Adam Hamilton

August 10, 2018

Adam Hamilton: Liberal United Methodists Have a “High View” of Scripture, Too

Diversity, inclusion, compromise, and unity were the mantra of the Uniting Methodists Conference at Lovers Lane UMC from July 16–18. In their view of the liberal and conservative divide over homosexuality within the denomination, “Both perspectives are biblical and evident in the church today, and both are necessary.”  Though they claim to be a theologically diverse group, this conference definitively showed that the caucus is dominated by liberals who would largely like to see the removal of traditional values on sexuality in the UMC, evidenced by their major support of the “One Church Plan.” Central to the conference was Rev. Adam Hamilton, conservative-turned-liberal senior pastor of the 22,000 member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, who provided a keynote talk defending how liberal United Methodists interpret the Bible in regards to homosexuality.

Hamilton attempted to present a case for affirming homosexuality as Biblically sound by confounding scriptural authority and interpretation. He asked, “What constitutes a high view of scripture?” To him, someone with a high view of scripture reads it daily, asks God to speak to them by it, uses it for prayer, and reads its “minor chords” and “major chords”. They always take things seriously, but not necessarily literally. He says we all take some verses literally, and not others. This picking and choosing is part of our differing interpretations of the Bible.

He attempted to show that conservatives are no less guilty of not taking the Bible literally or very seriously than liberals. One egregious example he used was that of Matthew 16:19, which begins “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” If conservatives are so concerned about taking scripture at face value, he half-joked, they should get rid of their savings accounts, or their pensions through Wespath, even. By not doing so, Hamilton claims, conservatives show they do not honor biblical authority better than progressives like they claim to, and in fact do impose their own personal interpretations on the text. Since we all agree that these practices are sound Biblically and logically, to him this is proof we all “pick and choose.”

To further complicate the basic conversation of biblical authority, he discussed how the phrase “the word of God” in the Bible rarely refers to something written down. Rather than a text, he says, it is usually said in reference to something a prophet or disciple has to share, a message that has come to them from God to relay to the people. This, he says, means that “the word of God” is something bigger than the Bible. Particularly, Jesus is the “Word,” as evidenced by John 1. To Hamilton, there seems to be a difference between all of scripture and Jesus and his own words, the latter being more authoritative and definitively free from error.

To add to this, Hamilton commented on a piece of scripture foundational to this debate, 2 Timothy 3:16, which says that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (NRSV). Hamilton shared that Paul’s word for “inspired” isn’t found anywhere else in the Bible, and is rare even in non-Biblical texts of that time, so we have little context for it. “If it means God-influenced, what then?” he asked. The megachurch pastor also said that we go too far to say that this verse means scripture is inerrant.  In all, he presented the verse as carrying much less weight and importance as it is normally given.

To wrap up his argument, Hamilton described the references to homosexuality in the Bible as if they were very vague and confusing. “The question we’re left is, those six or seven verses in the Bible that say something about some form of same-gender something, and we can’t even be sure on some of those, are those passages more like the things we all agree are timeless… or are they more like the passages we just have said we no longer apply to us today?” Hamilton’s strategy seems simple: apply a false sense ambiguity to straightforward statements on human sexuality that support God’s unambiguous design described in Genesis. All of this is necessary to the “Uniting Methodists” talking point that the UMC’s divide on issues of sexuality are not worth dividing over.

While at face value Hamilton’s points on word usage and language are correct, I feel that more importantly he is doing wrong because he is sowing seeds of doubt on the authority of scripture, our accepted canon. Were the people who wrote, translated, or transcribed the various books of the Bible across many centuries perfect or free from error? No, but I believe a perfect God who wants all of mankind to truly know Him has watched and guided these processes at every step. Instead of creating space for Biblically-sound debate, Hamilton justified disregarding verses one finds inconvenient and encouraged doubt in the absolute authority of all scripture.

64 Responses to Adam Hamilton: Liberal United Methodists Have a “High View” of Scripture, Too

  1. William says:

    Hamilton is the Benedict Arnold of the UMC. Once a trusted voice of orthodox Christianity, now a turn coat. He is selling ambiguity, confusion, subterfuge, and outright deceit in his view of Scripture, the typical mode of operation progressives present in this conflict. Hamilton uses Matthew but the wrong chapter, referencing the wrong issue — another typical liberal ploy of misappropriating Scripture in order to sow confusion and doubt. Why didn’t he talk about Matthew 19? That’s the issue at hand. What is MARRIAGE? Is he suggesting that Jesus might have misinterpreted Genesis, thus justifying doubt, in his description and high emphasis of God’s created order for it in his condemnation of easy divorce there in Matthew 19? Why won’t these liberals talk about the issue at hand instead of playing dodge ball with Scripture? Simple answer, they can’t because they can present not one word of specific Scripture to support their position on same-sex marriage and the practice of homosexuality.

