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United Methodists to hold special session on LGBTQ inclusion in 2019

Bishop Karen Oliveto, left, greets Dixie Brewster ahead of the opening of oral arguments before the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting on April 25, 2017, in Newark, N.J. Brewster is a petitioner questioning whether a gay pastor can serve as a bishop in the United Methodist Church. At rear is the Rev. Keith Boyette, representing Brewster before the council. Photo courtesy of UMNS/Mike DuBose

(RNS) The United Methodist Church will hold a special session of its General Conference to settle questions of LGBTQ inclusion that have vexed the global denomination for years.

The announcement came Tuesday (April 25), the same day the denomination’s highest court held a hearing on whether an openly gay pastor can serve as bishop.

The General Conference, the United Methodist Church’s top legislative body, typically meets every four years. At last year’s meeting in Portland, Ore., it voted to defer all decisions about human sexuality to a specially appointed commission and left the door open for a special session.

Now that special session will be held Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis.

“As a delegate to the last General Conference, I am glad we will finally have time to address the issues we put off in 2016,” said John Lomperis, United Methodist director of the Institute on Religion & Democracy, a group that describes itself as a voice for “Christian orthodoxy.”

It’s possible delegates once again could put off decision-making, much like they had at the 2016 General Conference, Lomperis added, citing “the very powerful forces of institutional inertia.” But he said he remained hopeful.

The Commission on a Way Forward — 32 members appointed by bishops who represent different countries and interpretations of the role of LGBTQ people in the church — since has met three times.

Matt Berryman, a member of the commission, called the special session “an anticipated and appropriate final summons to the church — to get its head out of the sand and to faithfully engage reality instead of pandering to fear-based scriptural interpretation.”

Berryman also is executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network, a network of United Methodist congregations and other groups supporting inclusion.

The commission’s work has been “very pragmatic,” he said, acknowledging disagreement over LGBTQ inclusion in the church and discussing how to keep the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States from splitting, if possible.

Bishop Bruce Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, responded to rumors on May 17, 2016, saying the bishops were only discussing “new structures,” during the United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. RNS photo by Emily Miller

The purpose of the special session will be limited to receiving and acting on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the commission’s recommendations, according to the letter calling for the special session from Bishop Bruce Ough, president of the Council of Bishops.

In the meantime, many of the denomination’s smaller jurisdictional and annual conferences in the United States have made their own decisions regarding LGBTQ clergy.

“The United Methodist Church has these biblical standards on sexual morality for our ordained clergy, and the question is: Do regional bodies have the right to set their own standards, or do they have to follow the whole denominationwide standards?” Lomperis said.

“On paper, everybody had to follow the same standards. That’s what our rules say fairly explicitly. But de facto there have been regions that have been trying to live according to a different reality.”

The Oliveto case

The Judicial Council is considering several of those decisions and is expected to rule on them as early as Friday. Most notable is the question, discussed Tuesday during an open hearing, of whether the election of an openly gay or lesbian bishop is lawful under the denomination’s Book of Discipline.

Bishop Karen Oliveto, center, visits with her mother, Nelle Oliveto, left, and her wife, Robin Ridenour, outside the meeting of the United Methodist Judicial Council on April 25, 2017, in Newark, N.J. Photo courtesy of UMNS/Mike DuBose

According to the Book of Discipline, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” meaning “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers or appointed to serve.

“It’s a critical moment in terms of the longer story, which the General Conference of 2019 is a part of,” Berryman said.

“This is a major way station along the way. It doesn’t affect that the commission still has its work to do. It doesn’t change that, but it does sort of place the church in a different position with regard to LGBT inclusion depending on what the outcome is.”

The Rev. Karen Oliveto, a married lesbian, became the United Methodist Church’s first openly LGBTQ bishop in July when she was consecrated as bishop of the Mountain Sky Area, which includes churches in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana, as well as one church in Idaho.

Her election is noted along with the motion for a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council, and she attended Tuesday’s hearing with all but one of the bishops in the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, she said. She noted there are a few churches in her area struggling with her appointment and said she is committed to creating a place for all views.

And, Oliveto said, “If my mail is any indication, I really believe the people in the pews, at least in the United States, have moved beyond this, and our polity has not caught up.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

117 Comments

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  • “If my mail is any indication, I really believe the people in the pews, at least in the United States, have moved beyond this, and our polity has not caught up.”

    Correct doctrine isn’t determined by what you say or what those in the pews say. Truth is determined by God and is revealed in His word.

    Should the UMC decide to normalize a sexual perversion and a sin, then that church will split – just like the Episcopal church, just like the Presbyterian Church US, just like several others. And their church membership will decline drastically like those others did.

    What will happen in 10 years to the Episcopal Church? Episcopalians tend to be older than the general population. Overall, 31% of Episcopal members are age 65+, as compared to only 14% of the U.S. population.

