Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sex and The United Methodist Church - AKA How to Paint Yourself into a Corner!

Human sexuality has been a battle ground in the United Methodist Church for decades. The present Book of Discipline has statements that some support and others want to have removed which particularly address the issue of homosexuality. The one statement that has been the target of attack at General Conference sessions over the years has been the wording that we believe homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching!

However, there are other statements that also speak to the issue. No avowed practicing homosexual is to be ordained for ministry in the United Methodist Church. No pastor is to perform a same-sex union ceremony or marriage. And no UM church is to be used for such events. Planned for early next year is a special session of the General Conference. The UMC bishops appointed a special commission to recommend a plan that would resolve this great divide or at least try to. And so “A Way Forward” has resulted in a final report to the General Conference which will meet in February of 2019.

In simple summary the report recommends removal of “restrictive” language of the Book of Discipline. Such statements relative to same-sex activity etc. have already been mentioned. Pastors, churches, and conferences would be free to choose what they will or will not do regarding the homosexual/lesbian issue.

The pressure continues to mount regarding acceptance of homosexual/lesbian lifestyles by all. We already have elected a lesbian bishop who presides over two conferences! That election was ruled to be illegal by the Judicial Council, but she is still a bishop and considered to be in “good standing!” We have at least one bishop who has done same-sex weddings and other bishops who are sympathetic and supportive of the homosexual/lesbian way of life!

Now having said that, are we United Methodists willing to take the next step and accept other sexual lifestyles as we are doing with homosexuality and lesbianism. Part of the rationale is that same-sex “couples” are living in loving and committed monogamous relationships. Therefore, we should accept them into the life and mission of the church. Also cited is the fact that slavery was once accepted and practiced by Christians. And the ordination of women was forbidden and supported by Christians. But now things have changed in our culture and we in the UMC do not believe in slavery and we now permit the ordination of women. And so we now have the growing acceptance of same-sex lifestyles in our culture and in our churches.

What will we do with couples that are in a fornication state of affairs? There are couples who live together and are not married. So sexually, they are doing a thing commonly referred to as fornication! They can claim they love each other and that they are committed and monogamous also.

How about Jane Doe and her German Shepherd, Spike? They have sexual relations but Jane declares she is loyal to Spike. Further, she wants to be an involved member of a United Methodist Church, claiming it is the “Christian” thing to do. But she also insists that Spike should be permitted to accompany her to church functions.

And there is John Doe and his Holstein heifer, Pansy. It’s the same with them as it is with Jane and Spike! And he believes there is nothing wrong with him and Pansy having sexual relations! He too wants to be a good and faithful member of a United Methodist church. By the way, Jane and John are cousins. Maybe this sex thing of a different kind runs in the Doe family line!

Oh yes, there is a small group of younger married couples who want to be church involved. When it comes to sexual activity they are different. They believe in practicing what is commonly referred to as “wife swapping!” While they admit that what they are doing is committing adultery, they claim everybody in the group agrees to the exchange of mates and enjoys doing so – therefore how can something that is so much fun be so wrong? About once a week they get together for “fun and games” – and besides, it gives each husband and wife a chance to do some comparing with how they do with someone else’s wife or husband!

Ooops! Careful now! You’re not going to try and say that the Bible condemns such activity as just mentioned and we could not allow people who do such things to be members and serve in some office capacity within the church, are you? Nope – it is not convincing! The same Bible that addresses such issues as fornication, adultery in its many forms, and sex with animals also clearly addresses same-sex intimacy! The latter is not identified as a sin but rather as an abomination! That is sin intensified many times over!

There is not one single phrase in the entire Bible in which God indicates that he has changed His mind and homosexuality and lesbianism are now accepted in His sight with His richest blessing upon such “couples!” A United Methodist bishop, by the way, wrote a piece as to how he came to change his mind about homosexuality. In his sight it is quite OK now!

But if the denomination moves further along and attempts to persuade all eventually that homosexuality and lesbianism are just as morally acceptable as heterosexual marriage, then it will also have to accept fornication, adultery, and bestiality as being morally acceptable as well, that is, if it is going to be consistent on the issue of human sexuality!

