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Letters: Should the Methodist church split over LGBTQ rights?

Johnson City Press • Jan 19, 2020 at 6:00 AM

With our Question of the Week, we asked readers to share their thoughts on the religious implications of society’s ongoing social changes. Here are some of the responses we received.

Gay leaders are wrong

I have been a longtime Baptist. It was in the last year that my wife and I started going to a United Methodist Church. We love the people and the church. There is a love for God and the teaching of the Bible at this church. This church has the love for everyone just like God and his son Jesus Christ. No matter what your sexual orientation is God truly loves everyone, and this radiates in this congregation.

With that being said, the Bible states a man will not lay with a man and woman will not lay with a woman. God nor the Bible will not change, people change. We cannot change what the Bible says to fit our lifestyle. To have gay leaders in the church is wrong and if it is allowed, then this is changing what the Bible says. God loves everyone, no matter what, but this is a sin and God does not love sin.

GUY TYRONE HENRY
Johnson City

Follow Jesus or pop culture?

The UMC does not reject LGBTQ people or any other people who are seeking salvation by the grace of Jesus Christ. Our church practices open doors.

The UMC faces division because a large segment of the LGBTQ movement, enabled by their supporters in the church, reject the salvation grace of Jesus on his terms that requires repentance and a turning from sinful behavior. They also reject the unequivocal definition of marriage given by Jesus as that between a man and a woman.

So, all Methodists now are facing the same decision going forward — will we follow Jesus or will we follow the current popular culture? That’s what this conflict is all about.

WILLIAM A. DWIGGINS
Peachtree Corners, GA

We are called to love

Yes, I think the Methodist Church should split in to Traditional and Progressive branches. I was raised and baptized in the Methodist Church, but withdrew my membership years ago due to the church's position of LGBTQ rights.

Non-Methodists may not know of the Methodist Discipline, a little book published in the late 1800s that provides guidance to church members on moral or ethical subjects. I'm not sure how many Methodists use this archaic publication today, but I do know that a relative recently posted on Facebook that the Discipline should decide the issue of gay rights in the church. "Christianity and homosexuality are not compatible."

You can't be a Christian and be gay?? I haven't attended a Methodist service in years, but would love to return to my roots in a Progressive Methodist Church. We are all called to love. And, equality is part of the equation.

CLIFF ROBERTS
Johnson City

The Quadrilateral equation

Your question is not for me to answer. I am not a Methodist, although I am somewhat familiar with their theology.

However, I can answer the last question in the column. You ask why this particular issue drove the UMC to split.

The reason can be found in the Methodist Quadrilateral. The Methodist Quadrilateral is a method you can use to come to grips with anything that doesn't fit your theology. You can use Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience.

You can consult Scripture to see what your religious ancestors thought about your question. You can look up the traditions of your religion to see how the church has handled your question in times past. You can use your noggin and think about it. And you can examine your experience and discover what you learned from it.

For many Christians, Scripture trumps the other three sources of wisdom. And, obviously, if your church comes down firmly on one side, that is your tradition. So if you begin your journey believing that anything other than heterosexuality is anathema, you won't have a long journey. And I think you'll still be troubled, because Scripture and Tradition do not serve us well in the face of 21st century challenges. Jesus said nothing about ordaining women or whether gay men and women ought to be included in the life of the church.

But reason tells us that we ought to be inclusive and the experience of meeting and befriending gay men and women tells us they are not monsters; they are people.

So to answer your last question: This issue drove the church to split because people leaned too heavily on Scripture and Tradition.

REV. JEFF BRIERE
Johnson City

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