Thanks for joining me in the pew this week The Methodist Church has been in a forty year debate, conversation, or discussion; you pick the one that works for you, seeking an answer to two questions. Does the church accept same-gender relationships as being compatible with Christian teachings and is marriage to be defined as a joining together of a man and a woman? I want to keep this simple. As one who sits in the pew and has no theological training or degree I often turn to research and study with a heavy dose of prayerful consideration before I say “this I believe.” I will always acknowledge those sources in any writings of mine. That said; let’s start with this 613 law thing.
The Law is the revealed mind of God. His Will is His commandment, and His commandment is His Law. Thus, the Law is Divine since it comes from a Divine source. It is also perfect, as God Himself is perfect. God’s Law supersedes all other laws. It transcends all other law, making it the Supreme Law of the entire earth.
God’s Law is also comprehensive and universal. It speaks to all areas of life, and to every living soul upon the face of the earth. The Law speaks of ceremonial truths, moral truths and dietary truths. It speaks of man’s duty toward God, and man’s duty toward his fellow man. (http://www.hisglory.us/DOCUMENTS/613_biblical_laws.htm )
The site referenced above is well worth the time spent there and lists all 613 laws. Now let’s move to the seven scriptures.
We examined over and over the seven biblical texts that deal directly with homosexual acts. We acknowledged the violent victimization described in some of these texts. We noticed the centrality of the call to loving relationship and the absence of comment on homosexual acts in the Gospels and in the words of Jesus. We considered the reality that loving, committed; covenant relationships between persons who were homosexual were unacknowledged in ancient times. We studied the creation stories, asking: Do these creation accounts describe the desire of God for mutuality among humans or the delineation of heterosexuality as normative for all? We acknowledged that nowhere is there direct biblical affirmation of homosexuality. In all these conversations, there was strong push and pull as we spoke from entrenched positions. (http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-are-the-bible-passages-that-deal-with-homosexuality)Again I encourage you to go to the link above and look at these scriptures. Now we are back to the two questions.
Does the church accept same-gender relationships as being compatible with Christian teachings and is marriage to be defined as a joining together of a man and a woman? This is where I step from behind scripture and like many of us in the pew simply try to say what I believe. I believe that in any situation, intent, that core thought or reason which brings something into being is the defining principle and meaning of those things that creation has given life to. God’s words as written speaks to the creation of man and woman, the intent being that they be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and have dominion over all things. The creation of the sexes was God’s intent to populate the creation in the manner God chose. So the question of whether marriage is defined as being between man and woman, that was and is God’s intent.
This question of same-gender relationships has been a part of biblical writings from the earliest of times. The bible had different terms or words to describe such practices, none were favorable. Many people point out that Christ never made reference to such and I believe it may have been because The Father had decided that issue long before he sent his son to live among us. Jesus’ ministry was to reconcile God’s children with the Father. He spoke of love, forgiveness and seeking the will of the Father by repentance and holy living. Jesus would not have justified any perversion that separated us from our Father in heaven; even if the social norms of the day were changing. So I believe that such lifestyle is not compatible with Christian teachings. But…..I am very aware that Christian teachings have a habit of changing with the times. With that in mind I would like to change the compatible statement to read “not compatible with God’s will.”
This is what I believe sitting here in the pew. I will not meet you half-way, I will not compromise my faith in order to meet the changing norms of the day. I understand church structure, law and the Methodist way of doing things. This way and this procedure is embodied in districts, annual conferences and general conference to which all churches have some form of representation. I would remind all sides in this debate that the church, God’s church, sits in the pews. Next week I will look in a direction that is quite different than that we are now traveling in the Methodist Church. I wrote that I would not meet you half-way or compromise my faith but I will work to find a way to love and allow God’s judgement to prevail. You see I also believe that God’s law cannot be changed by a vote. Hope you come back, I will be waiting here in the pew. jk