May 3, 2012

United Methodists Reject Agree to Disagree Motion on Homosexuality

By Mark Tooley

This morning at about 10 am the United Methodist General Conference defeated a motion from Kansas minister Adam Hamilton to acknowledge that United Methodists disagree on homosexuality. The motion, co-originated with Ohio minister Mike Slaughter, was defeated by about 53 percent to 47 percent.

Nearly 30 percent of delegates are from Africa, where United Methodism is solidly conservative theologically. Nearly 10 percent come from elsewhere overseas, mostly Europe and the Philippines. Of the 60 percent of delegates who are from the U.S., about one-third are believed to be evangelical. The vote revealed a majority coalition of Africans, U.S. evangelicals, and some other overseas delegates.

The Adam Hamilton motion was considered the strongest attempt to dilute the United Methodist Church’s current stance that homosexual practice is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The church prohibits same-sex unions and precludes actively homosexual clergy, expecting all clergy to be celibate if single and monogamous if in a marriage between man and woman. Legislative committees last week recommended retaining these current stances.

Almost certainly, after the defeat of Hamilton’s motion, the full General Conference will reaffirm its current teachings on marriage, sexual ethics and homosexuality. The growth of United Methodism in Africa, where there are now over 4 million church members, has helped to ensure that the denomination has not followed other U.S. denominations in liberalizing their sexual standards.


31 Responses to United Methodists Reject Agree to Disagree Motion on Homosexuality

  1. […] via United Methodists Reject Agree to Disagree Motion on Homosexuality « Juicy Ecumenism. […]

  2. […] Tooley of the Institute for Religion and Democracy has this to say about the debate and […]

  3. calskinner says:

    Tucked into Footnote 13 on page 313 of Robert G. Tuttle, Jr.’s “John Wesley, His Life and Theology” is the following:

    “…unity and holiness are the two things I want most among Methodists.”

    The fight over the acceptability of homosexuality surely does not accomplish Wesley’s goal.

    • There has to be a basis for unity. Wesley wanted unity, but was willing to separate from Whitefield for theological reasons. The acceptance and normalization of homosexuality is at its core a denial of the gospel and God’s creation that is at the foundation of the gospel. Sometimes unity in the church begins with dividing from those who “are not of us” in the words of 1 John.

      • rongisnom says:

        Well stated Andrew.

      • Judy Bailey says:

        Andrew, you are wise young man. God bless you as you travel the path He has chosen for you to lead His people. I cannot accept that God makes mistakes. Believers have to stand on His every Word. The UMC has wondered in the desert for 40 years now on this subject and it is time to move on and get back into the business of saving souls. This has been a distraction by Satan himself. And if the UMC doesn’t stand up for the Word it will perish. God has heard our prayers and is bringing in the African delegation/army to our rescue for we who have remained faithful to His Promises. Don’t ever give up on God to save us.

    • eMatters says:

      Sure it does. You are begging the question and assuming that homosexual behavior doesn’t violate a standard of holiness, but that is the issue in question. Although there is really no serious debate. The Bible couldn’t be more clear. Even non-Christians and two out of the three types of pro-gay theologians can see these truths:

      100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.

      100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

      100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).

      0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

  4. Tina Arredondo says:

    I’m really surprised at the UMC; I thought this church would have the courage to recognize that homosexuality is NOT some choice that people make, but is how they are born. My family is considering joining a UMC congregation, but we’ll have to take a second look after this. The bible barely addresses homosexuality & certainly Jesus never did; it’s absolutely amazing that we’ve built it into such a divisive issue.

    • Tina, even if you were correct: Scripture says we are born sinners in general, but that does not excuse sin.

    • Florida Methodist says:

      With all due respect, I, as an adult male was born with an attraction to women. There is no natural proclivity to be attracted to only one female – even if you love her beyond belief, although once we are married, we are asked by God and our spouses to uphold the marriage vow of fidelity. “Born sinners” my friend. Well, I am still attracted to attractive women. I am around good looking women quite a bit in my line of work. That is no excuse to act on an urge. As much as I try to control my thoughs and contain them as pure, its difficult. I try to “think clean thoughts” but I am not 100%.

      The issue is “divisive” because it is constanty ginned up by a few folks who want to reclasssify it away from a sin. It is still a sin, just as cheating on your spouse is a sin, or having sed with someone before marriage is a sin. Thats not to say others dont love you, or other gays, and pray for you. As a sinner myself, I dont cast stones.

