“…The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” --- Par. 304.3, United Methodist Church Book of Discipline 2008 Edition
Heretic: one who holds to a doctrine or opinion that is contrary to the fundamental doctrine or creed of one's church... --- Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary
A group of retired United Methodist bishops has issued a joint statement which is titled, "A Statement of Counsel to the Church - 2011."
Here are the opening statements in that declaration:
(quote) "Out of concern for the welfare of all God’s people, and, out of special concern for the people of The United Methodist Church, we, United Methodist Bishops – retired, believe The United Methodist Church should remove the following statement from The Book of Discipline (2008):
“…The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” ¶304.3
Our lives and ministries over the years have included prayerful, thoughtful consideration of our Holy Bible, our Wesleyan heritage, reflection on our experience of the church and world, and our conviction of God’s intention for a world transformed."(end quote)
Later the bishops get to the heart of the issue which amounts to full acceptance of sodomy and lesbianism as a legitimate moral lifestyle and that such persons should be ordained into the ministry if they feel they have been "called" to serve in this manner. Further, they are to be accepted into the congregational life of the church without objection -- that is, if two persons of the same gender are practicing a lifestyle of sexual activity, we are not to object to that in any way negatively or even hint that it is morally wrong!
While, they do not specifically indicate support for the marriage of sodomites or lesbians, it is easy to see that the road these church "leaders" are traveling will eventually lead to that destination, and that they would have no objection to same-sex marriages.
And while rhetoric on this issue dwells much on "love" and "commitment" the plain fact is that the practices of sodomy and lesbianism are not supported at any place in God's total revelation to us. Same sex practices are always condemned and never one time held up in a positive and acceptable light. There are vain attempts to "interpret" Scripture in favor of practicing same-sex activity, but this is simply twisting the Scriptures to one's own destruction. Peter notes that there are people who do that kind of thing from time to time! (2 Peter 3:15,16). It is obvious that some United Methodist bishops are now a part of this crowd.
For United Methodist pastors and lay folk who believe the Bible does mean what it says and who believe the present "official" position of the United Methodist Church is in agreement with the Scriptures regarding the boundaries God has established for sexual expression and experience, we have one main weapon -- it is called prayer! Pray that God will purge the church of all that is contrary to His holy Word and that He will return upon the heads of those who teach and preach false doctrine the "fruit of their doings!"
Here are the ones who signed the statement: Sharon Z. Rader, Donald A. Ott, Beverly Shamana, C. Joseph Sprague, Melvin G. Talbert, S. Clifton Ives, Joe A. Wilson, William Lewis, Forrest Stith, Susan Morrison, Susan Hassinger, Judy Craig. Dale White, William Boyd Grove, C. P. Minnick, Kenneth L. Carder, Roy I. Sano, Joe Yeakel, Kenneth Hicks. Joseph Humper, Monk Bryan, Jesse DeWitt, Jack Tuell, J. Lloyd Knox, Charles W. Jordan, J. Lawrence McCleskey, Marshall L. Meadors, Jr., Franz Schafer, Sheldon Duecker, Fritz Mutti, Cal McConnell, Leontine T. C. Kelly.
But another disturbing thought comes to mind on this subject - how many active United Methodist bishops do you suppose are in agreement with this bunch, and eventually will add their signatures to the list?
The entire statement can be viewed and read at A Statement of Counsel to the Church - 2011 This will take you to the Reconciling Ministries Network web site.
.... who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. --- Romans 1:32