United Methodist delegates who advocated for LGBTQ inclusiveness gather to protest the adoption of the Traditional Plan on Feb. 26, 2019, during the special session of the UMC General Conference in St. Louis. RNS photo by Kit Doyle

Grieving, but not leaving, the United Methodist Church

(RNS) — A week ago, I loved the United Methodist Church. I still do, but this week I wish I had a fake wig and mustache to camouflage the embarrassment. Large institutions are like that. I love and have given my life to this one, and we have achieved so much that is transformative — only to see sexuality splinter everybody apart in this week's vote to double-down on the church's official ban on LGBTQ ordination and same-sex marriage.

It's understandable, as those visceral and mystifying parts of ourselves scramble the brain, but it's still painful to see all the good and beauty of the institution crumble in a day.


RELATED: ‘In this to the end’: LGBT United Methodists express hurt, hope after vote


No institution is a monolith. “The Methodist Church decided…” requires some nuance. A narrow vote, hotly contested. Two-thirds of American voters eagerly sought a more open, embracing conclusion. A coalition of very conservative, semi-fundamentalist Americans, Russians, Africans and others won the day, trying to preserve God’s honor, I suppose, and keep themselves pure. I have many friends among them.

But I grieve, and I am mortified by the way they connect the dots in this Christian dispensation.

Their “Traditional Plan” is a misnomer. Traditions can be beautiful, in literature, architecture, wisdom passed down through the ages. But traditions can also be wretched and toxic. Cultures carry on traditions of racism, or warfare, or xenophobia. The church has traditionally condemned LGBTQ people, and that slight majority of Methodists this week added ferocious language and stringent policing to that tradition.

Jessica LaGrone, a member of the Commission On A Way Forward, presents the Traditional Plan during the special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference in St. Louis, Mo. on Feb. 24, 2019. RNS photo by Kit Doyle


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

This is not of God. Do we think people outside the church are just waiting for us to condemn gays, and then, and only then, will they enter to hear about Jesus? Haven’t we just underlined in bold ink society’s skepticism that church is nothing but a bunch of judgmental hypocrites?

Many have said this decision was hurtful to LGBTQ people – which is true but way too limited. We speak of “the LGBTQ community” as if they are some ghettoized clump of people living sequestered among us. They are just us, we are just them. Other-ing them, demonizing them, judging them, or even pitying them is demeaning, not just to them but to all of us.


RELATED: Why a Southern Baptist is watching the United Methodists (COMMENTARY)


I have many in my congregation who feel the Traditional Plan was the right one. My counter to them is that the tone of the decision, and the ferocious judgmentalism in the tactics and speeches of many of those who made it, should appall conservatives, centrists, progressives, anyone with a pulse. God did not create us to be mean. When we’re mean, even if it feels like righteous indignation, it harms others. It is toxic to the one being mean. God, mercifully, relieves us of the burden of ever judging anybody.

I love the United Methodist Church’s Scriptures, the Bible – but has any book ever been more absurdly abused or narrow-mindedly misread? The conservatives insist they are simply sticking with the Bible and trot out a few verses.

But they aren’t nearly so interested in the Bible when it says not to lay up treasure on earth — proven by the fact that at the same conference we argued over our pension fund vehemently. Rarely do we hear them quote the passages telling us always to welcome the immigrant, not to loan or borrow money at interest, and on and on. The Bible is a beautiful book when read wisely and with a sensitive eye to God’s people, for whom it was given as a precious resource to discover life, not to be weaponized to smash people we don’t like or understand.

Marriage in the Bible isn’t simply one man, one woman. Sometimes in the Bible it’s one man, five women and a few concubines. In the Bible, marriage is a mystery, two people called together by God to seek and serve God. In our marriage service, we Methodists urge the couple to be generous friends to those to whom love is a stranger. Marriage is an exercise in holiness and humility. I’ve seen same-gender marriages that are holy and humble, exemplary to so many straight couples who have struggled so mightily and damaged the reputation of marriage severely.

The Rev. Austin Adkinson, right, and members of the Queer Clergy Caucus sing and greet attendees on the first day of the special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference in St. Louis, Mo., on Feb. 24, 2019. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller


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

Since 1972, when the institution first said, “We do not condone the practice of homosexuality” (as if it’s a “practice”), the church has not prevented one gay person from being gay! But the miracle, the loveliest sign of grace and the manifest glory of our denomination is that thousands and thousands of those not condoned have stayed in our churches. They teach, sing, play the organ, sweep, go on mission trips, pray right alongside those who would declare them immoral if they knew. What grace. And they have served as clergy, serving nobly and humbly in the face of renunciation.

That is Christlike — far more Christlike than anybody smugly passing judgment on anybody.

