Supporters gather around Susan Laurie, center, during a service of Holy Communion on May 10, 2016, the first day of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Laurie, a lesbian, was ordained in an unauthorized service in the lobby of the Oregon Convention Center. Photo by Mike DuBose/UMNS

United Methodist annual conferences meet with denomination’s future in flux

(RNS) — When United Methodists gather at their annual conferences, they often sing the opening words of a hymn by the early Methodist leader Charles Wesley, “And are we yet alive, and see each other’s face?”

It’s a throwback to the days when circuit-riding ministers on the American frontier were lucky to live past age 40 and paused for a spell of fellowship.

But this year, “Are we yet alive?” resonates as United Methodists wait to see how the denomination will move forward despite paralyzing disagreements over homosexuality.

“Our denomination is in chaos,” said the Rev. Mike Slaughter, pastor emeritus of Ginghamsburg Church, a United Methodist congregation near Dayton, Ohio. “Our bishops don’t agree with each other. I hear fear. I hear denial. We’ve come to this place where we reflect what’s going on in our national politics now. It’s a sad day."

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“Annual conference” has two meanings in the United Methodist Church: The term refers to the yearly regional gatherings, part revivals and part business meetings, that occur in each region across the United States — usually a state or a portion of one — and across the world. (The church’s membership is almost 7 million in the U.S. and 12.5 million worldwide.) It also refers to the regions themselves.

The 56 annual conferences in the U.S. meet between late May and early July each year. (An additional 75 annual conferences in Africa, Europe, and the Philippines meet at various times of the year.) Annual conferences convene in hotel ballrooms, college buildings, convention centers, hotels, or, in the case of the West Ohio and East Ohio conferences, at a summer community on the shore of Lake Erie.

Attendees include local clergy, plus an equal number of elected lay delegates, who tackle legislatives duties — passing a budget, voting on matters important to the region. There’s also time for worship, sermons and fellowship, ordaining new clergy, bidding farewell to retiring clergy and mourning those who died in the last year.

Joe Stobaugh. Photo courtesy of Joe Stobaugh

But this year, a moment of reckoning looms with the denomination’s long-debated conflict over homosexuality — whether to ordain gay clergy, whether clergy can marry same-sex partners, and related issues.

“There’s a sense of unease about the future, and anxiety that is pretty deep in the system about what may or may not be coming,” said the Rev. Joe Stobaugh, executive minister of worship and arts at Grace Avenue United Methodist Church in Frisco, Texas, who led worship at last year’s North Texas Annual Conference.

In 1972, attempting to settle its position on homosexuality, the church added language to its Book of Discipline stating, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Since that time, every General Conference — the denomination’s main lawmaking body, which meets every four years — has been dominated by the issue. On several occasions, protests have brought proceedings to a standstill.

Traditionalists want to retain the language and bring clergy who are openly gay or who perform same-sex ceremonies to account. Progressives want to remove the language and affirm gay clergy and same-sex marriage. Moderates would like the denomination to find a way to agree to disagree.

In 2016, the General Conference attempted to avoid all-out war by charging a “Commission on a Way Forward” to hammer out proposals to resolve the rift, with a special session of General Conference to vote on those proposals in St. Louis in February 2019. All this comes at a cost of millions of dollars for the denomination.

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The Way Forward commission met nine times over 17 months, with the last meeting on May 17, weighing several models: one that holds clergy accountable to the Book of Discipline teaching; another that removes the restrictive language; and a third “One Church Plan” that would essentially give local churches and annual conferences the option of choosing their stances on homosexuality.

Recently, the bishops on the commission announced that they were recommending the One Church Plan. However, members may not get the details until July 8, when the final report is released — and after annual conferences have met.

United Methodists usually look forward with anticipation to the spirit-filled fellowship of annual conferences, but this year, said the Rev. Jeff Greenway, pastor of Reynoldsburg United Methodist, a megachurch near Columbus, Ohio, "There is a lot of anxiety and lack of trust in the system of The United Methodist Church.”

Adam Hamilton. Photo courtesy of Church of the Resurrection

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Church leaders can only speculate what may turn up on annual conference agendas.