    • Richard Bell says:

      Most conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage cite Matthew 19 in their favor, but the implications they draw from Matthew 19 go much further than can be justified by accepted principles of interpretation. Jesus taught something important about the nature of marriage, but he implied nothing about the qualifications for marriage.
      Scripture reveals God’s will that the Church celebrate marriages of homosexuals just as it celebrates marriages of heterosexuals. For a careful critique of opponents’ interpretations of Matthew 19 and other scripture (without any funny business, like Hamilton’s ridiculous allegations that references to homosexuality in the Bible are very vague and confusing), ask for a copy of my essay be email:

      • David Wehrle says:

        You have an interesting hermeneutic. In verse two, the Pharisees view marriage as between one man and one woman. As the preeminent Scripture scholars of their day, intimately acquainted with the Hebrew scriptures, this is the first strike against you. In verse four, Jesus immediate response, he does not appeal to marriage law at all but to creation itself. Jesus establishes the idea that divorce is not God’s plan from the fact that God created human beings as male and female from the very beginning, made for one another because of their compatible physiology. I’m not sure that one can take it any further than Jesus did. He took it right back to creation and implied that marriage between one man and one woman is God’s idea from before creation and God’s design in creation. This is the very basis for his argument. In verse 5, marriage is twice referred to as between one woman and one man when Jesus quotes Scripture and refers to a man leaving his father (one man) and mother (one woman) to be married to his wife (one woman). The Pharisees again refer to marriage as between one man and one woman in verse seven. Jesus refers to the law of Moses allowing a man to divorce his one wife in verse eight but again makes reference to creation. How can one be sure this is creation to which Jesus refers? Because he was just speaking about creation and now says “from the beginning.” This is an obvious reference to creation. In verse nine, Jesus clearly has in mind the marriage of one woman and one man and the sexual infidelity of the man who divorces his one wife and marries another, the caveat being if the wife has already been sexually unfaithful. In verse ten, the disciples chime in and unequivocally refer to marriage as between one woman and one man. Finally, in verse twelve, Jesus makes reference to celibacy on the part of males (no, there are no female eunuchs, I’m sorry to say) by referencing eunuchs. Eunuchs were castrated males who were castrated in order to perform special functions. Clearly in focus here is the fact that eunuchs were unable to have sexual relations with women. This is why you would often find eunuchs as stewards and guards of harems. I’m sure your essay is very creative, Richard, but there is no way to shoehorn homosexual marriage into Matthew 19. It is in no way a stretch however to suggest that Jesus only knew, accepted and taught marriage as between one male and one female directly from the fact that he references the creation narrative and its “male and female” formula as grounds for his argument against divorce.

      • Tom says:

        Richard, many conservatives who believe God does not support same-sex marriage, may cite Matthew 19. But I think they cite more than just that passage. You claim that in Matthew 19, Jesus implied nothing about the qualifications for marriage. But I disagree. Perhaps we just have to agree to disagree about that.

        You claim that Scripture reveals God’s will that the Church celebrate marriages of homosexuals just as it celebrates marriages of heterosexuals. I regard that claim as rediculous. Again perhaps we must agree to disagree.

        I’ve read your essay and like your comment here, I understand to be full of claims that are not sufficiently substantiated.

        • Richard Bell says:

          Dear Tom,
          What you say here interests me. Please, send me a list of claims in my essay that you deem unsubstantiated with specific descriptions of missing substance! You may help me see truth better.

    • Lester Hemphill says:

      Adam Hamilton is absolutely correct when he says that everybody does pick-and-choose with The Bible. Even the most conservative fundamentalist picks and chooses. Commonly, the conservatives focus on Leviticus 20:13 that says that homosexual intercourse is an abomination; however they ignore the rest of Leviticus. Everybody has got to pick and choose, because it is humanly impossible to obey absolutely every word in the Bible.

    • Linda Branch says:

      TRUTH. I believe He is a false prophet who is doing much harm to the body of Christ.

  2. Dan says:

    I guess you could call him the UMC’s male Jen Hatmaker 🙂
    Look, the basic problem here is the twisting of some of John Wesley’s most famous sayings (and I’m no great fan of Wesley) as well as elevating the infamous four legged stool of experience, reason, tradition, and scripture to canonical status. All the progressive virtue signalling and sackcloth and ashes compassion displays are these folks trying to justify themselves before their peers and God. It’s unseemly at best, and leaving the sheep to the wolves most likely. My heart goes out to the orthodox UMC clergy and laity for trying to speak the truth in love just to be told that they are doing violence to LGBT folks and others.

    • William says:

      Jesus obviously proclaimed the truth in unmeasurable love, thus offending multitudes who rejected him, ultimately killing him.

      • Brenda Collins says:

        If God wanted same sex marriage, we would all be born with the same body parts. That is just common sense.

