Despite resistance from liberal activists, the United Methodist Church has officially maintained a biblical stance on homosexuality and marriage since 1972. LGBTQ advocates have agitated regularly at General Conference for the UMC to liberalize on marriage by ordaining LGBTQ clergy and performing gay weddings.
But thanks to steadfast, orthodox stance of faithful Methodists, these efforts have been stopped. African bishops are among the leaders who have stood firm. Fortunately, Methodist congregations in Africa are growing, meaning these faithful voices are becoming increasingly important in the UMC. There are more than 450,000 members in Africa Central Conference, more than 2.2 million members in the Congo Central Conference, and more than 1.5 million members in the West Africa Central Conference, according to the World Methodist Council.
In September 2015, 14 bishops and representatives from the African Central Conferences signed a statement affirming sexual relationships “within the covenant bond of a faithful monogamous, heterosexual marriage, and not within same-sex unions or polygamy.” Among the signers of this statement was Angolan Bishop Gaspar João Domingos, who presides over the Annual Conference of West Angola.
Domingos has spoken out again in defense of biblical marriage, this time at a seminary event. Agência Angola Press (ANGOP) reported Domingos’s comments on February 3, translated here in full from French:
Angola: Methodist Church condemns gay marriage
Luanda – The United Methodist Church condemns marriage between persons of the same sex, taking into account the doctrinal principles, the bishop Gaspar João Domingos said Wednesday in Luanda.
The bishop, who was speaking at a theological seminary update, admitted that the church was continuously pressured to take a stand on homosexual conduct, which is not in conformity with the Sacred Scripture.
“There is a group that considers marriage as a short-term contract and who want to legitimize homosexual practice, and does not care to protect the newborn and the mother,” he said.
Moreover, added the bishop, the United Methodist Church denies the abuse of the principle of tolerance that sets aside the authority of Jesus Christ and the teaching on sexuality.
Bishop Gaspar said that since 1972, the Methodist Church has affirmed that homosexuals were “people of true consecration in need of ministry and church orientation to overcome their difficulties.”
According to the religious leader, the moral normative rules of biblical texts cannot be applied outside its cultural context.