Preaching In The Wake of GC2019

There have been a lot of things said about the United Methodist General Conference over the last couple of days. As you know by now, the Traditional Plan has been passed and, barring a Judicial Strikedown, will become church policy in January. For conservatives, like myself, this is a victory.

But how do we encourage members going forward? What will we preach on this weekend? Here is how I plan to preach this weekend.

I plan to preach the Word of God. I plan to be faithful to the text. I plan to decry false teachings. I plan to preach that we are to love LGBT people but not accept their sin. After all, that is loving.

In no way do we fear LGBT. In no way do we wish to push them out of the church. But in no way will we affirm sin either. It is loving to tell them the truth. It is loving to tell them what the Scriptures teach. It is loving to care about where they will spend eternity.

Friends, we must stay true to Scripture. Much Scripture was taken out of context. For example, Jesus did not say to not judge. That is taken out of context. Read the rest of the passage.

Jesus did not accept everyone as they are. No, He said to go and sin no more.

However, we are to do this with patience. After all, we cannot change anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can change others.

So that is how I plan to preach this week. Stand firm in the truth of Scripture and not the words of men. Preach the Gospel. Rebuke sin. Keep the faith.

People Are Broken

I recently read an article that suggests that humanity is not broken. That we are perfect just the way we are. I am sorry but that is not what Scripture tells us. In fact, it tells us just the opposite.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23 ESV

We are not perfect. We are sinners. To suggest that we are perfect you must live blind to the things that go on in this world. Sin is abundant. We are a broken people.

This is what happens when we have a low-view of Scripture. When we don’t believe that Scripture is the Word of God. Everything becomes distorted. Lines are no longer visible. Everything is ok.

But we know that the Bible is the Word of God because of 2 Timothy 3:16. It does not say some Scripture is God’s, it says all Scripture. And that includes the passages that say we are not perfect just the way we are. We are broken.

The article was in direct relation to LGBTQ. In fact, the quote from the article says:

Because the truth is simple: We’re all divinely created. We’re perfect just the way we are. Me. You. Your annoying [edit] neighbor. All of us. We’re valuable.

God doesn’t love us in spite of who we are. He loves us BECAUSE of who we are. Gaiety & all.

There is, of course, some truth in this statement. Yes, we are all divinely created, all of us, and we are all valuable. That is not under dispute. But we are not perfect. And it certainly is not true that God loves us because of who we are. We are sinners. God only loves us because of who HE is.

Here I Stand: Traditional Plan Passes

Today the United Methodist Church stands on truth. Truth that God does not affirm the LGBT lifestyle and that they are not to be married nor have leadership positions in the church. This is biblical. This is truth.

I am reminded when Martin Luther was asked to renounce his stance on biblical truth in the face of more progressive theology. He said that he could not go against conscience. Then he said those famous words, “Here I stand, I can do no other.”

In the days and weeks to come, we will be attacked. We will be attacked saying that we are doing great harm to people who see themselves as LGBTQ. But that is not the truth. The truth is sin harms. We are showing love by showing we are not going to allow the sin to reign but beg you to come to repentance.

Traditionalists Do Not Hate LGBT

Yesterday’s vote to not pass the One Church Plan out of legislative committee was a definite victory for advocates of the Traditional plan. In the aftermath, attacks from LGBT supporters have been nonstop talking about the hate of the Traditionalists toward LGBT. This could not be further from the truth.

Traditionalists do not hate LGBT. We love our LGBT friends but that doesn’t mean we let our friends continue in sin. Think of it this way. If you stopped someone from rushing off a 1,000-foot cliff does that mean you hate them? Of course not. But that is exactly the logic that LGBT is using to say traditionalists hate them.

Traditionalists hold Scripture in the highest authority. Scripture tells us that LGBT behavior is sinful and, as the UMC Book of Discipline states, it is not compatible with the Christian life.

This is not just LGBT. This is any sin. We are called in 2 Timothy 4:1-5 to preach the word and to reprove (correct false teaching) and rebuke sin. That is what the traditional crowd is working towards. It has nothing to do with hate. If anything, it shows our love for LGBT by wanting them to come to a place where they are free from sin.

A Sad Display

The General Conference for the United Methodist Church has been going on for a couple of days now. The first day was a “Day of Prayer.” However, the day was politically charged.

One scene that was particularly disturbing is shown in the picture below.

