United Methodists face vote on LGBTQ issues. Will it rip the church apart?
The above is the headline from an article about an upcoming vote later this month at the United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. A special session has been called to vote yet again on a plan regarding same-sex marriage and the acceptance of LGBTQ clergy in the church. According to this article,
The United Methodist Church faces the possibility of a schism because of the vote. It’s inevitable that people will leave the church because of how polarizing the issue is, according to congregants, clergy and experts. It’s also possible entire congregations could leave the denomination.
This sounds all too familiar to this former member of the Anglican Church of Canada. The argument in favor of allowing seems to be, that “love would be at the core.” The article also notes, “United Methodist churches and properties are currently owned by the denomination.”
That was the same with the Anglican Church of Canada. One the largest Anglican congregations in Canada, as well as the most overtly evangelical, had to give up their buildings when they chose to be faithful to their understanding of the way, the truth and the life. See http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Anglican+diocese+retains+ownership+four+disputed+church+properties/2266487/story.html
Perhaps the one thing Methodists have going for them is a church leader largely forgotten in the Anglican Church of Canada, but still very much at the essence of the United Methodist Church, John Wesley. It would be interesting to do a study on his teachings particularly as they would apply to the situation the church currently finds itself in. So I googled what John Wesley would say to us today on this issue and came across an article published the last time this issue was raised in the United Methodist Church. The author, Donald A. D. Thorsen, professor of theology and chair of the Department of Theology and Ethics at Azusa Pacific Seminary in Azusa, California writes,
Wesley, the founder of Methodism, affirmed the primacy of scriptural authority. But he also acknowledged the genuine, albeit secondary, religious authority of tradition, reason, and experience. By doing so, Wesley simply made explicit what is implicit in all theological reflection, even when it ostensibly is based on Scripture alone.
Given this so-called quadrilateral of religious authority, how should Methodists — or any Christian interested in considering a breadth of relevant data — view homosexuality? Although Wesley did not specifically deal with the issue of homosexuality, his theological legacy provides a comprehensive and integrative way of evaluating it. https://goodnewsmag.org/2016/04/john-wesley-revelation-and-homosexual-experience/
This article in turn led me to research Wesley’s Quadrilateral
. I believe this presents a schema for approaching this discussion in a way that would be blessed and guided by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.