Will Traditionalist Methodist Welcome LGBT Persons?

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers - FAQ

Will Traditionalist Methodist Welcome LGBT Persons?Question: Will Traditionalist Methodist welcome LGBT persons?

Answer: Great question. Many Methodist have asked if members of the LGBT community will be welcomed in the new Traditionalist Methodist denomination. Before answering, I thought it might be helpful to look at what the Apostle Paul said regarding the standing of every individual before God.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romance 3:23-24 There is no one righteous, not even one. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12. In writing to the Romans Paul quoted from Ecclesiastes. 7:20: “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” and Psalms 14:3: “There is no one who does good, not even one.”

If God only accepted into church those who were without sin there would be no church. We are all sinners before God. In many ways the worst sinner is the one who thinks they are more righteous than someone else — that their sins are not “as bad.” Jesus himself made it clear that those who hold this attitude are in danger of missing his grace and mercy.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.'” Luke 18:9-14

Yes, members of the LGBT community are welcomed to worship with Traditionalist Methodist. Those who consider themselves “Traditionalist Methodist” have family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, who are gay. We love, like, and interact with LGBT persons every day. A person’s sexual orientation does not exclude them from God’s love and grace, nor should it exclude them from worshipping in God’s house. The key point to remember and acknowledge is that we are all sinners in need of a savior from sin: namely Jesus Christ. He alone can free us from the bondage of sin. His Spirit can and will defeat the flesh — if not in our lifetime then in the age to come. We are only asked to acknowledge our sin (confess), agree to turn from sin (repent) and ask Christ to fight for us. He will. He came for this very reason: to die and save you from sin and the eternal death it brings.

Why Must the United Methodist Church Split Over the LGBT Issue?

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers

Question: Why Must the United Methodist Church Split Over the LGBT Issue?

Answer: Great question. Many Methodist have asked why those who support the LGBT community and want to preserve an inclusive nature within the United Methodist Church are at odds with those who oppose same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy. Before answering, I thought it might be helpful to look at the UMC Book of Discipline.

Article IV of the UMC Book of Discipline states: “We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation. It is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice. Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to be made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation.”

Regarding Scripture, the UMC Book of Discipline states: United Methodists share with other Christians the conviction that Scripture is the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. The Bible is sacred canon for Christian people. We interpret individual texts in light of their place in the Bible as a whole.

Article VI—of the UMC Book of Discipline states: “The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites does not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.”

The split within the United Methodist Church, while focused on moral issues regarding sexuality, is actually rooted in two diverse views of Scripture. The Traditionalists hold that the Bible is God’s living and final authoritative word on matters covered in Scripture. Progressives hold to the statement in the UMC Discipline that says, “We interpret individual texts in light of their place in the Bible as a whole.” Since the Law and Prophets were written at a time when women had few rights, slavery was condoned, polygamy among God’s people was acceptable (though marriage between one man and one woman was God’s stated preference), Progressives contend that sexual orientation was never correctly addressed in Scripture. If love is love and love among two members of the same sex is something God created, Progressives asks, how can it be wrong?

Traditionalist counter that if sins listed in the Bible are no longer considered sins and if acts in the Bible that God called “grievous, bad, detestable” are now “right and loving,” then all aspects of the Bible are called into question: including that Jesus is the son of God and is, in fact, God himself.

In the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, Jesus says, “Outside are the dogs (not literal dogs, but the morally impure), those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” These are the ones Jesus says will not have the right to the tree of life and may not go through the gates into the new city.

For Progressives the split is over the issue of love as they define love. For Traditionalist the split is over obedience to God’s word and God’s instructions of how we are to live our lives. Traditionalist argue that there is power in God’s word and that the spirit of Jesus can transform everyone who receives him. Progressives argue we are all God’s children, he made us male, female and male-female-combined, and he loves us as we are.

The split will not resolve these two opposing views, but it will give both factions the opportunity to form community and worship God and Jesus as they see fit.

Why Do “Traditionalist” Have to Leave UMC

Traditionalist Methodist Questions and Answers

Question: Why Do “Traditionalist” Have to Leave UMC? Question: Why Do “Traditionalist” Have to Leave UMC?

Answer: Great question. Many Methodist have asked why those who support the teachings and tenants of John Wesley and believe the words and acts of Jesus, his disciples, and God have been asked to leave the UMC denomination. Before answering, I thought it might be helpful to look at a similar division of property from the Bible.

In Genesis 13:5-13, Abraham and Lot, due to quarreling among the two men’s families and flocks, agree to separate. Abraham lets Lot pick the territory he desires.

