Gays vs. the Book of Discipline

Let me say right up front that I am a Methodist. Have been all my life. So the "issue" manufactured by the LHBTQ (see No. 5) crowd and the MSM really hits close to home. We have our Book of Discipline, which states our beliefs. It has been around since 1784. It is written by men and women, so it is not perfect. Never claimed to be . There is, however, one paragraph pertinent to the current situation: paragraph 341.6. Regarding homosexual marriage, paragraph 341.6 states :

Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.

So, there it is. No surprises. The Book of Discipline is not secret. anyone is free to read it. So why the issue? In my opinion, what we believe does not sit well with the LHBTQ crowd and the MSM, so they have to manufacture an issue, to turn the current situation into a "rights" and "discrimination" issue that better suits their agenda, that attacks our beliefs. But the situation is not about rights or discrimination. It's about honoring the Book of Discipline and what we believe.

Let's now turn our attention to the current situation. (Defrocked) Reverend Frank Schaefer performed a wedding for his son, Tim, in Massachusetts in 2007, after same-sex marriages were legalized there. That action violates paragraph 341.6. In order to be ordained, Schaefer had to agree to the entire Book of Discipline. His ordination committee did not ask him with which paragraphs he agreed. Schaefer said, "I cannot uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety." Schaefer was convicted of breaking two very specific church laws: performing a same-sex wedding and disobeying church law.

What is most unbelievable is that the LHBTQ crowd and the MSM, not satisfied with the Schaefer outcome, are now trying to indict the entire Book of Discipline as being discriminatory against homosexuals. This article is an example. Here is another example. And here is yet another example. In the third article's accompanying video, at the 7 second mark, ABC anchor Robin Roberts acknowledges Schaefer's violation. She says "[he] ... broke church law ...[.] Then, at the 2:08 mark, Roberts says "... they had no problem ...[.] I guess that Roberts is a psychic, able to know the thoughts of the Methodist church. That the LHBTQ crowd and the MSM are trying to make this more than a "violation of church law" issue is rather obvious. The second article has this statement:

"Unlike other mainline Protestant denominations in the United States that have moved to allow openly gay clergy and bless same-sex unions, United Methodists prohibit sexually active gay clergy and blessing same-sex unions." [emphasis mine]

That statement serves two purposes. The first part declares that, according to the MSM, the Methodist Church is "out of step" with the rest of the country. The second part "explains" WHY we are out of step. That statement, therefore, calls for a closer look at Methodist ordination:

The Book of Discipline, paragraph 304.3 (Qualifications for Ordination) states:

While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. 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. [emphasis mine]

What does "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" mean? The Book of Discipline has this statement:

Self-avowed practicing homosexual" is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual.

Notice that paragraph 304.3 includes the sentence "The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." That idea was not just made up recently by Methodists. The stance is over forty years old. And there are numerous references to homosexuality in the Bible. But since the phrase "Christian teaching" is used, let's look only in the New Testament.

Jesus never directly talked about homosexuality, but He did condemn all forms of sexual immorality. At the 1:27 mark in the video, Schaefer, in what I interpret as an attempt to divert attention from the church's charge, mentions that fact, but he fails to mention that Jesus condemned all forms of sexual immorality.

In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus said:

20 He went on: "What comes out of a person is what defiles them.
21 For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come - sexual immorality, theft, murder,
22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person
(NIV)

But Saint Paul wrote specifically about homosexual acts. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, he wrote:

9 Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a]
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(NIV)

a: The words "men who have sex with men" translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.

And in Romans 1:26-27, Saint Paul wrote:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.

27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
(NIV)

I guess Schaefer missed those passages.

We Methodists didn't just wake up one day and say "We are going to exclude practicing homosexuals." We actually have a basis for it. Therein lies the rub.

Regarding homosexuals being Methodist Church members, this MSNBC article says:

The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (UMC) teaches its subscribers to accept gay and lesbian Christians as members ...[.]

Rather brief. The Book of Discipline is quite specific about homosexuals being church members. But the LHBTQ crowd and the MSM seem to have avoided (on purpose?) delving into paragraph 4, Article IV, so I'll do it for them. It states:

The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ. The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth. All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection. [emphases mine]

The issue here is not whether you do or don't support the practice of homosexuality (I don't). The issue is whether or not we Methodists can practice our beliefs as we see fit. Schaefer, after the defrocking, said, "I still am a minister in my heart, and I will continue to minister. I will continue to be a voice for the LGBT community." That's fine. Schaefer can, in the future, do as he pleases. He can change denominations. He can even start his own church. But he cannot do as he pleases under the auspices of the Methodist Church. His actions were clearly contrary to paragraph 341.6. The questions then are, "Can we Methodists do as we please? Can we have our Book of Discipline? Can we believe as we are taught by the Bible?"

But that's just my opinion.

Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.

Let me say right up front that I am a Methodist. Have been all my life. So the "issue" manufactured by the LHBTQ (see No. 5) crowd and the MSM really hits close to home. We have our Book of Discipline, which states our beliefs. It has been around since 1784. It is written by men and women, so it is not perfect. Never claimed to be . There is, however, one paragraph pertinent to the current situation: paragraph 341.6. Regarding homosexual marriage, paragraph 341.6 states :

Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.

So, there it is. No surprises. The Book of Discipline is not secret. anyone is free to read it. So why the issue? In my opinion, what we believe does not sit well with the LHBTQ crowd and the MSM, so they have to manufacture an issue, to turn the current situation into a "rights" and "discrimination" issue that better suits their agenda, that attacks our beliefs. But the situation is not about rights or discrimination. It's about honoring the Book of Discipline and what we believe.

Let's now turn our attention to the current situation. (Defrocked) Reverend Frank Schaefer performed a wedding for his son, Tim, in Massachusetts in 2007, after same-sex marriages were legalized there. That action violates paragraph 341.6. In order to be ordained, Schaefer had to agree to the entire Book of Discipline. His ordination committee did not ask him with which paragraphs he agreed. Schaefer said, "I cannot uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety." Schaefer was convicted of breaking two very specific church laws: performing a same-sex wedding and disobeying church law.

What is most unbelievable is that the LHBTQ crowd and the MSM, not satisfied with the Schaefer outcome, are now trying to indict the entire Book of Discipline as being discriminatory against homosexuals. This article is an example. Here is another example. And here is yet another example. In the third article's accompanying video, at the 7 second mark, ABC anchor Robin Roberts acknowledges Schaefer's violation. She says "[he] ... broke church law ...[.] Then, at the 2:08 mark, Roberts says "... they had no problem ...[.] I guess that Roberts is a psychic, able to know the thoughts of the Methodist church. That the LHBTQ crowd and the MSM are trying to make this more than a "violation of church law" issue is rather obvious. The second article has this statement:

"Unlike other mainline Protestant denominations in the United States that have moved to allow openly gay clergy and bless same-sex unions, United Methodists prohibit sexually active gay clergy and blessing same-sex unions." [emphasis mine]

That statement serves two purposes. The first part declares that, according to the MSM, the Methodist Church is "out of step" with the rest of the country. The second part "explains" WHY we are out of step. That statement, therefore, calls for a closer look at Methodist ordination:

The Book of Discipline, paragraph 304.3 (Qualifications for Ordination) states:

While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. 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. [emphasis mine]

What does "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" mean? The Book of Discipline has this statement:

Self-avowed practicing homosexual" is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual.

Notice that paragraph 304.3 includes the sentence "The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." That idea was not just made up recently by Methodists. The stance is over forty years old. And there are numerous references to homosexuality in the Bible. But since the phrase "Christian teaching" is used, let's look only in the New Testament.

Jesus never directly talked about homosexuality, but He did condemn all forms of sexual immorality. At the 1:27 mark in the video, Schaefer, in what I interpret as an attempt to divert attention from the church's charge, mentions that fact, but he fails to mention that Jesus condemned all forms of sexual immorality.

In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus said:

20 He went on: "What comes out of a person is what defiles them.
21 For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come - sexual immorality, theft, murder,
22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person
(NIV)

But Saint Paul wrote specifically about homosexual acts. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, he wrote:

9 Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a]
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(NIV)

a: The words "men who have sex with men" translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.

And in Romans 1:26-27, Saint Paul wrote:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.

27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
(NIV)

I guess Schaefer missed those passages.

We Methodists didn't just wake up one day and say "We are going to exclude practicing homosexuals." We actually have a basis for it. Therein lies the rub.

Regarding homosexuals being Methodist Church members, this MSNBC article says:

The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (UMC) teaches its subscribers to accept gay and lesbian Christians as members ...[.]

Rather brief. The Book of Discipline is quite specific about homosexuals being church members. But the LHBTQ crowd and the MSM seem to have avoided (on purpose?) delving into paragraph 4, Article IV, so I'll do it for them. It states:

The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ. The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth. All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection. [emphases mine]

The issue here is not whether you do or don't support the practice of homosexuality (I don't). The issue is whether or not we Methodists can practice our beliefs as we see fit. Schaefer, after the defrocking, said, "I still am a minister in my heart, and I will continue to minister. I will continue to be a voice for the LGBT community." That's fine. Schaefer can, in the future, do as he pleases. He can change denominations. He can even start his own church. But he cannot do as he pleases under the auspices of the Methodist Church. His actions were clearly contrary to paragraph 341.6. The questions then are, "Can we Methodists do as we please? Can we have our Book of Discipline? Can we believe as we are taught by the Bible?"

But that's just my opinion.

Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.

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