A not so subtle statement to lay a guilt trip on those who refuse to accept same-sex intimacy as being morally legitimate in the sight of God was made by the Commission on A Way Forward in its final report to the February 2019 special session of the General Conference. This is how it reads: “The condition of our heart to another person very much shapes the outcomes. If we have a heart at peace, we see the other as a person, with many needs, hopes and gifts. If we have a heart at war, we see the other as an object or an obstacle to our own desires and visions. In addition, a heart at war exaggerates the differences between persons in order to prepare to go to war with them. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And when persons (or groups) are at war with each other, they escalate the conflict with each other in order to justify themselves, and can be in collusion with each other for the gain of their own group’s interests. The Commission worked diligently to continually condition ourselves to have hearts of peace. This essential work gave us the ability to get beyond our positions and to seek and discover the interests we have in common in terms of our faith, our Biblical understandings, our love for The United Methodist Church, and our Christ’s mission to reach the world with the transforming power of God.”

Just a final question in regard to that statement: Would those who came up with that statement say that God always has a “heart of peace” or did He maybe have a “heart of war” when He wiped out all the members of the human race except for 8 people who were on board an ark built by a man named Noah and his 3 sons?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Still Another Letter to Leadership of the W. PA Conference of the United Methodist Church!

July 25, 2018

To: Bishop Cynthia Moore Koikoi and Cabinet members of W. Pennsylvania Annual Conference: Sung Chung, Dawn Hand, Bradford L. Lauster, J. Patrick Lenox, Patricia M. Nelson, Eric Park, James N. Pond, Jodie Barron Smith, Dennis Swineford, Robert F. Zilhaver

Lots of news and a myriad of comments via social media about the United Methodist Church dealing with a thing called, “A Way Forward.” Of course it can be seriously debated as to whether it is really a way forward or a way backward!

The plan at the forefront as presented by denominational leadership is nothing less than an effort to have universal acceptance of same-sex intimacy/marriage as being morally acceptable without objection. The promotion of this objective was obvious in the Order of Elders meetings held in recent months. The first statement in a visual presentation was this: “We are all children of God.” That is blatantly false! John in his letter divides the human race into two categories – children of God and children of the Devil. Paul in a confrontation with one person called that individual a child of the Devil. Most importantly Jesus in a dispute with a group of persons said they were of their father, the Devil! Most would agree that you cannot be a child of God and a child of the Devil at the same time – that would produce quite a hybrid, wouldn’t you say?

At the conference web site the following statement is made: “Led by a resident Bishop, the Conference is governed both by the denomination's Book of Discipline and actions agreed on by clergy and lay representatives of its local churches who meet each in an Annual Conference session.” We elders took vows at ordination which included obedience to the Discipline. It is obvious that a number of elders throughout the USA have made liars of themselves in regard to such vows regarding the doctrine and discipline of the UMC! At least one bishop has done same-sex weddings and a former “leader” of the W. PA Conference now supports the sodomite/lesbian agenda! And we now have a practicing lesbian who was illegally elected to the office of bishop and nothing is being done about that violation!

And now for the question: if any of you superintendents discover that a pastor in your district has done a same-sex wedding in his/her church, what will you do? According to the Discipline, this would require action to be taken because not only has God’s Word been violated but also the UMC Discipline! Your decisive action in following the Discipline would also assume support of the bishop in dealing with the issue.

Still contending (Jude 3,4)

Clayton D. Harriger, retired elder and member of W. PA Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

NOTE: For those reading this blog, statements were made about references in Scripture related to some people being "children of the devil." The references are 1 John 3, Acts 13:10, and John 8.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The United Methodist Church Has Much More to Be Concerned About Than a Way Forward!

NOTE: The following was posted on the UM Clergy group of which I am a member, my timeline at Facebook and has been sent to the bishop and the ten superintendents of the W. PA Annual Conference. It is also being posted here at my blog, Musings of a Maverick. As might be expected, a lot of flak came by way of response in the UM Clergy group! Got to admit that those people know how to load, lock and quickly fire! In United Methodist circles these days you will find just about anything by way of "belief" -- the practices of sodomy and lesbianism are morally acceptable and actually a very good thing! There is no God of wrath and judgment, no Satan, no Hell and because "we are all the children of God," everyone is going to Heaven!

