Top 10 Church News Stories

July 16, 2016

Lesbian Bishop Election Exacerbates Tensions in United Methodist Church

Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
July 15, 2016
Contact: Jeff Walton office: 202-682-4131, cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org

“Unlike the Episcopal Church, United Methodists have not changed church teaching on marriage and the entire denomination has not ratified this election of a non-celibate gay bishop.”
-UMAction Director John Lomperis

(Note:  Very importantly, the denomination’s South Central Jurisdiction, which has over five times as many church members, almost immediately voted to petition the Judicial Council, the “supreme court” of the denomination, to review the legality of such actions by the Western Jurisdiction.)

Washington, DC—United Methodists in the denomination’s liberal Western Jurisdiction have elected the first openly partnered gay bishop in the 13 million-member global church’s history. Pastor Karen Oliveto of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, who is married to another woman, will be consecrated a bishop during a Saturday afternoon service at the regional conference being held outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

Oliveto has courted controversy by criticizing the ministry of St. Paul and promoting America’s largest abortion provider. In campaign literature, Oliveto highlighted previously pastoring a church that chose to serve as an illegal medical marijuana dispensary. Her current congregation claims a growing membership but has a much smaller worship attendance that has shrunk.

The Western Jurisdiction comprises only 2 percent of the denomination’s members and has led the decline in U.S. Methodist membership. In contrast, the global church has experienced rapid growth in Africa, where more than a third of church members reside and generally hold traditional views on sexuality and marriage.

The United Methodist Church effectively shelved all legislation on sexuality at its recent General Conference. In doing so, the church retained language declaring homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching” in its governing Book of Discipline. The church does not ordain “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” but some bishops have overlooked this restriction on a technicality that some non-celibate lesbian and gay candidates for ordination have not “self-avowed” their sexual practices.

Very importantly, the denomination’s South Central Jurisdiction, which has more than five times as many members, almost immediately voted to petition the Judicial Council, the “supreme court” of the denomination, to review the legality of such actions by the Western Jurisdiction.

IRD’s United Methodist Action Director John Lomperis commented:

“Unlike the Episcopal Church, United Methodists have not changed church teaching on marriage and the entire denomination has not ratified this election of a non-celibate gay bishop.

“The Western Jurisdiction has a history of prominent disobedience to church rules, resulting in long-term diminishment and decline, despite population growth in its surrounding communities. Despite geographically encompassing one-third of the United States, the Western Jurisdiction is now home to fewer United Methodists than the northern half of Georgia.

“This is a fundamentally schismatic action of the Western Jurisdiction declaring it no longer wants to live in unity with the rest of our denomination. Now some United Methodists in the rest of the country will likely want to stop paying the denominational Episcopal Fund apportionments which heavily subsidize the six-figure salaries of Oliveto and other bishops in the Western Jurisdiction – the only U.S. Jurisdiction rewarded with more bishops than they pay for themselves.

We urge faithful United Methodists upset by this news to stay and work for accountability, remember that this election is being challenged, share their concerns with their pastors, and remember that such radical actions only represent a minority, who we should not let abuse and take over our great denomination.

“We urge United Methodist pastors to assure their congregations of how they are supporting the work of UM Action, the Wesleyan Covenant Association, and others seeking accountability. We urge orthodox bishops to offer public leadership.

“Oliveto chose to seek ordination in our denomination and vowed to uphold our standards. If she is no longer Methodist in belief, she would have more integrity to find another faith community, rather than breaking the promises she chose to make to us.”

www.TheIRD.org


88 Responses to Lesbian Bishop Election Exacerbates Tensions in United Methodist Church

  1. Texas ParentsCare says:

    So the Methodist Church will not follow the Bible or it’s book of discipline? The leadership of the church needs to stand up to this woman and all who outright disobey the Lord.

    • Paul says:

      No, not really.

      The leadership needs to think, what would Jesus do? Then it needs to stand up and say:

      – As a denomination we have acted wrongly

      – We have unjustly marginalised a group of people for being who they are, made in God’s image

      – It is time. Time to love LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

      – Time to recognize they exist, cannot change who they love. Recognise there is a covenant relationship possible and celebrated, by those who are gay/lesbian, by their families, their friends, some congregations, and some ordained in ministry.

      – Just as the clock is not turned back on wearing mixed fibers, on the eating of shellfish, on the silence of women in church, on the employ of black slaves, on divorce and remarriage, on interracial marriage, and many other things… It is time to recognize the right of all adult people to comit to another adult before God, to love and fore sake all others in that commitment which is marriage.

      – And it is time, to not expect a non-heterosexual person to maintain a standard of celibacy that we do not command the heterosexual man or woman to achieve.

      Making the above statements will cause difficulty, of course it will but there has been enough unjust pain and suffering. The youth of today will not join churches that foster unjust attitudes on this subject. The church needs to be on the right side of history, and preach love, compassion and grace. It cannot do this if it continues to ignore societal change and a shift in belief of what God actually expects.