Now Lot was moving about with Abram but the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. Quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company.  – Genesis 13:5-13

Currently the United Methodist Church’s global membership stands at 12.5 million. In 2016 it dropped to 6.95 million people, a decrease of about 1.6 percent from 2015, roughly the same percentage decrease seen in the last two years. U.S. average weekly attendance is less than 2.66 million, a 3.3 percent decline. If we assume in 2020 that membership declines have held steady at 1.6 percent, then today there are around 6.5 million UMC members.

Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, believes around 2.5 million will join the conservative church, and 3.5 million will remain in the progressive, liberal UMC denomination. “Nearly all the 5.5 million overseas members, mostly in Africa, will join the conservative church,” Tooley says, “so the conservative denomination will have about 8 million members globally.”

On the surface it may appear that Methodist who hold to precepts in the Book of Discipline are consenting to a land-grab by the progressive, liberal faction, but I believe God will bless the new denomination in the same way he blessed Abraham. When it comes to church growth and making disciples of Christ, it’s not the land and location that matters but the God you worship and obey. Follow and serve him only and, be it a desert or a well-watered pasture, his word will not return empty.

One final note: the example sighted above regarding Abraham and Lot is in no way meant to pass judgement on those in the progressive, liberal faction of UMC or to call out those in the LGBT community. I selected that passage simply because it shows how two groups who are in conflict can agree to separate and still love and support one another.

A Bible Study of the Commands and Acts of Jesus

Matthew Chapter Six

A Bible Study of the Commands and Acts of Jesus - chapter sixDo not do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men to be seen by them.” Matt 6:1

When you give to the needy, do not announce it.” Matt 6:2

Close the door to your room and pray to your Father who is unseen.” Matt 6:6

If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you.” Matt 6:14

If you DO NOT forgive me their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”Matt 6:15

When you fast, do not look somber.” Matt 6:16

When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.” Matt 6:17

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” Matt 6:19

Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Matt 6:20

You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matt 6:24

Do not worry.” Matt 6:25

Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness.” Matt 6:33

Was your water baptism a dip and tip event or a holy encounter with God?

Sermon Notes: Jan 12, 2020

Was your water baptism a dip and tip event or a holy encounter with God?

Today was “Remember your baptism” Sunday at North Rale
igh United Methodist Church. We were encouraged to go up, dip a finger in a bowl of water, touch our forehead and remember our baptism. It’s always important to remember your baptism. It’s even better to write it someplace where your family can find it upon your death. For some, this notation may be the only evidence that they ever committed their life to Christ and received him as their savior. Article XVII of Methodist Articles of Religion on baptism state:

“Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church.”

I have witnessed many infants “baptized” during Sunday services. There is value it the ceremony. The family and church members voice their commitment to raise the child as a fellow family member of Christ’s body. But the infant has no say in the matter and will not for years to come. Only later, when an individual reaches the “age of reason” — seven, ten, twelve … twenty — can they appreciate the words of God and become convicted of their sin. Before this moment we are:

  • Dead in our sins and transgressions.
  • Follow the ways of this world.
  • Follow the ruler of the kingdom of the air.
  • Follow the spirit who is now at work in those of us who are disobedient.
  • Gratify the cravings of our sinful nature – which is our fleshly desires.
  • Fail to realize that we are, by nature, children of wrath.

It is by grace you have been saved. This is a gift of God.
Ephesians 2:2-10

The pastor at NRUMC hit on a number of possible reasons why Christ allowed his cousin John to baptize Christ in the River Jordon, but Jesus himself said it was for this reason: “To fulfill all righteousness.”

There may be other benefits for adult baptism, but for Christ it indicated that he was consecrated to God. An infant cannot consecrate themselves to God. Parents may consecrate a child to God, but we must consider that our “free will” plays a role in our actions and future. If sprinkling water on an infant would save their offspring from hell and a life of sinful behavior, a great many parents of all beliefs, even unbelief, would ask that their child be dipped and flipped for God.

In his baptism Christ was officially approved by God. “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ Matt 3:16.

After the baptism of Jesus the, Holy Spirit was seen descending on Jesus. After our baptism of water we should experience the Holy Spirit descending upon and indwelling within us. In fact, this marks the beginning of our “new birth.” From that moment forward, the spiritual DNA of Christ is transferred into our spirit. This starts our sanctification — a fancy word that means “set apart,” “being made or becoming “being made or becoming holy.” The old body remains, but a new spirit begins to grow within us. Jesus baptism is an example for us to follow.

As I watched the congregation parade by the bowls of water, dip and tip, I wondered if there were any who had not been baptized: if there were some who never professed with their mouth and believed in their heart that Christ was the Son of God — was God himself. Perhaps as an infant their parents had consecrated them to God and it was for that reason they were in church today, and most other Sundays, rather than someplace else. But were they now children of God or children of wrath? Did they know beyond a doubt?