      I’m sorry you feel this way, though. Its unfortunate that this discussion over sexual behavior has been so watered down by society that we have a great number of people attempting to normalize ost sexual sin (not just homosexuality) as mainstream Christian living. Frankly, it is not. And the church did the correct thing by rejecting this attempt.

    • eMatters says:

      Good! Please don’t join a church or claim the name of Christ until you can submit the word of God. Please think about who is being divisive. It wasn’t like oxymoronic “same-sex marriage” was the norm in churches (or in any religion, or in atheistic cultures) for 2,000 years and then Bible-believing Christians came along to change it.

      Re. Jesus’ “silence” on the topic — Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus is God and part of the Trinity that inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), He didn’t specifically mention child abuse and other obvious sins though that wouldn’t justify them, and abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews.

      Oh, and Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior, so it must be OK!

      http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/what-jesus-didnt-say-3/

    • Tina,

      Jesus didn’t address homosexuality directly because he would have been preaching to the choir. All our first century Jewish sources that comment on homosexuality denounce it and lead to the conclusion that this was a unanimous opinion among Jews.

      As the gospel moved to the Roman Empire, the issue was addressed clearly. Paul makes it clear in multiple places. The only sexual ethic is the one prescribed by God in creation: the marriage between a man and woman for life.

    • Chris Enoch says:

      What does “how they are born” have to do with anything? We are all born with immense proclivity towards sinful behavior. What we do with that proclivity is a choice. Always.

  5. Bob Brooke says:

    Thank God for the worldwide UMC, especially from Africa, which has not sold out to the western european/USA sexual revolutions of the last half century and did not cave to the popular figures of the denomination. So the struggle to maintain and increase biblical justice continues.

  6. Marco Bell says:

    Tina, I, like you and your family, believed, or shall I say, hoped that the Methodists would be a progressive denomination. But sadly, no.
    Your point about the (Bible) history doesn’t make any difference to “these people”.
    Better to keep looking for open hearts, open minds, and open doors, somewhere else.
    My brother is gay, and I can’t imagine anybody, especially one who claims to be Christian, to feel, or worse yet, make policy against him or anyone like him. An astoundingly ignorant position to maintain for the sake of Religion!

    • eMatters says:

      “I can’t imagine anybody, especially one who claims to be Christian, to feel, or worse yet, make policy against him or anyone like him.”

      Then you haven’t met Jesus. He has a strict policy against sin, but graciously offers to take the penalty for all your sins. But don’t insult him by saying sin isn’t sin.

  7. Mike Tyler says:

    Andrew Nordine has hit the proverbial nail on the head. Recent statistics reveal that the average church in the mainline denominations have only about 10% fully converted followers of Jesus Christ. The “Church” was never intended to function as a blended group of Christians and non-Christians. We are called to be of one Spirit so that we act as a well oiled machine to advance the Kingdom. This is why most churches seem sick and have little energy for witnessing, testifying, and hands on ministry. Needless to say the same “sickness” ties “church people” to the desires of the world and lean towards the popular trends of society. We were never called to do that, in fact, just the opposite.

    • Thanks Mike. I come from Southern Baptist roots where we have had our share of “disunity” (and still do). I’m reading through notes on Baptist History now, and so often the cry from the liberals is for unity, which is just a guise for heresy and all sorts of doctrinal and moral aberrations. The Baptists and Methodists have historically been somewhat intertwined, and I know many from my side are watching with great hope for the future of the UMC, for the sake of the gospel.

      • Mike Tyler says:

        AMEN!! We are watching the Southern Baptist Convention as well. I know from my Baptist friends that you are beginning the same battle we have endured for over 20 years. May the Lord be gracious to both denominations and keep them close to Himself.

        • Judy Bailey says:

          What a week plus the UMC has had in Tampa. Hopefully, some issues have been put to rest now and the Church can move on about her business of winning souls for Christ. I am sure there will be more to deal with in the future but I pray the Leadership in this Church will take necessary measures to deal with those who are and have been defiant by breaking their vows from ordination. That is another bridge to cross. In the mean time, we must come up with ways of counseling for those who seek to be members and are in the grip and under attack of Satan through homosexuality. I know many who have walked away from it and are living the most fulfilling, holy and joyful lives today…Praise be to God.
          Safe passage for all who will return home this week. Thank you for serving in this most important conference!