      People are free to hold different views obviously, and they need to be respected while they cannot be the way forward. Look at what is happening in the world; this issue is not the one we need to be using our energy to challenge. We should be going out and making disciples of all people regardless of their orientation/identity, to have a coalition of loving Christians to deal with the hate, murder and criminal actions of those who would kill us all regardless of our human sexuality 🙁

      • “The leadership needs to think, what would Jesus do?”

        Yep. And Jesus would agree with Jesus, who said to live by every word of God. And what does that say? http://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/problems-with-pro-gay-theology-2/ The Bible couldn’t be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

        – 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe 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 of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.
        – 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to LGBT couples parenting children.

        Having said that, I believe that Christians should support and encourage those who are fighting same-sex attraction. And no one needs to grandstand on the issue before getting to the Good News of the cross: http://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/evangelism-experiences-1/ .

        * The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

        1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians)
        2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
        3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

        • Angie Van Deusen says:

          The word that the some translators have translated as homosexual is Arsenokoitai in the original Greek. It is also word that Paul had made up. So in reality we are putting our own ideas into what this word is to be. More then likely we as humans who make mistakes are reading and translating this word wrong. And Jesus never said anything about homosexuality we just think he would.

          • Ken M says:

            That’s big-time BS. We know exactly what Paul meant. First rule in translating is, you don’t translate words, you translate thoughts. Paul used 2 words – malakoi and aresenokoitai – where we can use just one word, “homosexual.”

            Btw, the fact that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality proves nothing. The burden is on you to prove that he differed in any way from the Jews of his time. Difficult to prove.

          • Angie Van Deusen says:

            You can’t claim to know what someone means unless they have told you themselves. Considering none of us have meet or talked to Paul personally means we don’t know what he was thinking. And I don’t have to prove anything on how Jesus thought. I am just saying we can’t say that he was against it because He didn’t talk about it. We can say he was against divorce as he did talk about that. But no one really wants look at the fact that we are going against his wishes on that, they just want to focus on what he didn’t talk about.

          • Ken M says:

            Is this a joke?

            You think Christians have been interpreting Paul wrong for 1900 years, then suddenly (coincidentally, about the time of gay activism) it was “discovered” that no one had a clue what Paul meant, therefore Christians are supposed to embrace homosexuality? All those millions of Christians who ever lived were wrong, and suddenly the truth about the Bible is revealed to homosexual activists?

            That’s stupid.

          • muzjlk says:

            Jesus didn’t say anything about pedophilia or incest or bestiality either,
            so according to your brilliant logic, “we can’t say that he was against it because he didn’t talk about that.”
            So go push for legalizing pedophilia, that’s what Jesus would want.

          • Paul says:

            Sarcasm wasn’t something Paul promoted as Christian behavior either…

          • Nutstuyu says:

            It’s not sarcasm, it’s using the same logic as Angie VD was using. But since you don’t understand the definition of sarcasm, why would you understand what logic is?

          • Roy Henry says:

            You really ought to read the Bible. Paul used sarcasm throughout the entire book of I Corinthians and in several other letters (do you think his suggestion for the Judaizers in Galatians to emasculate themselves was spoken without a heavy dose of sarcasm?). Jesus Himself employed sarcasm in speaking to the Pharisees and the disciples at times.

            I find it incredibly rich that you argue for such a literal interpretation in this respect yet reject it in areas where it speaks to your pet sin. But then, that is a danger each of us faces, and it’s why we must avoid private interpretations.

          • “You can’t claim to know what someone means unless they have told you themselves. ”

            Yep. And he (Paul) and He (the Holy Spirit) told us in his letters.

          • Texas ParentsCare says:

            And Angie who would have known and participated in divorce back then? Men married to women only. Not homosexuals. So Jesus knew what marriage was and so do we.

          • Paul says:

            The burden is on us to prove nothing.

            And I am not fighting same-sex attraction. To do so would involve:

            – going against my Methodist beliefs

            – causing harm to the God-given life I have

            – would lead to a rejection of my faith. That is NOT going to happen.

            – would require me to believe those with views like yours are right, when I don’t believe that, and in any case the judgement will come later from someone far more important than you 😉

            – notwithstanding, I made vows, promises before God, in the presence of my church, My family and friends, that I would stay with and faithful to my spouse until we are no longer on this Earth

            I wish Jesus was here, then we could get this settled!!

          • Ken M says:

            Right, your god is sex. Got it.

            Go join the Episcopalians, they are losing members by the thousands, they gladly welcome all sorts of sexual orientations, they need all the pew-fillers they can get.

          • Paul says:

            No, my God is your God. At least I thought so. You’re a Methodist too aren’t you?

            I’m not leaving the Methodist denomination. It comes from my home. I love Georgia and the people here. You are part of the denomination started by my fellow countryman. I love the UMC, I’m not giving up on it. Not after such love from Methodists before my wedding, at my wedding and since my wedding.

            My marriage isn’t about sex. It’s like a heterosexual Union. You do understand that they are not just about sex don’t you?!

          • “My marriage isn’t about sex. It’s like a heterosexual union. You do understand that they are not just about sex, don’t you?!”

            Yep, we call them “friendships.” Truly lovely things. Only don’t add sex to them or they become the Holy Spirit’s Exhibit A in how people rebel against God’s created order.

            Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

            Romans 1:26–27 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

          • Nutstuyu says:

            And I suppose your god is Mohammed’s god too–you know the one that requires lying, thieving, pillaging, rape, mass-murder and marrying six-year-old’s.

          • “I made vows, promises before God”

            Vowing to sin = bad idea.

            “I wish Jesus was here, then we could get this settled!!”

            If only He had given us his word in the mean time . . . The Bible couldn’t be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

            – 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe 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 of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.
            – 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to LGBT couples parenting children.

            Having said that, I believe that Christians should support and encourage those who are fighting same-sex attraction. And no one needs to grandstand on the issue before getting to the Good News of the cross: http://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/evangelism-experiences-1/ .

            * The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

            1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians)
            2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
            3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

          • Nutstuyu says:

            OK, so why should anyone “fight” their desire to have multiple wives/partners? Or to *boink* the 14 year old girl next door? Isn’t all sex “god-given”?

          • First, it was Paul AND the Holy Spirit who coined a term that describes homosexual behavior. How “Christian” Leftists think that supports their cause is beyond me.

            Re. Jesus not saying anything: The argument that Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior (or abortion, etc.) fails on many levels. If a church leader uses it you can be confident that he or she is ignorant and/or malicious.

            Short version: Yes, He did say something about it, but the theological Left ignores or distorts it as they do with many things about Jesus and his teachings. Note how Jesus defeats oxymoronic “same-sex marriage,” same-sex parenting, transgenderism and even Darwinian evolution in one simple passage. No true follower of him should disagree on any of those topics.

            Matthew 19:4–5 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

            Medium version
            —————————
            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 Leftist 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, taxpayer-funded abortions, etc.).

            He was a devout Jew and upholder of the law, so the burden is on the pro-gay theology side: Where is that verse when Jesus condones homosexuality?

            He didn’t specifically mention rape, child abuse, pedophilia, bestiality and other obvious sins though that wouldn’t justify them.

            Abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews. They actually thought children were a blessing and they had laws against homosexual behavior.

            And the Gospels never claimed to include everything He said. John specifically notes that the whole world couldn’t hold it all! (John 21:25).

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

            Long version: http://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/what-jesus-didnt-say-3/

          • Paul says:

            Paul and the Holy Spirit were not writing about homosexual behavior in the context of relations that we see here today.

            For example, Paul and the Holy Spirit did not witness committed loving relationships where the two people got together with their Methodist ministers to pray about their lives together (each week, together in private to discuss the importance of marriage and the big step they were taking)

            They did not witness the marriages of these people 2000 years ago.

            On the other hand, the Holy Spirit is witnessing these now, as was the case two years ago at our wedding with our family, friends and church members. Our choir leader and pianist worked on music selections with me. A wonderful woman here in the US gave permission to use her lyrics to “Morning has broken” for one of our hymnal selections. In the evening we had a Gospel Choir Concert and then a band played.

            Despite forecasts for rain (it was in England after all) the sun shone all day. If Paul was here that day I do wonder what he would write. I cannot believe it would be that people like me should not get together and have meaningful lifelong relationships like my wonderful married heterosexual friends (even those who cannot have children through no fault of their own). Wrong side of history to suggest otherwise!

            Peace and love.

          • “Paul and the Holy Spirit were not writing about homosexual behavior in the context of relations that we see here today.”

            LOL.

            “For example, Paul and the Holy Spirit did not witness committed loving relationships where the two people got together with their Methodist ministers to pray about their lives together (each week, together in private to discuss the importance of marriage and the big step they were taking)”

            Again, LOL. You beg the question by assuming that relationships based on sin could ever be loving. After that rhetorical cheating, you go downhill.

            “They did not witness the marriages of these people 2000 years ago.”

            Yep. Didn’t see any square circles, either. In God’s eyes there is no such thing as a man/man or woman/woman marriage.

            “On the other hand, the Holy Spirit is witnessing these now, as was the case two years ago at our wedding with our family, friends and church members. Our choir leader and pianist worked on music selections with me. A wonderful woman here in the US gave permission to use her lyrics to “Morning has broken” for one of our hymnal selections. In the evening we had a Gospel Choir Concert and then a band played.”

            So you got a lot of people to join in your metaphorical fist-shaking against God? No surprise. That’s been going on since Genesis 3.

            And it is blasphemous of you to claim the Holy Spirit was involved and to pretend that He “forgot” to mention these super-awesome unions in any of his 31,173 verses.

            And how arrogant to think that you a special little snowflake and the first homosexual couple to really “love” each other.

            “Despite forecasts for rain (it was in England after all) the sun shone all day.”

            Gee, there’s confirmation for you!

            “If Paul was here that day I do wonder what he would write.”

            Probably something like Galatians 1:8–10 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

            “I cannot believe it would be that people like me should not get together and have meaningful lifelong relationships like my wonderful married heterosexual friends (even those who cannot have children through no fault of their own). ”

            Wrong again. You can have meaningful lifelong relationships WITHOUT sodomy, and it is perverted and mean of you to pretend otherwise.

            “Wrong side of history to suggest otherwise!”

