Posts Tagged With: Homosexuality

Another Question re: Homosexuality

Question:  Will you perform same-sex marriages?

I can assure you I will not marry another man nor woman.  I also will not marry an adulterer who does not recognize his/her sin and has through the power of the Holy Spirit overcome it. I also will not marry someone I know who is an abuser. When I do marriage counseling, there are basically three questions that will be answered by the end of the counseling: 1. Is she going to still marry him 2. Is he still going to marry her and 3. Am I still going to marry them. As pastors, we are held to a higher standard. One that’s even higher than the supreme court…God’s judgement. James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, since you know that we will be judged more severely.” I believe that.

I also believe as Shane Idleman wrote much more eloquently than I could, “A false teacher can be anyone in a position of spiritual authority or claiming to be. Wolves don’t often attack wolves, but they do go after sheep. They bring destructive teachings and lies into the church, often, by telling people what they want to hear (cf. Jeremiah 23). They provide layers of truth mixed with error, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Jesus said, “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 7:15-16b).

Also, if the day comes where I am required by the United Methodist Church to perform these marriages, the sound you will be hearing will be my feet leaving the UM Church.

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Question about Homosexuality

I received this question from a friend of mine and I wanted to post my answer:  The Bishop he is referring to is the statement from the Bishop of the Kentucky Conference.

“Not looking for an argument, but what were Jesus’ thoughts on the matter (not what is says in Leviticus/Deuteronomy, not what Paul says, but Jesus himself)? I respect you, john, but would like some red-lettered perspective from anyone, including you if you’d like, to support this Bishop’s statement.”

My Answer:  Good question. While he does not address homosexuality, neither does he address honoring your father and mother (one of the big 10). He does say that I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. That is in red. He did call adultery a sin in union with what is said in the OT ( Exodus 20:14 and Proverbs 5:18-23). He called out the woman caught in adultery and said go and sin no more. Homosexuality is called a sin in both the Old and the New Testaments and so I believe the best course to take is that one Jesus took with the woman. In essence, I love you and do not condemn you…now go and sin no more. The reality of this debate comes down to a simple question…Is homosexuality a sin. Our Book of Faith (the Bible) is very clear on this. We may not like it but it is a sin and I can’t/won’t change my view on that. It does not become a non-sin just because the Supreme Court decision. It’s still a sin, just like murder, adultery, not honoring your father and mother. And I believe sin is anything that creates distance between humanity and the Father. We must take inventory in our own lives to determine the sin in our lives that is keeping us from the Father. If my sin is adultery, my saying it’s not a sin but a lifestyle or by saying “this is the way God created me” is nothing but a lie of Satan (whose goal is to keep distance between us and the Father). Please understand *****, this is much more than a decision by the Court. This is spiritual. It’s spiritual warfare over the relationship between humanity and God. Satan is the great liar and getting the world to buy into the myth that sin is not a sin is a pretty good accomplishment.

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Should United Methodist Pastor’s Perform Homosexual Marriages?

In light of recent events and discussions regarding marriages of homosexual persons performed by United Methodist Ordained Clergy, I have been asked regarding my position on this subject.  So, in this blog I will make an attempt to state my position with grace and steadfastness to my personal faith.

Is homosexuality a sin? 

It is my belief that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings.  Yes, I believe it is sinful.  However, I believe that all humanity is broken and we are all guilty of sin in whatever forms it presents itself.

Should United Methodist Ordained Clergy officiate homosexual weddings? 

No.

Every United Methodist Clergy took a vow at their ordination and said yes to the following question:  “Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church, accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine and discipline, defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word, and committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you, and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry?”  To which every ordained clergy answered, “I will, with the help of God.”  So, each clergy has vowed to “accept our doctrine and discipline.”   This doesn’t mean we have to agree with it nor is it a requirement that we have to like everything in the doctrine and discipline…however, we have vowed to accept it and defend it.