    How about the UMC? The average age of United Methodists rose to 57 in 2014, making it one of the oldest Christian denominations. https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2016/05/on-the-political-leanings-of-methodists/483683/

    If the UMC soundly trounces the LGBT movement in that church, I look for them to leave. On the other hand if the UMC leadership embraces the LGBT movement I look for the traditionalists/conservatives to split – which they should – and form a traditional conference. I really think the Bishops will most probably vote their pension fund and retain the status quo.

  • 2019 may be a decisive year, but the real action is happening this very week.

    The Methodist Book Of Discipline effectively lives or dies this week, depending on what the Judicial Council decides concerning the openly unrepentant, lesbian-married Bishop Oliveto. It’s a critical decision.

    Either the Book Of Discipline is authoritative and binding on Methodist clergy at least for 2017-2018, or it is NOT. So either Oliveto actually loses her high Bishop position (in accordance with the clearly written standards), or else the Book Of Discipline is up-front destroyed this very week.

    Watch for any Judicial Council news, especially this week and next week. The Methodists are on the brink.

  • After leaving the Mormons over their treatment of LGBTQ, I never plan to attend or be a member of any church that is not LGBTQ-affirming. When my mom passed almost 20 years ago, it was my gay Mormon cousin who helped the most with my loss, far more so than all the “good” Mormons in my own ward (or congregation). The pressure on California Mormons to support Prop 8 was a bridge too far for me. While the Methodist Church has a lot to offer, the ugly fight over LGBTQ inclusion is not one of them.

  • I think it is absolute nonsense for Conservatives to claim that Heterosexual Marriage is THE most important value in Christianity. Love of Neighbor and of God is most important. Jesus stated in Luke 14:26 that at times we must “hate” our family. This doesn’t mean we can’t have a family, but rather family is a more relative value than a normative or ultimate value. AND, Evangelicals claim that God can work through Donald Trump, who harasses women and has been married three times. Yet they claim that God can’t work through Karen Oliveto, who clearly is in a far healthier relationship with her wife than Trump has with his wife. And clearly Oliveto has the gifts and graces for Ministry, which no one denies. Trump really has no ability whatsoever to be President. This clearly shows very poor judgment on the part of many Conservatives- of course there are exceptions, at least I hope there are.

  • 1. Those who voted for Bill Clinton have no right to judge those who voted for Donald Trump.
    2. The greatest value in Christianity is Romans 10:9 “…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
    3. Immorality is never condoned by the bible and in fact disqualifies a Christian from leadership positions. The Bible never normalizes sin/immorality, it never sanctions it, it never excuses it, it never condones it, it never overlooks it – but unrepentant sin is always judged. And homosexual sexual behavior is sin. Should the UMC “legalize” that perversion they have no logical reason to deny adulterers access to their pulpits or those who like animals or those who want more than one wife/husband or a combination of them or those who think incest is ok.
    Those others are against the law, you say. Well in God’s book gay marriage is an impossibility.
    As Lincoln said: “How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” Same thing is true with so-called gay marriage. You may recognize it but God doesn’t.

  • 1. sure they do.
    2. nothing about heterosexuality there. Or methodists.
    3. 2 Corinthians 2Rump is a Christian. He said so. He is divorced, and by his own conduct, I would guess adulterous and fornicating. And yet he’s president. Wrong again.
    4. God is your sock puppet..

  • Bill Clinton like the rest of us has moral failings, but he never advocated hatred. Though he is a Baptist and closely associated with a Pentecostal church, he is effectively a Methodist by marriage.
    The use of the term “perversion” here is reprehensible.

  • 1. Well, that just shows what hypocrites they are
    2. meh
    3. Never have defended Trumps behavior.
    4. Adultery by church leaders results in their being fired – usually.
    5. And you are god’s sock puppet

  • Evangelicals claim that God works through Donald Trump, who clearly does not exemplify any Christian values of any kind, but not through LGBT, such as Karen Oliveto, who clearly does exemplify the fruits of the Spirit . The point wasn’t that God works through Bill Clinton, even though what he did was far more consensual than what Trump did. Clinton also didn’t abandon his wife for someone younger as Republicans Evangelicals champion such as Newt Gingrich. Gingrich abandoned his wife for a younger woman because his wife got sick. Jesus clearly taught that divorcing one’s wife and marrying another is adultery, yet this was OK to most Evangelicals but not Karen Oliveto’s faithful marriage to her wife. Also the United Methodist Discipline states that War is incompatible with the Teachings of Jesus, yet many Evangelicals advocate the use of nuclear weapons. Jesus clearly taught we should Love our Enemies and that means national enemies as well.

  • God is concerned with our faithfulness to Him first and foremost. A woman marrying another woman is unfaithfulness to God.
    Are you advocating for the disbanding of the police force? After all, they may kill a really bad guy.
    But see, we are also responsible for protecting the weak and helpless not only on a local level but also on a national level – hence the military. And the fact that we went back into Japan, Germany, and Italy and practically rebuilt them is tantamount to showing love to our enemies.

  • When they say we will decide in 2019, why? Because they only want to be where the people’s thinking is. They realize membership is not growing and the older members are dying off. I don’t see how waiting 2 years is going to make anyone think the Methodist Church is the place to be.

