I really enjoyed a recent post by Mark Tooley titled George Weigel’s “The Next Pope”, and may as well enjoy the book. I wasn’t sure where the post was going until Weigle said the church can “maintain a solid sense of their doctrinal identity and their moral boundaries can survive.” This is the difference between traditionalists and progressives in the United Methodist Church. Traditionalists see a future based on scripture as it is written, and Progressives want a future where scripture is served up a la carte right beside a trash can where they can dump scriptures that don’t fit their progressive narrative.
We split from the UMC over a lack of stewardship at our former local charge. Our new ministry has flourished under Traditional principals. One interesting facet of our very traditional ministry is our gay outreach which happened by God’s design, not something we were leaning into. Several of my posts on gays, God, and the church caught the attention of a number of young gay men who contacted me to challenge what I had written. Basically most wanted to use Adam Hamilton’s theory that Leviticus was not intended for today and should be disregarded. There is no question that Leviticus was directed at the Hebrews, but I would remind folks that Jews are still here today, and so are we. Again we see the a la carte tactic Hamilton has pushed on Progressives.
What I learned from these young men is that their Progressive UMC’s (and some other denominations) had taught them that Traditionalists hate them, and we were condemning them to hell. That’s absolutely wrong and given the high suicide rate among young gay’s I can only imagine how it affects them. The facts are that:
1) Traditionalist love gays as we would any of our neighbors
2) Only God can condemn anyone to hell, no man on earth gets a vote
3) We can’t disregard scripture we don’t like
4) Hamilton is right on one thing, the word homosexual does not appear in the Bible
5) The act of man lying with a man as with a woman does exist in the Bible
6) The Bible describes the sexual side of homosexuality as a sin
7) The Bible contains no hierarchical list of sins putting homosexuality above adultery or any other sin.
8) We are all sinners, and that includes heterosexuals too
9) Nowhere in the Bible is it written you should hate your sin so much that you should cut the rest of your life should short because of it … remember Jesus!
10) Don’t confuse the traditional belief in the scriptures with discounting you as a child of God. Our beliefs and your self worth can coexist.
So the answer to the headlines question is yes, all of God’s children can coexist.