Wait, What Exactly is the Church?
By: Andy Goode
The New York Times article: “United Methodists Tighten Ban on Same-Sex Marriage and Gay Clergy by: Timothy Williams and Elizabeth Dias, dated February 26, 2019 features some quotes and other information that beg the question: What exactly is the church?Please consider this first quote taken from the article:“This feels like one generation locking down the church for the next,” said William H. Willimon, a retired bishop of the United Methodist Church and a professor at Duke Divinity School. “That’s a death sentence.”
Locking down the church? So, wait, what is exactly is the church again? Consider this excerpt from the same article:
“After three days of intense debate at a conference in St. Louis, the vote by church officials and lay members from around the world doubled down on current church policy, which states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” The vote served as a rejection of a push by progressive members and leaders to open the church to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
Now please consider the quote within the excerpt above: “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” This quote comes from the UMC”s decision, which only passed because of votes from the UMC leaders outside of the United States. Consider this excerpt from the same article:
“But the issue of gay rights has proved uniquely divisive in the church, and Tuesday’s vote reflected the growing clout of Methodists from outside the United States. The tightening of enforcement of church law was backed by a coalition of members from African nations, the Philippines and European and American evangelicals.”
By now you may wonder why I did not just ask you to read the New York Times article, and I think you should, but before I answer the begging question with which I began this writing, please read one more excerpt for the article:
Soon after the vote, protests erupted in the center of the arena where the conference had been held — a former football stadium known as The Dome. Some delegates began singing church songs and chanting, “We’re queer,” and “This is our church!”
“We’re queer” and “This is our church!”
This is the state of the UMC in America. Thank God for the African nations and others who had to point the way for an otherwise deluded and deceived group of people who are emphatically not the church.
Formal church usage of the word: ecclesia identifies a group set apart unto God. We take our concept of the church from this word as an assembly of people, or a congregation of people who are called out, as belonging to God. In the Christian context, which is our context here in this discussion, as the UMC considers themselves Christian, the church is made up of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth who is the Messiah; Jesus the Christ, commonly referred to as Jesus Christ.
Logically, why would anyone who does not agree with the teachings of the Christian Bible want to be identified with the Christian church? Pertains not to logic at all, and the claim that the church belongs to them is simply not true. The church, which is the people that are born-again followers of Jesus Christ, belongs to God, not to any special interest group and certainly not to any homosexual group.
This is where man-centered theology has taken the church goers, somehow church goers think that church is all about them. Once it becomes all about the people, then it becomes about whatever the people want for themselves. We do not conform God to our own image. God, through the sacrificial work of Jesus, is about calling us to repentance unto salvation that He conform us to His own image. We do not make the rules, or even vote on the rules. God gave His standard in the beginning.
Jesus died for the church, Jesus was raised for the church and the church does not belong to the queer, or the straight; the church belongs to God. As such, the church is to be governed by and operate according to biblical principles and the UMC said it best: “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
So, what should the rainbow wearing, pro-gay lifestyle, homosexual, lesbian, trans or bi-sexual, queer church goers do in light of this? Repent! Yes, God in His grace and by His mercy is calling for repentance for salvation and reconciliation. Any anti-biblical lifestyle is not compatible with Christianity. The same goes for heterosexuals and our own pet sins.
To see the biblical position as exclusion is correct. All those not willing to submit to the one true loving God on His loving terms, according to His loving standards is excluded. All those who refuse to repent and submit to God are excluded. This is God exalting, Christ centered theology has nothing to do with the man-centered theology that screams: “We are queer” and “this is our church.”
Former US President James Earl Carter weighs in on this recent vote in favor of homosexuality and admits that he cannot back up his view on the matter with scripture…
Why offer any opinion that cannot be backed up with scripture, why open your mouth when clearly scripture in both testaments in multiple texts of the Bible prohibit homosexuality? God standard is in the Bible, for His church. If you cannot agree, go form your own special interest group, but whatever you do, please do not call it a Christian church.
You may be queer, but it is not your church!