It sometimes takes a professional theologian

I got an email from Randy Pim last week, assuring me that the Pim’s still read our newsletter, and sharing a message that a delegate from Africa presented at the recent Methodist conference on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

In his address he said, “We welcome all people to our churches; we long to be in fellowship with them, to pray with them, to weep with them, and to experience the joy of transformation with them. Friends, please hear me, we Africans are not afraid of our sisters and brothers who identify as…(LGBTQ). We love them and we hope the best for them. But we know of no compelling arguments for forsaking our church’s understanding of Scripture and the teachings of the church universal. And then please hear me when I say as graciously as I can: we Africans are not children in need of western enlightenment when it comes to the church’s sexual ethics. We do not need to hear a progressive U.S. bishop lecture us about our need to ‘grow up.’”

The good news, and yet the sad news, is that by the relatively close vote of 438 to 384 the delegates managed to keep in place the church rule that said the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

I read something in Touchstone last week that bears repeating here.

“Jesus doesn’t urge Peter to ‘go ahead, betray me, I understand.’ Jesus doesn’t tell the woman taken in adultery, ‘go back to your lover, because your situation is complex.’ Jesus doesn’t tell Zacchaeus the tax collector, ‘actually, keep the money you may have unjustly taken because you need it to support your family.’ Jesus dines with sinners, hangs out with prostitutes and publicans, he evangelizes the much-married Samaritan woman, he welcomes thieves into eternity. But he never confirms them in their sins, or makes nuanced allowances for their state of life; that sort of rhetoric is alien to the gospels…

This is not some complicated esoteric reading of the New Testament; it is the boringly literal and obvious one, which is why it takes a professional theologian to dispute it.”

God Bless, Rick

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