  • I certainly don’t oppose equal treatment of gays and lesbians wishing to serve their church, but when is the UMC going to hold a special session at a future General Conference, to settle questions–the CENTRAL QUESTION, actually, about the primacy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the ONLY power capable of transforming lives, churches, and the deep divisions in this country?

    The UMC has placed their trust in politics without realizing that such misplaced trust just deepens the divisions!

  • What a sad commentary on Methodist Church leaders to even raise the issue of whether to allow practicing homosexuals to continue as pastors and even a Bishop. Does not God’s laws and rules for holy living and Biblical standards supersede society’s roller-coaster changing values? Jesus loves sinners and died for our sins, but cannot affirm our rejection of his holiness standards. Our Methodist leaders appear to please the world rather than God.

  • “Does not God’s laws and rules for holy living and Biblical standards supersede society’s roller-coaster changing values?”

    There are no such things as “God’s laws and rules.” They are merely delusional and/or fraudulent assertions made by men claiming to speak for a god (a god that they invented).

    If rational human thought grounded in reason, evidence, and logic can produce agreement with a god’s so-called laws and rules, then they can be accepted. Otherwise, they should be rejected. And, the increasing acceptance of homosexuality is a perfect example of that.

    People are finally realizing that the existence of homosexuality causes no harm whatsoever to anyone, and thus it is not immoral despite the views of people still clinging to the writings of ignorant ancient writers.

    The earth and humanity would benefit by more homosexuality and less heterosexuality because 1) it would reduce the vast number of unwanted/unintended pregnancies, and 2) it would provide more adoptive parents to care for the unwanted/unintended children still being produced, and 3) it would reduce the number of abortions. Therefore, the Bible should be ignored on the issue of homosexuality because the assertions contained in it have no basis in rational thinking and evidence.

    And furthermore, advocating the full social acceptance of gay people strengthens family bonds, and thus it is the authentic pro-family position. It is the anti-gay crowd who are actually anti-family by doing everything they can to tear families apart.

  • “Correct doctrine isn’t determined by what you say or what those in the pews say. Truth is determined by God and is revealed in His word.”
    And yet every denomination, from the first century, even in Paul’s day, has defined itself through separation from those who differ in doctrine. It seems the only truly centralizing doctrine for Christianity is trust in Jesus Christ as God’s salvific revelation of Divine Self. Else, why the Nicene and Apostle’s creeds?
    Given that there is revelation of God through the scripture, can there be revelation also outside the scripture? John 20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe[d] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

  • Sure it is. There’s two perversions to every story. It’s a meaningless insult from whitebread breeders that just means “I don’t wike it.”

  • Yeah, about that, I don’t think we’re going to be going there. I don’t think any of the Mainlines will.

  • BINGO! I was thinking exactly the same thing. WHY do Evangelicals oppose homosexuality WHILE they oppose abortion? Don’t they realize that the more people are Gay and Lesbian, the fewer abortions there would be? Homosexuality NEVER produces unplanned pregnancies. If a gay man or Lesbian wanted to have a child, it wouldn’t happen by accident and they would really have to want the child.

  • Why isn’t God’s justice, which means God is on the side of the downtrodden and oppressed important in this debate? There are MANY scriptures which state that God is on the side of the oppressed. LGBT clearly are oppressed, since they are subject to the death penalty and ostracism in many cultures. AND anyway, if you are going to quote Leviticus, it NEVER says anything about Lesbianism at all. An Orthodox Rabbi I see stated that Lesbianism wasn’t forbidden for the Gentiles. The New Testament standard mainly mirrors what was expected of Gentiles in Jewish law anyway. And Leviticus only forbids anal sex between males, but not oral sex according to this Rabbi. The Greek word used in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 6:9 (αρσενοκοιτης) only means anal sex as well. Heterosexual couples likewise couldn’t have sex when the woman was menstruating. Anal sex CAN be much riskier for spreading diseases than oral sex. There were not many ways people could protect themselves in that day and age. Αnal sex could be done today, because more precautions are available.

  • Unclean meats ARE called “toevah” or abomination in Deuteronomy 14:3. This is exactly the same word used for “abomination” to refer to anal sex between males in Leviticus 20:13. Leviticus 11:10 states that the Israelites are to “loathe” any fish without fins and scales. This word is sheqets, which can mean abhorrent, detestable, detestable thing or things. It means to “hate.” So eating pork and shellfish IS equivalent to anal sex between males.

  • Take it up with Him whom you do not believe in.
    Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

    See, He is willing to talk to you.

  • Perhaps you are not aware that Christians are not under the Mosaic law and that Jehovah God’s standards on homosexuality were reaffirmed in the Christian Greek scriptures while also stating that Christians are not under dietary restrictions of Mosaic law.
    (Colossians 2:14) God . . . erased the handwritten document that consisted of decrees and was in opposition to us. He has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake.*
    (Colossians 2:16:17) do not let anyone judge you about what you eat and drink or about the observance of a festival or of the new moon or of a sabbath. 17 Those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Christ.

    (Romans 1:26-27) That is why God gave them over to uncontrolled sexual passion, for their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature;

    27 likewise also the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full penalty, which was due for their error.