            That’s a non-argument.

            I hope you repent and believe. Seriously.

          • Nutstuyu says:

            Right, because somehow we magically invented a new kind of “relationship” that no human society ever thought about before in the 10k to 100k years humans have existed. Can you guys seriously not come up with any better arguments? Do you seriously think the pagan and heathen Greeks and Romans didn’t “invent” all kinds of “relationships” to accommodate their proclivities?

          • Nutstuyu says:

            It’d sure be nice if you guys could come up with some new half-assed arguments. It’s getting really old pointing out over and over how wrong your fake points are.

          • Texas ParentsCare says:

            A man “lying” with a man or woman with a woman is fornication with the same sex. Doesn’t need to be Greek, Hebrew or whatever. We all know what it is. Stop trying to wordsmith.

          • KENNYJR says:

            Hi Angie. Please remember that when God speaks Jesus speaks also & vice versa as God & Jesus are One & vice versa. God speaks clearly on homosexual behavior in the Old Testament & when He spoke so then did Jesus. You cannot separate them.

          • Texas ParentsCare says:

            Man lying with man? What is confusing or hard to understand about that? We all know what that means! Paul made it plainly clear in a number of his books.
            The point you are missing is that Jesus clearly spoke about marriage – husband/wife – 1 man/1woman kind of marriage. In fact He spoke to a woman caught in adultery because she was not with her first husband. The fact that He spoke about shows that it was of importance and priority to Him. Homosexuality is a counterfeit relationship.

        • Paul says:

          Well as we know, none of the verses in the bible say that sex between two people of the same sex in a covenant marriage relationship is wrong.

          Also the actual definition, when we get to the unpleasant details of ‘sex’ is then used to say gay lovers are wrong because of one ‘act’ which not everyone even participates in.

          If you’ve ever been to Pompeii you can see the ‘menu’ of available sex options on the walls of certain places. When you’ve done that you can imagine what Paul was admonishing in his letters to the Romans. It certainly was not about those who reached their teens knowing they are not heterosexual, finding another like them, and forming a lifelong partnership in a committed publicly declared and witnessed marriage.

          At the end of the day it’ll get dark; we cannot change that. You can I feel sure go about your life focusing on this tiny part of scripture, on this small facet of humanity’s existence. If you do it right you will drive out a lot of talented, Christ loving people. You’ll cause someone or more than one to take their life (not for the first time as we know) and you will exclude people from the body of Christ. You might even cause someone to do something really bad as they feel the rejection of who they are so deeply and believe your quoted words and interpretations.

          I really do pray those at risk do not read your words alone but see mine also and those of others who probably do a better job than I in deconstruction of your arguments, so that they know they are a worthwhile person who is loved for whom they are, LGBTQ if they are and free to love who loves them, to marry and have a blessed life as His.

          • RicoSuaveGuapo says:

            “Well as we know, none of the verses in the bible say that sex between two people of the same sex in a covenant marriage relationship is wrong.”

            A common red herring, as if somehow if it’s a “relationship” it makes it OK.

            Argumentum ex silentio.

          • Paul says:

            Not at all a red herring.

            And absolutely not an argumentum ex silentio.

            Castigat!! If you’re going to quote Latin, at least know it will be in the correct context 😉

            Did I actually suggest what the author should have written?

            show me where there is evidence of understanding human sexuality 2000 years ago. Show me the relationships between two men or two women like those we have seen in recent times. They were not seen.

            What we did see (have evidence for) is what they did write. The relationship where sex between two people is in the bounds of committed loving non-cultic relationships were not public. Why would Paul write about those?

            I’m not saying what the author should have written. I’m saying there was nothing to write about in this context.

            That is not argumentum ex silentio. Hence I laugh, castigat (not reprimanding you as in ‘castigate’ but you can see the etymology there’!)

            Peace and love.

          • “Show me where there is evidence of understanding human sexuality 2000 years ago. Show me the relationships between two men or two women like those we have seen in recent times. They were not seen.”

            Aha! You outed yourself (heh) by saying that the Holy Spirit wasn’t involved in the writings. The originals turned out exactly as He wanted them to, and you, like all “Christian” Leftists, deny that.

            And you are arrogant in thinking that you are a special little snowflake who just now discovered “love” in your sinful relationships whereas no one else for thousands of years did.

          • Nutstuyu says:

            You might want to try studying Greek and Roman history to start, not to mention any of the other polytheistic and pagan societies that existed outside Israel and Judah.

            Typical leftist human thinks the world didn’t exist until they were born (as in their mother was conveniently pro-life).

          • “Well as we know, none of the verses in the bible say that sex between two people of the same sex in a covenant marriage relationship is wrong.”

            Such weasel words. The verses are spectacularly clear about not having M/M or F/F sex. And there is no such thing as “same-sex marriage” in the Bible.

            Your covenant to sin is a bad covenant.

        • Texas ParentsCare says:

          I am copying and saving this, thank you!

      • “- As a denomination we have acted wrongly”

        No, that is one of the few things they’ve gotten right.

        “- We have unjustly marginalised a group of people for being who they are, made in God’s image. – It is time. Time to love LGBTQ brothers and sisters.”

