Repentance

June 25, 2019

Holiness, Love, Repentance, and the LGBTQ Agenda

Ken CollinsUM Voices is a forum for different voices within the United Methodist Church on pressing issues of denominational concern. Kenneth J. Collins is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Collins serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute on Religion & Democracy and on the advisory committee for the UM Action program.

According to Professor Mark Smith of the University of Washington, “from the beginning of the twentieth century up to 1968, no Christian denomination in America passed a resolution or released a report that directly addressed homosexuality.”[1] In the church today it’s all we talk about. The smart money was on the bet that the United Methodist Church would be the first to topple, to be conquered by American culture in this area, and yet to date that has not formally happened. Judging from the results of recent annual conferences it may never happen. What has been surprising, however, is the number of supposedly conservative Methodists, some of them even John Wesley fellows, who have publicly embraced the LGBTQ agenda.

This brief essay is directed to all those church leaders, Methodist or otherwise, who now advocate ordaining practicing homosexuals and who contend that the practice of homosexuality is fully compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We traditionalists, who argue otherwise, deeply regret the animated polemics of late as well as the tone of the conversation on this “presenting issue.” We affirm, as the UM Book of Discipline clearly states, our homosexual brothers and sisters are “people of sacred worth.” Our desire then is to listen and to understand, to reason and to think theologically about a matter that requires our best efforts. We, of course, have many questions and some of them are no doubt uncomfortable ones but they must be raised. Getting to the heart of the matter requires such labor. To date we have yet to read a coherent argument that can make the case convincingly by those who seek to revise (henceforth known as revisionists) books of discipline, church practices and traditions, and even Scripture itself in accordance with a particular, and judging from Professor Smith’s observations, most recent agenda.

First of all, how is the position advocated by those who champion the LGBTQ agenda consistent with holiness? In all of the accounts that we have read so far, this issue is either studiously avoided as if it never even existed, or else the meaning of the word holiness is vacated at the outset. However, not only does the Bible repeatedly affirm the holiness of Christ and the church but the subsequent ecumenical councils of the church do so as well. The Council of Constantinople in 381, for example, maintained that holiness, which underscores both purity and separation, is one of the four marks of the church, namely: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. How then do the sexual practices of this particular community evidence the purity and separation that marks the holiness and beauty of God? Traditionalists would like to know.

Second, the employment of the word “love” by revisionists within the church today as they pursue their agenda can hardly bear a comparison with the “holy love” that is everywhere celebrated in Scripture and is manifested most clearly in the self-sacrifice and self-forgetfulness of Jesus Christ at the cross, in the depths at Golgotha. Indeed, the “love” described in revisionist accounts appears to have been confused with sentimentality, with wishful thinking or with outright indulgence. Put another way, thoughts, words, and actions are deemed “loving” to the extent that they are in harmony with the LGBTQ experience and its moral judgments, and they are considered “unloving” if they are not. Such an understanding of love, however, neither emerges from any careful exegetical labor with respect to Scripture nor does it characterize the lives of the saints throughout the long and rich history of the church.

Third, the holy love of God invites all sinners (both heterosexual and homosexual) to repentance, to that change of heart and mind, to that turning around (metanoia) which orients sinners to the One who is beyond them in goodness, glory and power. Repentance, then, is an invitation to an exciting journey, to that transformation of being, that will renew the precious image of God in which we have all been created. However, according to revisionists, no repentance is necessary in terms of the sexual practices and the lifestyles of the LGBTQ community. Homosexuals, we are told, must for the sake of “social justice” enter the church on their own terms (since their experience has now been made the interpretive center) or not at all.

Though revisionists like to pretend their thinking is “cutting edge” and “up-to-date” their argumentation in this setting is actually quite old and hackneyed. It is reminiscent of that sad chapter in the history of American Methodism in which sinners demanded to enter the church without taking up the yoke of obedience and repentance. In other words, they insisted on becoming a part of the Body of Christ on their own idiosyncratic, self-referential terms and ones that were unfortunately at variance with the gospel. When was this? It was during the turbulent and disruptive nineteenth century when American Methodist slave holders refused to renounce the sin of slavery and stubbornly insisted in increasing levels of self-serving arguments that they had no need of repentance, that they could hold Christ in one hand and the vicious practice of chattel slavery in the other. This manner of argument was an impossibility then; it’s an impossibility now.

Beyond this, there has been much loose talk, and even by a Methodist bishop, that the “presenting issue” does not strike at the heart of any major Christian doctrine, that no heresy is therefore involved. Once again this judgment is deeply mistaken. Like the champions of the ancient aberrant teaching of Donatism, revisionists today are propounding nothing less than an ecclesiastical heresy that undermines the Body of Christ and thereby corrupts the church in their ongoing failure to embrace holiness, repentance and the course of serious Christian discipleship. On another level, this most recent heresy reminds one of ancient Gnosticism. Just how is this so? All the usual terminology of the church is still employed (sin, grace and salvation) but such terms are now given entirely new meanings in accordance with a reigning agenda. Put another way, the metanarrative that is actually calling the tune here is not the gospel (that pretense must be shattered) but the siren song of liberal democracy in which John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty is the sacred canon. In short, it appears that the revisionists have abandoned the greatest story ever told for a much different story and one that is not good news at all, that is, a genuine release for the captives. Instead it’s unfortunately a very old story, tired and worn out in its retelling: American culture once again dominates the church. Tell us it just isn’t so.

            [1]Mark A Smith, Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), Kindle Locations 2216-2217.


89 Responses to Holiness, Love, Repentance, and the LGBTQ Agenda

  1. JR says:

    I’m interested in your reconciliation of divorce within the Methodist Church as it relates to scripture, as a parallel to the exclusion of homosexuality.

    I’ve found that most Traditionalists dodge the argument regarding that parallel. Divorce has become acceptable if regrettable, but not subject to the same scrutiny as being used for homosexuality.

    • William Mixon says:

      Dr. Collins,

      I appreciate your thoughtful comments on this terribly contentious and complex issue. I agree with your conclusions and hope to see more of your writings in this forum.

      JR’s comment above is fair and one I have struggled with myself in providing a clear and responsive answer. I am hoping you would take a moment and address the issue of the NT holding regarding divorce and subsequent remarriage. It does seem that the NT considers the matter resolved and contemporary Christians communities, largely, seem to, ” look the other way”.

      Again, thank you for the essay,

      Bill…

    • Ken Collins says:

      Thank you, JR!

      I have already explored this matter thoroughly in another forum. Kindly see the following:

      https://www.gbhem.org/sites/default/files/08collins_human_sexuality_and_the_unity_of_the_church.pdf

      • JR says:

        Thank you sir.