********** ********** **********

As we prattle on about the Way Forward debacle, the greater tragedy beyond this is massive failure to recognize that our republic is perched on the very threshold of God’s undiluted wrath being poured out on us in well-deserved judgment! There are some solid reasons for this as we have chosen to travel the same road to disaster as did the Israelites in the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Our widespread shedding of innocent blood as a result of the intentional homicides of over 60 million unborn children alone qualifies us to be recipients of God’s judgmental wrath! The UMC and its leadership have chosen to be rather silent about this abomination.

Our culture with enthusiastic support from a number of denominations has given God the infamous obscene gesture in response to His clearly revealed and defined boundaries regarding human sexuality. The prominent philosophy for some time has been, “Sex is fun with anyone or more than one anyone at the same time, anywhere and at any time!” The reality of this is demonstrated by an international pornography industry growing faster than a raging cancer out of control!

Given the acceptance of sexual immorality and abominations that have taken place in recent years the time may not be all that far off when John Doe will approach a member of the clergy with marriage license in hand and ask that the pastor marry him and his Holstein heifer, Petunia. Think not? How can we object when John says they are committed to each other, love each other and have been monogamous since they first met! Isn’t that the reasoning that has been used for years, even in heterosexual and same-sex relationships? Some of us never believed a few years ago that the day would come when two sodomites or two lesbians would approach a pastor with marriage license in hand and request that he/she do their wedding!

We have become a culture that is polluted with idolatry and driven with the pursuit of pleasures of every possible kind. Less than half our population of over 323 million people can find its way into a place of worship on Sunday. That qualifies us to be a nation of heathen rather than a nation where the vast majority fear and seek to be obedient to the living God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ!

It is not a matter of whether Almighty God is going to bring judgment on the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” but how soon it will happen! And when it happens the dominant question will be about the same as in the days of the ancient Israelites when judgment was about to take place as recorded in the book of Jeremiah. “And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?” [Jeremiah 16:10 (KJV)].

“To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.” [Jeremiah 6:10 (KJV)].

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.” [Ezekiel 22:30-31 (KJV)].

BY Clayton D. Harriger, ordained elder, W. PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
May 12, 2018 Belsano PA

Thursday, February 15, 2018

We Never Used to Have Mass Shootings and Killings of Law Enforcement Officers on a Regular Basis!

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind….. [Hosea 8:7 (KJV)].

Always when it happens there is the troubling question that begins with the word, why, and the struggle for an explanation begins. Law enforcement officials begin an intensive investigation into the background of the person or persons responsible for the killings. One of the main questions is that of motive – exactly why did the shootings happen? What was in the mind of the person or persons who committed the violent acts?

What is not recognized and there will be massive resistance in facing what has been happening now for decades is that seed has been sown and it is now harvest time! Or to use a quote that has been around for generations: “The chickens have come home to roost!” The “foundation” for it all was laid back in 1963 when the U.S. Supreme Court made about the deadliest and most costly decision it ever made in the history of the United States. The Court declared that the practice of having the Lord’s Prayer and the reading of the holy Scriptures each day in classrooms of public schools would no longer be permitted!

All students had been exposed to the fact that there is a God Who is accessible through prayer and that He has given us a special revelation commonly referred to as the Bible. Even students whose parents were not church involved were exposed to this reality – there is a God and He has given us His holy Word! This experience took place 9 months out of each year, 5 days each week! In the decades and generations since that fateful decision of 1963 we have large numbers of heathen who are reproducing – absolutely no exposure to the truth that there is a God Who holds all of us accountable and One Who loved us so much He sacrificed His Son, Jesus, to make forgiveness possible for each human!

But something else began to happen as well. The entertainment industry used to hold to standards of decency. Hollywood would not permit profane language to be spoken in films produced. Violence was extremely limited when shown in conflicts. Moral standards were quite high as depicted on the screen. But that began to change. Word by word profanity began to be used. Violence was increased and immorality began to be graphically displayed. The violence was even more graphic with slow motion splattering of blood, brains and guts! The immorality involved sexual scenes and the actors and actresses appeared naked! Music also has changed greatly with lyrics often depicting some type of violence or acts of immorality! The time for video games arrived followed by hand held devices with games and access to all manner of highly questionable material. Violence and immorality are a common part of the entertainment “diet” offered through movie and TV screens and a myriad of hand held electronic devices in today’s world!