    • Judy Bailey says:

      Very well stated Mike and Andrew. Your knowledge, understanding and passion of God’s Word is very inspiring and encouraging. Now, if we could just have this message from our pulpits every Sunday!

      • Mike,

        We have more battles on the horizon, but we have fought many already. Establishing inerrancy was a big step for us. This and the changes in our leadership led many to leave the SBC, but “they went out from us because they were not of us.”

        Judy,

        One of the biggest battles Southern Baptists won was in our seminaries. For a long time, our seminaries were driving the liberalism in our denomination by training pastors in it. We elected a conservative president in 1979, and it was 1996 before we could replace all the leadership and begin to turn things around. I would venture to guess that Methodists have similar problems.

        • Judy Bailey says:

          Andrew, Mike and I went to our first Lay Speaker training together and have maintained our friendship through our love of Christ and emails. You are so right in that our seminaries are teaching “liberalism in our denomination by training pastors in it”. And as I told Mike earlier, it will take years to replace that leadership and get back on track. It is so important to use our voices to express our belief in God’s inspired and inerrant Word. They do not teach that in seminaries today. There will come a day of accountability and those who have fed their flocks untruth will be judged harshly for many have been led astray by their words.

        • Mike Tyler says:

          I remember when Charles Stanley took over the SBC helm. That was a glorious day for the Southern Baptists and the turning point for many who would have left given the liberal bent the previous leaders had. I still enjoy hearing him preach & he is steady in the Word.

      • That’s great. Keep fighting! I know on our end, it took strong leaders who developed a plan and worked tirelessly for years. It’s amazing how the tide can be turned when men (and women) choose to stand up and fight for the truth and the gospel. And sometimes those leaders are full of their own warts and issues, but the Lord uses them mightily (probably to make sure He gets the glory!).

        This just brings more clarity to James’ words that ‘not many should be teachers.’

        Where are you guys located?

        • Judy Bailey says:

          Andrew, we are located in Mocksville and Thomasville, North Carolina of the Western North Carolina Conference. Struggling with the ugliness of this issue since the Hearts of Fire invocation at Lake Juneluska years ago. It never should have been allowed. I also do not care for Jim Winkler…he does not speak for all UM. The leadership needs to change quickly…they keep forcing us to be tolerant of this activist group. So rather than chance hurting their feelings, our people in their tolerance of this GLBT group have become complacent by hoping it will just go away. Some ministers want to hush us up…most of the congregation is uninformed of the many problems within the UMC…so sad. And so many have left from our congregation because they have gotten no where with the DS or Bishops. I think many are afraid for their placements and pensions, etc. so they just go along with it. They do not discuss their views with us but it is easy to thell their views by their own omission.

          • eMatters says:

            That is so great that you all are fighting for the truth! Too many pastors love political correctness and a false peace more than they do the truth. And you are right: Most lay people are uninformed or suffer from the same things as their pastors and don’t want to be informed. I got tired of worshiping with so many people like that and left the UMC after 15 yrs. I always say you have to stay and fight for the truth or leave. Glad you all are making progress!

  8. Trish Scharmann says:

    Just a few thoughts on what I read going through these comments. I too agree with what most of you have said. We are all sinners; this is why we need a Savior and until we recognize that sin, we will never seek a Savior. I am so thankful that our Church stood it’s ground on these policies. However,I do not believe in “fighting for the Truth or leave”; I believe that we stay and fight for the Truth until we win. When God is for us, who can stand against us. It is not always easy to stand against sin, but we must remember what happens to the church of Laodocia, the lukewarm church, in Revelations.. I always think of it as the Politically Correct one. I know many UM Pastors and most stand for the Truth, but sadly I know a few who are like the ones you speak. It does not take courage to be Politically Correct, it takes courage to stand against it when it blatantly goes against our faith. Abortion, homosexuality, Infidelity, pre-marital sex, murder, theft, coveting, pride are all wrong (the list goes on) and telling someone or teaching someone differently is wrong. Those who lead others astray will be held accountable for this offense. In James 3 it says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” and in Timothy 4 we learn, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” When I first started studying my Christian Faith, I was told over and over again to test what ever I learned against the Scriptures for truth.

  9. Judy Bailey says:

    GOD BLESS YOU TRISH AS YOU STAND FIRM IN THE WORD OF GOD AND FOR HIS CHURCH! YOUR WORDS ARE ENCOURAGING TO ME.

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