October 26, 2013

IRD News Release on Bishop Talbert’s Same Sex Nuptials

IRD News Release

IRD Comments on Methodist Bishop’s Same Sex Rite

On October 26 retired United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert is scheduled to conduct a same-sex union for two men at a United Church of Christ sanctuary in Birmingham, Alabama, violating The United Methodist Church’s prohibition on same-sex unions. Talbert has rejected pleas not to proceed from North Alabama Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett and the executive committee of the church’s Council of Bishops.

Last year, the United Methodist Church’s governing General Conference voted by 61 percent to reaffirm its stance for traditional marriage and sexual ethics. Forty percent of the delegates were from outside the U.S. Over 35 percent of United Methodists now live in Africa, where the church is growing and conservative. Under current growth trends, Africans likely will become a majority in the denomination within the decade, a trend that almost certainly precludes the currently 12 million member United Methodist Church (7.4 million in the U.S.) from following other declining historically liberal Mainline denominations in the U.S. that have liberalized their sexual teaching. Dissident clergy like Bishop Talbert have responded by vowing defiance of the church’s policies.

IRD’s President Mark Tooley, a United Methodist, responded:

Bishop Talbert has not pastored a church since the 1960s and presided over imploding membership and schism as bishop in Seattle and San Francisco. As bishop and president of the National Council of Churches he was a divisive political activist who seemed to prioritize political causes over the church’s teachings and health. Neither he nor other dissident clergy, most of whom are also retired or preside over declining churches, represent United Methodism’s future.

The 12 million member global United Methodism Church has avoided the schism and accelerating membership spiral of other once Mainline denominations by reaffirming orthodox, universal Christian church teaching, which includes understanding marriage as the lifelong union of man and woman. As liberal U.S. churches decline and the African church especially continues to grow, United Methodism is less and less captive to U.S. culture, for which the church can be grateful.

Hopefully current and future United Methodist bishops and clergy, unlike many retired ones from another era, will understand that Christianity’s future is global and orthodox.

7 Responses to IRD News Release on Bishop Talbert’s Same Sex Nuptials

  1. David Bush says:

    Let us be in prayer for “Mr.Talbert!” 1) He did not uphold the Discipline….2) He did not follow,the Council of Bishops advice 3) He undermined the Bishop of North Alabama! He must be mentally unstable and his title must be removed.

  2. Floyd M Thompson says:

    I don’t understand why we don’t strip these folks of their titles and authority.

  3. Terresa Hobbs says:

    Bishop Tooley should well know that the most dissident clergy and bishops are still very active in the Western Jurisdiction and particularly the Pacific Northwest Conference. They may be presiding over declining churches, I’ll have to take his word for that since I don’t have stats. What I do know is that UMC membership is down by two who, after being United Methodists for decades, could no longer stomach the teaching and preaching that mocks adherence to Scriptural principles in pursuit of holiness.

  4. Doug McGee says:

    Mr. Talbert is also violating the Scripture’s clear teaching that Marriage is between one man and one woman. Mr Talbert is supposed to lead people to Christ, but instead he is supporting a Satanic union of two men. For the health of the Church, he needs to be disciplined as Jesus would have us do it; clearly and in love. But do it.

  5. Marco Bell says:

    Love knows no bounds.
    No, that does not mean that people will be marrying goats and such, it means, LOVE as Jesus espoused was universally available over evil, if only one chose it over evil.
    Marriage for LOVE (agape type) is universal, and such should be available to all who embrace it.
    These individuals are probably not marrying for procreative purposes, so the male-female factor does not apply. Of course adoption is still a very good option for the sake of children needing a good home.
    Seeing that this Bishop is retired, I don’t see why he is such a problem for your denomination. Simply dismiss him from your daily concern, and get on with doing what you do best…saving those souls that agree with your tenets, and occasionally shaming people for not seeing Life your way!
    Marco Bell

  6. Lance Douglas says:

    Mr. Bell, I see your position. This minister obviously still identifies with the UMC. And holds credentials to perform weddings—those credentials being conferred upon him by the UMC. Think of it like a physician performing a procedure that was not approved by his Medical Board. If he were to blatantly disregard the Board standards, and go the extra step of defying pleas from two superiors, he would likely be stripped of his license to practice. Now let’s say that the procedure went fine, and saved a life, or at the very least made the physician a hero. In our society, the success of the procedure is not the reason he would be popular. He would be popular because he “bucked” the system, and was a rebel, of sorts. That type of behavior erodes a society that is ordered in guidelines and hierarchy of leadership. The UMC has no choice other than discipline this minister. My thoughts are this: Why would these men even approach a minister to perform this ceremony, knowing it violated their church law? With so many gay-affirming churches, why are gay people insistent upon infiltrating denominations that don’t view scripture as they do? Surely they can see the pain and division they are causing. It needs to stop, but I don’t see that happening. In order to prepare for serious discussion, I suggest you read scripture for yourself and you might be surprised at what it says to you. I was sort of in your position a couple of years ago, and a friend challenged me to read the Bible, just the New Testament, and then having a friendly debate the following year. I accepted the challenge. And I realized that my sexual nature was indeed “incompatible with Christian teaching”.

  7. Zada and Dan Cave says:

    I am increasingly becoming ashamed to be a Methodist. I am so discouraged to see Biblical truths being twisted and broken. We are treading on dangerous water!

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