  3. April User says:

    The problem with Hamilton’s “cherry picking” is hat he doesn’t recognize the whole swath of scripture that refers to a man that leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife, issac and Rebecca, Sarah and Abraham, etc. NEVER does scripture refer to a commited, household relationship between two of the same gender. NEVER. So Scriputre is not in the hook to have to speak to same sex relationships. It’s implied that it is not normal.

    • Richard Bell says:

      Scripture implies, and it is clearly a fact, that homosexual unions are abnormal. But abnormality does not entail contrary to God’s will.
      Scripture reveals God’s will that the Church celebrate marriages of homosexuals just as it celebrates marriages of heterosexuals. For a careful critique of opponents’ inferences from scripture’s failure to specifically endorse homosexual unions and from scripture’s condemnations of homosexual acts (without any funny business, like Hamilton’s ridiculous allegations that references to homosexuality in the Bible are very vague and confusing), ask for a copy of my essay be email:

      • Kim Oyler says:

        To Richard Bell. Just curious. Where does scripture celebrate homosexual unions (all marriages)? Please be specific.

        • Richard Bell says:

          Scripture does not celebrate homosexual marriages. But, scripture celebrates marriage — “one-flesh” union — of God’s people as God’s good gift to them. We should presume that God extends his good gifts, including the gift of marriage, to all his people. The presumption would be rebuttable, of course; but the proper question is whether scripture condemns homosexual marriages. The answer to this proper question is no, as I prove in my essay. I conclude — and anyone who accepts my presumption about God’s gifts should conclude — that God wills marriage of homosexual Christians just as God wills marriage of heterosexual Christians.

          • Tom says:

            Richard, you suggest that we should presume that God extends his good gifts, including the gift of marriage, to all his people. But have you forgotten that God calls some to celibacy? You acknowledge that in your essay. God doesn’t always extend the gift of sight to the blind or sound to the deaf. For better or worse, not all experience all of God’s gifts.

            You also suggest that the proper question is whether scripture condemns homosexual marriages. And you claim that the answer to this question is no, as supposedly proven in your essay. But I’ve read your essay and I still think that there is more weight in Scripture against same sex marriage than in favor of it.

          • Kim Oyler says:

            So, what you are saying is if it isn’t condemned, then it is acceptable?

            I take slight umbrage to your correction of my question with the “proper question” comment. I knew what I was asking. There is no need for condescension.

          • Kim Oyler says:

            My comment was to Richard Bell not to Tom.

          • Richard Bell says:

            As the apostle Paul clearly implies, those who are called by God to celibacy and who therefore do not burn with unsatisfied sexual desires will rightly refuse God’s offer of marriage.
            You may say that God, with foreknowledge of their callings, does not offer them the gift of marriage. OK. As I proposed, my presumption is rebuttable.

          • Kim Oyler says:

            Thank you Richard.

          • William says:

            A “one flesh” union is what sealed the description of marriage Jesus gave as he literally referenced Hebrew Scripture. There is but one kind of marriage resulting in “one flesh”, that being a marriage of a man and a woman. Even an atheist would acknowledge this biological fact. But, Jesus, in his condemnation of easy divorce, could have made his point without describing marriage. However, he saw occasion to describe God’s created order for marriage as a warning that those granting easy divorces, divorces outside sexual immorality grounds, were tempting God, challenging God, mocking God.

          • Richard Bell says:

            Dear William,
            “One flesh” is obviously a metaphor, because spouses do not literally become one flesh. It is not a “biological fact” that one flesh results from marriage of a man and a woman. Nor is the metaphor of one flesh a metaphor for anything biological.
            It is a metaphor for a perfect partnership – a partnership so perfect morally or spiritually or emotionally or socially that it is like a physical merger, like becoming one flesh. Jesus implied that this union is God’s blessing, as it is not the kind of thing that could be achieved by man. Therefore, union in marriage is not to be put asunder by man. The nature of marriage shows that it is made by God; therefore, destruction of a marriage by divorce, an act of man, is rebellion, prohibited.
            Why should we think that this metaphor could not be used properly in describing a homosexual partnership? You may answer that no homosexual partnership would be perfected by God in the way God perfects a heterosexual partnership. But, if you gave such a answer, you would be begging the question. Nothing in scripture implies that God would refuse to join Christian homosexuals as one flesh.
            My brother, you should read my essay!

      • Richard Bell says:

        I meant no offense to Kim Oyler and am sorry for causing any. If you agree with my presumption, of course I have stated the proper question; that is simply a matter of logic. If you disagree with my presumption, other questions may be proper. And, anyway, I answered Kim Oyler’s question.

  4. Paul W. says:

    One of the tools of the trade for theological progressives is redefining words to obfuscate and confuse. Everyone knows what the term “high view of Scripture” means and that progressives, by definition, do not have a “high view of Scripture”. When someone tries to change the meaning of words to pretend that they take the Bible as seriously as theological conservatives, it is clear that the Father of Lies is at work.