With church members understandably ready to bail, I’ve repeatedly said General Conference isn’t the church, maybe the way a restaurant chain’s board of directors meeting isn’t a family enjoying dinner. Church is where you love, worship, share, cry, laugh and serve together. We’re connected to that bigger body, but those ties are only healthy when we are joining hands to do good for and with others.

Someone phoned me today to sever his membership with my church. I haven’t actually seen him much in a few years anyhow. Sometimes we think me, my name, my membership, my nod is such a precious thing. But the church is the one weird institution that liberates us from the "me" that would always dominate my mindset, and draws each of us into a larger "us."

We are the church, not one and then another and then another, adding up to however many members. We are a Body, in this together or not at all. To lose one is like someone taking a knife and gouging out a chunk of your gut.

I’m asking my people not to leave. Not because they can’t think of a good reason to leave. I have drafted a letter of resignation in my mind about a dozen times this week. But if we start hemorrhaging, if we just exit, then the other guys win. What those who are wounded by a decision like this need are strong churches that welcome and embrace everybody and refuse to be bullied into slamming the doors shut on anybody.

Everyone is anxious. What will happen? Will we split? Can we form a new denomination? The wise never make a decision when under duress. Time will tell. We will see what unfolds.

But I believe, and I see so many signs of it here and there already, that a beautiful, embracing, joyful, compassionate church is even now rising up, phoenix-like, out of the ruins of what we’re left with after this week’s conference. I want to be part of that church. We all, deep in our souls, wish to be in such a church.

(James C. Howell is senior pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

Comments

  1. Those who disagree with the decision of the Church but continue to attend are remarkable in their sincerity.

    Those who claim they are leaving over this are likely using it as an excuse.

  2. This a totally non-scriptural analysis in terms of power, control, who wins, and who loses.

    How can anyone be a senior pastor in a UMC church while at the same time dissing the church’s decisions, Book of Discipline, and the Scriptures?

  3. Really? Sounds to me like they stayed until the traditionalists made it abundantly clear that “we don’t want your kind here.” Usually when that happens the only self-respecting thing to do is, in fact, leave. Seems to me they were looking for an excuse to stay but never got it.

  4. United Methodist General Conference to vulnerable LGBTQ youth worldwide:

    Screw you, and your families and friends, too.

  5. Jesus Christ said, “I come to divide, not unite.” It is obvious why the wolves in sheep’s clothing want to stay in the sheep’s pen: they exist to steal, kill, and destroy. They love to hunt and take prey. They are not ashamed to be enemies of holiness. They don’t belong with us until they turn away from Satan. God says it’s best to put them outside the body of Christ (the church) and hopefully that pain will humble them so they can admit truth, repent, and be restored. Also, it is good to eject them from the church to protect the flock. Pastors, elders, decons, and the church body has a duty to eject the wolves in sheeps’ clothing to protect the flocks within Christ’s church.
    God says those that promote a sin are as evil as those who do the sin even if they do not personally do the sin.
    This entire thing is covered in scripture. Like Satan, the LGBT and their allies who deny LGBT is sin twist scripture as Satan did. They have been beguiled by Satan and now are devoted to beguiling others for Satan. These things are not mysterious: they are plainly expressed by God.
    It is obvious they are not sincerely with us.

  6. In the Bible, every single marriage by ANYBODY, was exclusively gender-complementarian, from Adam & Eve on down. (This included the most polygamous marriages, like King Solomon’s.) Always opposite-sex, NEVER same-sex. Quoting directly from Genesis, Jesus said that this amazing arrangement was originated and designed by none other than God Himself.

    It is time for James Howell and the rest of the pro-gay-marriage, pro-gay-clergy faction to stop ignoring this fact. Please come clean on it, already. Perhaps this past week’s traumatic convention, will help the errant Methodists to take it seriously.

  7. They won’t come clean because they do not believe in God. The object of the LGBTQ is to prove that there is no god. There is no one alive that witnessed the first flood, but the world is witnessing this last flood. Armageddon is a worldwide aggressive act against God. The only proof we will have is the rolling up of the Heavens and the end of the earth. The LGBT has made the ultimate challenge to God. This called the Armageddon and the Word will be fulfilled, as it is written.

  8. Jesus pointed out the original example in answer to the question of divorce, not in response to “who may marry?”

  9. The other side has done the same when it comes to the Church not hammering gays hard enough, believers baptism, polygamy, immigration, war, and a host of other issues the discipline and social principals give instruction on.

  10. First off, there is no “last flood.” God promised never to destroy the world with a flood again.

    The Word is Jesus, who is already “fulfilled.” He cannot be perfected, since he is already perfect.

    LGGTQIA Christians want to worship God in truth and love. They cannot do that in peace while also be persecuted. We survived de-segregation, we can survive this as well.