  • “And yet every denomination, from the first century, even in Paul’s day, has defined itself through separation from those who differ in doctrine.”
    It is usually over the color of the carpet.

    II Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    Clearly God intended doctrine to hold a pretty important place and easy enough for Christians to perceive and understand.

  • Shouldn’t a religious leader be an example to the flock in moral conduct and following Bible principles, leading them to gaining divine approval and inheriting God’s Kingdom?

    It would be unloving to tell someone God does not have moral requirements for those who would live under his promised Kingdom just to help them feel better about themselves now. It would be like telling someone who wants to become a citizen of a country that it’s easy with no requirements. They are relieved now, but when the day of their citizenship interview arrives wouldn’t they rather you had been straight with them so they could have prepared?

    There are many potential disqualifications from inheriting the benefits of becoming subjects of God’s Kingdom, not just practice of homosexuality. It’s helpful to know these requirements in advance.

    (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, 10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom. 11 And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean; you have been sanctified; you have been declared righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.

    If someone doesn’t recognize homosexuality as a sin, then they can never repent and be washed clean, can they?
    Here is a further more in depth consideration of the subject:

    https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/bible-about-homosexuality/

  • This text doesn’t necessarily refer to Lesbianism, since it doesn’t say that the women had unnatural relations *with other women.* And the word that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 6:9 or αρσενοκοιτης (arsenokoitis) doesn’t mean Lesbian at all since the root arseno means male. It only means anal but not oral sex between males, so that is what Romans 1:26-27 refers to. Romans 1 is mainly talking about idol worship and condemning homosexuality WHEN it is combined with idol worship. Anyway, ANY kind of relationship, including heterosexual marriage, that involved idol worship was strongly condemned. Ahab’s heterosexual marriage to Jezebel was condemned in 1 Kings 16:31 when she led him to worship BAAL.
    Heterosexual marriage CAN lead a person to be unfaithful to God. Revelation 14:4 talks about how heterosexual relationships, including marriage can be polluting when these are combined with idol worship. This verse talks about male virgins who hadn’t polluted themselves with women. It probably is an allusion to Ahab polluting himself with his heterosexual marriage to Jezebel.

  • This shows you are well aware of the Bible’s standards yet choose to ignore them and worse yet, seek to mislead others by deceptive explanations.
    Romans 1 mentions “likewise” thus it is discussing homosexual acts both in reference to males and females (both in contrast to “natural use”). Even if it was only referring to males it is not like God has different moral standards for women.

    (Matthew 15:14) Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

    (2 Timothy 4:3,4) there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. 4 They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories.

    (Matthew 18:6) whoever stumbles one of these little ones who have faith in me, it would be better for him to have hung around his neck a millstone that is turned by a donkey and to be sunk in the open sea.

  • Are you saying Mother Nature is saying to gays, “All right – all of you – out of the gene pool!” Hey, that’s offensive – take it back or I’m going say something really snarky and mean to you.

  • Don’t like the word “perversion” then don’t use it. Isn’t that what you libs say all the time: “Don’t like something, then don’t do it.”

    “Whitebread breeders” lol.

    Actually, I’m a whole grain guy myself.

  • Anal sex DOES transmit HIV easily. However, Oral sex much less easily than Vaginal sex. Heterosexuals have much higher rates of HIV than do Lesbians. However, condoms, which weren’t available in Biblical times, make both Vaginal and Anal sex less risky.

  • No where else is there any other possible reference to Lesbians, not even in the holiness code in Leviticus. And the Greek word Paul used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 (arsenokoitis) does NOT mean
    Lesbian, nor can it mean Lesbian, since arseno means
    male. There ARE other references to female and male cult prostitution (Deuteronomy 23:18). Cult prostitutes were also idol worshipers and Romans 1 mainly is discussing idol worship. So the “likewise” could mean the men turned to male cult prostitution just as the women turned to female cult prostitution. I am not saying it cannot mean Lesbian, but that it (Romans 1:26-27) doesn’t necessarily mean this and since this is NOT mentioned ANYWHERE else in the Bible, it is very likely it doesn’t mean this.

  • Gays and Lesbians are not infertile, at least not because we are Gay or Lesbian. We just aren’t going to have children by accident. If we produce our own children, they would be totally planned.

  • Well, OK. Just checking b/c I have gay friends and I don’t think they’re an evolutionary mischance.

  • I said exactly what the CDC state’s. http://www.aidsmap.com/HIV-risk-levels-for-the-insertive-and-receptive-partner-in-different-types-of-sexual-intercourse/page/1443490/ This does state that Anal Sex does carry the highest risk for transmitting HIV, particularly for the receptive partner. However, Vaginal sex is NOT safe, particularly for women. The risk in oral is extremely low
    according to the vast bulk of research. Gay men who do only Oral sex are not at that much risk at all. So, if as I say, the Bible only proscribed anal but not Oral sex between men, then you can’t say the Bible is wrong. However, in today’s world, with testing and condoms, people can cautiously engage in anal sex.

