Eyes and attention of many will be focused on Pittsburgh PA from April 26 through May 7, 2004. That is the time the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be meeting during which delegates by vote will determine the future path of the denomination.
At the forefront of the proposed legislation will be that which has to do with the acceptance or rejection of the practice of sodomy and lesbianism. Delegates by vote will be able to alter the Book of Discipline to the extent that sodomy and lesbianism will be regarded as acceptable lifestyles, that sodomites and lesbians can be joined together in special "union" ceremonies, adopt children and be regarded as "family," as well as participate in the life and ministry of the church, including ordination into the pastoral ministry!
For some time strategic planning has been underway by groups which are determined to force a rewriting of the Book of Discipline so that all statements which portray same-sex activity within the United Methodist Church in a negative light are reversed and made to be positive!
It is most likely that a repeat of GC 2000 in Cleveland OH will take place with demonstrations, arrests, disruption of official proceedings and massive lobbying of delegates. If the efforts to bring about desired changes are successful, what then?
Already tens of thousands of members of the UMC have left the denomination. Many pastors have also left for more conservative groups or have started independent churches.
Many more, both lay persons and pastors, have indicated that they will leave if present legislation is altered and the UMC goes on record as sanctioning sodomy and lesbianism. It may well be that this time around there will not be real drastic changes in the Book of Discipline regarding statements related to sodomy and lesbianism -- it will just be some subtle changes in some phrases, with approval from professed "evangelicals" who have been heavy into this "dialog" thing for some time. Sort of like a salesman getting his foot in the door -- it may take a while, but eventually he'll get inside!
So, what does one do -- that is, if you are still a part of the UMC either as a lay person or a member of the clergy?
First, it is well to keep in mind that the present threat of sanctioning sodomy and lesbianism is simply one of many bitter fruits, the roots of which go back over past decades in the United Methodist Church. It just takes some kinds of fruit a little longer to come to maturity than others. Or, the growing of sweet corn -- I found in gardening that some types of corn had a much shorter maturing period than did others.
The seeds of destruction in the UMC began to be sown in the early years of the 20th Century following the apostasy which was spawned in Germany in the latter years of the 19th Century.
This seed was sown in the form of questioning the authenticity and authority of the holy Scriptures. There were denials of miracles as reported in the Scriptures such as the virgin birth of Jesus, etc.
As time marched on the basic question as asked in Genesis 3, "Has God really said….?", by the archenemy of God began to be echoed repeatedly by humans who had come under Satanic influence in their thinking and pseudo-scholarship. It began to be applied to all of Scripture with devastating results. The logical outcome of this insanity was that one ended up with a God Who didn't have power to do much of anything, Who was completely bound by the laws of nature and physics, and Who had moral standards that were constantly in a state of flux from generation to generation!
The misleading terms used over the years to try to describe the turmoil were "liberal," "conservative," "evangelical," and "fundamentalist." Actually it boiled down to the issue of those who believed God's revelation to us through holy Scripture and those who did not.
As the malignancy of apostasy increased in the UMC during the decades of the 20th Century so did conflict and the exiting of laity and pastors. The pace of the exiting picked up considerably during the latter 3 decades of the 20th Century involving a few million people and causing the painful awareness of a declining membership!
Reasons given by many for leaving the UMC were often summed up by simply saying the denomination had become too "liberal."
Specifics include such issues as the following:
The never ending "bone of contention" regarding the holy Scriptures -- are they the totally trustworthy record God has given us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the final authority in all matters of faith and practice, or are these writings solely the result of some people giving vent to their imaginations from time to time and it's anybody's ball game as to what it's all about? You'd be amazed at how many laity and pastors opt for the latter view!
Leadership which declares we ought not to try to convert other cultures to faith in Christ and the way of Christianity…i.e. ignore the parting command of Jesus to spread the Gospel and evangelize all nations!
The ongoing dissemination of heresy as applied to Jesus in denying His miraculous birth, His miracles performed, His sacrificial atonement for our sins on the cross, His literal resurrection from the dead, and His promised return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The actual statement in the UMC Book of Discipline which sanctions the destruction of unborn children in spite of efforts to couch such sanction in pietistic terms!
The growing sentiment that we need to have "dialog" sessions with those of other faiths so we can come to a better understanding of each other and to recognize that other faiths have something positive to contribute to the world community -- that Christianity is not exclusive and that we should not insist on the fact that Jesus is the only way of hope and salvation. This mess has shifted into high gear since September 11, 2001 and is well summarized when President Bush at a press conference in the UK on November 20, 2003 in response to a question about Christians and Muslims said, "I believe we worship the same God."
The ever growing controversy over sodomy and lesbianism with "union" ceremonies being conducted and clergy "coming out" and publicly disclosing their "sexual orientation." In some cases there has also been the disclosure of living in a "committed partnered relationship" with another person of the same sex. This is bound to get a huge boost with recent installation of a full blown sodomite bishop in the Episcopal Church in November 2003!!
As mentioned earlier, many have left and others have indicated an intention to leave if the UMC shifts position officially and goes pro-sodomy. Such a decision is one which each person must prayerfully work out for himself or herself. As for me, at this point in time I choose to keep my Elder's orders and membership in the Western PA Annual Conference. And so far as I know now, this will continue even if the denomination goes radically pro-sodomite and pro-lesbian!