“While there may be some posturing and positioning, there isn’t really anything to vote on yet,” said the Rev. Adam Hamilton, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

Hamilton said some conferences may choose to vote to formally endorse the bishops’ recommendation. Greenway expected some will consider petitions for a “gracious and generous exit ramp” from the denomination.

All agreed that the 2019 special session will dominate informal conversations — as one local pastor put it, “The elephant in the room will be discussed in the halls.”

Meanwhile, factions are starting to line up in anticipation of the special conference. Hamilton and Slaughter are part of Uniting Methodists, an informal moderate caucus. Greenway chairs the council of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, which is crafting a response to the One Church Plan “that would maintain traditional, orthodox Methodist beliefs,” and hinting at departing the denomination, saying the association’s purpose is “not to fight the political battles raging across the church, but to prepare for and live into a positive and fruitful future.”

Some conservative churches have already voted to leave, including a few of the denomination’s largest and wealthiest; their departures would mean the loss of significant financial support and raise complicated issues over how to divide up local church property, which is held in trust by the denomination.

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Complicating matters is the fact that many church members aren’t aware of the looming changes. “Most clergy have an opinion about what they believe would be best (but) many laity and local churches are not aware of the crisis facing our denomination,” said Greenway.

Amid this morass, some still hold out hope for a transformative movement of the Holy Spirit at annual conferences. Spirits seemed high at the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, which met in May with the theme “Miracles Everywhere.”

Attendees of the Kentucky Annual Conference raise their arms in prayer during a morning session on June 13, 2017, at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green, Ky. Photo by Kathleen Barry/United Methodist Communications

“When we sing together and breathe together, every so often, the window opens up and the spirit has a chance to come in, even in divisive moments, and healing happens,” said Stobaugh.

And some, like the Rev. Junius Dotson, general secretary of Discipleship Ministries, a churchwide agency, are still hopeful. Regardless of what happens next, he believes there will still be a United Methodist Church.

“We will still be called to reach people and make disciples,” he said. “The way the church looks and operates may look different, but the essential call is not going to change.”


  1. Lord, help this assembly to return to the truth of your word, grant You the respect they have neglected to show, and teach their congregants that sin is never blessed.

  2. Just as the fervently religious and righteous supported slavery and backed the “separation of races”, because that is what God “had ordained”, now they are in overdrive to marginalize LGBT people in every way that they can. Their view of God appears to be one of a puppet-master who makes up arbitrary rules to exclude, marginalize, or simply confound, and then sits back to watch as the creatures twist and turn….

  3. Y’all Methodists can either fall in line behind Donald Trump who is now the de facto leader of millions of other “Evangelicals” (across dozens of denominations in the West)—–or not. Y’all can fall in line behind Vladimir Putin who is now the de facto head of millions of “Evangelicals” in the East——or not. Hope ya don’t. Just know, when you get on the anti-gay bandwagon, WHO you are in league with, HOW they used your pet “issue” as rocket fuel for THEIR political takeovers, and WHAT they advocate OTHERWISE, now that they sucked a bunch of church people in on THIS particular thing.

  4. You must be talking about the sin of casting stones at homosexuals! SINCE homosexuality is NOT a sin.

  5. No where is homosexuality or homosexuals mentioned in the Bible. Jesus never condemns homosexuals. Leviticus is a whole collection of dos and do nots and deciding the passage that man shall not lie with man as with woman must be obeyed but other parts can be ignored is hypocritical. Are you a hypocrite sandinwindsor?

    Then the passages in Timothy and Corinthians were mistranslated in the King James Versions. One word used simply means soft man. A soft man could be a non warrior type, it could be a pastoralist or farmer, it could be a peace lover–a man like Jesus! The other word scholars think refers to pederasts, men you preyed on young boys.

    Then there is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah which isn’t a condemnation of a city run rampant with homosexuals it is about the treatment of strangers by men in the city who show their dominance by sodomizing their victims. It is a story about sexual violence.

    The in Romans there is a reference from Paul, but that is also misleading because it isn’t condemning homosexual acts or people it is saying that if you defy God you will turn to degrading acts, men will do unnatural things–which could be homsexual sodomy but also sex with animals and women will also turn to unnatural acts.

    Read your Bible sandinwindsor. There are plenty of passages that tell you how you should treat others–all of those that are different from you.