        That was an interesting read – the topic of divorce and remarriage isn’t addressed until near the end (pgs 15-16), and then primarily as a reference point on how the UMC has been changed by societal trends.

        By this reading, it seems that you support the idea that divorce must be much more restrictive within the UMC. How would you recommend addressing that topic? Should the Book of Discipline be modified to address this issue directly?

      • Jeff Labala says:

        Dr. Collins, thanks for a very thoughtful piece. I sincerely praise the Lord for your insight, especially the point that the LBGTQ want to “enter on their own terms” and the emphasis on holiness. I have taken notice of that elsewhere and articulated it. I would appreciate further elaboration on just how the LBGTQ’s aberrant teaching relates to the mistaken teachings of the Donatists. I know their general teachings and the aberrations. I want to know the point of your comparison–is it their mistaken teaching in a general sense or some specific error to which the analogy refers? Thanks. Be blessed in your academic career. For full disclosure I am a retired professor.

        • Ken Collins says:

          Jeff!
          I am appealing to Gnosticism in a very limited sense as in the following: “All the usual terminology of the church is still employed (sin, grace and salvation) but such terms are now given entirely new meanings in accordance with a reigning agenda.” In other words, Gnostics were masters at using the vocabulary of the church but in much different ways giving it new meanings. That’s all I’m referring to here. It’s the form of argument not its content that I have in mind here.

    • td says:

      Your question about the sin of divorce is a good question, but I do not find it comparable to the sin of homosexual sex. There are multiple scenarios that would need to be played out theologically about divorce- whether the marriage sacrament ever occurred, whether divorce can undo the sacrament of marriage, whether the real sin would be in subsequent marriage, etc.

      On top of this is the fact that scripture is consistent about homosexual sex, but tends to acknowledge that even though divorce does not measure up to the ideal of marriage, it is not sinful in given contexts. Divorce is also not a sexual act, and Christian teaching has been consistent that sex outside of heterosexual marriage is a sin. This was at odds with the ancient pagan culture surrounding the early church; pagan society readily accepted and promoted homosexual sex even though it did not recognize homosexual marriage.

      • JR says:

        Hi td,

        I was probably amiss in my original question. “whether the real sin would be in subsequent marriage” is the actual question, as you so rightly noted.

        Thanks!

      • David says:

        Marriage is not a sacrament of the UMC.

        • td says:

          Yes, i am aware of that the umc does not technically denote marriage as a sacrament – simply due to the fact that we have no record in the bible that jesus performed a wedding ceremony.

          Nonetheless, in my experience comparing catholic and methodist teaching on marriage, there is little practical difference aside from the use of the word sacrament.

    • Wayne says:

      Jr, read David Pawson’s book ” Remarriage is Adultery unless..”. You can Google it. Or, you can find his teaching on this on YouTube. David Pawson is the best Bible teacher I have ever read and listened.

    • Skipper says:

      JR, what you are trying to do is justify unnatural immoral living by diverting attention to something else. It really doesn’t follow to say “someone else is cheating on God’s Law, so I get to cheat too.” The Pharisees tried living like they wanted, calling it God’s way. Jesus did not approve, telling them they were as evil as a “pit full of vipers.” We really need to respect and obey God if we want to be on God’s side. Your “they cheated too” defense gets some sympathy before men, but the Judgment is before God and it holds no air there.

      The majority of Methodists have grown very tired of those who revolt against the Methodist way of life. But they are also revolting against God and His Plan of Created Order. God grows tired too. He acts in His own good time. But he eventually acts and that is bad news for those who revolt. You can keep pushing God away, but you are hurting yourself. In the time of Noah the evil people were flooded, fire and brimstone fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, and those who worshiped the Golden Calf were also destroyed. God waits, hoping some will turn back.

      By the way, the article is on holiness. You might want to read it.

  2. Andrew Hughes says:

    Dear JR,
    Any person, whether divorcee, homosexual, murderer, thief, lier, etc. can be reconciled to God through repentance, (grieving for that sin). Then, God’s grace removes God’s judgement on that sin. There are no exclusions. Reconciliation doesn’t come by condoning sin. That doesn’t make Christians perfect… only forgiven followers of Christ and God’s way. Acts 17:30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.”

    • JR says:

      Hi Andrew,

      I wholly agree with that.

      The issue is what is the denominational response.

      IF the Church won’t ordain ‘practicing’ homosexuals because of the ‘ongoing sin’, the obvious comparison (based on Biblical plain-reading) is that it should not ordain ‘practicing’ adulterists – those who have been divorced for reasons other than adultery by their spouse, and then remarried.

      But most authorities from the Traditionalist side don’t want to come out and say it. You’ll notice that even the author dodged it by saying “I’ve already written about divorce”, and yet his writing is focused on the homosexuality side of the argument, not in applying the same logic to address the divorce issue.

      I don’t think asking for a little honesty from authority figures is out of line here.

  3. Terry says:

    For a Methodist Christian, holy love is to be his distinguishing mark—not an an artificial “love” that refuses to acknowledge as sin what God clearly condemns as sin.

  4. Rev. Robert W. Smith Jr. says:

    Dr. Collins,
    I notice that you did not mention Scripture in your essay. I find that odd, since it is the foundation of the Methodist faith and practice. Why?

    • Ken Collins says:

      The essay is richly informed by Scripture as the basic context, the grounding, of interpretation and reasoning. I have indeed assumed a Christian readership. Indeed the reader would be lost without this context in terms of a rich and deep understanding of holiness, holy love and repentance. Those terms have little meaning apart from Scripture.

  5. William says:

    If we follow JR’s line of rationalization to its full measure, then the UMC would be compelled to abandon ALL sexual restrictions and open the door to all forms of consensual sexual relations between adults, maybe even offering workshops, and leave that door wide open to those forms yet invented and welcome them as they come into the mainstream. Just follow the old proverbial — two wrongs make a right.

    The sexual revolution, the current LGBT+ movement as the current headline derivative, continues its devastating march through American society destroying the lives of millions while the culture elites remain in a locked down state of abject denial while offering up convoluted, incoherent, and even insane explanations for our woes.

    Ken Collins says that the heterosexual and homosexual components of the church is in great need of repentance — a raw truth that far too many do not want to hear. We are all guilty of not pursuing this on God’s terms in the church. God forgive us.

    Our ONLY hope as a society and a nation going forward is God. Right now, that looks like a big long shot.

    • JR says:

      Hi William,

      You are taking it in the opposite direction, actually.

      IF we hold these specific beliefs about Biblical intention on homosexuality, aren’t we also compelled to hold true on the lines about divorce and remarriage? Jesus was quite specific (countermanding Moses), Paul added a deference to when there is abandonment from a non-believer. Outside of those cases, how do we justify divorce/remarriage within a traditionalist Biblical view?

