Friday, July 15, 2011

Will The United Methodist Church Capitulate to the Sodomite/Lesbian Agenda?

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 ............
[Clayton D. Harriger is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, a member of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference and author of the following comments.]

It's a well known fact -- the old oak tree may be huge -- the trunk may be at least 15 feet or more in circumferance -- but if you keep chopping away and the chips keep falling, the tree will topple eventually!

And so it goes in the United Methodist Church. For some time those supporting the sodomite/lesbian agenda have been zealously at work to force full acceptance of unrepentant sodomites and lesbians into the life and ministry of the denomination. One central focus of attack has been the statement in the UMC Book of Discipline that states homosexuality to be incompatible with Christian teaching.

Other areas of attack have been the statements dealing with ordination of those who practice this abominable lifestyle and the performing of ceremonies which join 2 sodomites or 2 lesbians in a "union" that is supposed to be comparable to the marriage of a man and a woman.

The political posturing has been taking place for some time in anticipation of General Conference which will be held in spring of 2012.

Noted at the beginning is a partial statement from a gang of retired United Methodist bishops (term used very loosely) who are pressing for acceptance of unrepentant sodomites and lesbians without any objection whatsoever. The "bishops" signing that declaration are: 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, and Leontine T. C. Kelly. Not all signed that statement -- at least one did not and that was Bishop George Bashore who retired a few years ago after serving the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference. However, in the list of those signing is the name of William Boyd Grove who is originally from the Western Pennsylvania Conference and served in that conference before being elected to the office of bishop.

From out of Illinois has come a pledge on the part of 200 U. M. clergy to flout church policy and bless "unions" for same-gender couples who seek to be "united" in the same. Further, it has been reported that United Methodists in the Northern Illinois Conference called on the global church to impose no more than a 24-hour suspension for clergy who defy the policy of the United Methodist Church regarding same-gender union ceremonies!

Should we be surprised? With the stench of Illinois and Chicago politics greatly impacting Washington DC, it follows that the U. M. Church in Illinois would demonstrate it too is very capable of tolerating corruption of the first magnitude!

A female U. M. pastor this past June was found guilty for performing a "union" ceremony for 2 lesbians. The trial court really came down hard on her for this violation -- she was suspended for 20 days! There are more details as to what she has to do in writing a document along with discussions etc. in preparation for next year's annual conference. The Board of Ordained Ministry and the bishop have certainly bent more than 90 degrees backward to accomodate Amy DeLong, and of course she continues to do pastoral work as an ordained elder in her conference. Is this akin to laying your pinky lightly across her wrist and saying, "You naughty, naughtly girl -- now please, if you can find it within yourself, try not to do this again."

United Methodist pastor, Michael Gray, is in the heart of the effort to get a referendum on the ballot in Maine which will legalize marriage between same-gender couples. He supported the effort back in 2009 which was eventually overturned. He claims most of his congregation supports marriage between same-gender couples.

Six states have now legalized marriage for sodomites and lesbians which means U. M. pastors in those states will really be under pressure to do weddings involving such persons.

The above situations are but merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ferment taking place within the United Methodist Church. Will 2012 be the year that significant changes are made and the door is opened quite a bit wider for unrepentant sodomites and lesbians with same-gender sexual intimacy no longer regarded as "incompatible with Christian teaching?"

One very effective strategy being used by the sodomite/lesbian agenda people is the "dialog." This is where you sit down at the table and discuss your differences with participating parties agreeing to respect one another and to refrain from any negative references to those holding an opposite position on the issue. Too many claiming to be "conservative" and believers in the Scriptures have fallen into this trap. It makes for good publicity and in order to "get along, we go along" even in our dialog experiences! Remember the old oak tree -- dialog advances and more chips are taken out of the old tree's trunk.

There is talk of a split in the UMC over this issue. There are those who strongly support such action. But really, it will do little good. The sodomite/lesbian cartel would not be content with a split -- they want universal unquestioned acceptance on the part of every person who is a part of the UMC -- laity and clergy alike!

Any who refuse to accept this abominable lifestyle have already been labeled in the most negative terms that can be dredged out of Mr. Webster's dictionary, starting with the word, homophobic.