  6. Christ condemned homosexuals in Leviticus.
    Timothy and Corinthians were not mistranslated.

    The Committee for Bible Translation released the 2011 New International Version of the Bible, one of the changes made to the text was to make verses that address homosexuality clearer.
    These included 1 Corinthians 6:9, having the term “homosexual offenders” changed to “men who have sex with men” and Leviticus 18:22 having the phrase “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman,” changed to “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman.”
    “The 1984 NIV rendering … did not make clear whether homosexual activity per se was being condemned or whether only certain kinds of ‘offensive’ homosexual activity was being condemned,” explained Douglas J. Moo, chair of the committee, in a 2012 interview with CP. “The updated NIV makes clear that the Greek words here indicate any kind of homosexual activity.”
    Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

    No where in scripture does S&G’s desire to sodomize the angels, ever reported as more than a request for sex, then an attempt to force the angels. You are misled with your “dominance” is off. If I remember correctly, the means to dominate a man in the OT was to cut half of his beard off.
    Romans is quite explicit: Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

    I tell others as Christ suggested:

    “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4 – English Standard Version

    You are one of those who has wandered into myths honey.

  7. At present, the ex-United Methodists probably outnumber the United Methodists. Like all the mainline/sidelined churches, they’ve driven almost all the Christians away. Why do people stick with a sinking ship? Don’t waste your precious time on a dead church, fellowship with people who are not patsies for the Democratic party.

  8. “Nowhere is homosexuality or homosexuals mentioned in the Bible.”

    But then you go ahead and point to many of the Bible texts where homosexuality IS mentioned, trying oh-so-hard to brush them off. Which means you DO know that each Bible text you alluded to, clearly says it’s a sin. It’s not too hard for Jesus to fix (1 Cor. 6:11), but it IS a sin.

    Well, the Methodists know too. They always have known, because they used to believe the Bible. There’s even a reputable, honorable, deeply caring Methodist ministry called “Transforming Congregations.”

    But now the Methodist Church is less than a year away from pure Crash-&-Burn. No joke; all sides are seeing the danger now. Churches can only ditch their Bibles for so long before bad stuff happens. And it’s right happening now to the Methodists.

  9. Amazing how the Jews and Christians were wrong about their own scriptures for over 2,000 years.

    Good thing the people you like reinterpreted everything.

  10. Nope, I am right. Do your research. I suggest you google homosexuality and the Bible. Look for honorable sites that give you a full discussion of the passages.

  11. They didn’t use the words homosexual or homosexuality anywhere in the Bible. Note what words used in each of the examples.

    As I said Leviticus just says man shall not lie with man as with women. That could refer to homosexuals or bi-sexuals or men that abuse other men. Leviticus is a whole collection of dos and do nots with no greater emphasis of one over another. To pick one passage and say that refers ONLY to homosexuals and it must be obeyed and other passages can be ignored is to be a hypocrite.

    Perhaps people should learn to read their Bibles honestly rather than trying to use them to find passages to support their bias and prejudice and fear!

  12. Putin the head of Evangelicals? LOL.

  13. In Russia. That’s why they continue to elect him with strong support from church.

  14. The reasons why they did not use the words “homosexual” or “homosexuality” in the Bible are:

    – the Bible was not written in English

    – the authors were relatively politely restricted and did not get into graphic details

    – the words “homosexual” or “homosexuality” only entered into the English language in the late 19th century when they were anglicized from German within ten years of being coined there.

    There is a 3,000 year constant Judeo-Christian interpretation of sodomy, homosexuality, or whatever YOU want to call it being sinful.

  15. Evangelicals make up less than 1% of the Russian population. I doubt their support for Putin (if they do indeed support him) plays a significant role in elections.

  16. Ridiculous answer Bob you can do better than that. There was a word for homosexual in Greek in common usage at the time it doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible.

    Yes they were probably “politely” restricted and avoided “graphic” details BUT calling a homosexual a homosexual is NOT a graphic detail.

    Have you ever wondered why homophobia has been around for so long? One reason is that sodomy has been used as a weapon of abuse to establish dominance and demean and belittle women, boys and men. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about sexual abuse.

    Second the only strength for a tribe was in its numbers and it was vital that a tribe be strong to defend its self. SO it was important for women to “be fruitful and multiply” and for men to do their part to make that happen.