Yes, that is the LGBT flag front and center at the General Conference with no penalty.

Here is the problem. At this moment, this behavior is against the church discipline. Why are they not being expelled from the conference? Why is this being tolerated? This is in addition to the plain fact it is against the Word of God.

The United Methodist Church Bishops are pushing the inclusion of the LGBT movement into the church despite it being clearly sinful in Scripture. Much to their surprise, I am sure, the One Church Plan did not even receive 50% of the vote in the prioritization process.

Do No Harm

As the General Conference is now underway for the United Methodist Church, we are seeing lots of activity and pleas for each of the four major plans that have been put forward by the Commission on the Way Forward. In many of the petitions that have to do with including LGBTQ persons in ministry and marriage, we have often heard the motto “Do no harm.” But let’s think for a minute about what that actually means.

The LGBTQ supporters use the motto of doing no harm as a way to say you must include us. You must let us live our lifestyle. You must accept us. However, I would argue that is actually doing harm if that were to happen.

If you allow someone to continue in open sin. If you accept their sin and endorse it you are doing harm. You are doing harm to the person engaged in the sin by not telling the truth of Scripture. You are endangering their soul. You are doing harm to yourself by endorsing and therefore being implicit in their sin.

Not allowing LGBTQ marriage or ordained ministers is not doing harm. It is sticking with the truth of Scripture. It is following the words of Christ and the Word of God.

The example of Jesus has been referred to a lot in this debate. “Jesus accepts everyone” is what they say. Jesus was kind and loving to sinners, that is true. But he did not ignore their sin. He tackled it head on.  Look at the woman at the well in John 4.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

John 4:16-18 ESV

Jesus called her sin out for what it was. He did not condone it. He did not allow it. He told her she must change and follow Him.

Calling sin what it is and not accepting it as something ok to do is how we do not do harm. We must do it in love but we must not compromise either.

United Methodist General Conference 2019 Starts Today

The Special General conference for the United Methodist Church begins today to discuss issues of human sexuality. However, what is really being discussed is whether or not they will stand on Scripture or give way to culture.

There are calls for unity. There are calls for inclusion. But what there needs to be a call for is biblical standards. We can only rely on the Bible to be our guide. Sola Scriptura.

It is my prayer that the denomination sides with Scripture and does not allow culture to influence the church toward open sin.

Discrimination vs. Exclusion

The debate over LGBTQ and their position in the United Methodist Church is heating up as we are only two days away from GC2019. And what we are hearing is goes along these lines… “We need to eliminate the discriminatory language from church policy.” But is it really discriminatory to say that LGBTQ lifestyles are not compatible with Christianity? Of course not.

First, what does discriminatory even mean? What is the actual definition? Here is the definition according to Dictionary.com

Making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Dictionary.com

I want to highlight one word, unfair. It is not just making a distinction. It is an unfair distinction. It has the connotation of being unjust. This is different than exclusion.

The Bible does not discriminate. It excludes. Immediately when I say this, people will start to complain and say that God loves everyone. That is true in one sense, and in another, it is not true at all. God loves everyone in a general sense. But he does not love everyone as his own child. How do we know this? Paul makes this clear in Romans 9:13.

As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:13 ESV

God loves his elect. Those who will believe on the name of Christ. He does not love everyone equally. His Word makes clear that we are to turn from our sin once we are saved. Does that mean we will no longer sin? No. But does it mean it is ok to keep living in sin because we are forgiven and under grace? Paul addresses this as well.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:1-2 ESV

We are to put sin away and follow Christ. So what does this mean for LGBTQ? Paul addresses this as well. He addresses that LGBTQ is not who anyone is, it is sin.

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. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Romans 1:26-28 ESV

To do what ought not to be done. It is wrong. It is dishonorable and unnatural. It is debased.

Now, I want to take a moment to be fair here to the LGBTQ community. Romans does not stop there and so often we focus only on LGBTQ. But Paul lists a whole lot of sins in that passage in the following verses.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 1:29-32 ESV

There is a whole host of sins that need to be dealt with. And any of these sins that are in a person’s life without repentance disqualifies them from ministry. And allowing those, in this case, LGBTQ, to serve in positions of ordained ministry is not grace, it is equally sin.

So the Bible is exclusionary, not discriminatory. It is God’s justice. Who are we to question the justice of God?