      I don’t see a difference in the ‘continuing to sin’ point. They seem quite parallel to me. And I haven’t had a comfortably consistent response on that particular point from an authoritative traditionalist. [There’s been a lot of ‘talking around the issue’ as I noted previously.]

      In my view, they are parallel situations, and consistency in application of Biblical principles would require traditionalists to likewise demand adherence to scripture when it comes to divorce/remarriage.

      I’m not trying to make this a trick question. I think it’s a straightforward logical question. The problem I run into is that no one wants to admit openly about the divorce/remarriage issue.

      • Steve says:

        I definitely see a difference in difference in the ‘continuing to sin’ point but I’m just a layman whose paycheck doesn’t depend on how I see things. I will grant you that mainline denominations have long given previously divorced couples the benefit of fairly improbable doubts, but that does not make the two situations the same. Even you say they are parallel, not the same. And yeah, to be fair, churches should be more discerning before approving (or appearing to approve) of any remarriage. But, as my late Dad would remind me to my considerable annoyance growing up, life isn’t fair. A corollary might be, life’s not _perfectly_ fair either, not even in a church.

      • Wayne says:

        Dear JR,. Remarriage after divorce is a sin unless……..If someone in a marriage committed adultery, then the spouse of that person can remarry without commiting adultery ( of course the offended spouse could not marry a previous divorcee, unless the same thing happened to that person). The person who committed adultery can never marry again without commiting adultery. This is what Yeshua was saying. Otherwise, remarriage after divorce is continuous ploygamy. I know this is a very tough issue in the church. But there it is.

        • JR says:

          Hi Wayne,

          That’s how I read it as well. And it’s how Methodists read it up until the mid-20th century, when they decided to stop fighting that losing battle and turned against homosexuality instead.

          I wonder why the Traditionalists aren’t interested in holding to that reading though. They should be shouting it from the rooftops!

          Seems hypocritical to me.

          [To be clear, I don’t personally advocate for this reading. I find the hypocrisy to be galling.]

          • Steve says:

            The allegation of galling hypocrisy (which I don’t buy) is not a valid reason to disregard scriptural admonitions against homosexual practice. I similarly can’t believe your suggestion that the UMC had no problem with homosexual practice prior to the 1950s.

          • JR says:

            Hi Steve,

            there were no textual admonitions against homosexuality in the Book of Discipline – primarily, I would guess, due to the societal view of homosexuality in that time period.

            The BoD was/is a printed text – your Methodist church might have old copies that you could use to validate my claim.

            Interestingly, there were admonitions against divorce in older BoDs.

            But here’s the galling hypocrisy, that you so casually throw aside.

            JESUS says nothing directly about homosexuality. All the references against that are OT or from Paul.

            JESUS says very specifically about divorce, unless your spouse engages in adultery that you cannot get a divorce (and calls out Moses as being influenced by the masses instead of staying true to God). And if you divorce for any other reason and get remarried, then you are engaging in adultery. Under the same thought as being applied in Methodist circles to homosexuality, you’d be a ‘practicing adulterer’.

            So if you want to stick to scriptural truth, why are you hung up on homosexuality and not on divorce? BE CONSISTENT. Own it.

  6. Richard S Bell says:

    I fully agree with Mr Collins that revisionists have not advanced a coherent argument that can make their case convincingly.
    I am delighted by Mr Collins’s statement, “Our desire then is to listen and to understand, to reason and to think theologically about a matter that requires our best efforts.” I have the same desire.
    I have made a case, from Scripture interpreted according to traditional methods, that God wills the Church marry homosexuals just as the Church marries heterosexuals. Is my case convincing? Well, it has been criticized by dozens of mature and learned Reformed Christians, including eminent seminary professors, all of whom opposed same-sex marriage as forbidden by God, and no one has refuted any of its main arguments.
    Do you, too, desire to understand, to reason, and to think theologically about the issue of same-sex marriage by the Church? Are you able to follow a line of rather scholarly thinking about the issue that is very different from what revisionists have offered so far? If you so, satisfy your desire by requesting a copy of my essay by email: rsbell@ameritech.net

    • Mike says:

      It is hard to argue that ” that God wills the Church marry homosexuals just as the Church marries heterosexuals” when the Bible is very clear that homosexuality and homosexuals are under the judgment of God. Homosexual sex is pronounced to be an abomination in the Old Testament, and homosexuals are listed twice in I Cor 6:9-11 in a list of those who, by their lifestyle, will not enter the kingdom of God. Mr. Bell, you may have a very well reasoned argument for your opinion, but it is hard to argue with the plain truth of Scripture.

      • Richard S Bell says:

        Purity Law of the Old Testament was declared obsolete by Jesus, Paul, and Peter. Our best Christian scholars, including famous opponents of same-sex marriage, agree that the OT prohibitions of homosex are Purity Law.
        Our best Christian scholars, including famous opponents of same-sex marriage, agree that Paul’s condemnation of homosex in 1 Corinthians was based on its violation of the Seventh Commandment. Paul condemned homosexual conduct as fornication; Paul would not have condemned intimate relations of a married homosexual couple.
        Read my essay and give me your severest informed criticism of it.

        • Mike says:

          “Paul would not have condemned intimate relations of a married homosexual couple.” How do you know that? If Paul listed homosexuals twice among those that would not inherit the kingdom of heaven in Cor. 6: 9-11, what kind of reasoning allows you to think that he would have made exceptions for those who married each other? “If the plain sense of Scripture makes sense, make no other sense of it.” The plain sense of Scripture condemns homosexuality.
          Also, you keep talking about the OT prohibitions against homosexuality as being part of the “Purity Law”, and claiming that it (the Purity Law) has been abrogated in the New Testament. No such thing. The restriction against homosexuality would be part of the universal Moral Law, and as such is repeated in the New Testament.

    • “I have made a case, from Scripture interpreted according to traditional methods, that God wills the Church marry homosexuals just as the Church marries heterosexuals.  Is my case convincing?”
       
      No sir, it is not.
       
      “Well, it has been criticized by dozens of mature and learned Reformed Christians, including eminent seminary professors, all of whom opposed same-sex marriage as forbidden by God, and no one has refuted any of its main arguments.”
       
      And you, sir, have not answered my comments to your rebuttal (of my earlier answer to your specious arguments) in the Comments section of the April 29 article, “Countercultural Methodism” (https://juicyecumenism.com/2019/04/29/countercultural-methodism/).

      • Mike says:

        I read the comments to which you referred on another thread, and agree with you one hundred percent. I think that you did an excellent job of refuting Mr. Bell’s suppositions.