  11. But Jesus pointed out “the original example” as actual history (which Genesis does too, by the way).

    His Pharisee opponents, who had asked Jesus the question about divorce based on actual history (Moses’s decree), did not disagree with Jesus’ answer in the slightest. Why should we?

  12. Whether he is calling out an historical example is neither here nor there. The point is the same whether he is appealing to the literal history of Israel or merely the allegorical history.

    Whether or not the Pharisees agreed or disagreed isn’t recorded. Only that they still tried their best to kill him for blasphemy later on.

  13. That does not matter. He had to go back to the creation design to show WHY divorce is wrong — it does not comport with it. But of course divorce is not the only thing that does not comport with it.

  14. If we want to just make whatever implications we want, then lets also allow incest based off of the Genesis account. Since there weren’t other humans, the original design seems to have purposed it!

    Or we can just let Jesus’ teaching about divorce be a teaching about divorce, and not stretch it until it breaks.

  15. Shawniesays genesis isn’t history— no literal six days— though she does believe there were primal parents. Don’t you want to attack her for denying your literal interpretation of genesis?

  16. Yup, all of those gay Christians and their heterosexual allies are really subversives trying to prove there is no god. It makes perf3ct sense, like everything else you post.

    Just this morning, Gay Central sent me a coded text telling me to join Floyd’s church and destroy it from within. I had to decline, because I have to wash my hair, and now there are strange black vehicles parked outside my house.

    They’re coming…………….

  17. Fully agree. I hope other senior pastors speak out so clearly and continue to welcome the LGBTQ as part of the flock.

  18. Interesting thing, that brother-sister incest thing! Originally it probably WASN’T any more wrong than cousin marriage, in a perfect world where sin had had no opportunity to pollute the gene pool. Of course we can’t safely go back to it now without also getting rid of our corrupted flesh.

    That’s the thing about Jesus — coming to Him usually means a higher bar, not a lower one, but He also gives us the Spirit to help us reach it.

  19. I didn’t say genesis isn’t history. I said no literal six days of creation.

    Six days is how the prophet experienced it, not the actual lapse of time.

  20. “Love your neighbor as yourself” — You don’t take that seriously.

  21. You’re a liar, bearing false witness against your neighbor.

  22. In once sense, you’re correct. I’m playing ‘let’s you and him fight’…

    by simply pointing out exactly what you will or will not agree on is important. Disagreements about theology are nothing compared to get the gays. That is what conservative Christians have posited over and over again.

    I’m just pointing it out.

    but if you want to point out how I look, maybe you would also like to point out to Multiple Personalities how HE looks as he jumps into every conversation to tell people who weren’t addressing him at all what big poopy heads they are.

    but then, as I already noted “Disagreements about theology are nothing compared to get the gays. That is what conservative Christians have posited over and over again.”

  23. “I love and have given my life to this one,” Christians give their life to Christ

    ” The church has traditionally condemned LGBTQ people, ” The church does not condemn them – Christ did.

    “Do we think people outside the church are just waiting for us to condemn gays, and then, and only then, will they enter to hear about Jesus?” Christ condemned homosexuals

    “But they aren’t nearly so interested in the Bible when it says not to lay up treasure on earth — ” Helping people to see they are sinning – displeasing Christ – so they can renounce their sin and be saved, is laying up treasure in Heaven.

    ” Marriage in the Bible isn’t simply one man, one woman. ” Yes it is
    Mark 10 – 2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5 And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,[a] 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
    The author is basically saying, because there was murder in the Bible, murder is good.

    “the church has not prevented one gay person from being gay!” Very true, that is Christ’s job and He taught that He will cleanse us of our sin. “And such were some of you”

    “And they have served as clergy, serving nobly and humbly in the face of renunciation.” They cannot serve, they are not Christian

    “far more Christlike than anybody smugly passing judgment on anybody.” If you know Christ James, tell Him. He is the One who stated that homosexuals would not see the Kingdom of Heaven
    James, you are full of beans.

  24. kronzy – I’ve posted the scripture above. If you are able to read it, you will see there is much more being discussed than just divorce

  25. I can’t see the part where Jesus goes off and says “and this is why marriage is between man and woman.”

  26. Institutional religion survives because there are people who need to incorporate iron-age superstitions and medieval bigotry into their self-identity. But there are fewer and fewer such people with each passing generation. Perhaps someday Jesus will be completely set free from the dogmas of hate in which so many Christians have imprisoned him.

  27. “I’m just pointing it out.” And that’s why you’re not taken seriously.

    “but if you want to point out how I look, maybe you would also like to point out to Multiple Personalities how HE looks as he jumps into every conversation to tell people who weren’t addressing him at all what big poopy heads they are” He can call himself Hillary Clinton for all I care. I could care less who he or ANYONE else is around here, just ideas. I don’t even care if he is a Christian or not; he’s got the facts on history, law and scripture, which is all that intelligent discussion requires.

