I am going to depart from my policy of making this blog less denominational for just a little bit, because the UMC is my church, and the events of the past couple days have required some commentary, IMHO.
Now the Judicial Council of the UMC has refused to reconsider it’s earlier decisions regarding a Virginia pastor who refused membership to an unrepentent, active homosexual. The original decision said that the pastor acted properly according to the Book of Discipline.
I have stated publically that this refusal by the Judicial Council is a good thing, and it is.
But in reality what does it accomplish? The UMC is so deeply divided now, and the chasm is so great that there can probably never be true reconciliation between the two sides. The decision merely says that one side is right and the other is wrong. But neither side will ever be convinced that the other side is right. In fact the decision is basically toothless. The side that has officially been declared to be wrong, i.e. the liberals/progressives, will change nothing in the way they do things. They will continue to ignore the parts of the Book of Discipline that do not fit with their agenda, just as they do with the Bible itself. They will continue to live in complete rebellion against both.
The leadership, the episcopacy, of the UMC is overwhelmingly liberal, and liberals are in key positions in the church and have demonstrated repeatedly that if people are brought up on charges of breaking church law, they will almost always excuse their behavior. So it makes it almost impossible to make anything stick.
It’s becoming very much like discussion between parties on the Titanic, arguing about so many things while the ship continues to sink inexorably.
The only reasonable thing to do would be to entertain the idea of a split. The chasm is too deep and wide to bridge. Neither side is willing to compromise, nor should they be. We cannot compromise the basic tenets of the Christian faith. We need to go our own direction, independent of the other side. Either we, or they, can leave as a group, or we can leave gradually as individuals. Either way, the ship is sinking.
In my humble opinion, it would be better to worship in a smaller denomination that is faithful to the Word of the Lord than to compromise that Word in order to be part of the “big tent” of United Methodism.