  • You minimize the HIV threat and you justify the sexual behavior of homosexuals.
    I get it. You have a vested interest in that lifestyle even if it a dangerous lifestyle.
    But HIV is in the pandemic mode. And here in America it is being fueled by homosexuals – in Africa by heterosexuals.
    Btw your website above is a gay / lesbian organization. I don’t buy their spin.

  • So you’re thinking God is opposed to male homosexuality, but is fine with female homosexuality? You’re saying anal sex is wrong, but oral sex is ok? Disgusting!

    ANY sexual contact with another person genitals to whom one is not married per God’s standards is Pornei’a (fornication).

    Per 1 Corinthians 6:9 “Fornicators” will NOT inherit God’s Kingdom. It matters not whether the one you are committing fornication with is your same or opposite sex.
    As the verse says, “Do not be misled” (or worse be the one doing the MISLEADING regarding Jehovah’s moral standards and keeping someone from God’s Kingdom.)

    1 Cor 6:13b Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord;
    1 Cor 6:18 Flee from fornication.

    1 Cor 6:19,20 Do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit within you, which you have from God? Also, you do not belong to yourselves,
    20 for you were bought with a price. By all means, glorify God in your body.

    Jude 1:7 Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah and the cities around them also gave themselves over to gross sexual immorality and pursued unnatural fleshly desires; they are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.

    It seems you have a vested interest and it is vital to your self esteem to either conform yourself to God’s will or pretend God’s moral standards conform to your own.

    (Galatians 6:7,8) Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked.

    For whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap; 8 because the one sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but the one sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.

  • Or they would be equivalent, if everybody didn’t already know that the Mosaic Law is composed of three clear categories: Moral, Civil, and Ceremonial.

    The prohibitions against homosexual behavior clearly fall under the “Moral Law” category instead of the “Ceremonial Law” category (such as shellfish-eating), so it’s Game-Over for the standard pro-gay “shellfish argument” and such.

    I don’t mean “maybe-yes-maybe-no.” I mean it’s a clear and irrefutable end.

    Any readers who want to see the Flat-out Detailed Proof, are welcome to go here:

    https://carm.org/leviticus-homosexuality-old-testament-law

  • Some of us do, Jim. It used to be the major assemblies did, now many have gone apostate. I think a lot of it has to do with 2 Thessalonians and the delusion. Why the Lord allowed some of us to see it, and others not to, I don’t know. We just have to help those who don’t see it.

  • Actually that IS what some of the messed-up, pro-gay Methodists have in mind. It really IS their strategy, and it may well work to a significant degree depending on what the Judicial Council does this week.

    If the Judicial Council decides to stand up for the Book of Discipline and the Bible this week, then the messed-up Methodists’ strategy might NOT succeed in 2019. But if the Judicial Council punts or evades the issue, or if they agree with the lesbian bishop, then yes, maybe the messed-up, pro-gay Methodists will win.

    If they win, the United Methodist Church is effectively dead (as a denomination).

  • Here is an actual link from the CDC about how Oral sex is very low risk for transmitting HIV. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/oralsex.html.
    I work just down the street from CDC headquarters. I think rather than saying Oral sex is high risk, the CDC is extremely cautious not to say Oral sex is no risk, but clearly it is much lower risk than Vaginal or Anal sex.

  • Risk is the operative word – and you take a risk every time you stick your face in a fan.
    We have an AIDS pandemic going on here and you want to justify your risky behavior. Way to go!

  • The point is that it is anal and vaginal sex that fuel the AIDS epidemic, not Oral sex. That is what all the science shows. It isn’t homosexuality per se that fuels it, but rather Vaginal and Anal sex. Lesbians can do neither of these, so they don’t fuel the epidemic at all.

  • IF eating unclean meats in Deuteronomy 14:3 is called an “abomination” or toevah, the exact word used in Leviticus 20:13, on what basis is one considered of a different order? You make the claim that everything in Leviticus 18 and 20 are considered moral laws binding on everyone. But what about not approaching a woman during her menstrual cycle in Leviticus 18:19 and 20:18? Is that considered sinful? Leviticus 20:25 says to distinguish between clean and unclean animals. Would it be sinful not to, since it is in Leviticus 20?

  • If you appreciate reasonable explanations which respect God’s Word and do not compromise his moral standards here is an excellent source from which I have learned how to discuss the Good News of the Kingdom.

    You will find many answers such as I have given on important questions.
    https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/

  • Actually, I have NOT claimed that “everything in Leviticus 18 and 20….is binding on everybody.” It’s not.

    (Otherwise, you would be having to think about the Levitical death penalty for homosexual behavior, hmm?)

    But there’s nothing in Scripture that prevents a “to’evah” item from being listed in the ceremonial law. Eating unclean meats, for example. An abomination. But in Acts, as a result of what Jesus did, it’s no longer an abomination.

    But homosexual behavior is moral law, not ceremonial. Sexual sins, like adultery and homosexual behavior, continue to be called sins in the New Testament. They’re opposed to God and Jesus. We don’t stone anybody, but it’s still SIN.