How very real are the words of Jesus in these times as He warned that conditions would duplicate those which existed in a city named Sodom when a godly, but tormented, man by the name of Lot lived there. Unfortunately Lot paid an extremely high price for the deadly choice of moving into that city with his family.

Those who believe God has clearly established the boundaries of human sexuality will increasingly become targets of attack in this ongoing moral war. But stand your ground, dig in your heels, and speak up to the end -- victory lies straight ahead. Be comforted in knowing that our Lord will render the final judgment and have the last word!

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. --- Revelation 22:14-21

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Only One Nation Has a Bright Future Absolutely Guaranteed!

Thus says the LORD of hosts: "In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'" --- Zechariah 8:23

A large number of U. S. citizens along with their leaders, political and church, hold to the United States having a great future in spite of some aggravating issues in which the republic presently finds itself. The grand deception lies in the fact that a majority sincerely believe we as a nation can successfully work through all the issues, solve the problems, and usher in a time of great economic prosperity. This in spite of God's revelation showing us with crystal clarity that without God's grace, mercy and guidance we cannot possibly succeed in our efforts.

But there is a time coming when one nation will achieve all that others have failed to gain through centuries of time. And among the nations who have failed is one known as the United States of America! Israel is that nation which is destined to have that very bright future, standing all alone in the glory which God has reserved for it.

Isaiah 60 is but one of a number of chapters in Scripture that speak of Israel's future and that of its prominent city, Jerusalem. God is going to bring about some very shocking changes at some point in the future regarding the Israelite people and their nation.

First, there will be a time of paramount prosperity for Israel and that coming about in a most unusual way:

Arise, shine; For your light has come! and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. "Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. Surely the coastlands shall wait for Me; and the ships of Tarshish will come first, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the LORD your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He has glorified you. The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you. Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession." --- Isaiah 60:1-5, 9-11

Second, there will be a time of prominent prestige with foreign nations being in servitude to Israel -- seems impossible that it will ever happen, but when God has said it will be, then when the time is right it will happen exactly as God has planned:

"For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined. The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious. Also the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations. You shall drink dry the milk of the Gentiles, and shall milk the breast of kings; you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob." --- Isaiah 60:12-16

Third, it will be a time of stable and solid security for a people described as being "righteous:"

"Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Also your people shall all be righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time." --- Isaiah 60:18-22

Israel will continue to go through very difficult and trying times for a while. For the most part the nation is in a state of unbelief in regard to Jesus Christ being the Messiah, the Savior and Hope in regard to the future. But the time will come when eyes will be opened and hearts will earnestly seek Him in a spirit of repentance. A nation much despised and hated to the extent that some wanted to totally destroy it will be the only one to arrive eventually at world prominence and to be dominant over all other nations!

For Christians, the responsibility remains as always -- to be involved in every way possible in carrying out the command of Jesus to take the Gospel into all the world, bearing witness to the fact that He is exclusively the only way of forgiveness, and reconciliation to God the Father. If one is going to experience salvation, it will only be through Jesus Christ and no other!

But there is another thing Christians can also be doing -- praying for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6, 7) and giving God no rest until He makes Jerusalem a praise throughout all the earth:

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. --- Isaiah 62:6, 7

I am fully aware that there are various interpretations regarding reference to Israel in the Scriptures and the church having in a sense "replaced" Israel so far as future events are concerned. Personally, I prefer to take it the way God has spelled it out and that under the terms of the covenant made originally with Abraham, Israel is the only nation to have a very bright future! And why is this? The answer is very simple -- because God has promised it will be so!

Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."..............On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates; the Kenites, the Kenezzites, and the Kadmonites; the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Rephaim; the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." --- Genesis 12:1-3; 15:18-21

Monday, July 4, 2011

235 Years of Independence But The Termites Are Eating the Supporting Timbers!

"America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." --- quote from Alexis de Tocqueville who was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America (appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies. Democracy in America (1835), his major work, published after his travels in the United States, is today considered an early work of sociology and political science.

