Bishop's Stand Is Too Weak For Some Churches
Response to Bishop's Statement on Calif. Holy Union Services
Date: Friday, February 26, 1999 8:06 PM
To: Unofficial Confessing Movement Forum
Bishop Kenneth Carder of the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church has
weighed in on the same-sex unions in Sacramento, saying,
"The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline states: 'Ceremonies that
celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be
conducted in our churches'.
"The performing of a 'holy union' of two women by a group of United Methodist
clergy in Sacramento, California, does not change the position of The United Methodist
Church on homosexual unions. Pastors who participate in such ceremonies are thereby
subject to being charged under the provisions of the law of the church."
With all due respect to Bishop Carder and episcopacy leaders, why can't we have a
simple answer from these men whom we have elected in a representative system? What answers
do we need?
- Such homosexual unions are wrong.
- They are wrong because they violate the Holy Scriptures.
Why, oh, why do Bishop Carder and other bishops insist on invoking The United Methodist
Book of Discipline as the governance of what is right and wrong? Are we, as Christians
(and Methodists second), not to be governed by the Holy Bible? Is the Book of Discipline
not merely a set of denominational rules and guidelines based, ostensibly, on the
principles of the Scriptures?
Many of us are troubled by this issue which continues to tear apart our denomination
and which, I fear, will lead to an ultimate split between evangelicals and liberal
theologists. We are crying out for our bishops to substantiate the Bible as the rule of
primacy in our church as to right and wrong, not with the Book of Discipline held up as if
it is the torch of the Statue of Liberty.
I respect Bishop Carder's taking a stand against the practice. However, I still believe
he does not go far enough. His is a public stance on denominational and governmental
principle in the church-----not on Biblical commandment. When are those of us who
sincerely believe we need more definitive leadership from our bishops going to receive it
in an unvarnished, uncompromised public word. Or are we in a mode, as the late Bishop
William Cannon once wrote, where "some leaders of the church are so afraid to offend,
that if the Devil himself came to their front door, they would be afraid to offend
Chair, Administrative Council
Andrews Chapel United Methodist Church