    • William says:

      As this schism in the UMC comes into sharper focus, it is becoming clearer and clearer that progressive Methodists, plus those claiming a “middle ground”, are one and the same with relation to liberalizing the church’s sexual ethics and Christian marriage definition. And, their one obvious similar characteristic is that they either do NOT believe the Bible or have never read it. But these middle of the road types, like Hamilton and this “uniting methodists” group, are actually more devious than the open liberals, thus being the classic wolves in sheep’s clothing.

      This “one church plan” is the inspired work of the Great Deceiver, and Hamilton and these folks, those who wrote the plan, and those bishops plus others out selling the plan have been caught up in his trap — tragically and most unfortunately.

  5. Gary says:

    Sounds like yet another “pep rally” for Progressives, wherein they tout their own brand of theology, denounce traditionalists, and undermine the authority of the Bible, all to the cheers and applause of their constituents.
    These “Jesus-only” lovers hope to convince themselves and others who are leaning in their direction, that only the words of Jesus matter when it comes to church, service, ministry, etc.
    What they fail to realize (or maybe they just conveniently overlook it) is our Savior condemns their efforts to justify their own version of Scripture. Read and study Matthew 19:1-10 and Mark 10:1-12 > there you will find Jesus discussing marriage and divorce. What a prime opportunity it was for Him to mention same-sex relationships…but He didn’t! What He DID talk about was the union of a man and a woman…just as HE created in the garden with Adam and Eve.
    An adulterous woman was brought to Him (John 8:1-12) and He told her to “go, and sin no more.”
    He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26) and told her she wasn’t even married…even though she had six husbands.
    He told the rich young ruler, who thought he was doing everything he needed to be doing to enter the kingdom (Matthew 19:16-22), to “go, and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
    He purpose on earth was not to unite everyone in brotherly love while ignoring the sins of the people > Matthew 11:34-39 > “I did not come to bring peace but a sword. ” The teachings of Jesus divide families, turn people against each other, and shock the self-righteous. He spoke of a “narrow gate” leading to heaven, and a wide and broad way leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13,14), and in the same chapter He gave a stern warning: “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
    And I could go on and on, especially about how Jesus endorsed Paul’s ministry…whereupon we know how the great apostle felt about the topic at hand (Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; I Timothy 1:3-11).
    Paul goes on to charge Timothy in chapter 6: “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” (1 Tim. 6:3-6)
    It is time to withdraw ourselves from those who blaspheme the name of Jesus and His word, and go so far as to deny the authority of Scripture and the saving grace of God.

    • William says:

      Wow, and amen. No way these liberals could miss this or pretend it is not true without help from the Great Deceiver. Even an atheist could accurately interpret this while claiming not to believe it.

    • Richard Bell says:

      “[In] Matthew 19:1-10 and Mark 10:1-12 . . . you will find Jesus discussing marriage and divorce. What a prime opportunity it was for Him to mention same-sex relationships…but He didn’t!”
      Well, Jesus’ silence has no implications for the question whether God wills marriage of homosexual couples as well as heterosexual couples. There was no occasion for Jesus to mention same-sex relationships, because he addressed specifically the question whether divorce is permitted. Jesus discussed marriage – the nature of marriage – as part of his explanation why divorce is not permitted. Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees was perfect. Adding a remark about the qualifications for marriage would have been turning to another subject.
      No doubt, Jesus approved Paul’s teachings. Most conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage cite Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:3-11. Clearly, in these passages Paul manifests negative judgments of homosexual relations. But Paul does not manifest judgment that homosexual relations are per se sin.
      Scripture reveals God’s will that the Church celebrate marriages of homosexuals just as it celebrates marriages of heterosexuals. For a careful critique of opponents’ inferences from scripture’s failure to specifically endorse homosexual unions and from scripture’s condemnations of homosexual acts (without any funny business, like Hamilton’s ridiculous allegations that references to homosexuality in the Bible are very vague and confusing), ask for a copy of my essay be email:

      • William says:

        Looks as if you will want to present your essay to Jesus on that day as you’re pointing out to him that he had it wrong in his interpretation of Genesis regarding God’s created order for marriage.

        • Richard Bell says:

          My dear brother William,
          Having read critically scripture and all the best interpretative commentaries on it, I am reasonably confident that my understanding of Matthew 19 is correct.
          On the other hand, you have not read my essay, so you lack reasonable confidence that Jesus will ratify your understanding of Matthew 19 on Judgment Day.
          Since I first joined Christians’ debate about God’s will for same-sex marriage revealed in scripture, about five years ago, I have been astonished by participants on either side — astonished by their closed minds. Most people do not use scripture to form their opinions, but use scripture to defend their opinions. They refuse to join in reasoning about better interpretations of God’s written word.
          My mind remains open. If you read my essay and send me refutation any argument in it, I will thank God and you for leading my out of error and into truth. Try to give me that benefit, even if your mind is closed!

