By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
March 6, 2020
Super Tuesday may have been super for politics, but for United Methodists who still hold to a high view of Scripture, it was anything but super.
A press release from the pastor of Duke Memorial United Methodist Church in Durham, N.C., announced that United Methodist clergy had officiated at a same-gender marriage “in disobedience to denominational policy.” The press release announced:
“Duke Memorial United Methodist Church joyfully celebrates the covenant marriage of Caleb Parker and Thomas Phillips, which took place in our sanctuary on February 29, 2020. Twelve clergy from Duke Memorial United Methodist Church and our United Methodist and ecumenical connection jointly officiated this wedding in holy disobedience to the prohibitions against same-gender marriage laid forth by denominational policy in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. We bless Thomas’s and Caleb’s covenant promises in Christian marriage and are grateful to be given the honor of celebrating their love through the wedding worship service.
“Love is at the center of our faith tradition and is a lens through which we interpret the Scriptures. We at Duke Memorial will continue to celebrate the reconciliation of all persons as beloved children of God, equal before the throne of love and grace. We will continue to welcome and affirm ALL of God’s children, as we live into our baptismal vows to ‘accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
The press release included the names of the twelve clergy officiants and their partner officiates.
Buddy Smith, a former United Methodist minister, and the current Senior Vice President of the American Family Association based in Tupelo, Mississippi, wrote in a Facebook post:
“They call it ‘holy,’ but these apostates are actually poking their fingers in the eye of God in willful defiance of Scripture.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said:
“These clergy ‘joyfully celebrate’ what God’s Word condemns. They’re proud of what they’ve done. They defy the Almighty and then challenge the ecclesiastical authorities that God has placed over them. Insurrection against a holy God and pastoral authority is not holy, even though they call what they’ve done ‘holy.’ That’s like taking a hood ornament from a Cadillac and putting it on Ford Fiesta and calling it a luxury car. Furthermore, they talk about ‘love.’ Who gave them the right to redefine what God defines as ‘love?’ They talk about ‘equality.’ The only manner in which ‘equality’ is an issue here is that they and others who practice homosexuality have an equal opportunity to repent and be changed by the power of Christ’s soul salvation. They talk about the ‘lens’ through which they interpret the Scriptures. What need do they have for any kind of ‘lens’ when they demonstrate that they are spiritually blind? Blind people don’t need glasses. They need to be given sight. These clergy are blind leaders of the blind! United Methodists shouldn’t follow them, lest they, as Jesus warned, ultimately fall with them into the ditch of God’s coming wrath.”
In January, United Methodist church officials proposed a plan to split their denomination after an extended conflict over LGBT clergy and same-sex marriage. The proposal, crafted by a 16-member group of bishops and other church leaders, said the separation was “the best means to resolve our differences.”
Under the new plan, “traditionalist Methodist” would start a new denomination, which would hold to the biblical understanding of marriage and oppose the ordination of LGBTQ clergy.
Creech said that it is impossible, applying just the basic principles of hermeneutics, to interpret the Scriptures to say anything positive about same-sex relationships.
“It’s just not there. The only way anyone can see it in the text is to abandon the Bible as inerrant or infallible in its content. The only way one can find any justification for it from the Bible is to impose one’s erroneous presuppositions about culture, love, and sex, onto its texts. Instead, they need to let the Bible speak for itself and let it interpret their own erroneous presuppositions,” said Creech. “Liberal clergy like the ones at Duke Memorial take unauthorized liberties with their interpretations. We don’t get to interpret Scripture according to our likings. We must let it interpret us and bring our lives into compliance with what it actually says.”
Statistics show that mainline churches which have affirmed same-sex marriage, such as the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church, USA, are all seriously declining in memberships.
Meanwhile, Orthodox churches such as the Assemblies of God and the Catholic Church, which still hold the line on homosexual practice as sinful, have been consistently growing.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest protestant denomination in America – a faith group that is typically more conservative – both theologically and politically – has been experiencing a slight decline in membership. Interestingly, the Pew Research Center reported in 2019 that in 2014, “63% of Southern Baptist said that homosexuality should be discouraged by society, down from 68% in 2007.”