As General Conference got underway, we created this page to communicate with the congregation regarding General Conference legislation and resolutions. There are a variety of issues related to the United Methodist Church’s (UMC's) polity—the way the church is governed.
Of course, a significant focus of this year’s General Conference was centered around issues related to human sexuality—specifically the UMC's current position stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian faith and teaching.”
This is not a new debate for the UMC family. Since the 1970s, the issue has been discussed at all previous General Conferences, and the current language of the United Methodist Book of Discipline (the UMC’s governing document) has been upheld each time.
As overarching cultural opinion has shifted and in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the definition of marriage, the topic, once again, took center stage at General Conference. Most of those in favor of changing the official UMC position regarding homosexuality are sincere Christians who are trying to live faithfully according to their interpretation of Scripture. They believe the issue at hand is one of hospitality, civil rights and justice.
However, most of those who support the current position are also sincere Christians trying to live faithfully according to their interpretation of Scripture. They see the authority of Scripture as consistent on all issues related to human sexuality—whether promiscuity, fidelity, premarital sex, or sexual orientation. Scripture is clear as to God’s plan for sex being only between a man and woman within the marriage covenant.
Here at Christ United Methodist Church, we stand with the historical, orthodox position that the Christian Church has taught for 2,000 plus years. Both the Old Testament and New Testament define marriage as between a man and a woman only within the marriage covenant. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He upholds the sanctity of marriage and also further emphasizes the covenant as one between a man and woman in marriage. Of course, United Methodists are not alone in our belief. We stand with the 85 million Anglicans, 1.2 billion Catholics and currently the nearly 80 million members of the World Methodist Council who uphold the same scriptural interpretation. To say that the UMC’s Doctrine and Discipline are ‘out of step’ applies only to current definition of our culture’s opinion. By far, most baptized Christians around the world agree with this opinion of doctrine and the authority of Scripture.
Certainly, Christ United Methodist Church appreciates the reminder that our social principles also include every person as having “sacred worth.” As Methodists, we believe everyone is created in the image of God and, therefore, has immense worth and value to God. No human being should be denied his or her civil rights, protection under the law and grace as broken children of God. And everyone is welcome in God’s family and to share at His table.
Thankfully and notably, Christ United Methodist Church has faithfully taught this from our pulpit for generations, and many in the homosexual community have found our church to be a place of grace and hospitality while also being clear about our convictions. We will continue that tradition—we remain a place for all of God’s children and for all who fall short of God’s glory, in need of grace, forgiveness and a new beginning.
Regardless of what happens, please be assured that Christ United Methodist Church is committed to uphold the orthodox, historic and faithful interpretation and authority of Scripture “for both our correction and redemption.”
- 60 Days of Prayer: A Prayer Community for UMC General Conference 2016
- The Biblical Plan for Human Sexuality by Shane Stanford
- Blog post by Executive Pastor Scott Lees: Grace and Truth in a Grace or Truth World | pdf