          • William says:

            I am so thankful that my mind is “closed” as I read Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9 in his condemnation of easy, frivolous divorce by Jesus, especially when he asked them then and ME today, “haven’t you read……….?

          • Tom says:

            Richard, you don’t sound open minded in your essay. Rather you appear to jump to firm conclusions, even when your stated rationale is very thin.

          • Richard Bell says:

            Dear Tom,
            Again, I beg you, send me criticism of my essay. Show me where I appear to jump to conclusions on very thin rationale.
            We should build up the body of Christ. Your general putdowns are not edifying.

  6. John Smith says:

    IMHO the elevation of Rev Hamilton points to the bigger problem of the UMC. He was lionized because he was successful. In an era of declining, failing churches he got bottoms in the pews and dollars in the plate. How much of the early push for an LGBT friendly agenda was driven or directly aided by the desire for more members? The loss of members was leading to a loss of influence, prestige, positions and that couldn’t be tolerated. For how long has the most dire threat in the UMC been “We might have to cut the budget.” instead of “We may have strayed.”?

    • JB says:

      You are mistaken about this. While you are correct that Hamilton is successful and has grown his church while other churches are declining, you are incorrect about his views and for the reasons behind his actions.

      You state that his “early push for an LGBT friendly agenda” was part of a “desire for more members.”

      First of all, this church is nearly 30 years old and he only recently (in the past 10 years or so) has changed his view on same-sex marriage in the church. And this change was a result of about 10 years of study on the issue. He did not come to this lightly or easily, nor “early.” And, in fact, his change of heart resulted in the largest exodus from the church to date. 800 members left the church when Adam preached about inclusivity and equality of LGBT members. So, this was most certainly NOT about increasing members; in fact the opposite happened.

      And his relative success, then and now, is not due to his stance on gay marriage. It has always been his message and his delivery. He is not only knowledgeable, he is always learning and teaching. He preaches bible-based messages, while including lessons on history and theology, and while showing great care and compassion for people. The church is located in an affluent area, and Adam is great about speaking directly to people who have many advantages. He encourages his congregation to think about other people more than they think about themselves, while also developing a deeper relationship to God. His sermons speak to people and that is why his church continues to grow.

  7. Lance Thomas says:

    Adam H. like the first Adam has been deceived. The serpent has never lost its tongue and uses the same tactic via Adam H. “Did God really say …that that marriage is between man & woman and that a man should not lay with a man as with a woman?” The answer is simply,”Yes!”

    • William says:

      A. Three-Buckets Hamilton is more of a threat to the UMC than open liberals who just say they don’t believe the Bible on the practice of homosexuality and traditional marriage. Confusion, which leads to doubt, is a deadly weapon. If enough delegates show up in St Louis confused and in doubt, then enough of them might just vote for this so called “one church plan” to be nice and to go along in order to get along. For Hamilton and the liberals, this is their only hope of getting this plan across the finish line since they can present no specific, relevant Scripture that supports same-sex marriage and removes the specific sin of homosexual practice from the sexual immorality list.

  8. Nevil Speer says:

    Hamilton parses the SOTM teaching. Do not store up treasures on earth…But it doesn’t end there. Jesus finishes it out with, “For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” I don’t think Jesus ever intended for us to not have savings – just don’t make them treasures or idols that distract from Him! He is to be our only treasure. Ravenhill says it like this, “Anything you love more than you love Jesus Christ is an idol. Don’t care what it is.” That’s the point of the teaching; Hamilton knows that – and it strikes me as disingenuous to twist it into something else.

  9. Naomi Lackey says:

    Jesus accepted, everyone — but, He also prayed for everyone. He stressed ‘the kingdom of God is at hand’. He loved, but, His love didn’t keep people from doing what they would, anyway. But, He stated what God expected. He gave His life, so we could be forgiven for the ‘wrongs’ we commit. Every night, he left the places where he met people ‘where they were’ & went to be alone, with the Father & prayed– because he knew all those who listened, would not change. He cried, for those who would not hear. I know this, because of the ‘voice within’ (Holy spirit)- I have made Him cry, many times. But, I have to ‘own’ what I do, on my own, without His blessing — even thought He continues to ‘walk with me & ‘talk with me’ & He does ‘call me His own’. I do not celebrate Homosexuality, but, I know some & I DO love them, as surely as I love my own kids. I do not feel they should be the primary leaders in the church– but, they should, certainly, have roles in the church. Two churches I have been a member of, have had homosexual music leaders. I KNOW they have had great faith– they DO have relationships with God. One of them has died– it’s God’s decision, in the end. I do not know what that is. I know everyone does not agree with everything I do. So, it still boils down to the ‘cliche” (which I usually do not ascribe to-cliche’s) do not embrace the sin, but, do love that sinner….until we get to heaven, none of us will be perfect.. God bless.