Our culture became an increasingly violent one as the Supreme Court issued another decision 10 years after the ban on prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. That decision declared that a pregnant female has the constitutional right to have her unborn child murdered if she so chooses. The murdering of an unborn child is a violent act! You say, no? What do you call it when one person uses tools to dismember and intentionally kill another person? This happens thousands of times a week in our republic. Over 60 million acts of intentional homicide involving unborn children have taken place so far since 1973!

The young in our republic have for decades been continually exposed to violence that has its fountain source in the world of entertainment! It is a kind of brainwashing experience for them. The influence of this moral and ethical junk conditions them to accept violence as a way of settling differences in their life experiences. If someone or more than one someone does you wrong, then you settle it by resorting to violence. A gun is simply one of a number of ways this can be done. The use of the gun, however, gets the most publicity!

Is there a solution to this problem which is comparable to a cancer out of control? It would mean a very drastic change in the arena of entertainment – a radical “cleaning up” process which the people who are in control would be unwilling to do mainly because big money is involved! Even if there would be the drastic changes implemented it would take a generation or two before significant improvement in our quality of life would take place.

Things continuing as they have been and that is how it will be – in fact, it will likely be getting worse. The violence will erupt time after time following identical patterns. Signs at present time indicate we as a nation are on the path leading to absolute and certain judgment at the hands of a holy God!

For the few that take their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord seriously, it means seeking by the grace of God to set a noble and holy example in word and conduct (be light and salt as stated by Jesus in Matthew 5) and sound the warning that if there is not full repentance from all sin soon throughout the nation, there most definitely will be judgment by Almighty God. Billy Graham said it this way a long time ago: “If God permits the United States to get away with what it is doing, then He will have to issue an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah!”

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. [Galatians 6:7 (KJV)].

Monday, January 15, 2018

Response to Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church Concerning Their Outrage About President Trump's Remarks!

NOTICE: The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church recently circulated a letter of outrage concerning statements made by President Trump in which very vulgar language was allegedly used by him. This response to that letter is a reminder that there are much more critical issues the Council has to deal with than filthy words coming out of the mouth of a president!

January 15, 2018

Bishop Bruce Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President
Council of Bishops, United Methodist Church

Dear Bishop Ough:

Your letter as represented by the Council of Bishops in regard to the president’s potty mouth statements recently has been distributed throughout the Western PA Annual Conference by Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi. To be sure the president has used vulgar language on different occasions and this is most regrettable in every circumstance no matter the language used or the people who are targeted. Most mass media people who have extreme hatred for the president will exploit the latest incident to the hilt with hopes they will eventually destroy him and he will be removed from office!

However the Council of Bishops has a much greater crisis to deal with than what comes out of a president’s mouth. One of your own is a practicing lesbian with claim to being “married” to her partner. This in direct violation of Scripture in which God has clearly identified same-sex intimacy as being an abomination in His revelation. Further, this woman who was elevated to the position of bishop by the Western Jurisdiction is also in violation of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church in at least 3 areas! But nothing is being done about it though the election was declared to be illegal by the Judicial Council. At least 2 other bishops are supportive of same-sex intimacy as practiced by sodomites and lesbians. Bishop Talbert has done ceremonies of same-sex couples and Bishop Bickerton showed his support by participating in a gay pride parade in New York!

And there is one other area in which the Council and its members have been extremely silent. That area involves about 60 million victims of planned intentional homicide! That is about how many unborn children have been murdered since the infamous Supreme Court decision of 1973 which essentially said that a pregnant female has the constitutional right to have her unborn child murdered if she so chooses. Some would have to agree that if those millions of murdered victims would have been permitted to live, a significant number would have become members of the United Methodist Church. It is not comforting to think about what contributions these would have made in the life and ministry of the church. The oldest of these murdered victims would be 45 years of age this year in 2018! Alas! The silence continues!

Still contending at www.crrange.com

Clayton D. Harriger, retired elder, W PA Annual Conference

cc: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi

cc: Cabinet members of the Western PA Annual Conference