Friday, November 04, 2005

Crosswalk.com - UMC Deals Multiple Blows to Homosexual Agenda in Church

Actually, the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church, which is like a Supreme Court, did more than that. The trouble is that the cumulative effects of its rulings is ironic in the extreme.

First, they permanently defrocked Beth Stroud, the Methodist minister who had admitted to having a homosexual orientation. Basically they said that no active, practicing homosexual can call himself (or herself) an ordained minister.

Next, they restored a minister to his flock and ordered full back pay and benefits, after his bishop had summarily suspended him for denying membership in the church to a practicing homosexual.

I am of two minds by this. First, I observe that none of this would be happening in the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America, and certainly not in the Southern Baptist Convention. (I can't speak for the American Baptist Convention.) One of the most important "Baptist Distinctives" is the autonomy of the local church. We don't have bishops. A pastor can do exactly as he pleases, and the responsibility for seeking out a pastor who is true to God's Holy Writ rests with the laypeople, who have the choice either to go to his church, or not. As to defrocking, Baptists have largely obviated that measure by being more careful about whom they ordain to begin with. And among other things, they would never, never, ordain a woman! "I do not allow a woman either to teach or to exercise unappealable authority over a man." [I Timothy 2:12]

So let's look at the results of the Judicial Council's rulings. In one case, they corrected a serious error of judgment that someone made when they accepted Beth Stroud to be a minister. In another, they reversed and admonished a bishop for exceeding her lawful authority--and here you have another problem: women bishops! But if that church were really run according to Biblical precepts, none of this would be necessary!

Nor would it be such a Big Deal as the fishwrap press is making it out to be. Another Baptist Distinctive is separation of the believer from the customs of the world around them, especially when those customs lead people away from God.

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