        One thing might be mentioned that I had not noted previously, and that is the fact that homosexuality (and all of the other abominations that seem to flock in along with it) only becomes acceptable when a society is in the process of disintegrating. History is full of proof of this statement. Our society will be no exception, unfortunately.

    • Penny says:

      Richard – I am still praying for God to open your eyes.

      • Richard S Bell says:

        Thank you for your prayers! I need them.
        We all need such prayers, and I pray for you and all by brothers and sisters in Christ too.

    • “My dear brother,
       
      You ought to read my essay.  Having made arguments like these out of context, you miss points.  Having made arguments like these out of context, you knock down straw men.  This is no good way to arrive at understanding of Scripture.
       
      Traditionalists can well defend their interpretations of Scripture.  I would not claim destruction of their arguments, which I myself used for many years.  I claim my interpretations are better, all things considered.
       
      Alas, a lot of my traditionalist adversaries are public intellectuals who seem to fear that they have staked their reputations on proof that same-sex marriage is against God’s will and to be emotionally unreasonable about it.”
       
      Sir,
       
      A “straw man argument”, as defined by Webster, is “a weak or imaginary opposition (such as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted”.  My responses to your posts, in both “Will the LGBTQ Progressive Agenda Capture the UMC in February 2019?” (https://juicyecumenism.com/2019/01/09/will-lgbtq-progressive-agenda-capture-umc-february-2019/) and “Countercultural Methodism” (linked to in my response, above) are directly to your arguments posted there, not to some paraphrase of my own devising that was intended to reduce what you have said to something that could easily be “knocked down”, as you put it.
       
      Your arguments on this site, on behalf of your premise, are weak and evasive.  You are quite selective of the “traditional methods of interpretation” you employ in your argument, using only those that present a façade of supporting your case (such as the parallel you drew between Romans 1.26 and Romans 11.24 regarding the phrase “contrary to nature”), while ignoring the immediate context of the passage in question that has much more bearing on the interpretation of the passage, as I have already pointed out.  Likewise, when I pointed out that God explicitly told Moses in Leviticus 18.24,25,27 that He was evicting the Canaanites, Amorites, etc., from the Promised Land because they had committed all the sins proscribed in Leviticus 18, your response was, “you may reasonably say that these prohibitions were Purity Law and that the ancient Hebrews’ violating Purity Law would have had consequences as dire as dispossession of their land.”  You evaded my point and did not answer my objection.  Who, then, is creating “straw man arguments”?
       
      On the basis of what I’ve seen you publish in the Comments section of this website, I have no doubt that the arguments that you use in your highly self-promoted paper are no less weak, evasive, and ultimately unpersuasive than those you have employed here.  And in case there were any doubt, “Paul W.”, who replied to one of your comments in “Countercultural Methodism”, wrote that he actually responded to your offer and was sent a copy of your essay, that you expressly withheld permission “to reveal any details of your essay”, and that he found it to be “mind-numbingly long special-pleading wrapped in a weird easily debunked eisegetical framework.”  This tells me that, despite all your puffed-up self-promotion and bravado, such as how “dozens of mature and learned Reformed Christians, including eminent seminary professors, all of whom opposed same-sex marriage as forbidden by God, (have criticized your essay,) and no one has refuted any of its main arguments”, you have no confidence that your essay will stand up to public scrutiny.
       
      So, until you are willing to get a blog of your own and publish your essay there, thereby subjecting it to public scrutiny, I, for one, have no interest in investing the time to read it.

  7. Beth says:

    I appreciated the reference to slavery. The UM Church in the South made very bad choices because the Bishop of Georgia married a slave owner’s daughter. This Bishop allowed a personal relationship to misguide the denomination’s direction. Do leaders in this current movement have children or family members who are homosexual? I’m curious – especially about Reverend Hamilton. I understand those who are themselves Homosexual but what about others? Are they being guided because of loved ones? Is that why the meta narrative has changed?

    • Joan Wesley says:

      Beginning with GC2102 and concluding shortly after GC2016, I extensively cruised the internet, listening to every voice I could find within the UMC. What I realized fairly quickly is that many of the people who are the most adamant for the change either have same gender attraction themselves or have a close family member–who does. My sense of Adam Hamilton is that he is working mostly from a perspective of feeling sorry for people who identify as LGBTQIA–and this is based on his own reports of how his thinking changed–he was strongly influenced by the stories of LGBTQIA persons in his congregation.

  8. John Smith says:

    The LBGTQAIX groups do not engage with holiness because why? The UMC does not engage with holiness except for occasional forays into “holier than thou” (I think Mel Brooks nailed that one). Is there anything distinctly holy about a UMC congregant? Do sermons or churches even talk about the concept of holiness (other than the holiness of giving to the UMC)? Even now, if addressed, does it mean anything other than “do this, don’t do that”?

  9. I am not Methodist, but I have Biblical response to gay issue. What does Roman 1 say at the end of chapter God turned man over to sin, was this a corporate or one person’s sin. Corporate meaning the rise of sin nationally/globally or just individual. Will it can be cause individually but maybe not be because of individual sin. It can and is directly related to global sin and national sin. Sin is direct opposition of God. It matters not the sin. However homosexuals can become Christians, and their sin needs to be treated like any sin, it belongs not in the church. Does that mean they can’t teach or preach or worship God. Of course not. Because all sin and fall short of the Glory of God. Yet what God view of continual sin that is known to be sin. God does turn man over to continual sin. If been corrected sooner or later God will turn you over to it. So if homosexually is sin based on Romans 1 when man choose to use their bodies unnaturally with one another, then is that not choosing the way of the devil and not the way of God. If then are you allowing devil in. Well if we judged all sin on these merits no one would enter the church or preach or teach. How does one rationally the issue, simple this, are they teaching their sin is okay inside the church, beyond the system of the legal law. If answer is yes, then perhaps the church needs to ask are they teaching corruption in the church world.

    • Penny says:

      Christina — have to disagree with you – those who refuse to acknowledge their sin of homosexuality should not be in a position to preach, teach or lead in any other fashion in one of our churches.

      • Penny what sin have you committed so you can’t teach either. No I am not a lesbian or homosexual. Do i want homosexual behind the pulpit no. But are they practicing their sin in the pulpit?

  10. John says:

    Is there a denomination in the USA that adheres to a Traditionalist understanding that Church marriage is limited to one man and one woman and ordination is only permitted for those who are celibate or who are in a monogamous church-blessed marital relationship between a man and a woman but which acknowledges and supports women and people of color holding positions of leadership, including full ordination if so qualified? That denomination, if it exists, is certainly not the UMC in the USA. I would really appreciate an answer if someone has one.

    • Ken Collins says:

      There is such a denomination and judging from your comments it should come as a surprise to you: The United Methodist Church on paper!