    Homosexuality is a natural form of birth control, a natural way to restrict population growth. From an evolutionary standpoint it is perfectly understandable and appears in other animal populations.

  17. The answer was accurate, the comment to which it was a response was ridiculous.

    The Old Testament was written in Hebrew.

    It was read aloud in the synagogue.

    There is a reason it did not provide graphic details.

    I have never wondered why the consideration of homosexual behavior was considered a sin.

    The first command the deity gives to Adam and Eve on leaving the Garden is “go forth and multiply”.

    The Jews considered every attempt to avoid that sinful, including onanism, sodomy, and abortion.

    I have wondered why anyone thinks calling that “homophobia” will convince anyone but the completely gullible.

    “Homosexuality is a natural form of birth control, a natural way to restrict population growth.”

    So is murder.

    If natural is good, you should endorse murder as well.

  18. A political Evangelical today is a person who is attached to any kind of church in even the most tangential (inactive) way and makes opposition to gay people his or her main religious issue. Russia has lots of those—-mainly Orthodox (active or inactive). The votes from these people are the main credible explanation of the durability of an old ex-KGB guy being elected and re-elected. They also explain the tipping of America into Trumpism.

  19. 1. It is risible to call Orthodox Christians “Evangelicals”.

    2. If by “opposition to gay people” you mean “calling homosexual acts sinful”, and then use that as the guideline for determining what constitutes an “Evangelical”, you have effectively emptied the term of any real significance, for then virtually all Christians – Catholics, Orthodox, and a plethora of Protestant sects – for the last 2000 years would be “Evangelicals”, which is absurd and renders the term meaningless.

    3. Certainly among the Orthodox it does not constitute their “main religious issue”. It has only been addressed by the Church in recent years as a response to lgbt activists, in an attempt to counter teachings perceived to be spiritually harmful. Prior to that reflexive response, it was little mentioned, as it does not constitute a central teaching of the Church.

    4. A far more important factor than “opposition to gay people” on the Russian political scene is a feeling of Russian national resurgence after years of what are perceived as national decline and humiliation, social and moral decay, and impotence on the international scene. The widespread support for the annexation of Crimea is symptomatic of this. Also symptomatic of this is a push-back against Western values. (Opposition to lgbt values is subsumed as a part of this phenomenon. It is would be myopic, though, to see it as the driving issue.)

  20. You can call me myopic then. It’s my observation and opinion that Russia re-elects possibly the most questionable leader on earth and that America in 2016 elected the most questionable leader who was on offer from either of our parties. There are very few obsessions which can cause otherwise-rational people to make these kinds of decisions, but religion is at the top of the list.

    Putin understood how this would work for him and plied his people with it first. Trump followed with obvious help from Putin. NEITHER of these guys should be in the least appealing to real, old-fashioned Jesus Evangelicals—–but—–you see what happened. A church willing to lie to itself about “every word of the Bible is true” (with special emphasis on the sin of a MINORITY of people, namely the gays) happens to be vulnerable to the machinations of con artists such as Putin and Trump.

    Your #1 above is interesting phraseology. I think you are correct in connecting that “calling homosexual acts sinful” is the common denominator among those who have, in fact, emptied the term “Evangelical” of its real significance across many denominations. For their agreement on THAT imaginary issue, nearly all of those same people have had to sacrifice knowing or telling truth on the real matters of concern, namely environment, human rights, economics, fairness. They are easily led into Russia First and America First—-ridiculous concepts for any actual Christians.

  21. Onan was killed because of his refusal to produce offspring for his deceased brothers wife,as scholars conclude. Casti Connubulae 1930 pointed to Onan,however VAtican II ,humanae Vitae and the CAtholic CAtechism did not mention Onan with respect to birth control because Onan was not killed because of that.THat interpretation is just desperation to condemn artificial birth control when most of the time ,when the seed is deposited in the vagina,it is wasted ,as there is no egg,so conception does not take place most of the time. The female egg or ovum was discovered in 1826, back to out of date biology for you. Oh by the way ,the commandments(which are still binding) but not the mosaic law states “you should not make any graven image of anything in the heavens above or on the earth etc..” yet we have churches,let alone our homes filled with such things.Romans 1 vs23 also picks up on this theme.We know Paul and the apostles certainly wouldnt permit images of Mary and the saints,let alone pics of fish or animals which was prohibited.
    I believe in veneration of sacred images and I dont believe in gay marriage but your biblical fundamentalism is lopsided. Not even the church interprets the bible fundamentally

  22. On the molles or subacti (subjugated or penetrated partners, pathics) whom the Greeks call malthakoi.” — Soranus of Ephesus, On Chronic Diseases, ca. AD 120.

