Friday, November 04, 2005

Baby Steps? Steps in the right direction for the United Methodists...

(HT: FOTF Pastor's weekly breifing)

Methodists Say 'No' to Gays

The highest judicial body in the United Methodist Church — the second largest Protestant church — has ruled 6-2 to de-frock "self-avowed practicing" lesbian Irene Stroud. The council also decided to reinstate Rev. Edward Johnson, pastor of South Hill United Methodist Church, who had been placed on involuntary, unpaid leave since last June for declining to accept a practicing homosexual as a member of his Virginia congregation.

A United Methodist Church court convicted Irene Stroud in 2003 when she disclosed her homosexual relationship, revoking her ordination based on the fact that the relationship was "incompatible with Christian teaching." She fought to overturn it, but the court upheld her conviction. "I think it's clear that the whole policy one day is going to be something that the church is going to be ashamed of," Stroud said. "I'm going to continue to work for change, with or without the credentials."

Conservative church leader, Rev. Jim Heidinger, however, said that the denomination must abide by its standards. "We've talked and debated and dialogued, and we do know what the church's position is," he said. "That's not agreeable or acceptable to everyone, but these two decisions have affirmed and sustained what the majority of folks believed to be the church's position."

With regard to the decision on the South Hill UMC pastor, the church's Judicial Council concluded that homosexuals have no automatic right to church membership and upheld the power of individual pastors to turn them away. Rev. Johnson maintained that, while he welcomed all persons to his church, homosexual conduct is contrary to Scripture.


In the past few months, the American Baptists have begun some similar (though not nearly as decisive yet) discussion. This is a good thing. Churches beginning to correct the liberals who have invaded their leadership and frequently their seminaries. Intellectual liberalism has frequently gone unchecked in these areas. I'm not opposed to change, but when change requires compromising clear Biblical truths, then it's a problem. I pray for a return to solid Biblical teaching in these Denominations.

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