      • John Smith says:

        By your standard, any denomination which claims that the bible is the authoritative word of god and the standard for the denomination would, on paper, qualify.

        • Ken Collins says:

          The problem is that denominations do not live up to or even heed their own published documents, and in this case (the UM church) I was thinking specifically about the Book of Discipline. Many UM Bishops, for example, refuse to enforce the good and sound teachings of the Discipline. Such “leaders” should be removed.

          • John Smith says:

            As I said after all the celebrations for the win of the traditional plan; it means nothing if its not enforced. I also said if the Methodist had been willing to enforce the BOD in the first place there never would have been a need for the traditional plan. I’ve heard much about AC’s saying they wouldn’t comply, gay marriages in UMC churches, Bishops ordaining ineligible candidates. I’ve not heard any charges filed, hearings held, discipline meted out. I don’t know why the “progressives” are in a twitter; nothings changed.

  11. Tom Hower says:

    So, instead of addressing the main point of the article, holiness, we are being diverted to discuss a Social Principles issue, divorce and remarriage. Sadly, the majority of comments go down this diversionary path. The UMC has taken an unpopular stand; will we support this stand or gain secular popularity and publicity by advocating to overthrow the writings of Moses and Paul?

    • John Smith says:

      From the 19th century on Methodism interpreted holiness as social justice, especially compelling people to act morally (see prohibition, blue laws, etc). The Progressives are simply following the same path having progressed to new sins (intolerance, et al) and new laws. Whitefield and Wesley were jettisoned a long time ago but most especially when the Methodists said: “You know if we keep talking bad about slavery and excluding slave owners we’ll never grow our churches.”

  12. Ben Crobbery says:

    The bottom line here is that some people just don’t like LGBT people. But instead of admitting their prejudice, they sugar-coat it with religion, and cherry-pick the Bible verses that suit them. That’s from the same playbook used to support racism, anti-Semitism and the subjugation of women.

    I was raised as a Lutheran in the 1970s in South Carolina (hardly a liberal place then or now). The messages at my church were do unto others as you would have them do unto you, love thy neighbor, and judge not lest ye be judged (social conservatives hate being reminded of these). So, if being open-minded and accepting of LGBT people is a sin, I’m guilty but with no apologies.

    At my 30th-year high school reunion in South Carolina, one of my classmates who later came out as gay announced that he and his partner had recently gotten married. We congratulated them.

    I recently heard a conservative Christian woman talk about raising her transgender son. He’s only 5 or 6, too young to be “corrupted” by pop culture. He likes to wear dresses and have his hair long. She tried to discipline him, but in the end, love won out, and she loves him unconditionally. One of her ministers suggested her son might need an exorcism (yes, in the 21st century; no, I’m not making this up). Needless to say, the family no longer attends that church.

    • John Smith says:

      The bottom line is many people love their sin and will cling to it. They won’t call it sin. They will justify and rationalize and do whatever it takes. They are deceiving themselves and many people will help them do so. Occasionally self awareness creeps in and then they shout louder and desperately cover their eyes to preserve their illusions. One day that will no longer work.

  13. BeamMeUp says:

    The bottom line here is that some people just don’t like LGBT people. But instead of admitting their prejudice, they sugar-coat it with religion, and cherry-pick the Bible verses that suit them. That’s from the same playbook used to support racism, anti-Semitism and the subjugation of women.

    I was raised as a Lutheran in the 1970s in South Carolina (hardly a liberal place then or now). The messages at my church were do unto others as you would have them do unto you, love thy neighbor, and judge not lest ye be judged (social conservatives hate being reminded of these). So, if being open-minded and accepting of LGBT people is a sin, I’m guilty but with no apologies.

    • Steve says:

      That’s an exact copy and paste of the first two paragraphs from the immediately prior post by a different poster: at a minimum, you can’t both be telling the truth, now can you.

  14. Pat Trammell says:

    Dr Collins, thank you for your reasoned commentary. We are all sinners in need of repentance. It is my hope that both Traditionalists (which I am) and Progressives will acknowledge that and work toward understanding. Insight such as yours helps greatly with this process. Blessings to all

  15. Sarah J Flynn says:

    I wonder how such conclusions are reached. I

  16. Sarah J Flynn says:

    I wonder. how such conclusions are reached? Has Rev Collins met and interviewed LGBTQI persons of Faith?
    I live in Vermont and know personally many such persons who are devout Christians who attend church regularly
    serve in church offices, are often employed in social service or medical professions. These who are married have long term relationships and are compassionate, caring people. In the adult class I attend they show themselves persons of faith and have undergone personal crises and loss in coming out and overcoming stigma. I would suggest to Mr Collins that their faith is genuine and often deeper than those who have not had such experiences. I have to include that Rev Collins has not done the homework that is expected of one who is a theologian.

    Secondly, why is this topic important to him? I have to ask because academically one expects a more balanced discussion of the subject with mention of sources and contrary opinion. There are Gay theologians who put forward serious critique of the traditional views of homosexuality. The absence of these citations indicate that Rev Collins is more interested in preaching to the converted.

    The sad truth is that open and unbiased discussion of this subject is hard to find. One can understand why Gay people might have difficulty with having an open mind given the stigma associated with homosexuality. But why are traditionalists so closed minded on this subject?

    In more than a few instances we find that the most passionate critics are seeking to project on LGBTQI people their own self hatred for their own unresolved sexual problems.

    Traditionslist apologists should. examine why this subject is do important to themselves. Finding fault with Gay people whom one does not know every well may.be a whole lot easier than dealing with one’s own issues.

  17. Sarah Flynn says:

    in what way did Jesus express holiness as purity and separation?

    As I recall these were the concerns of his critics. They characterized him as a glutton and a drunkard who preferred the company of sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes.

    In addition he reserved his harshest criticism for those hypocrites who outwardly were pure but inwardly were full of dead mens bones.

    If holiness is about purity and separation Professor Collins has to make a better case for it.

    In regard to self sacrifice I would mention that LGBTQ people have many examples of heroic sacrifice
    of those who have stood up to oppression of their friends and paid for it by family rejection, loss of employment, housing, physical. violence and death. Privileged white men have no business assessing the willingness of LGBTQ people to make personal self sacrifices. The AIDS epidemic was ignored by most of the heterosexual white community. It was a crisis that was borne by other members of the Queer community who nursed and cared for those abandoned by their families and society.

    It is strange to expect oppressed people to make more self sacrifices in order to be accorded equal dignity and freedom enjoyed by the majority.
    But it is a familiar refrain used by those who are not ready to make any sacrifices to end the oppression of others. African Americans, women (whose lives were expected to be spent serving men) immigrants whom we expect to do the jobs no one else wants and be paid far less, all were supposed to make self sacrifices to be treated equally. One had to earn the right that others received simply because they were born into the right families.

