by Guest Writer
IRD: United Methodists Should Uphold Marriage Teaching
“The arguments offered by Dr. Ogletree are rather intellectually shallow and reflect a very sophomoric approach to Scripture. The letter and spirit of the Old and New Testaments – as well as the writings of Methodism’s founder, John Wesley – could hardly be clearer about homosexual practice.” -UM Action Director John Lomperis
Washington, DC—On October 20, 2012, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Ogletree, retired dean of Yale Divinity School and an ordained United Methodist, officiated a wedding between his son and a male partner. The wedding announcement prompted several United Methodist ministers to file a complaint against Dr. Ogletree with the local bishop. The United Methodist Church prohibits same sex unions. A New York Times article brought the controversy into the national spotlight. The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s United Methodist director hopes that Bishop Martin D. McLee and the rest of the New York Conference stand by the clear principles in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, which unequivocally defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Biblical teachings on marriage and sex have been consistently re-affirmed for the global, over 11-million-member United Methodist Church every four years by the governing General Conference, with revisionists’ support shrinking so much that at last year’s General Conference they gave up on even contesting the denomination’s prohibitions on blessing same-sex unions.
IRD’s United Methodist Action Director John Lomperis commented:
“United Methodist disagreements over homosexuality and other forms of extra-marital sex are driven by far more fundamental divisions, between United Methodists who accept a high view of biblical authority, are loyal to United Methodist doctrine, seek to submit all areas of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and play by the rules that are supposed to apply to everybody, and other, nominal United Methodists who openly reject our core doctrine, allow the winds of secular American culture to trump Scripture, and zealously embrace an ‘any means necessary’ ethos.
“The arguments offered by Dr. Ogletree are rather intellectually shallow and reflect a very sophomoric approach to Scripture. The letter and spirit of the Old and New Testaments – as well as the writings of Methodism’s founder, John Wesley – could hardly be clearer about homosexual practice.
“Obviously there are very complex emotional dynamics involved with Dr. Ogletree wanting to be compassionate towards his own son. But a basic part of parenting is understanding that not everything your son asks for is actually good for him.
“This is fundamentally an integrity issue. Dr. Ogletree freely chose to become a United Methodist minister and vow before God to follow the communal covenants of a global denomination in which theological revisionists now are losing ground. He would have had more integrity if he had followed his wife’s reported advice of leaving the UMC for a sexually liberal religious group. Instead, he is bizarrely bragging about not being a man of his word.”