        No, theyloved them enough to be hated by the world for speaking the truth to LGBTQX people. 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

        ” Time to recognize they exist, cannot change who they love. Recognise there is a covenant relationship possible and celebrated, by those who are gay/lesbian, by their families, their friends, some congregations, and some ordained in ministry.”

        False on several levels. First, in your perversion, you conflate “love” with “sex.” Second, they don’t have to choose that.

        “- Just as the clock is not turned back on wearing mixed fibers, on the eating of shellfish . . .”

        So you know nothing about how to read the Bible. The shrimp / shellfish / mixed fiber argument is full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to study the passages. I address six serious problems with it in flaws of the shellfish argument. The short version: There were different Hebrew words translated as abomination. They were used differently in the individual verses and were used very differently in broader contexts (e.g., Lev. 11 shows civil/ceremonial laws made to the Israelites only and Lev. 18 shows moral laws applied to all people). The associated sins had radically different consequences and had 100% different treatments in the New Testament. And the claim that Christians are inconsistent if they say homosexual behavior is a sin if they don’t also avoid shellfish, mixed fibers, etc. would mean that they couldn’t complain about bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, etc.

        The longer version: https://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2007/11/24/favorite-dish-of-liberal-theologians-skeptics-shellfish/

        “- And it is time, to not expect a non-heterosexual person to maintain a standard of celibacy that we do not command the heterosexual man or woman to achieve.”

        No kidding. Because heterosexual sex within marriage is a gift from God, not a perversion of it.

      • fion64 says:

        Paul – the apostle, the guy who wrote one third of the New Testament – does not agree with you.

        So please share with us: Why does your opinion override the New Testament? Can you prove that God communicated to you that Paul the apostle was wrong about Christian ethics?

        Difficult to prove, don’t you think?

        • Paul says:

          In Paul’s day things were different. None of his comments address relationships between two women or men that are loving, non-cultic, committed, least of all “married” (which I am)

          I don’t need to prove anything to you, don’t you think?

          I mean, if you knew me, you could focus on the fact that I’m gay, married to another guy for a couple of years (ten years after we met and six months after the law changed to allow marriage)

          You could focus on that small part of my life, ignoring the rest. You could do that, but it’s kinda odd to do that.

          Jesus didn’t say anything about it. Paul’s comments are not about it. And proportionately even the amount of the content of books in the bible which mention abusive relationships between the same sex really doesn’t suggest it’s a big part of life either.

          I’m very comfortable that when I meet my maker, judgement is not going to be a bad thing. I met someone like me, committed to them to stay together, in His sight, to be faithful and true.

          Outside of that relationship I think I have serious work to do ahead of judgement day. I know I’m not alone but my responsibility is to do what I can to have me right with Him!!

          Peace and love.

          • 2 Peter 3:15–16 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

          • Nutstuyu says:

            So they were “different” in Jude’s, Mark’s, Matthew’s, Luke’s, John’s, Peter’s too. What Bible is left if you conveniently snip the parts you don’t like? Perhaps just the OT passages calling for death penalty for sexual immorality?

            Jesus’s own words set the standard for Man-Woman true marriage.

      • Joan Watson says:

        The only way that the denomination has “acted wrongly” is in doing what churches always end up doing best: drifting away from what she can do best which is to connect individuals to God and then to each other in a life transforming relationship that enables individuals to live a life centered in God 24/7 regardless of their circumstances or their backgrounds. That is the Priority #1 Wesley never ever lost sight of. The Methodist/United Methodist Church in America lost its unique message and method a long time ago. In his later years, John Wesley expressed his fear that Methodism would not cease to exist but would become the form of religion without the power: welcome to The United Methodist Church in America which has become a morass of conflicting theologies and other understandings!

      • Gerry Mc Daniel says:

        ” It is time to recognize the right of all adult people to comit to another adult before God, to love and fore sake all others in that commitment which is marriage.”

        Shoot, you don’t believe what your selling! You would stand with the Bible and us against a brother & sister marrying so what is this “All” you so loudly proclaim?

        • Nutstuyu says:

          And of course they can never explain how they determine “adult”. If “marriage” no longer has a self-evident meaning, than how can “adult”? Why is a 13yo with functioning sexual organs not just as “adult” as a 18yo?

          And wasn’t Mary supposedly a young teenager? Why aren’t the LGBTQRSXYZ folks helping other young teens into sexual relationships so they can be like Mary?

      • muzjlk says:

        LOL – “the right of all adult people to commit to another adult.”

        That’s NOT gay men, not even close.

        • Paul says:

          You are best placed to judge?

          I’m faithful to God, and to my spouse.

          Many heterosexual people struggle with marriage and faithfulness, does that make them all wrong?

          Peace and love.

          • Nutstuyu says:

            Yes, they struggle because the BIBLE has set the standard for one-man-one-woman marriage. A human is not necessarily “designed” to be monogamous. So if you’re going to tell us man/man and woman/woman marriage is OK, then you must also allow plural marriages. After all, some of the greatest patriarchs of the Bible had multiple wives, not to mention God being revealed in three persons.