    Repentance is required not of LGBTQ people to change their sexual orientation but rather to abandon lives of self loathing and accept the Good News of grace and acceptance as members of the family of God. Such a life makes possible responsible sexuality and service to others.

    More could be said but perhaps this is enough to indicate that Prof Collins has presented a very limited assessment of LGBTQ people and their spirituality.

    • Madam,
       
      God Himself has declared that He is holy, and that all who would come near to Him must also be holy (Ex. 19.5-6, Lev. 10.3, 11.44-45, 19.2, 20.7,26, 21.8, I Pet. 1.14-16, 2.9).  The Hebrew word for holy is qadosh, of which the root qod means to be separate or set apart.  When applied to God, it refers chiefly to His transcendent, exalted state, entirely pure from even the faintest hint of evil.  The seraphim surround His throne, extolling His holiness, proclaiming night and day, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Is. 6.3, Rev. 4.8)  Even the holiest of men who appear before His throne fall down upon their faces in sheer terror, for they are keenly aware that He is holy in an absolute way in which they are not (Is. 6.5, Rev. 1.17).
       
      The Lord Jesus, as the eternal Son of God made flesh, “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. … In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” (Col. 1.15,19)  Although He set aside His glory, the glory He has shared with His Father for all eternity, at His Father’s command, to be incarnated as one of us, in order to bear the penalty of our sin on Calvary’s tree, in perfect obedience to His Father’s command (Phil. 2.6-8), He is no less holy than His Father.  And He came to call sinners to repentance (Mt. 4.17, 11.20, Mk. 1.15, Lk. 5.32, 13.3,5, 15.7,10, 24.47); He came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Mt. 5.17).
       
      Now, the Lord Jesus said that all sin begins as desire in the human heart.  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.  These are what defile a person.” (Mt. 15.19-20, Mk. 7.20-23)  And He was not alone in making this assessment (Gen. 6.5, 8.21, Jer. 17.9, Jas. 1.14-15).  To the woman caught in adultery, not only did He say, “Neither do I condemn you;” He followed this up by saying, “go, and from now on sin no more.” (Jn. 8.11)  Likewise, to the paralytic man He healed at the Pool of Siloam He said, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” (Jn. 5.14)
       
      A man chooses to engage in sexual intercourse with another man, or one woman with another, because he or she desires to do so.  A man chooses to become a woman, or a woman a man, because he or she desires to do so.  These desires begin in the corrupt human heart, and they are not to be trusted, because the corrupt human heart is not to be trusted (Jer. 17.9).  In the Extended Edition of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, as the Fellowship is approaching the Doors of Moria, Gandalf the Grey confidentially tells Frodo that evil will be drawn to him from both outside the Fellowship and from inside.  Frodo asks whom, then, can he trust.  Then Gandalf, in the worst possible advice ever, tells him that he must trust himself, when it becomes patently clear from even the end of Jackson’s adaptation of The Two Towers, and especially from The Return of the King (both the book and the adaptation), that Frodo cannot trust himself.  Yet this same damnable advice is touted freely in the world today.  “Trust yourself,” the world tells us.  “Follow the desires of your heart.”  As one popular song puts it, “You are beautiful just the way you are.  You don’t need to change; the world can change its heart.”  And as long as the world believes that, the world will continue to rot in its sin.
       
      Popular belief holds that expressions of desire to engage in homosexual or bisexual intercourse, or to become the opposite gender, are evidence of a “sexual orientation” toward homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, etc., and this “sexual orientation” not only explains these desires and behaviors, but actually justifies them, contrary to Scripture.  But it is not the judgment of popular opinion that we must face at the end of our lives, it is the judgment of the holy God, whom we have deeply offended by our sin.  The Apostle Paul, writing under the Apostolic Authority granted him by the Holy Spirit, warned that adulterers, the sexually immoral in general, and men who commit homosexuality in particular (arsenokoitai and malakoi, the active and passive partners in consensual homosexual intercourse) will not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6.9-10).  Likewise, the Apostle John, in his vision of the Apocalypse, records that the impenitent sexually immoral will be consigned, along with many other impenitent sinners, to “the lake that burns with fire and sulfur,” outside the walls of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21.8, 22.15).
       
      “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.  This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.  It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3.23-26)  All of us—all men, women, and children who have ever lived, excepting the Lord Jesus alone—are sinners, in need of redemption from our sin.  Our sins do not make us sinners; we sin because our hearts have been corrupted by sin ever since Adam partook of the fruit in the Garden.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6.23)  But to have eternal life, which is found only in the Lord Jesus, is to die to sin, which is the antithesis of life, for its wages are death.  To be called to eternal life is to be holy to God, to be set apart for His purposes, and sin cannot have any part in that life.  “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Col. 3.1-10)  And again, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.  The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.  With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (I Pet. 4.1-5)
       
      The freedom we have in Christ is not a freedom to sin, but a freedom from sin—freedom from sin’s penalty, freedom from sin’s power, and ultimately, when the Lord Jesus returns, freedom from sin’s presence.  The life we have in Christ is a life of repentance from sin, and that includes all the sins of sexual immorality, which includes all the sins cherished and adored by the LGBTQ+ agenda.  As God is holy, we who are called by the name of His beloved Son are called to be holy.  And just as sin can have no part in the holiness of God, neither can it have any part in the holiness to which we are called in Christ.

    • Ken Collins says:

      Hi Sarah!
      You have done what so many others have done in the past: you have simply changed the topic and avoided my questions. To be sure, the questions are to you and not to me. How is holiness, holy love and repentance consistent with the sexual practices of the LGBTQ community? You haven’t addressed those issues at all. Let me help you here: you can start out by talking about the beautiful holiness of Jesus Christ and his disciples as displayed in Scripture and then begin to tackle the questions from there.

      • Sarah Flynn says:

        You seem to think that the sexual practices of the LGBTQ community are uniform and contrary to the Gospel. That is not the case anymore than it is with the heterosexual community.

        I have been involved in the LGBTQ community for more than 30 years. While Gay Liberation coincided with the Sexual Liberation movement it was never the same. The AIDS crisis of the 1980s ended the era of “irrational exuberancy” and the emergence of LGBTQ people from the closet also diminished the social importance of the gay bar as the only place to meet Gay people. In Burlungton VT where I live the only Gay bar closed shortly after we moved here in 2003. The reality is that just like the singles bars in the hetero world the bar scene appealed to lonely singles looking to find a partner.