    Your problem with him is that he’s NOT simply “calling you poopyheads” (which is the lion’s share of your compadres’ commentary around here and you’re obviously fine with it) but actually showing you up with the facts and logic.

  28. We all have opinions about what,s going on.

  29. Christ condemned homosexuals

    chapter and verse, please

  30. I don’t believe enough people take the Word of God as “gospel”. Gospel is “a thing that is absolutely true” as defined by Oxford Dictionary. Nor do I believe enough people study scripture and look at the original context and meaning of what is written in the Bible. The Bible does state all the way into the Revelation who will not make it into the Lord’s kingdom. Truly we are not to condemn, that is the right of God himself. we are to guide others into the Light. We are not to attempt to alter the color of the light to entice. When we condone wrongful actions of others we condemn ourselves. It was so that his people would not fall to the ways of the world that he wanted the Hebrews to separate themselves form it. Through Christ all are invited into the church. Although all are to leave our sins at the cross. Christ told the woman accused of adultery to go and sin no more. God in his infinite wisdom created us gender specific. Sexuality was designed for procreation. To pervert his creation “alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.” (as defined by Oxford Dictionary) is sin. I applaud the UMC for their decision to uphold the truth. I also applaud the UMC for still welcoming homosexuals into the door that they may find the Gospel and be redeemed through the blood of the Messiah.

  31. Attempting to equate LGBT endorsement with desegregation is a classic ploy of LGBT propaganda.

    There is no relationship.

  32. Institutional religion survives because it is innate in mankind to believe in a deity.

    “Perhaps someday Jesus will be completely set free from the dogmas of hate in which so many Christians have imprisoned him.” simply states that you hold heretical or no beliefs, and you think orthodox Christianity will fold.

  33. The LGBT faction lobbied for a vote; the traditionalists were traditional.

    They were looking for an endorsement of error, an A-OK on sin.

    Had your approach been adopted in the First Century, the church would include monophysites, Nestorians, offerers of sacrifice in one or more temples, two different sabbaths, unitarians, Aryans, you name it.

    Instead of Christians they’d be known as Omnibusians.

  34. Orthodox Christianity will not fold, but it will shrink and shrink and shrink.

  35. So, you’re the Amazing Kreskin?

    “I see Orthodox Christianity shrinking and shrinking and shrinking, or bananas … it’s not clear.”

  36. Or God sanctioned it, and then unsanctioned it.

    We can’t base our salvation on speculation about what God MIGHT have said.

  37. Institutional religion survives because it is innate in mankind to believe in a deity.

    That has been determined? When? By Whom?

  38. Aristotle, Plato, a few others.

    It’s actually self-evident, and from that self-evidence certain natural law conclusions flow. For example:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

  39. In the Old Testament, Christ condemned homosexual relations in Leviticus, Chapters 16 and 22.

    In the New Testament, the only forms of sexuality He endorsed were heterosexual marriage (Matthew 9:5) and celibacy (Matthew 19:10-12).

  40. A group of people who appear to be different by nature of birth being singled out for special moral judgement?

    The only real difference I can see is that they only make up 2% of the population at best, so its a spectacle that they were ever singled out while divorcees, unmarried co-habiters, and a host of others have gotten a pass.

  41. It is much too pessimistic to think that Orthodox Christianity will turn into bananas. Why would you think that?

  42. point of order: leviticus doesn’t merely “condemn homosexual relations,” it quite explicitly calls for gay men to be killed. so, nice incitement to violence, there.

    second, there are plenty of things in the new testament that jesus didn’t explicitly endorse. mixed race marriages, for example.

    between the calls for violence and the inconsistent, dishonest hermeneutics, it’s truly incredible that conservatives wonder why they’re regarded as gay haters…

    regardless. sandi was quite clear that they believe jesus himself explicitly declared an opposition to homosexuals. i’m more interested to hear where it was that they learned this untrue thing.

  43. No, I prefer to attack you instead (It’s nothing personal, I’m just needing an easy quickie target because I gotta do some more church soon).

    Besides, like I suggested in a previous discussion regarding evolution fights, it’s merely a matter of the Non-Darwinists noticing where they agree at, and then bashing the Darwinists at that specific point.

    After all, you DID concede that Shawnie5 “believes there were primal parents”, right? Plus she said Jesus went back to the creation design, and also she didn’t say that Genesis isn’t history. So honestly, I could throw a creationist dance party just from those facts alone!

  44. The opposition of Jesus to homosexual sin is made abundantly clear in the two chapters of Leviticus I mentioned.

    In His treatment of the woman caught in adultery (which was a sin that deserved the death sentence), Jesus set us an example. Instead of stoning her for her sexual sin, He simply exhorted her to “Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11).