The 2012 United Methodist Discipline states: “¶ 341.6
Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

This is the rule of the United Methodist Church and if a clergy or a bishop officiates a wedding, they have broken their vow.  What does the willful and intentional breaking of one’s vow taken before God in a worship service say about said clergy’s honor?  We also don’t have the privilege of a “Line Item Veto” where the clergy can pick and choose what parts of the Discipline they will uphold and live by.  We vow to uphold and live by all the “doctrines and disciplines” of the church.  If a person cannot do that, then they should pursue another avenue to live out their calling. 

Each year as a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry, I ask the question of Candidates for the Ordination of Elder, “Will you itinerate?”  Like it or not being itinerate is part of our church.  If the candidate refuses to be itinerate, he or she should not be a United Methodist Ordained Elder.  I believe the same is true as to someone who is so opposed to the UM stance on conducting homosexual marriages and are willing to violate the Discipline and their Ordination vow.  It’s simple, this is the rule of law within the church, you’re taking a vow to uphold and abide by that rule and if you are going to refuse to minister by that rule…DON’T TAKE THE VOW!

It all comes down to a choice for the clergy and clergy candidates

–       Can I take a vow to “accept and defend” something I may not like or am opposed?

–       Will the rule of the United Methodist Church keep me from ministering in a way I feel called?

–       Will I break or maintain a vow that I have taken before God?

If you disagree with church doctrine, there are other options rather than violating a vow and just breaking the rules.  One can move to change the doctrine using the appropriate channels and means that have been laid out.  You can change to a denomination that better fits your theology and beliefs or one can always turn in credentials.

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Bishop Wallace-Padgett’s Brave Response

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I (along with all the clergy and many lay members who are on the Bishops e-mailing list) received the email posted below regarding a retired UM Bishop who plans to marry a homosexual couple in Birmingham.  I want to say how proud of the leadership of Bishop Deborah Wallace-Padgett.  Her response to this event is certainly to bring her under attack from within our church in addition to those outside our church.  I stand with her and for her as she leads our Conference in a way that is first and foremost Biblical (Old Testament and New Testament) and is in accordance with our denominational rule of law found in the 2012 Book of Discipline. 

Read the post on the North Alabama UMC website by clicking here. 

Below is her e-mail to clergy and laity:

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Dear Clergy and Lay Members of the North Alabama Annual Conference,

Good things are happening in North Alabama. I am appreciative of you and your ministry. You are making a difference in your churches and communities.

I want to share with you my press release in response to an upcoming event planned by two North Alabama lay persons and a bishop from another region in the country. I have urged the bishop to not officiate at the event which centers on a complex issue that is polarizing our society and church. The anticipated media coverage of this event will test our capacity to remain focused on our vision, mission and priorities that have emerged over the past year. Please join me in committing to stay focused on the mission of the United Methodist Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Thank you for your prayers for all involved as well as your leadership and ministry.

Blessings,
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett

 


Press Release

A retired United Methodist bishop from another region of the country notified me that in late October he plans to travel to North Alabama to officiate at the celebration of a ceremony of a same-sex couple who were recently married in Washington, D.C.  Though the couple are members of a United Methodist Church in the North Alabama Conference, the celebration will not take place in a United Methodist Church.  I urged the retired bishop to reconsider as his officiating at this ceremony would be in violation of United Methodist Church law.

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church, not a retired bishop, represents the United Methodist Church around this and other social issues.  It is the only body that can set official policy and speak for the denomination. The General Conference of the United Methodist Church meets every four years.  The most recent General Conference took place in 2012 and consisted of nearly 1,000 delegates from around the world.

Our 2012 Book of Discipline affirms that all persons are of sacred worth and that God’s grace is available to all. Every person is welcome in our churches.  It also states that we consider the practice of homosexuality as incompatible with Christian teaching. Our ministers are not permitted to conduct ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions or perform same sex wedding ceremonies.  For a bishop or any ordained or licensed minister to disregard a law of the church creates a breach of the covenant they made at their consecration, ordination or licensing.

As a Bishop of the United Methodist Church, I am committed to abide by and uphold the Book of Discipline (church law) of the United Methodist Church.

This statement is for release in its entirety with no redactions.

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
North Alabama Conference

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