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Banze Kyabuntu

Kyabuntu

The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968 as a merger between Methodist Church and Evangelical United Brethren Church.

It was only a few years later that the church started to experience disagreements on human sexuality.

In 1972, at the General Conference in Atlanta, it was added to the Book of Discipline that “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Since then the subject of human sexuality has been a bone of contention at every general conference. At the 2016 general conference in Portland, delegates from around the world asked UMC Bishops to come up with recommendations on how the church should resolve divisions over this subject.

During the past three years, UMC Bishops developed three plans, among them, the One Church Plan, which would have allowed local congregations, conferences and clergy to choose their own definition of marriage, make their own decisions about conducting same sex marriage and ordaining LGBTQ+ clergy.

The One Church Plan was designed to keep the denomination together and so, it was supported by most USA Bishops.

The Traditional Plan retains the current UMC teaching on sexual ethics and marriage as male and female.

This plan seeks to strengthen enforcement for disobedience of this standard.

These plans were brought to the General Conference which was called specially to address divisions over LGBTQ+ issues. On Feb. 26 in St. Louis, delegates approved the Traditional Plan backed by global evangelicals over the liberalizing One Church Plan backed by most USA Bishops by a vote of 438-384.

A few lessons we need to learn here: First, the margin was not big — which means there are no winners and losers. But the truth is the church is divided. There are disagreements and differences in the church.

However, our differences are not political but theological. How do we deal with these theological differences? It is not our human opinions or reasoning; not even human sentimentalism that will help us to unite; but only the Scripture has the capacity to unite us.

We need to put aside our motivations and penchants and let the Scripture speak for itself. As long as we depart from God’s word, we will be a church divided.

Second, The UMC has become a global church.

John Wesley has been gone more than 200 years, but his words are still true today: “The world is my parish.”

Mark Tooley, president of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, has observed the same: “The church is moving from its USA liberal mainline identity to a new global identity rooted in Christian orthodoxy.”

To me, this is something to be cherished. The day the UMC divorces its biblical teaching and biblical roots, it is that very day the UMC will cease to be the church.

Third, the Traditional Plan has been misinterpreted by many who seem to think our friends who identify as LGBTQ+ are not wanted in our denomination.

That is far from being true.

LGBTQ+ friends are people created in God’s image. We love them in the church, we value the and we are to treat them with dignity and respect as people of sacred worth.

The UMC Book of Discipline states that “We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us…”

As we sat on Sunday, March 3 Stoddard UMC continues to uphold the biblical teaching of the gospel as far as sexual morality is concerned and the church believes marriage is between one man and one woman.

This being the case, as the church we will strive to live by what the Bible teaches so that we may leave a legacy of scriptural holiness for generations to come.

However, since Jesus loves all and He died for all, Stoddard UMC is open to all who want to grow in scriptural holiness. We will not judge, but we will let the Bible teach us, the Holy Spirit transform us, and God mold us into the people He created us to be.

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Banze Kyabuntu is pastor of United Methodist Church, Stoddard.

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(14) comments

martian2

Sometimes religions are their own worst enemy. Did you know there are over 36 mega churches in the State of Alabama. But it was an Indian casino who offered to pay for all of the tornado victim's funerals. I guess those tax free places of worship were just too busy getting their lord and savior Trump to autograph their bibles. Actions speak a whole lot louder than words. Lots of churches need to walk the walk, and stop the talk. In fact the Creek Indians did pay for all 23 funerals. https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/2019/03/08/alabama-tornado-poarch-creek-tribe-pay-23-funerals-beauregard-lee-county/3102718002/

oldhomey

amazing. thank you, martian.

Redwall

And this has what to do with the Methodist Church?

martian2

It has to do with religion in general redwall. Methodist church is just one example on how religions struggle with what is right or wrong, what is holy and what is not. I provided an example on how religions should act, out of compassion and kindness. I take it you read the link I provided. Now you can thank me anytime.....and your're welcome!

MidwestAtheist

Reading between the lines here-
LTBTQ+ members are welcome to attend our church, and put money in our offering plates. Don't expect to ever feel fully welcome, as we won't sanction your life events that are available to our heterosexual members. Don't expect to get married here, as we won't recognize that. We will continue address how you love your partner as "sexual immorality," as if the creator of the universe would possibly care what two consenting individuals do in the bedroom. But feel free to keep coming and donating money...

oldhomey

Amen, Midwest.

martian2

I agree midwest. It is odd that this writer says scripture does not condone same sex relationships or homosexuality, but he never actually gives the quote from scripture. Yes in the old testament it does say to the Jewish people, but being Christian we believe in the new testament and what Jesus preached. And the truth is he never addressed this issue, except to say "love one another." Can't get any simpler than that.

Redwall

You might want to sit down with a clergy member of your choosing and become better educated of things biblical.

martian2

I could say the same about you redwall! Fact is I have discussed this issue with many main stream clergy. Some agree with me and some do not. Some interpret the bible differently than others. Yes I do hope people would read my comments above. Far as I can tell its the closest to the truth. something you may not be familiar with redwall. Let's hear your take on this issue and its theological arguments there redwall. Or you just in the business of criticizing and discriminating instead of learning.

Redwall

Read Martian's comment above; its obvious you as an atheist would be more at home at the casino.

oldhomey

Durn, tootin', Red. Thanks for showing off your deep knowledge and even deeper embrace of Christian values not just here, but all your posts. martian? Pfff-tt. I don't know if he is an atheist, but he sure is a bleeding heart! What a weakling. That's what being an atheist can do to a person. Just ask crank, if you don't believe me.

Redwall

...the comment was directed at Midwest Atheist. I presume he/she/it is an atheist.

oldhomey

My 3:24pm comment was directed at you, Red, and it stands as is.

martian2

I would certainly feel more welcomed at casinos than many self righteous churches. As a church going Christian myself, I welcome any challenges to my beliefs. I don't mind questions that want to delve into theology. I never feel threatened by those who differ with my beliefs. I feel God is bigger than me and you, bigger than the bible, or any church. How about it redwall, how do you feel?

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