  23. You should have wondered why homosexual behavior was considered a sin. That is the difference between thoughtful intelligent folk and others. We ask questions and search for answers.

    Yeah too bad He wasn’t omniscient enough to add a qualifier to that statement: Go forth and multiply, within reason!

    Murder isn’t natural. That is abnormal behavior. Do your research Bob your answers get more and more ridiculous.

  24. I knew the answer.

    I was not surprised to find out you did not.

    Murder is completely natural. Without laws and rules it happens all the time, and with laws and rules it still happens.

    The fact that you find and prefer these specious arguments does not make you a “thoughtful intelligent folk”.

  25. — There was a word for homosexual in Greek in common usage at the time it doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible.

    Give the word you have in mind. And after you do, note the root of it, and you might have a clue as to why Paul didn’t use it.

  26. How does men with men inflamed with passion toward each other in any way involve animals?

  27. There was a word for pederasts. Paul’s word choice is considerably broader.

  28. Death happens, and is a natural phenomena. Murder is not a natural act. As I said it is an abnormal act. Unfortunately even with laws and rules it happens.

    You are the one that always starts these ‘specious arguments. When will you grow up? You never win.

  29. Why don’t you google homosexuality and the Bible and do your own research. Corinthians and Timothy use two words malakoi and arsenakatoi. Malakos is a common word and means soft. The oi ending changes the word to a descriptive noun and a literal translation would be soft man. Modern scholars think it is probably referring to temple prostitutes or the catamites, boys kept as sex slaves by their masters. Arsenakatoi is not a common word. A literal translation would be man (arseno) and bed (katoi). Modern scholars think that here the word is referring to the men that use the temple prostitutes or the catamites, these men today we call pederasts. The context of the passages points to sexual abuse NOT loving consensual same sex acts!

    Homo was the word for man. You can look up the word for sex!

  30. “Modern scholars “ think no such thing — you are only one of many to throw out that meaningless phrase here. All of these excuses are the inventions of the sad and unfortunate John Boswell, whose dreck was enormously popular among the lay people who were of course his target audience but was mostly dismissed by his peers as advocacy scholarship.

    I already gave you the of makakos that would have been understood by Paul’s Greek-speaking audiences. Arsenokoite obviously comes from the two key words in Leviticus 20:13. And we know from Josephus how that prohibition was understood; he discussed it in the context of Israel’s marriage laws, not the laws of idolatry.

    Now, the word you were referring to, please? I want everyone to be able to examine its etymology.

  31. Death happens and is a natural phenomenon.

    Abortion happens, ends a life, and is a natural phenomenon if your previous comments are to be believed.

    Murder happens, ends a life, and is a natural phenomenon.

    The only thing that makes the last one NOT a natural phenomenon is that you endorse the notion that society outlaw it.

    Given your propensity for facile rationalizations, there is no doubt that you’d be endorsing murder as natural if it suited your purposes, just as you amended the deity’s first command to Adam and Eve to include what you want.

    That may work out for you if you ever win a promotion to deity.

    Every time I read one of your scriptural reinterpretations, glib dismissals, or pseudo-scientific “analyses” I think of the old joke about the magician and the parrot.

    There was a magician who worked on a cruise ship performing sleight-of-hand at the ship’s cabaret evening entertainment. He was actually quite a good magician, but since the audience was different each week, the magician did the same tricks over and over again. There was only one problem: the captain’s parrot saw the shows each week and began to reveal how the magician did every trick:







    The magician was getting pretty sick of it and threatened to kill the parrot if it ruined his act one more time.

    That evening right at the climax of his act, just as he was about to disappear in a puff of smoke, the ship hit an iceberg and sank in seconds.

    The magician and the parrot were the only two survivors.

