United Methodists are aware that every four years we engage in a political free-for-all known as General Conference. There, decisions are made (or muddied) regarding the “how and why” of Methodist’s theological, political and cultural company policy; this is how we do (ahem) holy conferencing.
The tongue-in-cheek tenor of that last sentence is necessary to describe the flurry of agenda and political machinations that fly like a plague of locusts, denuding the Conference of any sense of “holy”.
To be sure, I have followed General Conference and its decisions from afar, having never attended, but watching with interest and prayer.
For the years of my association with United Methodism (since 2005), but certainly much longer than that (some say the last half-century), one of the more hotly-debated agenda issues is full-inclusion for same-sex oriented persons. What is desired by the lobbying groups is allowing LGBT persons to join as members and be eligible to serve in any capacity within the church – locally and in District, Annual or General Conference.
So, this is not new news; what is relatively new is bishops, both retired and active, flagrantly ignoring the church laws they were elected – and agreed to – uphold! My view on this and the homosexuality issue in general has been previously published.
I want to share with you today a resource which, in my opinion, clearly articulates why so-called full inclusion is wrong and those who are pushing for this are serving to de-rail the church from its mission.
Dr. Ben Witherington is a life-long United Methodist. In a recent blog-post (one in a series of four) he wrote:
In regard to the issue of ‘welcoming’ and ‘affirming’ these are two different issues. All persons are welcome to come to the church as they are. No one is welcome to stay as they are since we are all sinners. Everyone is expected to change, and no one should expect to have their sin baptized and called good by the church. (See Dr. Witherington’s posts)
Among the other major points Dr. Witherington makes:
1. Homosexuality is NOT Biblically sound.
2. Same-sex marriage is NOT affirmed in Scripture.
3. The church is to stand firm against such practices.
4. If, within the church agreement cannot be reached, there should be separation.
This is a sampling of what you will find at the links provided below, and I urge you to prayerfully read all four parts of his series.
Many of you who receive this daily devotional are United Methodist; about half are not.
Methodists – you know we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to put this Gospel train back on sound Scriptural tracks. Be informed; be involved.
Non-Methodists – pray for us, that we will turn back this listing ship to the days of Wesley’s hot pursuit to spread Scriptural holiness across the land.
 Acronym for Lesbian/Gay/Bi-sexual/Trans-gender persons