    • John Smith says:

      Jesus accepted everyone, to include the brood of vipers, white washed sepulchers, blind fools, Esau, the antediluvian generation, hypocrites, goats, Sodom and Gomorrah, the lukewarm, the Canaanites, … should I go on?

  10. bob says:

    I have no problem affirming that Adam is a faithful Christian and incredibly effective pastor whose leadership seminars through his COR have helped many in ministry. I also have deep disagreement with him on his approach to scripture and his heavy use of ‘interpretation.’ It is true that there is no uninterpreted revelation’ but…take a central doctrine-truth: the bodily resurrection of Jesus, which is crystal clear in scripture, creed and our own Articles of Religion. In 2003 the NCJ College of Bishops, in a statement released by Bishop Ough, dismissed complaints against Bishop Sprague for publicly rejecting the bodily resurrection. Ough stated that Sprague affirmed such as the resurrection, but “interpreted” the meaning differently from what Sprague called ‘neo-literalists.’ J. Gresham Machen posed the issue like this in the early 1029’s: on the third day Christ was raised from the dead, which, being ‘interpreted,’ is that on the third day Christ was not raised from the dead.’ Will Adam say that though he believes in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, he’s cool with ministry colleagues and bishops and leaders who don’t literally buy any of these New Testament teachings as historically and consistently interpreted by the church? For me, that is the huge issue regarding scripture.

    • William says:

      The problem with Three-Buckets Adam is the can of worms that he and his colleagues have opened, and the doubts and confusion they are sowing. If they can so cavalierly dismiss or reinterpret Biblical teachings on marriage and sexual immorality — the practice of homosexuality specifically, then on what grounds or authority ccan they challenge those who dismiss or reinterpret God the Creator, the Virgin Birth, the Death of Jesus on the Cross, Repentance, Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection, the Second Coming, Judgement, the existence of Satan and Hell, and ultimately Jesus as the Messiah in stead of a historic good man Jesus along with acceptance that’s all religions are equal paths to heaven? In other words, where does Three-Buckets Adam draw the line and on what grounds or authority can he defend it?

  11. Ron says:

    For some reason, there are a number of the Clergy who have forgotten the vows they made at their Ordination and I wonder how many of the modern clergy that knowingly made false vows at the Ordination service, knowing full well they were, in fact, answering disingenuously. 

    For the record: Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline, committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you, and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry? I will, God being my helper.  

    Has this been changed? Does the Wesleyan thinking now allow one to do what he/she feels right in their own mind? 

    • William says:

      A number of the ordained have boastfully stated that they deceived their way through the process for the sole purpose of changing the church from within. Well, the evidence of that is now in full view. This exposes glaring weaknesses in the ordination process, which obviously needs major reform, and stark focus on those abusing it for deceptive reasons. But, perhaps the most discouraging part of this whole thing is that traditionalists did not recognize what was going on back in the day and move to stop it instead of accommodate and appease it in the mistaken understanding of open doors, open hearts, and open minds.

      • John Smith says:

        Of course that approach wouldn’t work if elders (and esp Bishops) were held accountable but for some reason the UMC thinks that being ordained puts one beyond questioning. Or perhaps there is a fear that if one allows an elder to be disciplined who knows who next elder to be questioned might be? Or worse, the cattle in the pews might get restive, question, withhold money, not show proper deference, “gasp” they might read their bibles and see what nonsense is so often pouring from the pulpit.

  12. Lester Hemphill says:

    With all of today’s acrimonious debate about homosexuality, I point out that divorce and remarriage is more common than homosexuality. There is a neglible amount of debate over divorce and remarriage. Like with homosexuality, the Bible is also very clear about divorce and remarriage. Matthew 5:32 quotes Jesus with “But I tell you that divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Today, very many Christians are divorced and remarried, including many clergy. That is widely accepted. I know many fine Christians who are on their second or maybe third marriage. Most likely, the vast majority of divorces are for non-biblical reasons. Sexual immorality is the reason for only a minority of divorces. The most common reason is probably incompatibility. I know of no scripture about incompatibility. 1 Corinthians excuses marriage to a non-believer, but there probable are only a few divorces because of a non-believer.

    • John Smith says:

      True, if Christians had upheld biblical standards on marriage and divorce they would have had a more solid foundation. As it was the charge of hypocrisy was correct. Homosexuals did not threaten the sanctity of marriage; Christians did.

      I think the (real) reason for divorce is not incompatibility but selfishness. One person was not happy, thought they deserved happiness and was certain it could be found outside the current marriage.

  13. Skipper says:

    The False Ministers like Hamilton and Oliveto know how dreadfully sinful sexual perversion is and they just don’t care. They tell others God is kind, so we can turn against God without any consequences. But the Day of the Lord is coming and it will be too late for them then. They need to understand they are living without God’s protection right this very minute. Why won’t they turn back to God while He is still receiving sinful men? Most tragically, the people they fool with their trickery don’t understand the peril they are in or the need to turn back to God and live as Jesus taught!