        As for the beauty of holiness it very well can be found in same sex relationships. I have witnessed it in the caring relationships of the couples I had the privilege of presiding at their weddings. I have seen it in the bonds of love in couples I have known in church. I think of one such gay male
        couple whose relationship dates back several decades. One is a psycotheraspist who was also a director of the leading social service agency in the city before he retired. He is also an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Cathedral and an excellent oreacher. His married partner is a professor of Dramatic Arts at a local college. Together they were the lead plaintiffs in the case that resulted in Civil Unions in VT.

        If this were a cis gendered couple I doubt you would question its validity in terms of love and faithfulness and service to others.

        As for the holiness of Jesus and his disciples I believe it was manifest in his compassion and inclusion of the marginalized people: the sick, the poor. women, tax collectors, prostitutes. This compassion is why he was so popular among the common people. In his teaching that compassion was coupled with a call for purity of heart that contrasted with the outward requirements of the Law of Moses. In this Jesus was in the same tradition as the earlier prophets of Israel. His prophetic denunciations of the religious establishment and the call for social justice meant he posed a threat to the existing social order and such threats were seen as potential revolutions and eliminated by Roman authority as acts of treason. It did not matter if Jesus was hinself was nonviolent. Jesus knew what the outcome of his confrontation in Jerusalem would be. Yet he chose to
        go forward with it as an act of self giving love and faithfulness to all who shared his vision of the Kingdom of God. This act summed up his life and his message of love of God and love of
        neighbor that is the basis of holiness and purity….and not blind obedience to the Law of Moses and the traditions associated with the holiness code of the Jews. I have a friend who is a Jewish rabbi who characterizes Jesus as a liberal Pharisee. His acknowledgement is a testimonial of an understanding of holiness consistant with the prophetic tradition of the Jewish people is evidence that
        Jesus was not a Gentile invention of a demigod savior but in truth a messianic messenger of God’s call to holiness for all humanity, Jew and Gentile together. That requires more explanation I know but it will have to suffice for this conversation.

        • Andy says:

          Scripture is our final authority for faith and practice- the Book by which we will all be judged. I’ve seen many Scriptures referenced that condemn homosexuality but I’m still looking for the ones that promote it. Personal experience is not a valid foundation for a belief system – the Word of God is.

  18. Henry Sun says:

    To address those who claim that progressives haven’t put forth an argument about widening heterosexual marriage to include homosexual relationships, I’ve made just such an attempt here, basing my argument on Jesus’ devaluation of creation theology to human need as it relates to the Sabbath: https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/solano-news/solano-religion/local-religion-columnists/religious-view-sex-and-the-sabbath-were-we-created-to-serve-marriage/

  19. Steve says:

    JR-

    For whatever reason I am unable to post a reply to your reply of July 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm.

    Yelling (all caps) is rude. People yell when they have lost arguments. Your points are not valid and have been refuted definitively and conclusively many times in these posts. Own that. All of that. Oh, and pedophilia too.

    • JR says:

      Hi Steve!

      A couple of things:
      I’d love to use other methods to show emphasis. Sadly, this site doesn’t allow for bold or italics in the comments. All caps is one way to show emphasis. While I agree that yelling is rude, and that in some cases all caps certainly does denote yelling, in most cases large chunks or all of a post would be in all caps. My post doesn’t fit that. I’m sorry you are so unfamiliar with the internet that you didn’t understand that.

      Regarding your inability to reply to that post directly, it also has do with the settings on the comment features of this site. Only so many ‘nested’ comments can be added, and mine was apparently at the lowest level. I’m sorry you are so unfamiliar with the internet that you didn’t understand that.

      And while some people have had some differences of opinion, there’s also been some agreement with my position here. Rev. Collins has basically dodged the question by saying ‘I’ve already discussed that’ when he actually didn’t, and he has responded to other questions and comments since. I wonder why he dodges it?

      And it’s interesting that you bring up pedophilia, out of nowhere. It’s almost as if you conflate pedophilia with homosexuality. Perhaps you’d care to elaborate on that point?

      • Steve says:

        Your arguments apply just as well to pedophilia. So own that.

        • JR says:

          I’m confused, are you saying that the Bible prohibits pedophilia, and we don’t currently, and that’s a problem?

          Show me where I’m wrong. I’m happy to have the discussion. Perhaps there’s a huge issue if remaining Biblically consistent can have major issues when it comes to divorce, homosexuality, pedophilia, polygamy, slavery, etc.

          Re: rudeness
          I’ll admit, I responded to your post with a bit of snark. I wasn’t being rude initially, but felt that you [were] (hard brackets added to denote emphasis, in lieu of caps), so I responded in kind. I think your statement that I’m “constantly … being rude and insulting” is quite a bit off the mark.

          • Steve says:

            Well, we can try again.
            Inasmuch as your #1 argument seems to be that Jesus did not expressly condemn homosexual practice, could it not also be said that he did not expressly condemn pedophilia/pederasty, therefore pedophilia/pederasty are just as acceptable under your reasoning? Shouldn’t require a long answer.

          • JR says:

            Gotcha. I guess you could read it that way, but that was not my intention. It’s not about what Jesus didn’t say, it’s about what he did say.

            Here’s my logic, if I’m off base please feel free to poke holes.

            1) Scripturally, the words of Jesus trump all other voices in the Bible. This does not mean that if he doesn’t speak on a topic that we must disregard anything regarding that topic, but that when he speaks it is the highest authority. We can argue over the priority of other voices.

            2) Jesus spoke specifically about divorce, and it’s in 3 of the Gospels. That same command is referenced by Paul, who minimally expanded on the legitimacy of divorce.

            3) If the idea is that Christians should hold to Levitical laws regarding homosexuality, I don’t understand the justification for being permissive regarding divorce, based on those points above.

            I don’t see where pederasty/pedophilia enters the conversation unless one is conflating that with homosexuality.

            Looking forward to your response!

      • Steve says:

        “I’m sorry you are so unfamiliar with the internet that you didn’t understand that.”
        And I’m sorry you constantly resort to being rude and insulting.

  20. Gary Bebop says:

    thank you, Dr. Collins, for addressing the church crisis through incisive and definitive discussion of scriptural holiness. The church has suffered horribly from the omission of sound teaching at the highest levels of administration. This crisis of theological error has a baked-in character. We now have a desperate thirst for corrective judgment and redemptive enlightenment. Please continue to speak the truth to us!

  21. Sarah Flynn says:

    It seems tome that those of you of a Traditionalist persuasion will.be.much better off leaving the UMC for WCA since you are a minority party in the US UMC. Trying to force your views upon the US majority will only create more bitterness and frustration on both sides. The Traditional Methodists in Africa and the Philippines will want to go with you since they wont tolerate the OCP that defacto already exists. Fo us on creating a more generous exit plan for 2020. I suspect Progressivrs and Moderates will cooperate with that endeavor.

