue is “what actions or behaviors honor God, and while we all agree on the first one, of that every human being is worthy of respect and love, the second one is where we disagree.”

When asked about his feelings on if someday the UMC reverses its stance on homosexuality, Kodis said, “I don’t just blindly believe what the denomination believes. I’m in the UMC because it’s a good fit for what I believe and my faith, and if they changed, I would have to make the decision whether I can stay with integrity in that system. It would all depend on what the change was.”

Lothe said the Judicial Council, which acts as a Supreme Court in the UMC, will now review the decision. It will decide what parts of it are in keeping with the church’s Constitution and what parts may need to be amended.

The Traditional Plan’s goal is to strengthen the denomination’s bans on clergy officiating at same-sex unions or being “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.” It encourages the people who don’t obey the church’s prohibitions to seek a different church home.

The issue of same-sex marriage and ordaining openly gay clergy may again be voted on at the church’s next General Conference, which will take place May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis.

The speakers seemed to be trying very hard to reframe the issue as a “social justice” issue rather than a sin issue. That is the saddest point of all. Because before long, the UMC will be in this same position, but the issue will be transgenderism or gender fluidity or non-binary gender, or polyamory, or polygamy, or pedophilia [see herewhere activists are trying to have pedophilia designated as an “orientation” so it receives discrimination protections] or some other issue regarding human sexuality. Where will the UMC draw the line? Will they simply keep changing their doctrine to satisfy the culture in the name of evangelism? Where will it end up? What will our culture look like with no voice willing to stand up and declare truth even if it hurts?

During the prioritization process, it became clear that the will of the conference was far different from the “historic” denominational shift the LGBTQ community had hoped for. Thanks largely to the African delegation, the Traditional Plan wound up ranked second on the priority list, with two petitions for disaffiliation (i.e., a “graceful exit”) following. Then came the One Church Plan, which was the favorite of the Council of Bishops. A Simple Plan was at number 8, and the Connectional Conference Plan (another plan put forth by the Committee on a Way Forward) was at number 14.

Previous to the conference, LGBT delegates had threatened to shut down the conference if the Traditional Plan or the disaffiliation petitions were approved. You might find the tone of these delegates to be rather interesting. Their goal was not compromise, tolerance, or Christian love (according to the words of those quoted in the article). Their goal was dominance, and they were willing to push out any who didn’t agree with them. But after prioritization, with the real possibility of the adoption of the Traditional Plan, their hopes began to fade and their tactical approach became one of delay and vilify.

The discussions leave folks wondering if the UMC is headed for a split.

“It already has,” Lothe said. “But legally we have to figure it out. Early on at the conference they took a vote of the delegates to see what were the five top petitions they wanted to see debated and number one was pensions. If we split up, what will that look like for our pensions and our property, and ways of separating and the Traditional Plan were also discussed.”

Lothe has accepted a position as pastor at St. Timothy’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls, where he said he is eager to help congregants with the “healing process” of this decision.

Smith, who grew up in the Presbyterian faith, found the Methodist Church in college. She’s been a minister for nine years, serving her current church for the past six. She said she will broach the topic of the special session at this Sunday’s worship service.

“This church (Hope United) will always be welcoming and be inclusive of all people who want to have a part of our ministries,” Smith said. “There is already a division in the (Methodist) church, and I don’t know what the future brings because of that.”

The final speaker on Monday was a gay pastor who was against the Simple Plan because it didn’t go far enough. She quoted Wesley as saying to first do no harm, but to instead do good. Just removing “harmful” language from the Discipline wasn’t enough – she hoped for the day when the UMC would do good by affirming LGBTQIA persons. And there you have it. This is the agenda of the LGBTQ community. Any step is never enough. They will never be satisfied until their behavior is applauded and affirmed. Even if the Simple Plan were to be adopted, the chaos and discord in the UMC would not stop, because the LGBTQ community will keep pressing to have its way. While today they say other countries are free to adopt the definitions they want and no church has to affirm a position with which they disagree, tomorrow will be another story. The only way forward for the UMC is to stand on the never-ending and never-failing truth of God’s Word.

An article published by the Associated Press after the closing of the legislative session reported:

“’For me it’s about who’s in God’s love, and nobody’s left out of that,’ said Lois McCullen Parr, 60, a church elder from Albion, Michigan, who identifies as bisexual and queer. ‘The Gospel I understand said Jesus is always widening the circle, expanding the circle, so that everyone’s included.’”

I think she misunderstands Jesus. He said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate, and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14) and, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). I think I’m going to stick with Jesus on this one. Herein lies the real problem: a low view of Scripture. Our feelings don’t matter. Our preferences don’t matter. What God says matters! His Word must be the basis of our faith and practice, even if it’s unpopular. Even if we don’t like it.

The church is riddled with filth, this is what inclusiveness has brought us, a body that is so morally corrupt it believes it can change the solemn word of God, these people actually believe their own twisted version of God’s truth.

StevieRay Hansen
HNewsWire Editor
www.HNewsWire.com

John Wesley who said that what we tolerate in our generation, will be embraced by the next. Wesley is 100% correct! We are living in sick times.

HNewsWire- “All political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” Just look at some of our modern day examples: torture is “enhanced interrogation techniques”; murder is “collateral damage”; the aggression initiation of war is a “pre-emptive strike”; the theft of taxpayers’ money is a “bailout”; and the theft of depositors’ money in a bank is a “haircut” or “bail-in”.In a blatant example of Newspeak, the New World Order controllers (through the psychiatric DSM V) have tried to rename pedophiles as “minor-attracted persons” and redefine pedophilia as a “sexual orientation”. This makes no sense, since sexual orientation has to do with gender not age, with whether you are attracted to males or females, not how old they are. There are even organizations (like B4UAct.org) which are claiming that pedophiles are being unfairly stigmatized for their feelings! Psychiatry, it should also be noted, has a history of inventing fictitious diseases such as ADHD (as admitted by its inventor on his deathbed by Leon Eisenberg).
https://www.cchrint.org/2013/10/30/adhd-is-a-fictitious-disease/

Note from StevieRay Hansen: I tend to be very vocal about ADHD, it was only when I surrender to Christ, I became complete, the battle is real, I believe the difference is how we fight these battles….

Justice is a word that stands alone, adding anything to it demeans it….

It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated.

Children are being misplaced or lost in our foster care system, we must demand more openness and accountability from each state.
If you have information or believe there is a child in danger that’s being exploited please contact 127 Faith Foundation
[email protected]
Call 325.347.2654
The 127 Faith Foundation

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“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. Let me tell you something, friend, it is not love and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth, than to be loved for telling a lie. It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated. It’s better to stand alone with the truth, then to be wrong with a multitude. It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie. There is only one Gospel and Paul said, ‘If any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

Proverbs 31:8 (NIV)
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute

MY MISSION IS NOT TO CONVINCE YOU, ONLY TO INFORM…

Jesus come quick, there is nothing left in society that’s sacred….

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