    The magician luckily found himself on a large piece of wood floating …. with the parrot on it staring at him.

    They stared at each other with hatred, but neither said a word.

    This went on for a day …. and for a second day … and then for a third day.

    Finally on the fourth day, the parrot shouted:


    I can only imagine what you might say when your time here is finished should you discover your parroted little platitudes were erroneous.

  32. “Modern scholars” is code for pro-homosexual individuals who have tried every conceivable bit of linguistic legerdemain and silliness to explain away 3,000 years of completely consistent Judeo-Christain moral belief.

    It is hogwash, bull hockey, twaddle, garbage, nonsense, and silliness.

  33. Susan’s —modern scholars—nonsense reminds me of the all-time least intelligent poster who ever graced the RNS threads, whom I will call simply by his initials CCM. He would spam every thread with “Modern scholars have proved…” followed by a long cut-and-paste straight out of John Boswell, who was of course the only “modern scholar” in question.

    Everything at gaychristian or wherever one collects this stuff is simply reheated Boswell.

  34. You know that is completely false,Im sure you know that’ MR selectivity. The Acts of the apostles in Acts 15 vs 29 prohibits people from eating meat with blood in it. OF course this was a apostolic teaching but the Council OF FLorence officially did away with it ,claiming it was a jewish/gentile thing that no longer applies.Christians today enjoy their steaks with some or a little blood in it. Your 2,000 year rant includes wackos like Augustine who thought flatulence was used as foreplay in the garden of eden because the means for sexual arousal was sin and felt guilty about erections or Aquinas who hailed masturbation a worst sin than rape or incest because of the belief that the male sperm was life itself(the egg was not discovered till 1826),hence masturbation unlike rape would spill the seed on the ground(murder). These excellent theologians that modern scholars cant compare too.

  35. Council of florence did away from the Apostolic teaching(yes the COuncil called it a apostolic teaching) of not to eat meat with some blood stilll in it
    Acts 15 vs 29 claiming it was historically conditioned. tHe list of changes throughout 2,000 years by church authorities and theologians is long and wide

  36. Not one word of that addressed anything I posted. Perhaps you can take this elsewhere.

  37. What scholars think isn’t meaningless Shawnie. You can’t even spell Malakos correctly, so it isn’t any surprise your definition is wrong. I didn’t mention laws of idolatry. The abuse of young boys by men whether temple prostitutes or slaves wasn’t about idolatry. It is simply about age old pederasty!

    Look the word up yourself. I gave you a clue.

  38. Referring to unidentified “scholars” is meaningless. In actuaIity you are referring to only one “scholar,” namely John Boswell. All other gay apologia is borrowed from him.

    Arsenokoite says nothing about the age of sexual partners, although it necessarily excludes young ones as well as old. And if the word DID refer to abuse/exploitation alone, why would it condemn the abused along with the abuser?

    I know what the word is you have in mind is. I want YOU to present it honestly so that the etymological problem with it is obvious.

  39. Shawnies doesn’t have the space for a long list of citations! Get used to it. Malakos means soft NOT effeminate. Google it. It is used in conjunction with cloth, or clothing. A soft man could be a peace loving man, it could refer to the pre pubescent boys that were used as temple prostitutes, it could refer to pastoralists–farmers and herders. Jesus was a soft man, preferring not to fight.

    If you know what it is then why don’t you tell us? And we will see if you are right or as wrong as you are with Malakos.

  40. I have already cited Soranus of Ephesus who defined what the Greeks called malakoi as men who desire to be penetrated. In a context where it is paired with arsenokoite there is no question as to what is being referred to.

    And you still have not stated why a “pre-pubescent boy” being used as a temple prostitute or a slave would be equally condemned alongside his abuser (temple prostitutes, btw, if they existed at all in the NT world, were not pre-pubescent in general. The men who served as priests of the Phrygian goddess Cybele, whom Boswell made much of, were described as MEN who castrated themselves in honor of Cybele’s consort Attis, and whether or not they actually engaged in any sexual activities as a part of the rites is purely a matter of speculation).

    So, you purport to refute the traditional understanding of the word arsenokoite by suggesting the existence of another supposedly more apropos word which you are afraid to cite for fear that its etymology might prove embarrassing for your argument. I’m afraid this won’t work. Sorry.

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