    • Steve says:

      Far as I can tell everything is the direct opposite of what you are saying. Congregations can hope that liberal clergy that routinely dishonor their ordination vows will leave, but its more probable liberal clergy will stay and continue their efforts to plunder money and property, as has happened in all the other denominations. By the way, few people trust a concern troll.

    • Tom says:

      Sorry, but that is incorrect. A survey done by UMCom of US UMC members (versus the very left-leaning leadership) shows that the majority of people in the pews – again, in US UMC Churches – agree with the traditional stance.

  22. Steve says:

    JR-

    Once again I am unable to leave an answer to your post of July 2, 2019 at 4:24 pm possibly because the commenting system can only handle so many nested posts but who know it might be because your posts aren’t exactly short. I don’t think the internet per se has much to do with it.

    I don’t feel as if you answered my question. Let me try a different direct question. Are you really arguing to bar divorced people from the ministry, or are you arguing that practicing homosexuals should not be barred from the ministry? I (and as far as I can tell everybody else) have assumed you are actually arguing for the latter, not the former. If so, then you’re pretty much also arguing that pedophiles/pederasts should not be barred either, because the reasoning would be identical.

    • JR says:

      Hi Steve,

      I’m saying that, to be Biblically consistent, the logic used to bar homosexuals from being married or being pastors in the church should also apply to divorced persons.

      If A, then B.

      Few agree to that. I don’t understand why.

      To be clearer, I don’t adhere to that view on homosexuality, and therefore not on divorce. I don’t think either should be barred from marriage or ordination, but that’s because I apparently have a different concept on how to read the Bible that Traditionalists do.

      But if you want to hold fast on the couple of verses regarding homosexuality, why aren’t you holding fast on the verses about divorce?

      Barring pedophiles does fit with my particular view, not sure how it would fit with a Traditionalist view though – if that logic would allow pedophiles to be ordained while excluding homosexuals and divorced persons, I think it lends support to how I read the Bible vs how you read the Bible.

      Hope that’s clearer. Let me know if you need me to go deeper in any direction.

      • Steve says:

        Oh gee I can never get a short direct answer from you. Its always pivot away a draw a big picture. Unfortunately if you play Mad Libs with your posts and substitute pedophilia/pederasty (or necrophilia or human sacrifice or pretty much anything) for homosexuality you get the same result, which is utterly nonsensical. I get it, you have your nonsensical argument, and you’re sticking to it no matter how many times its pointed out that its nonsensical. Goodbye, I’m done, you have no right to complain if nobody responds to you.

        • JR says:

          Hi Steve,

          I thought i was being pretty clear.

          “To be clearer, I don’t adhere to that view on homosexuality, and therefore not on divorce. I don’t think either should be barred from marriage or ordination, but that’s because I apparently have a different concept on how to read the Bible that Traditionalists do. ”

          I’m not of the opinion that homosexuality should exclude someone from ordination or marriage.

          But that’s not the argument I’m making.

          “Unfortunately if you play Mad Libs with your posts and substitute pedophilia/pederasty (or necrophilia or human sacrifice or pretty much anything) for homosexuality you get the same result, which is utterly nonsensical.”

          Okay. Substitute divorce. Not nonsensical, it’s scripturally supported. And that’s what I’ve actually been saying, while you keep trying to move the goalposts to pedophilia.

          I’ll say it again, I read the Bible differently than you do. This isn’t about how I read it, it’s about how you read it.

          “Goodbye, I’m done, you have no right to complain if nobody responds to you.”

          I haven’t complained about that yet. I get responses. I just get people dancing around the question.

      • td says:

        Hey, JR- while i do not agree that divorce and homosexual sex are equivalent or comparable, i do understand why this is a good lens to look at when considering the mess in the UMC.

        The UMC only dealt with wanting to change the teaching on divorce when it got to the point where many clergy were divorcing- so our leaders and bishops decided the solution was to change the rules for clergy and get rid of divorce as a sin.

        Now today our leaders and bishops want to change the rules for clergy about same sex practice and remove it as a sin to protect their clergy who engage in this. Make no mistake, at the institutional level this is all about sheltering same-sex practicing UMC clergy from losing their jobs and pensions.

        And it would not be an issue at all if the clergy didn’t have opinions on these matters so wildly at odds with the laity in the pews.

        • JR says:

          Hi td!

          “Now today our leaders and bishops want to change the rules for clergy about same sex practice and remove it as a sin to protect their clergy who engage in this. Make no mistake, at the institutional level this is all about sheltering same-sex practicing UMC clergy from losing their jobs and pensions.”

          I don’t know that I agree with that, and I don’t know that you can definitively state that without being privy to conversations among the upper echelon of the church structure.

          There may not be a lot of people in the pews where you are that see homosexuality as an issue from the laity side of the UMC, but it’s pretty big in my area. Parishioners seem to be self-selecting based on the stance of the individual church. I’m doing that myself.

          But back to the primary point here:
          “The UMC only dealt with wanting to change the teaching on divorce when it got to the point where many clergy were divorcing- so our leaders and bishops decided the solution was to change the rules for clergy and get rid of divorce as a sin.”

          If the UMC is going to hold to the teaching that ‘practicing homosexuality’ is a sin, shouldn’t they also go back to the teaching that ‘practicing adultery’ in the form of divorce/remarriage is a sin?

          • td says:

            As you know, no, i do not think divorce and remarriage is the same as homosexual sex. Homosexual sex is always sinful. Divorce may or may not be sinful depending on the situation.

          • JR says:

            Hi td,

            I understand where you are coming from.

            Biblically, can divorce/remarriage be sinful? The answer is yes. So why do traditionalists in general ignore that? I realize I’m asking you to speak for others, but I don’t get the disconnect. I’m hoping you could help me understand it, because it honestly looks like hypocrisy from where I stand.

  23. Tracy says:

    I am so sadden by Methodist superintendents they are destroying the faith. communities want a solid established pastor this nonsense of moving a pastor every few years is killing the church the churches that are actually making a difference are building a relationship with the community and growing. drop the methodist money now i am so sadden by the greed of those and please know that just because you wear a cloth you are not of the Lord but if the pharises

    • Lynn says:

      Amen. so sad too of the corruption of those who think they are in charge GOD is and will be. Move now to a church that is following JESUS

  24. Scott says:

    Homosexuality is always forbidden in scripture. Divorce and remarriage are not always forbidden and in fact both Jesus and Paul offered exceptions….fornication and desertion…thus that dog doesn’t hunt. Finally….it is not the traditional UMs who are pushing the change…for leftist to suggest this absurd. Ken Collins laid this out masterfully and perhaps we clergy should keep our vows or move on

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