First, an explanation of the above photo of a tattered and torn U. S. flag. It was flying by our home and it started to get torn. I didn't replace it right away and after some strong winds, it really got mangled. Jean kept after me to get a new one. So, before doing so, I took a picture as you see above. The reason? I consider it a bit symbolical since the prevailing mood and spirit throughout the republic is one of shredding the holy Scriptures and the U. S. Constitution! It reminds us that our beloved republic is in major need of repair, restoration, and healing in government and church, which are the major forces of influence in any culture.

Our republic is celebrating its 235th birthday today, remembering a special statement that was made known as the Declaration of Independence. There will be lots and lots of celebrations of various kinds in each of the 50 states. Tons of fireworks will be set off in numerous communities and families will have a lot of picnics and their own fireworks experiences as has already taken place in the area where we live. Alcohol will flow like a raging torrent and there will be the accompanying tragedies resulting from such abuse.

After the ashes of the fireworks lie on the ground, the garbage cans are filled with remains from the picnics, and police make their detailed reports related to the tragic incidents involving use of alcohol, the troublesome question to consider is this: is there really very much to celebrate regarding the birthday of our republic?

Yes, we still have a measure of liberty which is at times greatly stressed. Yesterday I was able to get up, and go to church with my wife, Jean. I was able to participate in the worship of Almighty God and to preach with no church leader or politician telling me what and how to preach a message, or that I was not permitted to publicly read portions of the holy Scriptures. Afterward we were able to gather with some members of the family and enjoy a cookout picnic together without any restrictions imposed upon us. Freedom that all too often is taken for granted.

And yes, we can still go to the voting booth and cast our ballots for persons seeking political office in spite of electronic voting which makes election fraud more of a possility than ever before, especially at the state and federal levels!

But the "termites" are at work eating away at the supporting timbers. They are ethical, moral and spiritual in nature. There are some people who believe our republic is headed in a direction that will lead to ultimate disaster unless drastic changes are made soon.

The fact that we have accumulated a national debt that cannot be sustained and each day sees that debt increasing even more is an indication alone that a financial "Armageddon" looms in the future of the republic. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are serious about getting that debt paid down -- worse, they can't even agree on doing some reducing of the annual deficit. Lots of talk but never any serious action on this. And if there is no agreement on tackling the deficit, what chance is there that even a couple of bucks will be applied toward the ever expanding national debt?

Recent years have seen a number of scandals involving high profile religious leaders and political leaders alike. It seems a number of these choose to set their own "rules" for the questionable moral and ethical conduct which they practice! Too often the response when exposed is denial, then maybe a half hearted admission and it is usually somebody else's fault -- you know, we are unwilling to take full responsibility for our actions. High profile sports and entertainment figures could also be added to this growing problem - those who are supposed to be role models and moral examples for our young!

There is a growing acceptance of immoral practices which God clearly condemns in His special revelation to us. This is a barometer indicating that our republic is like a ship in the midst of a storm with its rudder disabled and unable to avoid the rocks along the shoreline. Recently New York state became the 6th state to legalize marriage between two sodomites or two lesbians. Other states are considering this issue and some have already granted "rights" to domestic "partners" as it is in the case of legally married couples (male and female) at the present time.

And of course the destruction of the unborn continues under the sanction of the president, many congressional members and some of the membership of the U.S. Supreme Court which is responsible for the original ruling that it is a constitutional "right" for a female to destroy her unborn child by a deliberate choice. What all of us are overlooking is the fact that God has not yet made a full response to this abomination. When He does, there will be no question that He is in radical disagreement with that Supreme Court decision. He may well make this nation's landscape resemble the mutilated and murdered remains of those unborn children for whom He had a high and holy purpose in life!

The aforementioned issues are but a few of the "termites" eating away at the supporting timbers of our republic. But the last one is the leading "candidate" for inciting the wrath of God more quickly than any other. A culture always commits moral suicide when it adopts a gutter level standard in its regard for human life and leadership takes a position that human life can easily be discarded by whimsical choice!

If Alexis de Tocqueville were to visit the United States today, would his comments be a bit different than what he said in the much younger years of the republic? And might he also say, "America has ceased to be good!"???

Celebrate? The better choice of action is to pray, asking God for mercy and forgiveness, and doing so in the spirit of Daniel who set a noble example for us many centuries ago.

And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day; to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You....." --- Daniel 9:4-8