Although I have had opportunities to leave the UMC many times over the years for attractive situations such as more conservative church groups, an independent mission organization (with which I had been on 2 trips to Brazil), and starting an independent church, I never felt God giving me the green light to leave. It was basically a clear message that essentially said, "Stay where you are and be a witness for my eternal Truth in spite of the conflicts you will find yourself facing."
This was reinforced by being constantly reminded of certain things in Biblical experiences. There was the fact that Jesus faithfully went to the temple at Jerusalem and participated in special observances in spite of a religious leadership which had become very corrupted. Evidence of that is plain to see from the intense conversations and scathing rebuke He directed at that leadership! It is also noted that on occasion He did "clean house" at the temple with the help of a whip! Certainly there needs to be a lot of house cleaning in the UMC, but at this point we are rather limited to protesting (if we are willing to speak up) and diligently praying that God in His sovereign power will purge the UMC of all apostate elements and purify it!
A further reminder that has challenged me endlessly is the example of the Old Testament prophets who refused to retreat and stood their ground boldly issuing the call to repent of all sins and abominations and return to God. They had to deal with corrupted political and religious leadership. Yes, they could have kept their mouths shut and departed to some nice quiet place where maybe they could have gathered a few people who were in agreement with them, and sort of established a little "religious kingdom" of their own making which would be pretty free of conflict and no apostasy to have to deal with. But for them the primary issue was, "Where does God want me and what does He want me to do and say?" Those guys never made it as "man of the year" on the cover of Time magazine!
For a good summary of what some of them were up against, read 2 Chronicles 36 where it mentions how it was under King Zedekiah. Jeremiah was one of the prophets preaching at that time and we can get a lot of insight as to what he was dealing with from the book of Jeremiah. In fact at one point he was rather discouraged and decided just to keep his mouth shut -- look for that moment and see what happened!
So, if you feel God is leading you to leave the UMC and you have prayed that matter through to your satisfaction, by all means do so.
On the other hand, God may want you to stay within the ranks of the UMC and contend for the faith once delivered to the saints! However, if you do stay, be fully aware that the battle will become more savage -- especially so if the UMC shifts to a more pro-sodomite position in its "official" stance!
You will be labeled as an unloving, unchristian, bigoted, intolerant homophobe if you speak out against sodomy and lesbianism or convey in written communications such sentiments.
You will be considered very narrow minded and intolerant if you don't support and advocate the "diversity" heresy that is so popular in church circles these days.
Protest abortion and display some pictures of the mangled remains of aborted unborn children and you will be labeled a mad dog fanatic on the same level as persons who fire-bomb clinics and assassinate abortionists!
Take a look at the
the number of unborn
children brutally murdered
in the United States
since Roe vs. Wade
If you are in active ministry be aware that district superintendents have been known to retaliate if you don't march to the UMC drumbeat and parrot the party line! Uh, the "party line" means you agree to the expressed idea that we tolerate just about anything in the name of "diversity" -- we "agree to disagree" and "respect" all points of view -- even the view of a bishop who questions the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Almost on a daily basis we have to remind ourselves of a central truth concerning our eternal destiny. I say to myself,"No UMC General Conference -- no Council of Bishops -- no annual conference -- no bishop -- no Board of Ordained Ministry -- no district superintendent -- no PPR committee -- no sodomite -- no lesbian -- no pro-abortionist -- no politician, including the president -- will have the final word on my years of ministry in which I preached, taught, and lived out the Word of God! That judgment call will be rendered by none other than Jesus Christ Who called me, and the One Whom I have had the undeserved privilege of representing and serving for almost a half century!
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." -- 2 Timothy 1:8-12 (NKJV)
January 1, 2004
Still contending at www.crrange.com
Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
Western PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
PO Box 32
Belsano PA 15922
It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.
Psalm 119:126-128 NKJV
For further reference see:[NOTE: Use return feature on your browser to come back here]
- UMC Episcopal Endorsement of Same Gender Coupling! -- see documented information for yourself what a number of "shepherds" in the UMC are saying and doing as they give their approval to same gender coupling!
- The Camel Is Almost In Except for a Part of His Hind Leg and His Tail!
- "Clobbered" by the Bible!
- Imploding Our Culture by Destroying the Young!
- Trashing Sacred Gifts - 21st Century Style!
- Missing: Millions of Contributors Who Could Have Made a Significant Difference!
- By the Way, Did You Know???
- A National Rage Against Violence, BUT Not Always!
- Atrocities? Well, It Depends on Your Definition of What Is or Isn't!
- Baby Parts for Sale!
- Weapons of Mass Destruction? Why Does Bush Not Include ALL of Them?
- Portrayal of U.S.A's Hidden Horrors!
- President Bush's "Selective" War Against Terrorism!
- United States Holocaust Gallery!
- Is the United States Going Down the Same Path As Samson?
- Popular Deities of American Culture!
- How to Dismantle a Culture in 3 Easy Steps!
- When God Uses the Heathen As a Whip!
- RU-486 -- The Final Nail?
- Justice Denied!
- Why So Heavy on the Abortion Issue Anyway?
- Forget the Terrorists -- the 21st Century Canaanites Are a Greater Threat!
T O P
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