Next weekend the Special Session of the General Conference will begin for the United Methodist Church. There has been a lot said about the One Church Plan, the Traditional Plan, and the Connectional Conference plan. But there has not been much discussion about what happens in the event of a church split.
Currently, the Book of Discipline, the lawbook for the denomination, has something called the Trust Clause. You may be wondering what that means exactly. Briefly, the trust clause says that even though the local church holds the deed to the property the church is on and the building itself, it is held in trust for the United Methodist Church Denomination. Now, what does that mean? Basically, if a church leaves the denomination, the denomination keeps the property. The local church loses everything.
I am sure that there were good intentions when this practice began, but today it seems that it could be used as a weapon against local churches. This is especially true in a time when the church is poised to make a decision that could say we no longer believe the Bible at all on human sexuality, marriage, and the qualifications of ordination. For that matter, it is a vote that says the church may no longer believe what the Bible says about sin in general.
There have been petitions added to either suspend or do away with, the trust clause during this time of uncertainty on the way forward. There are rumors that this type of plan will be the only thing to pass during the General Conference next week.
In my opinion, this needs to happen regardless of the voted plan. The United Methodist Church is increasingly abandoning the teachings of Scripture and I am sure there are probably many local churches that would pull out if they could without the legal implications of the trust clause.
In recent days we have been talking about abortion and infanticide, but something has happened that is truly reprehensible. Senator Ben Sasse, a staunch Pro-Life Republican, introduced a bill called the Born-Alive Bill. The bill is simple. If a baby is born alive from a failed abortion, it must be given medical care as any other child would be given.
Senator Sasse brought the bill to the Senate Floor and asked for unanimous consent for passage. This should have been a no-brainer. It is a non-partisan issue. It is common sense. But it did not pass with unanimous consent. Why? Democrat Senator Patty Murray of Washington objected to the bill.
The bill is not dead but must now go through a lengthy process to make it back to the Senate Floor. But this shows the steadily falling morality of the United States.
They can claim that abortion is not murder. The Bible disagrees. Psalm 139 tells us that we are knit carefully in our mother’s womb. But we are not talking about abortion. We are talking about killing, likely by neglect, a born baby. This they cannot argue is not murder. It is the killing of a born child. The Ten Commandments clearly forbids this.
We live in a scary time. We must speak up for truth. We must pursue truth. We must proclaim the truth.
Focus on the Family is starting a new initiative. That is the Declaration of Life. It is a statement, a petition that you can sign to say that you support pro-life. This is in direct response to New York’s abortion bill.
I encourage you to visit their site and to sign the petition. Also, contact your representatives to let them know that you want them to stand for life.
You can find out more about supporting pro-life initiatives by getting Focus on the Family’s Dignity of Human Life Toolbox.
It is no secret that I have been very outspoken regarding the General Conference that will take place in less than two weeks for the United Methodist Church. I firmly believe that there is only one biblical viewpoint on this issue. Currently, the United Methodist Church has it correct, homosexuality is not compatible with Christianity. It is sinful. This makes the General Conference of utmost importance.
Christians everywhere, not just United Methodists, should be in prayer during this time as one of the larger denominations in the United States goes through this battle. It is a battle. This is not a political disagreement, though that is part of it, it is a spiritual war.
Satan is trying to get a grip on the church. He would like nothing more. It is a crucial point. But it is not a moment to compromise. It is a moment to stand firm on the truth of Scripture and not give in to the desires of the culture. That is what we are called to do as Christians, stand on the Word of God.
Unity is the buzzword of the day, but real unity only comes when Scripture guides our every action. We must pray for the delegates. We must pray that the higher leadership of the United Methodist Church returns to a Scriptural viewpoint and standing. We must pray for those who are wrestling with what to do if the denomination leaves the biblical viewpoint.
It is a trying time. May we look to the Lord for guidance and an understanding of His Word, and the courage to follow it.
First, I want to say that I do not support abortion of any kind. To me, it is playing God and that is not our role. Are there tough choices with regard to the life of the mother or in cases of wrongdoing against the woman? Sure, but those are the rare exception and not the rule.
Abortion has been in the public discourse for decades since the decision of Roe v. Wade. That decision was an overstep by the Supreme Court and a slap in the face to the Creator. But the abortion debate has turned more evil that I had imagined in the last few weeks.
We already have seen New York pass a bill that allows abortion to the point of birth. After the passing of that bill, we have had a firestorm of comments, but the most chilling came from Virginia.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said the following:
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam
“The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. Then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
Make no mistake what he is saying here. They would allow the born child to die if that is what the parents wish. This is meditated murder. There is no other way to put it. It is infanticide. It is killing a human being even by the court standard of Roe v. Wade. It is unfathomable.
