Friday, March 01, 2019

United Methodists Say "No" to LGBTQ Agenda, However...

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Not every Methodist agrees. The far Left widely read Atlantic is reporting the church is "fractured over the role of LGBTQ people in the denomination."

Yesterday marked the 235th anniversary of John Wesley chartering the first Methodist church in America.

A closer look at Scripture and Wesley's message gives clarity to exactly what LGBTQ people's role should be.

Be informed.

A divided church.

The United Methodist Church convened in St. Louis this week specifically to address divisions over LGBTQ issues.

Members voted to toughen prohibitions on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy. Advocates of the LGBTQ agenda wept and consoled themselves promising to fight another day.

The far Left widely read Atlantic says,
"The United Methodist Church has fractured over the role of LGBTQ people in the denomination. At a special conference in St. Louis this week, convened specifically to address divisions over LGBTQ, members voted to toughen prohibitions on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy."

The Atlantic says, "This was a surprise: The denomination's bishops, its top clergy, pushed hard for a resolution that would have allowed local congregations, conferences, and ordaining LGBTQ pastors."

"This proposal, called 'One Church Plan', was designed to keep the denomination together" the Atlantic explains, but "Methodist delegates rejected its recommendations, instead choosing the so-called 'Traditional Plan, which affirmed the denomination's teachings against homosexuality."

The Atlantic, hopefully, prophecies, "This is a consequential vote for the future of the United Methodist Church: Many progressive churches will now almost certainly consider leaving the denomination."

The Atlantic then goes through a long list of traditional beliefs held by the church since its founding by John Wesley in 1784.

Clearly, the leadership of the church is out of touch with biblical teaching and the members of their church.

The United Methodist Church is often described as a "liberal mainline church," this vote says something different.

In a recent poll of its American members, the denomination found that 44% of respondents described their religious beliefs as traditional or conservative, 28% said they are moderate or centrist and only 20% identified as progressive or liberal.

Aislinn Deviney, a delegate from Rio, Texas, said, "I am a young, evangelical delegate. We young evangelicals want you to know that we are here. And we are striving to leave a legacy of scriptural holiness for generations to come."

That, of course, would be exactly what John Wesley hoped and prayed for.

Wesley said,
"I have seen ( as for as can be seen) many persons changed in a moment from the spirit of horror, fear and despair to the spirit of hope, joy, peace; and from sinful desires till then reigning over them, to a pure desire of doing the will of God."

One of the delegates told the press, "Traditional believers regard scripture as being as being the ultimate authority. When it comes to something like our teachings on human sexuality and what the Bible spells out as the boundaries there, those are essentials."

Yet another said, "I am a 32-year-old, and I am one of the youngest delegates here. For a denomination who claims to so desperately to want young people in our churches, maybe we need to reevaluate."

The delegate Alyson Shahan, from Oklahoma, supported the idea of ignoring Scripture and simply including LGBTQ and affirming their sexual behavior as "normal."

Another conference will take place in 2020. Those trying to change the church doctrines and ignore or delete scriptural teaching on human sexuality promise to fight on.

While this conference was for US UMC members, the United States represents only 60% of worldwide members.

The United Methodist Church is growing significantly in Africa and other nations. Interestingly, these churches are all committed to Wesley's beliefs---biblical Christianity.

A voice from Africa spoke to the conference.

Dr. Jerry P. Kulah was an invited speaker for the conference. He is Dean of Gbarnga School of Theology, United Methodist University in Liberia.

I would encourage you to read his entire speech. It takes about 4 minutes.

After some gracious opening remarks, Kulah said:
"As I understand it, the plans before us seek to find a lasting solution to the long debate over our church's sexual ethics, its teachings on marriage, and its ordination standards."
"This debate and numerous acts of defiance have brought the United Methodist Church to a crossroads" (Jeremiah 6:16).
"One plan invites the people called United Methodists to take a road in opposition to the Bible and two thousand years of Christian teachings" Dr. Kulah told the audience. He said, " Going down that road would divide the church. Those advocating for the One Church Plan would have us take that road."

He explains that all persons are of equal worth created in the image and likeness of God---"We warmly welcome all people to our churches" ---"While we commit ourselves to in ministry for and with all persons, we do not celebrate same-sex marriage"...nor "Condone the practice of homosexuality and consider it incompatible with Christian teaching."

He spoke of "welcoming them,, praying for them and "to experience the joy of transformation with them."

He declared, "We are grounded in God's Word and the gracious and clear teachings of our church."

He continued to make the case for staying true to biblical teaching.

The irony.

For generations, US churches sent missionaries around the world, preaching the gospel and planting churches. I have personally been involved in that mission---including in Africa. Millions of evangelical churches have resulted from "going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature."

Ironically, the second and third generation of those evangelism efforts are now returning to America to preach the same gospel to us that we preached to their parents and grandparents.

And about the United Methodist Church.

NPR reported that Methodist membership has fallen in the US by about 300,000 between 2014 and 2016 because of this issue.

Those churches in the US who are embracing the LGBTQ agenda are nearly empty.

NPR concludes that while the Methodist Church may ultimately not continue to be united, it certainly will continue. And the biblical group will carry on preaching the gospel and reaching people.

While the denomination has lost about 300,000 in the past couple of years over this divide, globally the Methodist Church is growing exponentially.

Dr. Kulah told the audience:
"Africans are not children in need of western enlightenment when it comes to the church's sexual ethics." He said "We do not need to hear a progressive US Bishop lecture us about our need to 'grow up.'

And in regard to the threats from the progressives in the church of cutting mission money to Africa, he said: "The vast majority of African United Methodists will never, ever trade Jesus and the truth of the Bible for money."

Pray for this man and his people.

John Wesley would be proud.

Wesley once said,
"Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven upon Earth."

The gates of hell are being shaken.

Be Encouraged. Be Informed. Be Prayerful.