    Christians follow Jesus’ loving example by likewise exhorting homosexuals to “Go, and sin no more.”.

    No “inconsistent, dishonest hermeneutics” required. Just following Jesus.

  45. The man who wrote this self-evident truth was a slave holder, so evidently it wasn’t quite as self-evident as he claimed. In his own life, it was just a fancy fabrication. Perhaps it is innate in mankind, or in some of mankind, to need fancy fabrications which they call God.

  46. any you like. just show me the verse where jesus christ himself declares unequivocally that lesbian relationships are ungodly.

  47. As you said to Rick: “point of order: leviticus doesn’t merely “condemn homosexual relations,” it quite explicitly calls for gay men to be killed. so, nice incitement to violence, there.” If you are planning to kill homosexuals for God, remember that Christ died for them, should they renounce their sin and follow Him.
    Christ condemned homosexuality all over the Bible. Again, I remind you that He is God

  48. I gave some of them to you. Are you trying to argue scripture and you don’t even know that Christ is God and that He is responsible for the entire Bible?
    See my comment below to you

  49. Some – not you of course – have correct opinions.

  50. Man, golden oldies.

    We haven’t seen “big poopy heads” for a couple of months.

  51. Since she, floydlee, and I know what we’re talking about, and you don’t, this rings up “NO SALE”.

  52. It’s so cute that he thinks he is proving something.

  53. You got it backward. He said there is male and female, and this is why there is marriage.

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  55. no. Homosexuality is just a bad choice.
    Christ called it, “unnatural” a “shameful act” and “error” in Romans 1

  56. So it hasn’t been determined, really. I was afraid I missed a major revelation in medical science or genetics.

  57. Gene pool polluted? Please don’t try to bring in the science of genetics to support Genesis. Humans were never perfect – we are like our primate relatives, the Bonobos – imperfect and a fondness for homosexual activity among both sexes.

  58. And now let’s see how bankrupt the homosexual movement REALLY is. Evolutionary science refuses to offer any animal excuses, any “Zoo Crew Revue” justifications, for humans doing homosexual behavior. None.

    “But witnessing same-sex activity and understanding it are two different things, and some experts believe observers like (Bruce) Bagemihl are misreading the evidence.

    “In species that lack sophisticated language–which is to say all species but ours–sex serves many nonsexual purposes, including establishing alliances and appeasing enemies, all things animals must do with members of both sexes. “Sexuality helps animals maneuver around each other before making real contact,” says Martin Daly, an evolutionary psychologist at McMaster University in Ontario. “Putting all that into a homosexual category seems simplistic.”

    “Even if some animals do engage in homosexual activity purely for pleasure, their behavior still serves as an incomplete model–and an incomplete explanation–for human behavior. “In our society homosexuality means a principal or exclusive orientation,” says psychology professor Frans de Waal of the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta. “Among animals it’s just nonreproductive sexual behavior.”
    — from Jeffrey Kluger, “The Gay Side of Nature”, Time Magazine, April 1999.

  59. All Christ taught is that he is Lord. There is no record of him sitting down with Paul for an anthropology lesson.

  60. And we know it WAS offered up on the menu — from Romans to Revelation, the NT speaks in various places about people who, even then, tried to pass off the freedom from the Torah as the freedom to engage in whatever immorality they pleased. Nothing new under the sun.

  61. So, you’re arguing that if you’ve chosen to jump on the bobsled to Hell by disregarding the moral laws, you should try to get your neighbors to join you?

  62. So some of them believe in God, but think he was just kidding around?

  63. You don’t know Christ is God, kronzy?

  64. I wrote that comment for tyler and put your name on it. I know you don’t want homosexuals dead

  65. The New Testament bears witness that Paul was the recipient of mystical visions from the Lord. They provided the basis for his preaching and his epistles.

    “All Christ taught is that he is the Lord.”

    So you claim to know all that Christ taught Paul through these visions? You were there?

    Tell us about it.

  66. Jim, you must know about the blood condition that results from people too close, bearing children. I figure that must have started just about when Christ termed what they do as “incest” and stopped it. Shawnee had it right about a gene pool

  67. If I may add one thing floydlee – Christ elevated us above the animals, so we don’t have to act like them

  68. The New Testament says no such thing. Paul saw the risen Lord once, and that is all.

  69. In addition to the vision on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) which is probably the one you are alluding to, the Bible records that Paul had numerous other visions/revelations from the Lord.

    In Acts 16:9, another vision is mentioned.

    In Galatians 2:2 we learn of yet another revelation.

    In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul mentions still another vision, in which he is caught up to heaven.