  • How can you say that when the CDC says the majority of the new cases are due to homosexual? And it’s increasing!
    Daniel – I was an orderly in a hospital in the early ’80s when the AIDS pandemic was just being recognized. I saw those poor men come into the hospital suffering horrifically. It broke my heart and would break anyone’s heart to see it – and there was no treatment for it. They came in as skeletons barely able to move – and died. Don’t minimize the risk – don’t justify the lifestyle. Don’t play Russian Roulette with your body or with anyone else’s body. Like I said before: playing Russian Roulette with a revolver is not as risky as playing RR with an automatic – but it is still risky. You’ve read enough of these posts here. You know what you need to do.

  • The reality is that doctrinally protestants and Catholics/Orthodox are a lot closer than what you think. There are more similarities in the most important doctrines than there are differences. The differences are usually minor – some very minor.

  • It is impossible for two homosexuals to generate a child between themselves because nature doesn’t allow it. You do know it takes opposite genders to generate a child don’t you? So says nature.

  • Apparently you not familiar where God lifted the laws you are using as a club in Acts 10?

  • If you are a Jew then those laws are binding to you. Christians are under the New Covenant which makes your argument moot unless you can show us where the laws you continue to quote are still in effect via the New Covenant?

  • I received the CDC statistics for years and I did calculations and found that the fastest growing transmission category was always the heterosexual. The mode of sex that a person uses is the most important factor in whether they get infected, NOT the gender of their partner. It is ridiculous to claim that heterosexuality carries no risk. THE most important way for a gay man to lower his risk is never to engage in unprotected anal sex. I bet to a person that you saw dying in that ward were persons who engaged in unprotected anal sex. Of course, being monogamous helps a lot as well as thoroughly getting to know one’s partners. Also getting you and your partner tested. And a very high percentage of the new infections among gay men are among black gay men. Does that make African Americans inferior? It is kind of like I ride my bicycle to work here in Atlanta. A lot of people think I am crazy to do that. I am going to continue to do so because it helped me to lose 100 pounds as well as keeping it off. That has really improved my health. However, there are things a person can do to lower their risk, such as using very bright lights at night, wearing a helmet. I also watch for cars turning right when I am going through an intersection. Otherwise, they can turn right in front of me. Get the picture, being in gay relationships is like driving a car or riding a bike. It can be dangerous, but if you follow common sense rules, it can be done safely.

  • God Himself condemns homosexuality in both Testaments therefore is the oppressor of that sin as all sin.

  • Not really Daniel. One way or the other, playing safely or not, it still leads to Hell.

  • And yet, besides over the essentials (or as DirtyHarry#1 says “the most imprtant doctrines”) we see fighting, condemning, dialogical proscriptions, demeaning, and mutual repulsion, in Christian circles over things that some are trying to reconcile in equitable consensus and loving regard. So, if it is not the essentials dividing us, how small are we that we let the non-essentials muddy our interaction with vitriol?

  • When the things tha that divide us are sending people to Hell, and scripture cannot be broken, it is no longer loving.

    Acts 20: 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

  • That isn’t what I was saying. A gay man might have a child with a Lesbian. However, this would never happen by accident and it would be thoroughly planned out.

  • I think one thing you fail to do is to look and see how the word for “fornication” or porneia (πορνεια) is used in context. Actually homosexuality is never referred to as “porneia” in the New Testament. Incest is in 1 Corinthians 5:1. Pre marital sex is not called porneia. In Deuteronomy 22 the standard for women was that if they were betrothed, they weren’t to have sex with any other man. If they weren’t betrothed, there was absolutely no penalty on the woman if she had sex. A man was forbidden from having sex with a woman who was betrothed to or married to another man. There was absolutely no penalty for a man to have sex with a woman who was not betrothed. However, he was to take responsibility for her.

  • Oh, I don’t know. We’re like fine old oaks whereas your Churches of What’s Happening Now are like morning glories, beautiful in the dew but wilted by noonday (to paraphrase the great George Washington Plunkitt).

    I suspect the Powers That Be are going to let Oliveto keep her office and sooner or later we’ll be rid of the right-wing clowns.

  • Not necessarily. 1/4 of gay men and 1/3 of lesbians are biological parents of children. However, that leaves 3/4 and 2/3 respectively, so it may be an evolutionary strategy. In the near future people can clone themselves or transfer their essences into cyberspace, so, that’s all moot anyway.

  • These days when DNA can be spooned into a mixmaster, that’s not especially relevant. You’re like the backwoods preacher who railed against the Wright Brothers.

  • OMFG citing CARM! That’s one of the most evil christofascistic websites existing. They parse the Bible to get the result they want. They have zero credibility.

  • The use of the sneering term “lifestyle” for another’s capacity to love is especially atrocious.

  • I hope you are right that we’ll be rid of the right wing clowns. Sometimes I don’t feel so hopeful.

