The United Methodist Church is definitely not united at the moment. Largely because of the more traditional views of the church in the third world, the UMC recently voted to retain a traditional view of marriage as being between a man and woman. That has angered a lot of the more progressive members and churches. A number have left the denomintation. Other have chosen to stay, hoping to reform the church. Others still, have chosen to simply defy the decison reached and ordain gay clergy and marry gay couples anyway.
Timothy Tennent, President of Asbury Theological Seminary, has written some thoughts as the church prepares for the 2020 General Conference. He challenges the assumptions made by the progressives, specifically asking:
Is the church of Jesus Christ “exclusionary”?
Are those who hold a tradtional and biblical view unleashing irreparable harm on people, especially members of the LGBTQ community?
One hundred years ago, people believed the miraculous aspects of Christianity were embarrassing to educated people and we should focus on the morality of Christianity. The reality is that, today, the churches that are thriving are those that expect the miraculous and those that downlayed the miraculous are declining very rapidly.
Today, people believe the morality of Christianity is embarrassing and should be downplayed. What will people be saying in another hundred years and which churches will have thived?
Check out this article from Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan started on May 6th. Many Christians throughout the world are choosing to pray for Muslims each day during Ramadan. There are various good resources available including Love Muslims, put together by Prayercast.
Each day includes an excellent video in which an ex-Muslim leads the viewer in prayer for an aspect of Muslim life. You can subscribe so that you get an email each day with a link to the video, or they can be accessed using the menu at the top of the web page.
This is a great resources, useful way beyond Ramadan, for those who want to see God move amongst Muslims.
Each video ends with key prayer points and the the words…
It is commonly said that churches that believe that homosexual acts are sinful are alienating themselves from our culture and therefore undermining their own mission.
This article looks at the research to test that assumption and finds that it is entirely wrong. Those who argue that the church must abandon biblical teaching in order to grow have to deal with the fact that it is the more liberal mainline churches that are declining rapidly and the more conservative churches that are growing (at least in the USA).
Somewhat surprisingly, research also shows that those identifying as gay or lesbian are 2.5 times more likely to attend a church with more conservative views!
We can easily be intimidated by what sounds logical in a society now very supportive of homsexual acts but maybe the facts reveal that God is doing something very different. Read the article for yourself.
Matthew Vines’ book God And The Gay Christian has proved popular and a 1-page summary, A Brief Biblical Case, has put his arguments into the hands of many. Unfortunately though, Vines’ arguments are not biblical.
AFFIRM has produced a 1-page response using the same 10 headings that Vines uses. This may be a useful resource if you want to clarify your own thinking or to have to show others where Matthew Vines has become confused.
Of course, there are much more substantial responses to Matthew Vine.
David Gushee is a self-identified Evangelical who has become persuaded that the church needs to affirm homosexuals and homosexual acts. His book is Changing Our Minds. Gushee has been motivated by real concern regarding instances of gays having been treated poorly by the church.
We would sympathise with that concern. The problem is how he then manages to dismiss the biblical teaching.
There was an attempt at the 2018 General Assembly of the PCANZ to recommend study of this book to all Presbyterian churches. It was defeated but you might know of people who are promoting the book or have been confused by it.
The Gospel Coalition has published an extensive review of the book. If you want to understand issues and see both the strengths and weaknesses in his argument it is well worth reading.
We apologise but because this website was hacked and rebuilt, we will be re-posting some items that you might have seen before.