Major Topic: Human Sexuality
United Methodists have debated and argued about homosexuality (also referred to as same-sex attraction) since the General Conference in 1972. The position has been modified through the years, but basically has said:
1. All persons are persons of sacred worth and are welcome in our churches. All are deeply loved and wanted by a gracious God who found us worthy of the death of his Son, Jesus. (John 3:16)
2. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. (The Book of Discipline; 161.G; Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:18, 20-24)
3. United Methodist pastors may not marry homosexual couples and our church may not use our sites for gay marriages. (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-8; Ephesians 5:31-33)
4. Self-avowed practicing gay persons may not be ordained in the United Methodist Church.
(Book Of Discipline & Book Of Resolutions Free Versions | UMC Books.)
Over the last 50 years, we have been able to live with different opinions on these doctrines and discipline regarding human sexuality. However, for several years, we have been engaging in different practices that are not aligned with the Book of Discipline. We now have bishops ordaining practicing gay persons. Pastors who have stated they have married gay couples contrary to the General Conference rules, policies, and practices and contrary to the UMC Book of Disciplines (“Book Of Discipline & Book Of Resolutions Free Versions | UMC Books.). Thus, the inevitable split is on the horizon and is happening in local churches across the nation.
The UMC is not dividing solely because we have different views about sexuality. We all have gay persons in our families and in our churches whom we love and spend time with. We do not condemn persons for being attracted to the same sex or for identifying as gay or lesbian. In addition, we do not believe that homosexual practice is an especially grievous sin that is worse than any other sin. We do not believe our sins of greed, lust, and pride are less offensive to God than homosexual relations. We are all beloved children of God in need of love, grace, and forgiveness from God. The position of the Global Methodist Church (GMC – Traditionalists) is that we believe the Bible is God’s word and Jesus is the Lord of all and the Savior of the World. We affirm the General Conference and the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline regarding sexuality. Human sexuality is a gift of God that is to be affirmed as it is exercised within the legal and spiritual covenant monogamous marriage between one man and one woman.
The GMC Transitional book of Doctrines and Disciplines adds no further restrictions to the present UMC position. We can and we must love and accept all people (Matthew 22:36-40). We must strive to treat those who struggle with same-sex attraction with more care. We commit to praying for those who experience same-sex attraction, knowing that some will experience a transformational change in their feelings, while others may experience a change in their will, and still others may face an ongoing struggle but with a change in their hope – that hope of the resurrection which empowers us now and promises a life eternal where our suffering will be ended. We can walk with them as they seek God’s grace to be faithful. However, we cannot be a church that misleads them into what God blesses and what he does not. Eternity is at stake; the authority of the Bible is at stake; the healing ministry of the church is at stake. If the church fails to teach that we must abstain from the desires that lead us away from God, we fail God and we fail those who want to be faithful to Christ.
“Book Of Discipline & Book Of Resolutions Free Versions | UMC Books.” Cokesbury, 2016, https://www.cokesbury.com/book-of-discipline-book-of-resolutions-free-versions. Accessed 20 July 2022.
Norris, Pam. “Sexuality and Identity: A Pastoral Statement from the College of Bishops.” The Anglican Church in North America, 19 January 2021, https://anglicanchurch.net/sexuality-and-identity-a-pastoral-statement-from-the-college-of-bishops/. Accessed 20 July 2022.
Renfroe, Rob. “4. Our Differences Regarding Sexuality.” YouTube, 23 June 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjOd-fOgAJI. Accessed 20 July 2022.
Renfroe, Rob, and Walter Fenton. Are We Really Better Together? An Evangelical Perspective on the Division in the United Methodist Church. Abingdon Press, 2018.
“THE TRANSITIONAL BOOK OF DOCTRINES AND DISCIPLINE THE GLOBAL METHODIST CHURCH.” Global Methodist Church, 12 April 2022, https://globalmethodist.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Transitional-Discipline.2022041257.pdf. Accessed 20 July 2022.