From the Pulpit: Conservative church grapples with homosexuality
November 8, 2014Conservative Christians are beginning to question their biblical based opposition to homosexuality in a journey mirroring the process their liberal and progressive cousins began about 30 years ago.
The level of conversation is not yet the rush of mighty wind blowing through the conservative church; it is more like a puff of breeze. But courageous persons and groups from varied conservative backgrounds are raising this heretofore unspeakable topic. Here are a few signs:
• Pope Francis called a synod on the family last month that proposed welcoming language regarding gay and lesbian persons and even gay marriage. Without changing church doctrine, the document’s first draft boldly suggested the church could receive and learn from gays and lesbians in a new, Christ-like way.
• Southern Baptists last month discussed softening their approach to gay and lesbian people even while remaining adamantly opposed to gay and lesbian sex and marriage. Although Baptists remain firmly committed to a narrow biblical interpretation of a few verses, at least one of their pastors was quoted as closing the conference with these words, “No one goes to hell for being homosexual.” Even more noteworthy, progressive Baptists are now supporting GLBT persons for full inclusion in the church.
• The Rev. Daniel Cortez, Southern Baptist pastor in a small SBC church in California, told his congregation that he could no longer oppose gay marriage. His congregation voted to keep him as pastor and the church agreed to stay together even though not all agree with their pastor.
• My own United Methodist Church, locked in a 40-year argument about whether “practicing” homosexuals are sinners, awkwardly strides the chasm in typical Methodist compromise by stating that homosexuals have sacred worth in God’s eyes, but that they can’t get married or ordained and are sinners if they have sex -- legalisms that mock the phrase “sacred worth.” But even conservative, evangelical, bible-affirming Methodists with national stature are beginning to contend for full inclusion of GLBT persons.
This honest, conservative searching is producing predictably swift and harsh blow back. Conservative Catholic bishops gutted Pope Francis’ draft document of its grace-filled language and the Southern Baptist Convention expelled the maverick California church with its newly open pastor.
Disobedient pastors are defrocked and laity are either expelled, labeled as heretics or relieved of church leadership. Only with difficulty has the church acknowledged tragically using the Bible to prop up non-biblical practices and beliefs such as slavery, a 6,000-year-old earth, the forbidding of remarriage of divorced persons, the rejection of women’s ordination, etc.
There always will be churches for those who prefer the old ways: the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, KJV Bible only, Tridentine Latin Mass or other cherished practices or beliefs based on archaic biblical interpretation. But this fresh wind of the Spirit beginning to blow in conservative churches eventually will lead to the rightful inclusion and full acceptance -- in most of the North American church -- of single, married and ordained GLBT Christians.
Individual by individual, Sunday School class by Sunday School class, pastor by pastor, church by church, whether in my lifetime or further down the road, the majority of the church will eventually be saddened and embarrassed to remember that we once condemned people as sinners simply because they were homosexual.
Creede Hinshaw, a retired United Methodist pastor of 36 years,
Another person who has assumed that "actions" + "identity" = "who we are to be" and provides justification by implying that "hate the sin, love the sinner" is "mocking". Then, he concludes with the "wrong side of history" argument.
The minister, for all his experiences, hasn't grasped that:
1. We are called to be something else beyond our desire-driven actions.
2. That Christ said "go and sin no more".
3. What the "majority opinion" wants isn't, necessarily, what God wants.
Can we imagine a homily or sermon that promotes: "You are a liar, go and lie some more."?
It appears that some have and are saying it in so many words.
I am quite familiar with Creede Hinshaw and have always thought he was full of a well-known substance. Hey, it's THE METHODISTS, for God's sake!
They are only nominally a Christian religion anymore.
They recently changed their mission statement from "the salvation of souls" to "the salvation of the world."
Think about it…now, there is a real theological gut-slammer.LOL! BTW, did I mention that Wesley was a four-alarm head case?
Interesting that in my country the one Catholic paper we have published comments from some Catholic laity who were all in favour of liberalism. The only contrary opinion that actually upheld Catholic teaching was from a Protestant - that is how bad things have got when a Protestant is in fact more Catholic in his outlook than those who profess to be Catholic.
This minister is of course retired and one of the liberal 70s generation who can't see that, apart from its sinful nature, homosexuality is absolutely against the human race and anti life. Taken to its logical conclusion, that is, if everyone practised homosexuality, the human race would actually die out.
I am a bit at a loss about this because I would expect the Meethodist argument to follow Christ in some fashion as God and giver od Law. This rejects divinity, ignores Law, and treats Christ as a notional ethics totem. I can't reach a conclusion about Methodists from this one snapshot, but Hinshaw sounds very post Christian and would at least be able to stand on the bus with the nuns, if not actually get a seat.
The tragic thing about this article is that it could have been written by Cardinal Kasper Mike
The "Spirit of the Council" (SOC) subordinates the teachings of Christ to the teachings of men. The teachings of men today are anti-Christ, dominated by enlightenment philosophical traditions.
Liberation theology,that Pope Francis and others subscribe to, is a syncretic construct of Christian ideas with marxist notions leading to a syncretic religion which is not a true religion but an ideology.
For example, marxists believe in historical inevitability, that in time the whole world will be atheistic and religion, the opium of the masses, will be totally eradicated.
So why fight the inevitable? Except the Soviet state is gone. Instead, the Orthodox are busily building churches all over Russia. Chinese communism is dead except the party aparatchics are holding onto power.
(One could go on and on drawing many more parallels.)
Christ will always be victorious!
We've got a credibility problem here with Reverend Hinshaw. Just in case no one is aware of it, the United Methodist Church, probably more than any other denomination, supports abortion and works to secure those "rights". They are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and a portion of every dollar placed in a Methodist collection basket helps fund agencies that support abortion.
It might also be helpful to read this quote from the UMC's Social Principles in the Book of Discipline:
"The beginning of life and the ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born."
There is nothing "grace filled" about the idea of a church "receiving and learning" from people simply because of their sexual attractions--especially when those very attractions are disordered.
In the case of Reverend Hinshaw, we have no choice but to consider the source.
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