(UMNS) Methodist Bishops ask for hold on sexuality debate until commission study is completed

The Council of Bishops asked General Conference to delay a debate on homosexuality at this gathering of the denomination’s top legislative assembly until a proposed commission can study church regulations.

Instead, the bishops asked for the body’s permission to name a special commission that would completely examine and possibly recommend revisions of every paragraph in the Book of Discipline related to human sexuality. The commission would represent the different regions of a denomination on four continents as well as the varied perspectives of the church.

Read it all.


Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

8 comments on “(UMNS) Methodist Bishops ask for hold on sexuality debate until commission study is completed

  1. BlueOntario says:

    Meanwhile, no one in the pews has any idea this is going on. Watch those pews empty out as this process gets going.

  2. Jim the Puritan says:

    This is all so predictable. Why anyone stays in U.S. mainline denominations I don’t know. You compromise on the Word of God and you inevitably descend into chaos. Maybe they have to look at what the words “he” and “she” mean as well.

  3. Knapsack says:

    You need to drill down in the coverage. This is foot-dragging on the way out the door for progressives; the Judicial Council is now majority traditionalist (Americans reinforced now with Africans), and on the floor, the balance is steadily swinging to enforcement of norms. If it weren’t for the 40-some activists on the 150 College of Bishops, this would be over, and the 2020 GC solidly traditionalist. They need to drag this out with the current seated delegates and voters, because the board is cleared and the new voices in 2020 won’t even let them get their “removals” from the Book of Discipline to the floor.

    The United Methodist Church is standing strong, radical (and many/most of the worst of those retired) bishops notwithstanding. And even they don’t make up a majority. There’s no need for a schism — the Left wants to provoke one so they can create a rump Methodist progressive body out of the West Coast conferences and a few cherry-picked college town congregations, and get out with assets and buildings in their control. Check the Twitter hashtag #UMCGC and you can see that it’s the Left that wants a split, and they’d better be able to push for one except that they want to also make it clear that it’s conservatives’ fault the split happens, even though they’re just saying patiently, over and over, “the guideline for marriage & faithfulness or chastity in singleness stands.”

  4. Jim the Puritan says:

    #3 Knapsack– I wish I could be as positive as you on the outcome, but my own personal experience says otherwise. When I left the Episcopal Church in 1997, my family moved over to a healthy evangelical PCUSA church that was growing. At the time I had a discussion with both a knowledgeable elder and with one of the associate pastors about my concern with PCUSA and that the same forces that were destroying TEC would destroy that denomination as well. I was confidently told at that time that I didn’t have to worry, that the evangelical/conservative portion of the denomination was growing, that the liberals/progressives were all elderly and would diminish and die off over time, and that PCUSA would remain orthodox.

    Well we know where we are today. PCUSA is falling apart, with churches and members leaving at a rapid rate and many other churches being closed because they have emptied out. The flagship evangelical megachurches that had been the core of PCUSA and kept it going financially have largely all left. That elder I talked to ended up leaving and moving to the PCA. The associate pastor I talked to went on to pastor another church and then took his church out of the PCUSA to ECO. My own church also ended up leaving PCUSA for ECO, paying a rather substantial sum as ransom to PCUSA in order to leave. In the end my church has survived, but not without a lot of harm being inflicted on it because of PCUSA. Instead of spending the last decade trying to share and spread the Gospel, my church had all of its time and energy consumed dealing with the PCUSA.

    The point is that the leftist forces inside the mainline are like a cancer. They never stop trying to infect the healthy cells and destroy the organism. When it is to their benefit to “enforce the rules” to disrupt or damage the healthy part of the church, they will demand adherence to the rules. When it is to their benefit to violate and ignore the rules to advance their agenda, they will claim that “prophetic vision” and “Christ’s all-encompassing love” means they can simply flaunt and ignore the rules. What is going on in the UMC is just the same process that destroyed TEC and PCUSA.

    Unless the cancer is fully excised from the Body of Christ, it will continue to try to kill the Body of Christ. I would love to see the African/conservative part of UMC prevail, but they have to understand that the only way it will stop is to “expel the wicked ones from among you.” (I Cor. 5:13) All of the clergy that have declared themselves in violation of Biblical requirements prior to this convention need to be defrocked and expelled from the denomination to show it will not tolerate the non-Christian cancer. But I doubt that will happen. Instead, despite the clear instruction of Scripture, the cancer will be tolerated and it will grow and grow and is likely to destroy the UMC.

  5. BlueOntario says:

    Anytime the Revisionists get to set the agenda it could end badly. I fear this was allowed by the more conservative representatives out of frustration from the constant disruptions at General Conference from the Revisionists. It was a poor choice at a poorly run conference.

    By Throwing the question of what to do to the Council of Bishops, who are themselves at odds and who lean towards either wholesale allowance for or compromise with the Revisionist agenda, takes away any initiative that was gained when Rule 44 and introducing Delphi/Indaba to the General Conference was voted down. The case of Bishop Talbert and the policies in West Coast and New York Conferences give an indication of the direction the bishops are going to take the church. The Revisionists saw they were losing at GC and threw a Hail Mary pass that got caught. We’ll see where the feet come down, but just as goal posts can be moved, so can boundaries.

  6. Knapsack says:

    I think this assessment of what the progressives have tried to do, and what “moderates” are still trying to do, and how the traditionalists in the US & now reinforced from Africa et alia are holding, is relatively brief for all it covers, and shows the reasons for hope around the UMC beyond 2020. But it’s true, the GC is not over, the maneuverings will continue in this interim the Left has bought for itself.


  7. Milton says:

    [blockquote]Instead, the bishops asked for the body’s permission to name a special commission that would completely examine and possibly recommend revisions of every paragraph in the Book of Discipline related to human sexuality.[/blockquote]

    Yep, when you’re losing a game, change the rules in your favor. They have studied the TEC playbook.

  8. Ad Orientem says:

    “[i]I am prepared to compromise on almost any issue save that. On this point there can be no compromise. If the tug has to come, better now than later.[/i]”

    -Abraham Lincoln (March 1861) responding to the demand by commissioners from the seven seceded states that he withdraw his opposition to the extension of slavery into the non-state Territories of the United States as a condition for the restoration of the Union.