    It is evident that Paul was the recipient of a number of visions/revelations from the Lord (who is of course Jesus). We learn of these four because they are specifically relevant to the context and topics of the passages in which they appear. We do not know how many other revelations/visions Paul may have had which he did find it relevant to mention in his surviving epistles, but the fact that he did have numerous visions/revelations from the Lord (and not just one) is well established.

  70. In Acts 16:9, it isn’t Jesus Paul sees in the vision.

    Galatians 2:2 doesn’t mention Jesus teaching anything in the revelation.

    In 2 Corithians 12, Paul specifically says he knows of a man who had such a vision, but never says it is him. He also says things the man received were “inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.”(12:4). You cannot teach things you cannot express and are not allowed to tell.

    It is evident that Paul met the risen Christ once on the way to Damascus, and received two vague revelations about his general mission afterward, neither of which mentions Jesus explicitly.

  71. There is zero evidence humans were ever perfect and plenty of evidence to show we are just highly developed (intellectually and socially) primates.

  72. I said nothing about people being perfect, but as time goes on, things change, get worn out, etc and that is what happened. We, are unable to procreate with those close to us in a familial relationship. Christ stopped it and called it “incest”.

  73. God created the Bonobos – part of his perfect animal creation. Those who enjoy same-sex coupling do so because they’re made that way. God apparently has no problem with them. Does he look down and smile at their antics?

  74. Re: Acts 16:9 – All visions are sent by the Lord.

    Re: Galatians 2:2 – Like I said above. Who do you think was sending Paul revelations? Zeus?

    Re: 2 Cor. 12 – It is obvious from the entire context that Paul is obliquely referring to himself. I am not aware of any reputable Bible scholars – ancient or modern – who think differently.

    “… two vague revelations…” – I see three revelations from the Lord above, in addition to the one on the road to Damascus. Paul does not describe any of them as “vague”, in fact, he seems to know exactly what they mean. The only thing vague would seem to be your understanding of Paul and his visions.

  75. no they are not made that way.
    Christ has termed them to partake of what is unnatural, a shameless act, and an error – Romans 1

  76. Umm, you’re not ignoring the science, are you Jim? Usually you don’t. What do you think about what Daly and De Waal said there?

  77. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18

  78. No wonder gay apologists are usually abortion/infanticide apologist too. Animals frequently kill their young — eat them, too.

    So much for all the noise about “treating people like human beings.”

  79. Sent by the Lord does not mean they involve the Lord directly teaching the minutiae of doctrine.

    It isn’t obvious that Paul is talking about himself at all in 2 Cor. 12. It seems more likely that he is lampooning the silly visions of the “super-apostles” that have come to oppose him.

    The brief vision on the road to Damascus was pretty clear. But the other two are barely described. If Jesus personally appeared to Paul to command him, that would be mentioned. In one of them, he just sees a Greek man. And in all of them, the messages take some level of discernment. They aren’t just flat out statements telling him what to do.

    All of this is to come back around to the point: nothing in scripture suggests that Jesus constantly appeared to Paul to personally guide his every thought on doctrine. Paul found out that Jesus is Lord and shifted his pharisaic thought around that, and worked from there, working out the implications.

  80. Well said. There will be no refutation either from evolutionists or gay activists.

    Just to piggyback on your post, we humans don’t have ANY animal ancestors at all (Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 2:7, Luke 3:38). Plus “Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.” (1 Cor 15:39.) Many unexplained differences, both physical and psychological, between humans & primates. The origin of humans = / = evolution.

  81. If the Lord sends a vision, He is directly involved in both the sending of it and its content.

    Of course Paul is opposing his super-apostle opponents; he does show by discreetly referring to a vision of his own.

    All visions require some level of discernment, as do many other aspects of the spiritual life.

    In sum, we have clear evidence that the Lord Jesus guided and taught Paul on numerous occasions, not just once.
    How often? We do not know. But it was certainly more frequently than “once – and that is all”, which makes Paul’s entire contact with the Lord seem more on a par with a drive by shooting than anything else.

  82. Yes, the Lord is involved. That does not make it an entire epistle’s worth of revelation.

    Its not Paul’s vision. He says it is another’s, and that what was shown cannot be revealed. If Paul is teaching from his visions, then such a vision would disallow such teaching.

    In sum, we have one meeting with the risen Christ and two lesser visions that were less direct than a face to face meeting. None of them taught doctrine except for the one revelation of Christ as Lord.

    Not “numerous” by any stretch.

  83. There was no incest. Adam’s sons had Neanderthal and Denisovan women to mate with and Eve’s daughters had Neanderthal and Denisovan men to mate with. God always provides.

  84. At least I am not fabricating my own moral code with my eyes taped shut and my hands over my ears.

  85. I’m not ignoring it. It makes no difference to me. My point is that homosexual behavior, for whatever reason, is natural among some of the primates.

  86. Or perhaps he was imperfect like the rest of us.

    Of course with the exception of yourself.