          • Darla Kaye Layfield says:

            I am not a judge and neither is anyone else commenting here. Yes, many heterosexual people struggle with marriage and faithfulness. And YES that makes them wrong, IT IS SIN. We must confess our sin and repent (turn away) from it. An adulterous pastor would be removed from their position if they did not confess it as sin and turn away from the adulterous activity. As would an thief or a liar or a drunkard, etc.. I am not a homosexual and I am not the judge of anyone who is but other than the places in God’s word that He comes right out and calls homosexuality an abomination, it seems a form of self-worship/idolatry…being of the mindset that your feelings are more important than God’s word, that your feelings should be acceptable for all even though they fly directly in the face of God’s word. The “it feels good so do it” mentality in other words. Can I go out then and have sex outside my marriage because it feels good? Can I go out and kill those people who wrong me? If I do these things then ask not only that I not be punished but that everyone must accept who I am and how I feel and surely if it feels this good God couldn’t possibly have really meant I couldn’t do these things. Sorry, I love you all, I hope someday we are all together but put lipstick and pearls on a pig and it is still a pig. It is sin no matter how many people are coerced into believed it is not sin.

      • Nutstuyu says:

        Why do you only favor L, G, B, T and Q? Why not A, P, P, P, S, O and Z? And why do you not fight for the right of Bi-sexuals to marry who they love? Would not a three-person marriage be even more Biblical than two-person since it reflects the three persons of the Trinity?

        • Paul says:

          Well, many types of marriage described in scripture. I’m just focused on doing my public vows before Him and the assembled justice.

          As regards the breadth of human sexuality… There do seem to be more letters added all the time! I don’t profess to understand how every individual feels. I know it was not easy for me growing up. You trivialize it. That says more about you perhaps? God knows our hearts.

          Peace, and love.

          • truelinguist says:

            You’re crazy. There are not “many types” of marriage in Scripture.
            Just male and female.
            No exceptions.

      • MountainMan10 says:

        Gay marriage = state sponsored motherlessness and fatherlessness .

        How cruel!

        • Paul says:

          Cruel is to pretend that I did not need what my heterosexual friends have.

          My God given ‘equipment’ does not work like most of my friends does. I feel it is wrong to use women as sexual objects to promote the sale of merchandise, but it is done yet it does not work on me. I am no more inclined to buy the goods as it does not catch my eye in the same way as many other men (not all, I know)

          Yet I am still a sexual being with the desires and also the emotional needs to be loved. I’m not alone, and I found someone the same. That makes for a stable relationship which has been witnessed and formed in a covenant manner.

          Not cruel. Cruel is to ignore people like I exist. Cruel is to insist that we ignore how we feel as created children of His. Cruel is to do this and see, as one church I went to back home saw, the loss of a 16 year old life at his own hands. Cruel is to not discuss the reality of our existence and to understand and love all people for who they are.

          I’m sorry you feel as you do. Perhaps look up the video of the two wonderful parents of Ryan… “As he breathes” is about 30 minutes long. Watch it alone and see if you still feel the same. Ignoring it really is to ignore the instruction to love one another.

          Peace and love.

      • Texas ParentsCare says:

        Paul, we love all people and expect chasteness in singleness for all and monogamy in marriage.
        Your reply “Time to recognize they exist, cannot change who they love” is not true. We know of people whom chose homosexuality and then chose heterosexuality and vice versa. People can AND do change whom they love.
        Your reply “People are free to hold different views obviously, and they need to be respected while they cannot be the way forward.” According to your statement people should not have a view different from yours. What exactly is the “way forward”? Do you mean an evolving on the definition of marriage? In the beginning, God created male and female and He allowed them to cleave to one other in the most intimate way possible –sexual intercourse. Sacred marital union requires one man/one woman and is the only way a child can be conceived. Anything else is counterfeit. A child does best in an intact family with a mother and father – both are needed. Does this always stay this way? No, but that is what we strive for. A relationship with the Lord guides all of other relationships. A husband/wife relationship is the next closest relationship. Do not discount the depth nor importance of this familial bond. The way forward is in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Way, the Truth and the Life – apart from them we can do nothing. God bless.

    • Namyriah says:

      I worked with UM bureaucRats for many years, I can assure you that wet noodles have more backbone.

  2. OhJay says:

    This article would be much improved by some information about UMC polity and rules. I happen to be an Episcopalian continuing the good fight for the Word of God. Our bishops, once selected by the local church organization, are then subject to approval or disapproval by the larger church. The article does not make clear whether such a process is still waiting for Rev. Oliveto.

    I suspect many other readers at this site come from non-Methodist traditions, and I would like more information on the larger process of leader-selection, particularly how a division of the church could select a leader who openly fails to conform to the rules for ministry (much less leadership among ministers). You mention a Judicial Council, but you do not explain how it works.

    Mr. Lomperis, I am a fan of your reporting, and I would appreciate it if you could supplement this article with an explanation of the selection process and what checks are available to the national UMC for your non-Methodist readers.

    • David Goudie says:

      While not an expert on law, Jurisdictions are given authority of electing Bishops (so no full approval of whole church needed). However any Bishop can be removed ( by Judicial Council i think) if found guilty of abuse of office or chargeable offense.