  • I am aware of Acts 10. But I think the point is that when something is called “toevah” or abomination that that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a sin. Actually the New Testament standard for diet is based on Genesis 9 where persons were allowed to eat “anything that moves” but not to eat the blood, because the life or soul is in the blood. But it is an option for Christians not to eat meat at all, as when Paul stated in Romans 14:6 that whoever abstains, abstains to God, but those who eat any meat as in Genesis 9:3-4 also do so to God. Paul also implied that Christians were permitted to keep kosher laws, because he stated in Romans 14:14 that “it is unclean for anyone who thinks it is unclean.” Therefore it is a “option” to think of pork as an abomination, but it is not a requirement for Christians to think this. I personally oppose eating any kind of meat, but my objection is moral, not based on purity.

  • Well, Daniel, they’re dying out and their grandchildren aren’t buying what they’re selling. When a movement has such ridiculous leaders as Rob Renfroe and Tommy Lambrecht it eventually collapses.

    But, hey, YMMV: Sir Alec Guiness reported when he played Hitler in a movie they were filming in Munich in the 1960s an old man came up and hugged him while he was made up to look like der Fuehrer.

  • BUT the usual conservative argument for homosexual behavior being a sin is that it is listed as toevah. But now you are contradicting this, by saying, “But there’s nothing in Scripture that prevents a “to’evah” item from being listed in the ceremonial law.” And the other conservative argument for it being a sin is that it carried the death penalty. But Numbers 15:32-36 states that a man was executed for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. Is breaking the Sabbath a sin, or is it a ceremonial infraction? Exodus 19:12 states that anyone who touches the Mountain of the Lord shall be put to death. Does this make it a Sin?

  • 30 years ago gays used that term freely and were proud to use it. So I’d say to you what you all say to heterosexual: “Don’t like the term – don’t use the term. Follow your own advice.
    Oh and does “whitebread breeder” ring a bell, K. I’d call you a hypocrite but that does an injustice to the word “hypocrite”.

  • Speaking of loving, James says that breaking one law breaks all the laws, he then references the royal law–love, upon which Jesus said the whole law and prophets rest. So, to fail at love is to break the law which is to sin which “puts one in hell.” If one continues in unloving ways not realizing one’s acts are unloving and resisting the urgings from those who continue to try to care for one’s soul, is that one going to hell, though they trust in Jesus, but can’t repent of the sin because they can’t know, just yet, that are actually sinning, either through their own blindness or resistance to others who are trying to instruct them?

  • Actually the conservatives are increasing in population as the prog libs aren’t having babies.

  • John 14:15 – “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

    1 John 5:2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.

  • This is true in the strictest sense; we tend to prefer households with no children or just one or two for ourselves. We don’t have any ethical issues with birth control or single parenthood. But we strategically place ourselves to influence children in professions like education and therapy. And as a parent of four, only one of which earned a Bachelor’s, I get frustrated with so many intellectual sorts who push college on their kids here in a country where somewhere around half the people hate smart folks (unlike France or India). Of course we absorb minority cultures which tend to reproduce in larger numbers as well. So numerically, if that were the entire picture, we’d end up like the Eloi in H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” But of course it’s not the whole picture. Very few fundamentalists pass their religious ideology to all or even most of their children, unless they are rich and buying into the system is a guard against disinheritence. For one example, my ex-sister-in-law who became a fundie after other addictions forbade our nephews from rock music, and they dealt with it by hiding a boom box in a hollow tree in the woods. Neither one has set foot inside a church except for weddings and funerals since they escaped her clutches. The hoamskuld generation can’t wait to escape the prison they came from, the hopes of christofascists they’d be a “Joshua Generation” notwithstanding. For every Duggar-like Quiverful brood of umpteen rugrats we raise you a hundred Somali emigrants with their reproductive capabilities. Checkmate.

  • Not the same. I’m a Casper as well. Go ahead and call me that too. Moreover I’m from The South.

  • Yes, and the commands are Love God and love your neighbor.
    In the continued discourse of John’s Gospel Jesus says, “this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”
    Joh 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
    Joh 15:6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
    Joh 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
    Joh 15:8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
    Joh 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
    Joh 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
    Joh 15:11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
    Joh 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

    And In 1 John it is about loving one another as well.
    1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
    1Jn 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
    1Jn 4:9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.
    1Jn 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
    1Jn 4:11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.
    1Jn 4:12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
    1Jn 4:13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
    1Jn 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.
    1Jn 4:15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.
    1Jn 4:16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
    1Jn 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.
    1Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
    1Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
    1Jn 4:20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.
    1Jn 4:21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

    I just wonder if you would like to answer my question above.

  • More like a purposeful evolutionary factor. Humans have always had a priesthood class which has included LGBTs, Heterosexists claim they were merely created with different temptations than hets, but I see it as the other way around – the variety of the human capacity to love challenges those bound up in petty prejudices and the American right-wing is left overcome by their sins.

  • Is the same. Whitebread breeder is vulgar. “Lifestyle” was used by gays until they didn’t want other people to use it anymore – they want to control the language. If you control the language you control the message. Gays want respectability for their perversion so they control the language used to distinguish them from heterosexuals.

  • Perhaps they didn’t do the calculations. I compared the numbers from one issue to the other and calculated the percentage growth in each transmission category.

