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UM Leadership Burns Down the Church

Monday, May 13, 2024 @ 01:19 PM UM Leadership Burns Down the Church Dr. Ray Rooney, Jr. Digital Media Editor MORE

Anyone who reads the gospels knows that Jesus had great compassion for the downtrodden. Perhaps it would be prudent to define that word since it isn’t used that much today. According to Webster, “downtrodden” means “suffering oppression.” Some of the synonyms it offers are: crushed, persecuted, and tyrannized.

“Crushed” could be the woman with the bleeding issue who had spent years and all her money on doctors who couldn’t help her but gladly accepted her money (Mark 5:25-34). “Persecuted” was any leper who dared venture out in public (Luke 17:11-19). “Tyrannized” was the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Jesus helped them all (and many more). The one thing they probably all had in common was the feeling of either neglect or abandonment by God. I am not aware of Jesus acting positively on behalf of anyone who demanded or believed they deserved His intervention (the one person I can think of who went to Jesus looking for something but didn’t receive it was the rich young ruler who didn’t like what Jesus had to say to him and “went away sorrowful” [Mark 10:17-22]).

I was a United Methodist from 1984 until 2023. I was a pastor in the denomination from 1986 until 2023. I left the UMC because I got tired of the squeaking wheel(s) who constantly demanded attention, acceptance, and obeyance getting more attention than the Word and glory of God. I’m talking about those who had been demanding for decades that people who celebrate and engage in homosexual behavior be allowed to be ordained and pastor UM churches despite the overwhelmingly clear prohibition of said behavior in both the Old and New Testaments.

As you probably know by now they finally got their way at the recent General Conference of the United Methodist Church. There were tears of joy, celebratory hugs, loud cheers, and applause when the denomination decided (officially) that the practice of homosexuality is no longer “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

For decades homosexuals and their supporters disrupted General and Annual Conferences demanding their right to embrace and extol their sexual sin from the pulpits of churches. They aligned themselves with the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But which of them wrote any letters from jail because of being persecuted for being homosexual? How many homosexual preacher wannabes had ever had police dogs unleashed on them for being gay?

Their demands were never rooted in being oppressed or “downtrodden” even though that is how they portrayed themselves. Rather it was always based on their longing for denominational affirmation of their sexual sin. But Annual Conferences in various parts of the country have been defying the denominational ban on homosexual clergy for years. There has even been a practicing lesbian serving as a bishop (Karen Oliveto) since 2016 even though The Book of Discipline expressly forbids it! Oppressed? Downtrodden? Tyrannized? Oh please.

This was always and only about legitimizing biblically banned behavior. Just because the leadership of the UMC says “God is doing a new thing” doesn’t mean God is reversing course on sexuality.

I will never forget the couple who came to me for marriage counseling when the woman confessed to a years-long extramarital affair. For over an hour, she tried her best to convince me that God had brought her and her lover together. God was doing a new thing. She and her lover were so much in love. As soon as she got a divorce from her husband she would marry the man God had brought into her life. They would even go to church together. And God had arranged it all.

The UMC’s new definition of marriage is no less ridiculous and obscene. It is ridiculous because there is simply no way to reconcile Scripture with homosexuality. Sodom and Gomorrah isn't about “inhospitality” and Romans 1 isn’t talking about pederasty. It is obscene because it suggests God has evolved from a primitively restrictive view of marriage to an enlightened and progressive view of sexuality.

I wasn’t sad when that woman who sat across from me and beside her husband tried to justify her sexual trysts with another man. I was angry. How dare she blame God for her decision to sin. Likewise, I am not sad about the pathway the United Methodist Church has decided to take. I am angry that they are patting themselves on the back for telling the world that they are only following God down the primrose path of self-indulgence.

Said one bishop, “God is doing a new thing.”

Apparently, not only has God done an about-face on marriage and homosexuality, but He also must have changed His mind on sex outside of marriage as a whole. Previous to this General Conference the Social Principles said, “sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.” That was replaced with, “We affirm the rights of all people to exercise personal consent in sexual relationships, to make decisions about their own bodies and be supported in those decisions.” Do you see anything in there about marriage?

And how about this from an article written by Mark Tooley for Firebrand:

“Clergy are no longer specifically required to be celibate if single and monogamous in male/female marriage. Along with homosexual behavior, these have been removed as chargeable offenses for clergy [emphasis mine]. Instead, ‘immorality’ as a chargeable offense is now undefined.”

That’s right, United Methodist pastors are now free to have sex outside of marriage without denominational consequence.

This isn’t sad, it’s preposterous. All the while the leadership of the denomination rejoices about being free to go out and make disciples for Jesus Christ. Since they no longer heed the Scripture they probably aren’t aware that Jesus is particular about the kind of disciples that are made. In Matthew 23:15 He lamented the following about the disciples the religious leadership of His day was making:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

I won’t even go into the decision to ask delegates to identify their race, gender, sexual preference, and pronouns as a prerequisite for speaking at a microphone. As if everyone at the Conference and in the denomination was just aching to know what you do when the lights are turned out in the bedroom.

Here is Bishop Karen Oliveto’s preamble to speaking at the Conference:

“Good morning friends. My name is Karen Oliveto. I am the episcopal leader of the Mountain Sky Conference. I am a white, older adult lesbian woman. My pronouns are ‘she,’ ‘her.’”

It is absolutely clear that the current leadership of the United Methodist Church is completely obsessed with sex. They want to know who is doing what with whom so they can give them a pat on the back.

Perhaps the best place to end would be a quote from the aforementioned lesbian bishop:

“The Holy Spirit is moving and birthing a church that we always knew was there.”

That is why almost 8,000 churches have left the United Methodist denomination since 2019. We knew it was there too. Only it wasn’t the Holy Spirit that was doing the moving and birthing. It will be interesting to see if the UM elite will be able to convince God it was, after all, His Holy Spirit shattering the biblical definition of sex and marriage.

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