5/17/11

Presbyterian vote: "highwater mark" for pro-gay Protestants?

This was posted at the ChristianCentury site:

Gay and lesbian advocates celebrated a landmark victory on Tuesday (May 10) when the Presbyterian Church (USA) entered the expanding ranks of Christian denominations that allow openly gay, partnered clergy. The winds of change, they said, are at their backs.

"Presbyterians join a growing Protestant movement of Lutherans, Episcopalians and United Church of Christ members who have eliminated official barriers to leadership by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons," a coalition of pro-gay Presbyterians said in a statement.

The momentum of the gay clergy movement, however, may soon grind to a halt.

"There is not another denomination I see on the horizon right now that is on the cusp of this," said Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan research and consulting firm...

...even as gay and lesbian Christians celebrated, some acknowledged that steep challenges lie ahead in other denominations, particularly the country's largest four: the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Those four denominations, whose leaders show few signs of accepting gay clergy or relationships, together count nearly 100 million members. By contrast, the four largest denominations that allow gay clergy together count less than 11 million members. The Presbyterian Church (USA), for example, has about 2.1 million members...

..."The data would not suggest that United Methodist clergy are on the cusp of supporting gay and lesbian ordination," Jones said. Moreover, the UMC, which has about 12 million members worldwide, is growing most rapidly in Africa, where Christians tend to hold conservative views on theology and sexuality, noted Alan Wisdom, vice president of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, a Washington-based conservative think tank...

Read it all here.

It would seem that all the major US churches that were likely to move in the direction of accepting homosexual behavior, have now already done so. I wonder if there will follow a 'realignment' in which members move between churches that do and do not accept this behavior (based upon their own beliefs or preferences). I heard of a strong lay leader leaving one of our own local (relatively conservative) Presbyterian churches over this issue just last week. Of course, the Lutherans and Anglicans have seen entirely new church structures created in this country for those moderates and conservatives who did not want to follow the denominational leaders in accepting homosexual behavior.

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3 Comments:

Blogger o3man said...

God says:
Jude 1
5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

8:33 PM, May 22, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warning, a loving reminder of what the bible says about gay and lesbian sin.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor HOMOSEXUAL OFFENDERS nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanders nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1Corinthians 6:9-10

God's solution for the above sins so that a person can enter heaven is: repent, turn away from sin, resolve to reform ones life.

I hope this will be helpful for anyone caught in sin.

7:52 PM, May 26, 2011  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

Of course, as you folks point out, at the heart of this whole debate is 'what does it mean for us to be faithful to God?' Which immediately raises the question of "what has God revealed?"

There are numerous Biblical passages that prohibit homosexual behavior among the covenant people of God (not limited to those posted in the comments). Insofar as there is honest disagreement about how to interpret these passages, we need to have a church-wide discussion about good hermeneutics and rules of interpretation.

In the United Methodist Church it is very clear that we interpret Bible passages in light of 1) first and foremost the rest of the Bible, 2) the tradition of the church through the ages, 3) logical reasoning, and 4) holy experience. In terms of reason and experience it is also true that, according to the Book of Discipline we must attend not only to our own personal experiences or reasonings, but also to the experience and wisdom of the community, which is another way of saying "tradition." When you consider this method of interpretation, and look at the actual content of the Christian tradition on sexual teaching, it is abundantly clear that, if we are to be consistent with ourselves, United Methodists must hold the tradition/Biblical teaching on sexuality (only in a marriage of only one man and one woman is the sexual act appropriate and blessed). This conclusion is, I believe, inescapable if we are intellectually honest. This is what it means for each of us in the United Methodist tradition to be faithful to God with our own sexuality.

The question of what are Methodists to do who disagree with this conclusion is an open one.

3:15 PM, May 30, 2011  

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