  • And I’m sure Mom and Dad Duggar love everyone of their umpteen rugrats. And they are loved back. Lot of love there.
    You don’t know much about Somali’s I can tell. I’ve taught a few over the years.

  • So you would always have to step out of your unnatural relationship and obey the laws of nature to generate a child. Do you realize you just proven homosexuality is anything but natural or of nature?

  • And John gave them the truth of God’s word.
    You may not be happy with the Word of God and what I relate may upset you, but criticizing the presentation is silly, and it does not change the Word of God. Blessings.

  • Sadly, whenever man is involved there is and always will be dissension due to a multitude of reasons ranging from agendas to ignorance. This is true in evey facet of our lives and it gets worse daily. Look at the GOP and the Democratic Parties, both are corrupt and deceive the people they’re supposedly​ to serve for control and money and are cought lying daily, as have many Religious organizations. They make up false doctrine to further their agendas, twist scripture to “tickle the ear” in order to fill the pews, hench the offering plate. Then people who benefit from the propaganda will jump on the ol’ band wagon quoting scripture that backs up the claim that mam having sex with another man or a woman having sex with another woman is absolutely fine and acceptable adding qoutes from Greek saying it means idol worship etc.. But Alas, it isn’t about filling the pews, it’s not about who you have sex with. It’s about morals. Before sin entered the world on the 7th day God created everything in pairs to be fruitful and multiply, including Adam and Eve. He valued it so much that it became one of the first covenants​. If he would have intended for a free love anything goes movement I would imagine he would have replaced Eve with STEVE. But in the end, it’s not about where you set in any Church because we are all sinners, it’s about how comfortable you will be explaining your ideology while on bended knee to the man who died on the cross for your sins..

  • I have already shown that the CDC doesn’t agree with you that it is exclusively a Gay disease or how it is transmitted. Vaginal sex, according to the CDC, is a major transmission route of HIV. Heterosexuals, according to CDC statistics in this country are getting newly infected all the time. Perhaps the CDC would be warning against complacency in the gay community. I am not infected at all.

  • Another point is that we are debating a Lesbian bishop. AIDS cannot be used as an argument her, since AIDS virtually doesn’t exist in the Lesbian community.

  • No AIDS is not exclusively a gay disease. But behavior channels that disease – here through the gay community, in Africa primarily through the heterosexual community.
    Bottom line: God’s laws/principles/commands are given to us so that we might avoid the ravages of these diseases and glorify God through obedience to Him.

  • Leviticus means only anal sex and not Oral sex. The same goes for 1 Corinthians 6:9. I agree in the sense that not engaging in unprotected anal sex dramatically lowers the risk of getting HIV. The Bible doesn’t prohibit Oral sex between men because it doesn’t transmit HIV easily at all. Lesbians are not mentioned in the Bible because nothing they do with each can easily transmit diseases.

  • It certainly isn’t true that the Bible always and everywhere PRESCRIBES a “one man, one woman” marriage. In the LAW, such as Deuteronomy 17:17, a king was only forbidden from having MANY wives. It doesn’t say he is restricted to ONE wife. And the LAW in Deuteronomy 21:15-17 assumes a man will have two wives. This is probably an allusion to Jacob who favored the son of his favorite wife Rachel than the actual first born son of of Leah. I reread the story of Jacob and Leah and when Rachel couldn’t have children, she gave Jacob her maidservant Bilhah to have a child with. So clearly, it wasn’t always wrong for a man to have sex with someone other than his wife. What was considered wrong was to have sex with another man’s wife.

  • Voice for “Christian orthodoxy” ? ROFL If you want to be “orthodox”, join us at one of the thousands of real Orthodox Churches in the USA (Eastern Orthodoxy). We have been espousing the same beliefs for 2000 years.

  • Oops…this article forgot to add P to the LGBTQ. It’s now LGBTQP. To be fully inclusive, you can’t forget the good ol’ pedophiles. Watch as those led by Satan will post under my statement that Jesus never condemned pedophilia so it must be okay.

  • Christians read the Old Testament how the New Testament teaches us to read it. There are civil, ceremonial, and moral laws in the Old Testament. Jesus was born into a Jewish family, so he kept all three types of laws. Christians only keep the moral laws in the Old Testament because we’re practicing Christianity not Judaism.

  • So you say. Bigotry against LGBTs, however, is not supported except as a ceremonial law at best. Indeed, there is no evidence whatsoever that any harm to LGBT individuals is supported by anything in either testament, merely the hatred in the hearts of those who exercise it.

  • “Fear-based interpretation.” Hmm. If you do not fear God, you do not know God. His Word was/is/will be True; God does not change nor does His Word. Stick to the program. Where’s your cross, Church? Where is your suffering for Christ’s sake? Our sins and sinfulness are impediments to a better life in Christ. When we come to God and say, “We are interpreting Your word according to our own desires,” we might as well be saying, “Up yours, God.” Long ago the world did that; He flooded it and everyone was lost. Is that why they hide behind a rainbow now? Judgment is coming. Just be prepared.

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