  87. https://www{dot)whollyfrap.com/shop-3/greeting-cards/birthday-cards/birthday-card-psychic-chimp/

  88. Of course there is a last flood, it’s not water that the churches are drowning in, it’s the opposite of the truth. I’ve said a hundred a times, there is no comparison between homosexuality and slavery. Anything that drowns the truth on a global scale is a flood. If you were taught by God you would understand. Jesus said, you must be taught of God and that you do not understand because you are not taught of God. There is a little time left that you could be washed by the water of the Word if you desired.

  89. God doesn’t welch on promises. No second flood.

    There isn’t a comparison between homosexuality and slavery. Just the arguments of those who hate homosexuality and those who supported slavery.

  90. Roughly 30% of Nones cite negative religious teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people as their reason for leaving, so I’d expect some thinning of the herd with this decision. Can’t have an exclusive club without pushing some people away, you know.

    When you base your by-laws on a book in which your god makes laws against mixed fiber garments and shellfish, what do you expect?

  91. This man is clearly a false teacher and one day will stand before Jesus who will say “I never knew you”.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
    1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers”.

    The bible has multiple verses about homosexuality, along with other sins, as being so appalling to God that anyone practicing this behavior (yes it is a behavior and NO validated research has shown homosexuality or transgender as something a person is born with) will not enter heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10 are just a few. It is not my judgement, it is God’s judgement however He has commanded me to expose sin. Ephesians 5:11 “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them”.

    The LBGTQ community has tried to change God’s words to mean something it doesn’t. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For 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, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths”.

    True love is exposing sin that will lead to eternality in hell and sharing the gospel so the sinner can repent and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and spend eternity with God. https://calvarychapelkaneohe.com/abc-of-salvation/

  92. At least I don’t have to have someone tell me the difference between right and wrong because I’m too stupid to figure it out for myself.

  93. Animals are better than you. You’re as elevated as a slug.

  94. Insofar as we know neither the total number nor the complete content of Paul’s multiple visions, one cannot blandly assert whether or not they contained “an entire epistle’s worth of revelation”. Of course, I never claimed that all of the content of Paul’s epistles were dictated by the Lord in visions, clearly he composed them on his own.

    In Paul’s vision in 2 Corinthians 12, he never says that “what was shown cannot be revealed’. This is should be obvious, because in relating that he was taken up into the third heaven, he is indeed revealing a part of what was shown.

    I will continue to agree with the Biblical scholars – both ancient and modern – who believe Paul is discretely referring to his own vision. The passage makes little sense if it’s not.

  95. I know there are exceptions, but the odds are that you were subjected to religious indoctrination when you were a child. And that (which includes so-called Sunday School) should be viewed as one of the very worst categories of child-abuse. It tries to discourage a child from using reason, evidence, and logic in order to prevent rational thinking so that the child will then be receptive to fact FACT (Fantasy (or Fraud) Accepted as Complete Truth). And, for example, that’s how we end up with adults quoting Bible verses as if they are legitimate sources of authority.

  96. Oh, not that silly “mixed fiber garments and shellfish” canard again!

    LOL.

  97. He never claims his visions guide him at all. He isn’t talking about himself in 2 Corinthians 12 (he is very specific that it is another man) and never mentions having visions in any of his epistles.

    Biblical scholars are not sure what Paul means in chapter 12.

  98. “My counter to them is that the tone of the decision, and the ferocious judgmentalism in the tactics and speeches of many of those who made it, should appall conservatives, centrists, progressives, anyone with a pulse. God did not create us to be mean. When we’re mean, even if it feels like righteous indignation, it harms others. It is toxic to the one being mean. God, mercifully, relieves us of the burden of ever judging anybody.”

    That was a rather naive statement.

    For conservatives, the entire point of religious belief is to harm others, act judgmental, maliciously and obnoxiously to others without taking personal responsibility for one’s actions. To have a support network to enable such behavior. There is nothing of socially redeeming value to their version of Christianity.

  99. Wrong again. You’re starting out poorly this week.
    Conservatives admit they are sinners (at least must do). Conservatives humbly acknowledge that they are subject to the laws of the creator. Conservatives know that there is something greater than themselves and wish to glorify it by being obedient.
    Non-conservatives wish to change the church to suit themselves and their earthly desires. They wish to impose their ways above the ways of God. They wish to make their sin as acceptable to God; and push that acceptance on others.

  100. And totally vitiated by The Great Kibosh of All Religions!!!

  101. Be sure to tell that to the appropriate entity on your passing from this life.

    I already have an opinion on the matter at variance with your own.

  102. Thanks for the insights, Spuddie, Ben, Howard, or whatever your real name is.

  103. And opinions are all that you have.

    Oh, and hatred of adherents of the Abrahamic religions.