Exodus 20, and many other places in Scripture make it very clear that the taking of human life is against God’s laws. It is against the very basic principles of the right to life. The Declaration of Independence guarantees that basic fundamental right.
The Declaration of Independance
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Has our nation really gotten to the point that we do not even recognize this basic right and freedom? God help us.
The state of New York has delivered a blow to pro-life advocates. New legislation passed last week allows anyone, whether a medical professional or not, to perform an abortion without any criminal consequence.
On the surface, this may not seem significant or a major departure from current abortion law, but it is very different.
This new law removes homicide definitions for unborn persons. In other words, if a pregnant woman is attacked and her baby dies as a result, the attacker cannot be charged with homicide of that unborn child.
This is a despicable move by the state of New York. All life is precious whether born or unborn. All are made in the image of God. David told is in Psalms that God knew us in our Mother’s womb.
It is my prayer that one day Roe V. Wade, which was a serious court overreach, is overturned. Until then, and even after, we need to continue to pray for our leaders that they will make God-honoring decisions. We need to let our voices be heard and not be silent on these issues.
Out of the three possible plans for a way forward, there is one that the Council of Bishops do not want to see pass, The Traditional Plan. The Traditional plan would almost guarantee a split in the United Methodist Church. Namely, churches that want to support the sin of the LGBTQ lifestyle will leave. Of course, some, myself included, would see this as a purification process for the church.
Simply put, the Traditional Plan (TP) would keep the current position of the United Methodist Church stating that homosexuality is not compatible with Christianity and that there is to be no LGBTQ clergy or weddings within the church. The TP would go further to add strict enforcement to the doctrine as well. Every annual conference will have to certify that they will uphold the doctrine or else they will be removed from the United Methodist Church. This includes clergy and bishops as well.
The TP upholds biblical standards with regard to homosexuality and LGBTQ positions. They are sinful and, as such, are not compatible with the Christian life or the Church. Romans 1 makes very clear how God views the LGBTQ lifestyle:
Romans 1:26-27 ESV
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
The passions of the LGBTQ movement are dishonorable. They are unnatural. They are against God’s created order and they are sin.
Because of this truth, the Traditional Plan is the only biblical plan that is on the table for the 2019 Special General Conference and is the plan that I endorse.
Next month the United Methodist Church General Conference will meet and make major decisions on the beliefs of the church regarding homosexuality and transgender issues.
In 2016 the regularly scheduled General Conference, which meets every four years, decided to punt the issue and form the Commission on a Way Forward. They also set a date for a special General Conference to meet in St. Louis, Missouri on February 23-26, 2019. You can read the commission’s full report by download it at the United Methodist Website.
The Commission has put forth three options for the General Conference to vote on. The Traditionalist Plan, The One Church Plan, and The Connectional Conference Plan. All three plans have their issues and it is yet to be seen how this will impact the denomination as a whole.
Last week, I published an article that stated this is a debate that should never have happened. But it is happening. Over the next couple of weeks, I will look at all three plans and try to explain the ins and outs of each plan as we look to the General Conference next month.
The United States is currently in a shutdown over border security. The topic of the wall and methods of border security are not what we are interested for this article. The question is this, should Christians be involved in politics?
I believe that the confusion comes in when we read passages such as Romans 13.
Romans 13:1-2 ESV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Yes, we are to be subject to the governing authorities. Yes, those authorities have been placed in a position of power by God. However, in the American system of government who has the real authority? The people. Therefore, God has placed each of us in the United States in a position of what I like to call simple authority. We are not rulers, but we determine who our rulers are and we influence the shaping of the laws that rule over us.
With this understanding in mind, I believe that it is not only proper for Christians in the United States to be involved in politics, I believe it is our duty. It is our duty to vote. It is our duty to speak out about issues, especially issues that are directly spoken about in Scripture.
Now, back to the issue of Romans 13, we are not to disobey government laws in the United States that do not violate Scripture. There is still an order of rule in this country. We must obey the government unless they would have us violate the ultimate ruler, Jesus Christ.
So I encourage all Christians to get involved. Know the issues. Know what is going on in your country and the world around you. Write your representatives about the issues of the day. Vote people into office who will lead this country in a way that will be faithful to the Scriptures. Do not just sit on the sidelines and do nothing.
In the State of California, a bill has passed the General Assembly banning the sale of any goods or service that would seek to correct the behaviors related to homosexuality or transgenderism. This is the latest attack from the LGBTQ lobby against anyone who would dare to stand in their way. Remember, “tolerance” is the word of the day as long as you hold to their worldview and their worldview alone. But as Bible-believing Christians we cannot hold to that worldview. It goes directly in the face of Scripture.