If you cannot recall water baptism as an adult or receiving God’s Holy Spirit, I suggest you find a time to do this. In your shower, in your bathtub, in a pool, in the ocean, lake, pond, river or creek … pick a moment when you consecrate yourself to God through water immersion. This can be between you and God or with others as witnesses. Then go to a quiet place and ask God to give you his promised Holy Spirit. Wait for it. Meditate on his word. Pray in silence and audibly. Weep, plead, confess … this is a holy transaction. Some may will feel warmth, conviction, loved, speak in tongues … others nothing. Do not focus on the feeling: focus on your sacrifice to God. You are surrendering your life in order to gain his.

When finished write down the time and date and keep that information someplace safe where your family can find it upon your death. Then watch as the Spirit of God slowly battles your old flesh into submission. This is baptism. This is why it’s important. Christ came and died for you: make that moment a monumental experience.

The Meaning of Christmas

Today and in recent days you will hear or have heard and read messages about the meaning of Christmas. That God came to be with us: that he is Emmanuel. That we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. That God came to bring peace on earth. That we are made in the image of God and God loves us all, each and every one. All of that is true.

But if that is the only reason God came to earth in the form of a man named Jesus then his death on the cross failed. We do not love our neighbors. There is not peace on earth. Though we may be made in the image of God, we are poor replicas. Anyone who takes time to read the Bible – or at least the New Testament – will find that the overwhelming reason that God came in the form of a man named Christ was to save us from our sins.

We are made in the image of God; that is true. But we serve a lesser god. We serve Satan. And until we acknowledge that we serve a false god and cry out to be free from his tyranny, we are destined to remain slaves to sin and die in our sins. The true meaning of Christmas is that God came to liberate us from the life we live and the death sentence we received. To elevate any other message above this as the reason for Christmas is to treat the death of God and his resurrection as a social movement that will fade – as have all other human fads.

The mystery of God coming in the form of a man named Jesus has perplexed men and women and religious scholars for years. Here is one way to think of the event and why it is crucial to your soul.

Adam was created by God. Adam was not born but built from dust and received his life from the breath of God. In that mouth-to-nostrils moment Adam received the divine spirit into his being. Then Adam faced a choice: side with Eve who had already disobeyed God and be with his mate partner, or side with God. Adam picked Eve – the creation over the creator – and the DNA of man (Adam) changed from divine to mortal. This is a mystery. But it also is an undeniable fact that every human born since Adam died or will die.

God in his love sought to restore us to his divine nature, to breathe his spirit into us anew and return us to our intended divine nature. So God picked a virgin to be his mother. This too is a mystery: that God would seed himself into Mary through his spirit and then be born from Mary as an infant. This act was necessary so that the DNA of God could be born into a man named Jesus. Christ possessed the DNA of Mary, his mother, and God his father: the divine and the mortal. To prove he was both divine and mortal, Jesus lived as a man, lived without committing one sin, and allowed himself to be falsely accused and executed for daring to claim his father was God: that in fact he was God. Dead and buried, three days later he came up from the grave and appeared to hundreds to prove his words were true and that he was God in the flesh.

Today, tonight, the next day, if you know in your heart that you cannot keep yourself from doing the things you know are wrong … if you sense in your soul you were created for something more, have a destiny greater than can be contained on this earth … if you fear death … ask Christ to meet with you. That’s it. That’s all. Just a meeting between you and God. If you don’t like his terms walk away. His terms, are simple: his life for yours – his spirit’s divine DNA for your spirit’s mortal DNA. If you accept his offer and receive his spirit, you will be changed: if not overnight then over time. The fruit of his spirit will testify to this transaction. But you must ask for his spirit, confess you need God the Christ to save you, and believe he will – believe that he has power over death and sin.

Today, tonight, the next day if you think exchanging your life for the divinity of God’s is a good deal, accept his terms. It is by far the best Christmas bargain you’ll ever find.

A Christmas Crisis Story

What is your Christmas Crisis Story?

A Christmas Crisis StoryOn Christmas Eve, when I was 18, I drove home from my girlfriend’s house and ran out of gas a little past 11 PM. I don’t remember how I located a phone. My guess is, I knocked on a door. I do remember when I got Dad on the phone and told him what happened, he said, “Boy, didn’t you look at the gas gauge before you left.” I said I had but hadn’t taken into account that stations would close early that night. If Dad said more, I don’t recall what it was. What I do remember is that he left Mom alone at home on Christmas Eve and brought me a gallon of gas.

That year on Christmas Eve my father came to me when I needed him. My Father in heaven still comes for those who need help and call out – who are empty spiritually, emotionally … broken down. I doubt Dad ever thought what he did that night reflected the love of God, but it did.

Tonight there are so many who are scared, hurting … lost in the darkness of a side road. I pray my Father in heaven will hear their cry and come to them in their hour of need.

What’s your #ChristmasCrisis story?