November 14, 2019

Heather Edna: Doing Harm to the Gospel – A Response to the Just Resolution in the Case of Rev. Anna Blaedel

Heather Edna is an ordination candidate in the United Methodist Church.

 

UM Voices is a forum for different voices within the United Methodist Church on pressing issues of denominational concern. UM Voices contributors represent only themselves and not IRD/UMAction.

 

Seeing as the “just resolution” in the case of Rev. Anna Blaedel could not identify the harm caused by an ordained elder in the UMC unabashedly unrepentant for sexual immorality, I feel compelled to name the harm perpetuated by Rev. Blaedel: The “unrepentant queer” (Blaedel’s own self-description) reverend preaches, in words and demonstration, a false gospel, the impact of which has eternal consequences and harms those who believe it.

This false gospel explicitly contradicts the most basic statement of the way of salvation spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ: “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Blaedel’s false gospel affirms sexual immorality with the excuse that those who identify as LGBTQ are born into homosexual attractions and that those attractions are somehow essential to their very being. Is homosexuality a special category of sin so different from the other struggles we face as fallen people? If we are all born inclined to sin, how are we to understand this exception? Jesus makes it clear that we are all born spiritually dead: “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:6-7) The false gospel Rev. Blaedel promotes denies the power of the resurrection to bring life to the spiritually dead.

Who am I to call out the harm of Blaedel’s false gospel? I am an individual who, if I bought into the philosophy of LGBTQ identity, would identify as queer. From a young age, I experienced same-sex attraction and followed my lust. As LGBTQ vocabulary emerged in our culture, I realized that my inclinations are more specifically described as “queer.” I still face these attractions and determine daily, by God’s grace, not to pursue lust—from remaining mentally faithful in marriage to my husband to saying “no” to media that would fuel unfaithful attractions. In following Christ and in defending the Gospel, I am acutely mindful of 1 Corinthians 6:11: “Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

I am an individual who recognizes the impact the false gospel Rev. Blaedel demonstrates would have had on me at a different stage in my life. It most certainly would have fostered confusion about the trustworthiness of Scripture. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?” (John 3:10-12). If seemingly straightforward passages in Scripture addressing carnal issues are muddy, how can we stake our eternal hopes on the radical vision and promise of Heaven described in Revelation 21?

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

This is my existential hope, that the power of Christ breaks the bondage of sin in me and all Creation. By denying this power in their own life, Rev. Blaedel preaches a different gospel and harms the witness of the trustworthy Gospel, that the Lord Jesus Christ has power to make all things new. Rev. Blaedel harms those who identify as LGBTQ by denying the power of Christ available to them to be born again and reconciled to God. Rev. Blaedel’s witness of unrepentance says one does not need to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. That very much harms the souls who believe it.

 


12 Responses to Heather Edna: Doing Harm to the Gospel – A Response to the Just Resolution in the Case of Rev. Anna Blaedel

  1. Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary (ret. UM clergy) says:

    Thanks to the author. And there’s more to add.

    In “Just Resolution Declared” written by Iowa Conference Bishop Laurie Haller, Haller apologized to her, praised her as a trailblazer, and accused those upholding the Discipline of creating harm. The Bishop accepted zero responsibility in the matter.

    Read Bishop Haller’s apology at this link (https://tinyurl.com/uoy7js9 ), wherein she states: “Anna, I want to apologize to you today publicly for the harm that you have experienced, not only because of this complaint, but because of previous complaints as well. Our complaint process in The United Methodist Church is brutal, and the weight of the LGBTQIA community has been on your shoulders. Punishing people because of how God created them is not what God ever intended for us human beings. Each person is created in God’s image.”

    A more candid and authentic apology would have been this confession from the Bishop:

    Anna, I apologize to you, and others, for the failure of the UM Bishops, collectively, and the conferences’ Boards of Ordained Ministry, for not making clear to you, and others in the LGBTQIA community, the meaning of those BoD provisions concerning human-sexuality that apply to you, and all candidates, for the ordained UMC ministry. Our negligence is primarily responsible for the ensuing, difficult complaint process you and others have experienced, for we have been neither serious, nor diligent, in enforcing the BoD.

    Instead, the Bishop blames unnamed others in what is a bold display of the absence of leadership.

    • William says:

      Amen. It is not only an absence of leadership — it is an absence of faith and belief in the Word of God. Too many of our bishops do not believe in the God of the Bible.

      As has been asked many times before, why do these people remain in a denomination with which they reject and loathe?

  2. Stuart Sherman says:

    Heather, Thank You for your honest and bold witness!

  3. Stan says:

    Heather, I have been journeying with the Side B Christians in the Lutheran Church through Revoice these last two years. I was hoping and praying that we UM’s would also have Side B witnesses – the primary voice our denom needs to counter our all-or-nothing fixation on LGBT+ affirmation. I am inwardly cheering as I read your courageous words. Thank you for your bold witness.

  4. Thank you for your boldness!!! Very well spoken!

  5. Charles says:

    Thank you for your witness and your courage.

  6. Michael B. Coats says:

    Heather, I want to tell you that I respect your commitment to the Gospel. I admire you for recognizing and communicating that there is nothing in this world that can satisfy like the Lord Jesus Christ. As God’s people, we are all called to surrender our whole selves to God, and you are very clearly an example of what that means. Thank you for your faithful example.

  7. Chip Truitt says:

    Matthew 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

    I Never Knew You
    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    Lawlessness is sin, and to practice lawlessness is to commit unrepentant sin. God tells us in Holy Scripture that homosexual conduct is sin. Thus, those who practice homosexual conduct without repentance will not enter heaven according to Jesus Christ.

  8. David Gingrich says:

    Thank you for your faithfulness and example, Ms. Edna. We are all, every one, tempted by Satan in diverse ways.

  9. Pudentiana says:

    Your honest words are a blessing of cool water in a dry land to those of us who long for the Truth to be spoken by the Bishops and the clergy of our denomination. May God guard, guide and bless your ministry, dear sister.

  10. shiphrah puah says:

    Rosaria Butterfield’s books are a great help.

  11. Thank you for telling it as it really is and God’s best to you in the times ahead as Jesus tarries in His return to this sin saturated world 🙂

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