  14. David says:

    I suggest people do a little research on their own on the history of marriage. To quote one source, “There is no detailed account of a Christian wedding ceremony until the 9th Century, it wasn’t until the 12th Century that a priest became involved in the ceremony and not until the 13th Century that he took charge of it. Many Christians today would be surprised to find that the church did not consider itself to have a role in marriage for almost half its history.” The married life was a lesser state than being single for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were thought to be celibate, and besides, the world was ending soon.

    There is also the curious rite of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus that appeared in the both the Greek and Latin churches at the time of the first marriage ceremonies. Read the liturgy at your peril.

  15. Bruce Willis says:

    Look I’ve said this before I’ll continue to say it this whole one church plan is about MONEY. Progressive Methodist know darn well they won’t survive on their own. Adam Hamilton is not some super star Methodist pastor he’s just a man who thinks he’s the pied Piper leading all Methodist off of the progressive cliff. Money is what this is all about period. For the council of bishops the institution has become more important than the mission and purpose of the church.
    The institution i.e. all the boards and committees the council etc etc are not the answer they are the problem.
    The answer is returning to the God man JESUS CHRIST return to his living word both of these the institution has become unmoored from.
    If you want a perfect example of what the progressive Methodist want I give you the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
    Bruce Willis
    Former umc Pastor in the process of transferring to conservative Wesleyan denomination.
    Money is the root of all evil.

    • Donald says:

      Bruce Willis, my experience impels me to look at an even darker side of the One Church Plan and why progressive bishops have re-introduced the previously defeated and nearly identical ‘local option’ under the One Church pseudonym. If successful and with the exodus of millions of traditional United Methodists and their churches, that is churches unwilling to abide the rewriting of the Book of Discipline and the rewriting of the Bible regarding sexual ethics, how will the now all-powerful progressive bishops handle them leaving? Does the possibility exist that the bishops will compel traditionalists churches and congregations to leave empty handed? I hope but have not see this possibility addressed. Armed with the ultimate power over ownership of church property and savings, might the bishops now allow themselves exorbitant reward with the windfall? I think it relevant to broach this possibility. Although it seems inconceivable, in my career, I have witnessed the destruction of people, families, and possessions that accompanies the quest for money and power. If the progressive bishops’ One Church Plan is defeated, I hope they will recognize they no longer have the moral authority to lead the church and will leave. Regardless, I pray that there will be a fair and equitable distribution of assets to either party that leaves.

    • JB says:

      First of all, there are many more progressive and centrist United Methodist churches than there are conservative ones. We make up 70% of the U.S. denomination. We know we can survive on our own. Can the hyper-conservatives say the same?

      And as far as money goes, The Church of the Resurrection provides the MOST money to the UMC. So, once again, we can easily survive on our own. We raise our own money and pay our own bills. Including the $2.5 million sent like clockwork every year to the UMC. So, we’re good. Can the smallest, super conservative churches survive without our money? The progressive churches certainly can.

  16. Jeffrey T says:

    Just another example of how we got denominations. When believers don’t follow the Bible for what it says, they wind up with their own doctrine/creed. Presumption was punishable by stoning in the Mosaical Law. King Saul was rejected for it. Nadab and Abihu were roasted for it. The Methodist Church has followed this path for a long time. How about presuming that sprinkling/pouring is fine with God instead of immersion? Didn’t the Greek word baptism mean immersion; weren’t all the examples of baptism in Acts immersion? Wasn’t Jesus immersed? That is the Greek word that was used. The Bible didn’t say they were sprinkled or poured. Also, what church in the Bible had a governing body like the UMC? Did they vote on marriage and divorce or homosexuality? Sorry to jump into the fray, but I was impressed that so many wanted to hold to Bible doctrine. I find that refreshing, but hope you will look at all the Bible says. Who is going to be the final authority?

  17. Katie Horner says:

    I’m not a theologian and did not go to seminary but neither did Peter, Matthew or John so there must be a way to understand scripture that is accessible to all. I choose to use a Jesus hermeneutic (seminary word) to interpret scripture. I understand the fear of letting go of inerrancy as a hermeneutic but I dared to test Jesus’ way of interpreting his own scriptures in a radically new way in his time and it has led me to discover more of the Christ in places I didn’t think you could find Christ.

    What if before debating homosexuality and scripture each of us intentionally sought out authentic friendships with people that were homosexual. I mean sit at the table as Jesus did with Matthew and eat with all his friends. I mean spending day in and day out walking along the road of life sharing all of life’s ups and downs. Then, once that friendship is established and trusted, could you really sit down with that person over a cup of coffee and say to them, “The God of grace, love, mercy and justice can not eternally love you because of your attraction to people of the same sex. You are an abomination to God. I love you and can’t imagine a life without you as a friend but God does not.”