    • Nutstuyu says:

      UM bishops are not subject to the whole church’s vote. They are elected and assigned to an episcopal area by a Jurisdictional Conference or Central Conference (usually a multi-state region or an international area in the latter case). However, the Judicial Council, which is like the Supreme Court of the UMC, can rule on bishop elections/assignments.

      In the U.S.:
      General Conference (congress) / Judicial Council (aka supreme court)
      > Jurisdictional Conference
      > > Episcopal Area (sometimes covers more than one A.C.)
      > > > Annual Conference
      > > > > District
      > > > > > Local Church

  3. “The Western Jurisdiction comprises only 2 percent of the denomination’s members and has led the decline in U.S. Methodist membership.”

    How ironic that they conform to the world to attract the world, then the world realizes they have no use for organized worldliness. They get that for free every day!

    Churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” — i.e., the “Christian” Left — have nearly identical views to the world on a host of issues such as abortion, adultery, porn, etc.. It shows who their real father is. http://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/churchgoers-who-support-same-sex-marriage-are-identical-to-the-world/

    1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

    Jude 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

    Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    • Ann Lantz says:

      I think you forget that if we used number of followers as an indicator of effective ministry, Jesus would have been labeled a failure.

      • Ken M says:

        Somebody is a sore loser because her left-wing church is shrinking away.

        The lefty narrative is that conservative churches are driving away the young people, but recent articles on this blog prove just the opposite, the mainline denominations have more older and fewer younger than the evangelicals.

      • RicoSuaveGuapo says:

        There are approximately 2 billions Christians in the world today. I’d say His ministry was pretty effective.

      • I agree that numbers don’t tell the whole story. Cults like Mormonism grow and doctrinally sound churches can be small. I just find it morbidly amusing that the “inclusive” churches — which have specifically altered their doctrine so to not offend the world — are still shrinking the most.

  4. Namyriah says:

    Did they check her criminal record and give her the breathalyzer test? I’m thinking about the Episcopagans’ embarrassing episode of Heather Cook, and the ELCA’s Bruce Burnside, the hit-and-run DUI bishops, both now in prison.

  5. Glen from the mail room says:

    its long past the time to stop referring to these gay celebrating churches as christian

    • Paul says:

      Those in my Methodist church in England do not agree. Many of them were there on my wedding day, or they came to my parents’ home and celebrated before with our retired Methodist minister.

      Sadly the “fire limit” prevented everyone we wanted to be there from joining us on the day for the actual service. All our closest came to the actual wedding. Our family and all our closest friends from Scotland, Wales, our local church closest friends, and those from all over England and even Ireland.

      We were then able to invite many more to the “evening party” where we also had my friends in a local church gospel choir sing.

      Very, very Christian, in a place steeped in history. A celebration of love for God first and then love and compassion for each other, with open doors, open hearts and open minds.

      We got married not far from the Wesley family home too! Our service was very Methodist, with some great hymnal tunes. It could not have been more Methodist!!

      Not a bad word has been spoken to me from my local UMC church in Georgia either. Really wonderful people there, which is why I go every Sunday to worship and help lead the celebration of His life given for us.

      Peace and love.

      • Glen from the mail room says:

        your methodist church is the church of laodicea, it is not a christian chuirch

        you are being lied to and only deceiving yourself. You celebrate that which the bible condemns in no uncertain terms as worthy of death

        not christian at all Jesus in Matthew 19 said marriage is ONLY between a man and woman

        oh yes you’re so compassionate for those who twist scripture like your father, the devil

        Oh yes His life given for us…but tell me you refuse to acknowledge homosexuality as a sin, while God says in no uncertain terms it is…so how can you be His when you call Him a liar????

      • truelinguist says:

        What a crock

      • Nutstuyu says:

        Woop-dee-doo. The entire host of Israel followed Aaron in worshiping the golden calf.

  6. Gerry Mc Daniel says:

    The ‘nice’ coup continues. People in positions of power in the UMC seek to use that power to upend the rule of democratically created law and replace it with their personal fiat.

    We all know how ‘rule by fiat’ ends. With oppression and chaos. Those engaged in the coup though aren’t looking at how it will end they are too caught up in the thrill and excitement of the beginning. Typical of short-sighted human nature.

    This will end badly but let’s get to that ending sooner rather than later then we can write a new brighter chapter.

    • Philip says:

      The BOD and GC are handbills to those who have no problem with rewriting scripture. Your comments on “oppression and chaos” are on target too.

      • Paul says:

        Oh my goodness. No need to re write scripture. Even though that is exactly what has happened many times… You do not claim to be ignorant of the ‘draft versions’ found in England in recent times, surely?

  7. StarTripper says:

    The Left couldn’t win in GC and the growth of non-US churches means the Left’s % of the votes will continue to shrink. If they really wanted to follow this so-called faith walk they would leave the UMC but that isn’t the goal. Now we have this snarky rebellion instead. This will be a testing time for the leadership.

    • Ken M says:

      I think you nailed it. It’s getting back because they couldn’t run rougshod over the General Conference.

