Wednesday, April 27, 2016
“No one can serve two masters.
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The following is a rather odd quote from 1982; it isn’t odd in word or thought – just that I’m quoting my own words from that time:
“Today we live in an extremely complicated and complex society with lightning fast computers, space travel and lifestyles. It seems that in all the hurry-up and confusion of our modern existence, some Christians tend to compromise on what is sinful, passing off what used to be called sin as acceptable social behavior.”
I wrote those words 34 years ago as a young pastor; true words then, and no less accurate today.
An issue that is constantly in the news media today, and therefore, agonizingly highlights the timeless reality of human compromise of core principles of the Christian faith, is LGBTQ behavior; in particular, same-sex marriage.
For the denomination I serve (United Methodist), this past Saturday (April 23, 2016) in Charlotte, NC, a door was opened in this ongoing conflict which will be impossible to ignore, much less close. Two men exchanged wedding vows and were legally recognized by the state as married. Those officiating at the ceremony were a retired bishop and the current pastor, both ordained in the UMC.
What was door-opening about this ceremony is that it was held inside the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Charlotte. The actions (both using a denominationally-owned building, and officiating the ceremony by UMC clergy) are clearly in violation of the denomination’s rules, The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.
A larger, and for me more disturbing reality, is that this isn’t the first time for the bishop, Melvin Talbert. This wasn’t his first same-sex marriage rodeo, or as I call it, denominational and ordinational disobedience.
Here are more 34 year old words from my note file:
“…some Christians have lost the Spirit-guided ability to distinguish between what is and isn’t sin. They see things as grey – not black and white. However, the Bible says we cannot serve two masters.”
Marriage between two persons of the same sex is counterfeit. Just like forged currency is supposed to trick you into thinking you possess the real thing, two men or women standing before a preacher at a church chancel does not result in marriage in any sense of the Biblical meaning; it is merely an appearance of the real thing.
Whatever the state does or doesn’t do in recognizing the “marriage forgery” of same-sex unions – and whatever the UMC legal entities do or don’t do concerning appropriate consequences for the bishop and pastor who have violated their sacred vows of ordination, my prayer is that Christ is lifted up for the whole world to see. Because in that witness is contained either condemnation (for those who choose to “ordain a forgery”) or a witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is, according to Paul(Romans 1:16) the power of God unto salvation.
In all, may all men be brought low, and Christ’s name be praised.
Homosexuality isn’t the only failure to honor God in our culture today.
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…and have a blessed day!