    That is not the radical way of Jesus that I have encountered in my life and in scripture. That is not the God of grace upon grace who loves with an everlasting love. That is not the God that says nothing can separate you from the love that is in Christ Jesus.

    The debate about homosexuality and scripture is so detached from actual human lives. It’s ugly, judgemental, unloving and I see very little evidence of the Christ in the debate. It makes me sad for Christianity.

  18. Daniel says:

    Pray I can make it through one full year without my church trying to foist Hamilton’s book for Lent, Advent, and every other study along with way. I’m so tired of reading his wordy, usually pointless, repetitive books. I’m done participating if my church chooses one more by him. Done! He must pay Cokesbury because every time you visit the website, no matter where you click, it will bring you back to one of his books…

  19. Caroline says:

    I won’t try to repeat what Katie has said so eloquently. Why would God create homosexuals if he did not intend for them to have the same opportunities for happiness through stable, loving, romantic relationships and marriage as heterosexuals? Our world is full of Christians who are told they are loved by God, even when they make choices to break the will of God – cheat on a spouse, harass, steal, or just act ugly to others because they are having a bad day. And yet, you want me to believe God cannot love homosexuals simply because they cannot reject their God-given feelings? I am with Katie (“I dared to test Jesus’ way of interpreting his own scriptures in a radically new way in his time and it has led me to discover more of the Christ in places I didn’t think you could find Christ.”). To judge and condemn is not what God wants for our lives – to spread love and peace is.

  20. Beth says:

    Jesus sat with sinners, sought out sinners and offered forgiveness of sin. He told the woman at the well to go and sin no more. I, as a Christian was actively involved in a long term committed homosexual relationship. However, I NEVER felt close communion with God. I would awaken at night and feel so apart from God because I knew I was living in unrepentant sin. I would seek Biblical truth to continue In my lifestyle, but could not find any. I finally turned my back on this sinful lifestyle, repented, and by the grace of God received forgiveness and a chance for a new life. That was 20 years ago, I am married with children and have never looked back. I wanted communion with God and the Church, not a church which allowed my sin, but a church which gave me strength to put aside my old self and become new. We cannot cherry pick sin. We would never embrace a minister or Bishop actively engaged in unrepentant adultery, nor in murder, nor a pedophile. The church must stand firm as the salt and light for those who desperately need a firm foundation to cling to so that they can become free of life crushing sin.

  21. Mark Luetchens says:

    Wow, it is hard to believe that we all read the same bible. All that I know is that we serve a holy God who is so holy that we can not even look at his face and live because He is so holy. I don’t care what kind of sin it is it keeps you from God. If you are living an unrepentant life in any way whether a gay or adulterer or liar, or if you even think a bad thought you have zero chance of being in heaven with God. God did not give us commandments so we could see how good we are if we followed them but how since we can’t follow them how absolutely unattainable eternal life in heaven is without belief in Jesus. As parents do you ever warn your children about dangers? And yet when believers try to warn others that they are not listening to God’s word we are judgemental and non loving. It’s been said that Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexual marriage whether it was right or wrong. Could that be because there is no such thing as homosexual marriage so why would he talk about something that is not even defined by Him who gave us language. Romans 1 is so clear about all kinds of sin and in verse 32 it condemns even those who just believe in the sin of others. Thank God we have a Holy God

  22. Anonymous Christfollower says:

    I worked beside Adam Hamilton for years. Years I now regret, unfortunately. Let me say with authority – Adam believes he knows better than God. This is not a metaphorical statement, but a reality. In closed door meetings, the obvious self-view of Adam can be summed up in the phrase I heard many, many times – “I See what the bible says, and know what it teaches. However – I can’t justify what the bible is saying with what I see around me, what I experience in my life, and what reason tells me. Therefore, this scripture is not valid”. He subsequently would go forth and lead and teach accordingly. Adam’s only religion is the one he is creating himself. Where will it lead? It has been on a steady path of diminishing God and His word and elevating his own beliefs, and therefore can only assume that it will end in complete apostasy and heresy, with many led astray.
    Adam teaches what he believes will grow his own church. He would take people out of other churches, take people that hate God and His word, people that have no intention of placing God on the throne of their lives. He will seek to remove every barrier to get people in the door, regardless of doctrine or theological understanding or scripture or any holy thing – its cannon fodder if he sees it as a hindrance to creating more followers – NOT followers of Christ, but followers of Adam Hamilton.
    This is a painful truth. Adam would deny it vehemently. However, every action of his life, every authentic word I’ve heard him speak would be focused on this end. So what’s true? The lip service he gives to God and the Church, or the 29 years of actions that have sought to remove God from the throne of organized religion and place himself and his “Hamiltonian Theology” in it’s place.
    May God have mercy, and do something to right these wrongs.

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