  104. I’ll wager that your first name is not Reason, your middle name Over, or your last name Religion, speaking of slime.

  105. Please retract your false accusation there, Reason, with your “Mark Bob Jose Jack Art or whatever your latest disguise is” nonsense. You’re a slimy one.

  106. Wrong. Hatred of fundamentalism.

    Your behavior and your words betray your own hatred.

  107. thanks for keeping up with my posts again Canis

  108. I may have been wrong.

    You may in fact be Vladonald Trumputin.

    Whoever you are, you’ll be blocked if it continues.

  109. No, hatred of those who adhere to the Abrahamic religions and won’t endorse your choices.

    Your constant posts and behavior betray that.

  110. Yet he chose to ride a donkey into Jerusalem. Hmm…

  111. If the donkey rode Jesus into Jerusalem, you’d have a point.

  112. In the same way that the LGBTQRST crowd wishes to indoctrinate people today….
    Amirite?

  113. And, for example, that’s how we end up with adults writing nonsense about “quoting Bible verses” as if they are illegitimate as sources of authority.

  114. Are you kidding me? Without using religion as an excuse, people would have to own up to their personal bigotry and malicious desire to harm people without fear of social consequences. It is precisely how religious belief is employed here.

    Conservatives don’t admit ANYTHING. Who are you kidding here? You have never done so, neither has any other of the Conservative Christian crowd.

    Its all about lying, shifting blame and looking for ways to avoid consequences of one’s actions. Looking for the proof texting and excuse to act maliciously to others.

    ” Conservatives know that there is something greater than themselves and wish to glorify it by being obedient. ”

    Yet they act in the most self-serving way possible. Somehow obedience involves making up your own rules and interpretations to fit personal petty hates and agendas.

    “Non-conservatives wish to change the church to suit themselves and their earthly desires.”

    Like the desire to be treated as human beings. In accordance with the unqualified, unconditional commandment of Jesus to love thy neighbor. Something conservative Christians look for excuses to avoid. All in favor of finding new and interesting ways to harm people.

  115. I’ve said a million times – I am a sinner. I humbly beg for mercy and forgiveness from the creator.
    Do you?
    You don’t and will not because in your arrogance you claim there is none – in this way you have no accountability.
    That’s the rub.

  116. You are an unrepentant liar by nature. You feel the need to make excuses for sins and crimes when they are from people you support. You attack the sins of others with no reflection of your own. There is no humility, mercy or even acknowledgment in your posts. So pardon me if I laugh at your attempt at it here. Who are you kidding here?

    I am not the one who is looking for God to excuse malice and prejudice. I have nothing to apologize for here. The rub is that excuses come fast and thick when it comes to how you choose to treat others.

  117. With the respect they deserve based on how they comport themselves. Snark begets snark. 🙂

    Those who consistently lie, revile, slander, and express their personal bigotry do not get a pass with cheap excuses and phony calls of religious compulsion. They get called out in the honest straightforward manner they avoid. 🙂

  118. Even shorter version: you can’t amend the revelation with a vote.

  119. “Those who consistently lie, revile, slander, and express their personal bigotry” = those who disagree with you.

  120. “You are an unrepentant liar by nature.”

    That certainly dispenses with clear cogent reasoning assembling facts to a conclusion.

    It also makes clear that when you write “I have nothing to apologize for here”, you’re an unrepentant liar.

  121. Ha!
    +100 upvotes for your sense of humor. 🙂

  122. I just love family stories like that. It’s so nice your folks had them and passed them on.

    Too bad it was too far back to take pictures.

  123. Apparently your comment is aimed directly at Orthodox Jews.

  124. Exactly, he didn’t say “I’m an animal now, Ride on my back.”

  125. How could you possibly think that humans aren’t animals? What magic is involved in that?

  126. If you allow lgbt people, you are no Christian. The Bible says that they are unhole abominations.

  127. Actually, you’re wrong. Spuddie’s post was pretty accurate about Parker.

  128. Speaking, of course, for yourself.

    There should not be any evidence that humans were ever perfect in a fallen creation.

  129. There are a number of behaviors among lower primates that we don’t endorse.

    Chimpanzees are known to pick up seeds from feces and reingest them. Some practice coprophagy: the deliberate ingestion of feces.

    How about murder and cannibalization?

    https://www{dot}newscientist.com/article/2119677-chimps-beat-up-murder-and-then-cannibalise-their-former-tyrant/

  130. You’ve stared into the afterlife and saw God giving same-sex carnal knowledge two spiritual thumbs up?

    Or are you suggesting something else?

    Perhaps that we should adopt the morals of bonobos?

  131. You switched subjects.

    Is it bonobos or humans?

  132. Flagged as Spam.

    Also reported user as Spammer.

    Have a nice day, Vladonald.

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