      • Paul says:

        Where is the love 🙁

        • Ken M says:

          “Love” does not mean condoning a sin that is clearly condemned in the New Testament. In fact, love would be just the opposite.

          No one is forcing homosexuals to attend church or to subscribe to Christianity. If you value you your sexual gratification more than your relationship with God, no one is stopping you.

          Christianity without morals is not Christianity. The church does not exist to pat sexual deviates on the head and tell them they are just peachy. That is not Christianity.

          Sleaze and faith do not mix.

          • Paul says:

            There is nothing sleazy about my relationship with my partner.

            It was publicly made, committed, loving and everything a heterosexual marriage is (one of my heterosexual friends from church back home cannot have children… we have often joked how our marriages are made similar by that fact)

            There are no works in the KJV copy of scripture I have which say that my relationship is a sin. None at all. They do not speak of relationships in the context of non-cultic, committed relationships founded on love for each other (after our God, and then our neighbors, even for you my unknown friend)

          • Ken M says:

            Read the Greek New Testament, the original words of Paul. Yes, what you do is a sin, no questions about it. Such people will not be part of the kingdom. If that’s a problem, take it up with Paul the apostle.

            Two radically different religions.
            Christianity is about getting rid of your sins. “You must be born again.” “Repent and believe in the gospel.” The words spoken by Jesus.
            You religion doesn’t believe there is any sin, except that upsetting homosexuals is the ultimate sin.

            The pro-gay churches are dying. Good riddance. You drove all the Christians out, now you’ve got all those empty pews. My church is growing, yours is shrinking. We welcome all the Christians that the Methodists had no place for.

          • Paul says:

            Sorry but you’re wrong.

            As for I drive all the Christians out? I believe I am asked to sing in church to help bring them in and help keep them in. I believe there is thinking that it helps. Even if, personally, I do struggle to believe in my talents and get self conscious.

            What is this “Your Church”? And “My Church”?

            In Church we become persons in relation to one another. That is, wherever the building is, we become one. Ordinary people in our ordinary structures!

            You do, likely, say the same Apostles’ Creed as I do.

            The church is the body of Christ. I do not think it is yours to have nor mine.

            It exists to bring us together, to worship and it is our responsibility to love each other in the body of Christ.

            I’m sorry you feel as you do. Just for the record though, I am a Methodist from a town near the birthplace of Charles and John Wesley. With the exception of my first 6 years of life when we went to a Baptist church, I’ve been a Methodist all my life.

            Blessings to you in abundance!!!

          • Texas ParentsCare says:

            “I’m sorry you feel as you do.” = This seems to be sarcastic. Why would you apologize for the way another person feels about something? Feelings cannot be controlled but actions can.

          • Nutstuyu says:

            Do you also put food into your ear and celebrate “eating”?

          • Paul says:

            What a bizarre thing to ask.

            Jesus used sarcasm well, but I’m not sure you should try following in his footsteps on this topic. He never discussed the topic of exclusively homosexual sexual attraction.

            If you are insinuating that all homosexual people think coitus is good then you’re barking up the wrong tree, sir. Love and honoring another faithfully with ourselves does not have to involve that particular ‘act’ (for some yes, but absolutely not for all, either in the a heterosexual or homosexual sense). It really comes down to the question of lust and sleaze for me. I don’t lust over my spouse, and never feel sleazy about them.

            Love in a sexual sense is not something I enjoy discussion of though. I feel it is a private matter which you are attempting to drag out into open discussion.

            Most heterosexual people would rather not discuss it. It’s like imagining the fact that our parents made love; I don’t like that image, even though we should celebrate the fact they did do it (at least once, creating us!)

            It feel it is sad that some people are incapable of a debate on an intellectual level. I will pray for you “Nutstuyu”. I hope you find peace, and love.

          • Nutstuyu says:

            “He never discussed the topic of exclusively homosexual sexual attraction.” Are you a stuck record or something? Jesus also never discussed the topics of asexuals, pansexuals, pedosexuals, polysexuals, sapiosexuals, omnisexuals, zoosexuals, etc, etc. He did hold up Abraham, Moses and David positive examples–all three of whom had multiple wives concurrently.
            Polysexual marriage is Biblically supported; Homosexual marriage is not.

  8. 0pus says:

    The Lutherans (ELCA) lost a half-million members in the year following the consecration of a gay man as bishop.

    I’m betting the decline in the UM in the coming year will be even more dramatic. The inaptly named “Reconciling Ministries Network” fully intended to drive the Christians away, and (like the Episcopalians, UCC, PCUSA, and ELCA) turn what used to be a Christian denomination into an LGBT club that meets on Sunday mornings.

    • Texas ParentsCare says:

      We didn’t leave the UMC, it left our family – read their social principles on abortion, comprehensive sex ed and now with a small but militant contingent that demands the church acquiesce to its version of marriage or it will suffer their consequences.

  9. Judgeforyourself37 says:

    Note, that the Glide UMC had a upswing of membership under the ministry of Karen Oliveto.
    Congratulations to her and her wife, and may Bishop Karen have a successful episcopacy.

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