Liberia’s United Methodists keep ban on divorced clergy becoming bishops

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Members of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, attend a special welcoming and thanksgiving service honoring Bishop John G. Innis.  Photo by Julu Swen, courtesy of UMNS

Members of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, attend a special welcoming and thanksgiving service honoring Bishop John G. Innis. Photo by Julu Swen, courtesy of UMNS

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(RNS) The church’s leaders say the ban brings moral credibility to the office and guides the conduct of those who want to be bishop.

  • Larry

    Liberia is a country which is recovering from both an Ebola epidemic and the effects of one of the bloodiest civil wars in Africa. I am sure that whether clergy can be divorced really ranks up there with important issues that must be addressed by churches in that nation. /sarcasm

  • JR

    Do any Protestant sects have doctrines that are followed universally? Is there any church that has a leader as the Catholics do? How are any of them representative of God’s one truth?

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  • Billysees

    Charles,

    Didn’t all of the New Testament churches eventually fail, except for one? Why and how could that happen? Paul’s words seem empty when he describes church conduct yet he has no lasting example to point to.

    As I understand it, the only NT church to survive since that period is the Catholic Church we have today. And they give Peter the credit for that.

    What happened to Paul’s work?

  • gordon elliott

    I agree. There are other issues here in Liberia. So it is sad that the church needs to keep reinforcing basic morality and Biblical fidelity when indeed it could be addressing other issues. There needs to be a return to an unconditional acceptance of truth, the Bible. The word of God is to mold our behavior. Our behavior is not to mold the truth.

  • Shawnie5

    Paul planted many churches in the eastern portion of the Roman empire — the area that eventually was overrun (and Christianity mostly wiped out) by Islam.

  • Diogenes

    All the orthodox responses here seem to show a clear insight to Scripture. The Liberian Methodists have taken the proper tack insofar as the church is concerned, clearly there are other serious issues in Liberia and elsewhere, but that does not eliminate the need for people of faith to practice that faith consistent with the bible, though others outside the faith view it as pointless in the best case and regressive in the worst. Every sect, branch, version, etc. of any faith experiences practical anomalies in the behavior of its adherents, that does not invalidate the organic process. Even the RCC with one supreme head experiences internal dispute. In the case of Christianity, the answer lies in returning to primary source documents, i.e. the bible, as the Liberians are doing with respect to church leadership. Those outside the faith don’t have a dog in the fight; it is a wholly internal issue

  • Jeff Mayhugh

    The difference between the United Methodists in Liberia and those in the United States is that the United Methodists in Liberia believe in Christ and accept His Scriptures. The United Methodists in the United States are prone to toss out any Scriptural morality they deem inconvenient.

  • Larry

    I am absolutely certain the people who were conscripting child soldiers, using slave labor to work diamond mines and stealing everything not nailed down in a 2 nation radius considered themselves good Christians. Like a everyone else in the country.

    The church has its priorities all backwards. Your reaction is similarly out of touch with reality, sanity, morality and common sense. But addressing doctrines on divorce is far easier than addressing war, atrocities and suffering.

    People who talk about “unconditional truth of the Bible” usually like enforcing such ideas on unconsenting populace.

  • Larry

    Obviously Liberian Methodists aren’t worth any time and effort to take seriously. They would rather dither about divorce than minister to an impoverished, war torn, plague stricken, population. Why care about people in a real way when you can waste time on irrelevant points of doctrine?

    Christian doctrinaire thinking at its most pointless.

  • James

    Can you demonstrate that the church is not doing both?

  • John S.

    No, the iron fisted rule of a monarch is generally not seen within Protestant churches unlike the Roman Catholic sect. Even in the cases where there is a presiding bishop the authority is severly limited. The Orthodox Patriarchs might be close but I understand that it still doesn’t approach the level of the Pope. As for the other miscellaneous catholic sects some recognize the RC Pope but many do not.

  • Larry

    The fact that this story has made news beyond the nation’s borders and alleged efforts to minister to the war/plague/corruption/poverty stricken population has not. I am pretty sure people abroad are interested in stories of war, famine and pestilence.

  • Billysees

    Shawnie5,

    Thanks for your interesting answer. I’ve always wanted to ask that question.

    Paul could well come back then and say, ” hey fellas, look at all the churches that still recognize my authority ‘today’. “

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