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Southern UM Bishop Solomon Promotes Gospel Of Homosexuality In Arkansas

From: John Miles smiles@ipa.net
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2001 9:17 AM 
Subject: "both and"

Dear Friends,

I want to thank everyone who wrote to me on the issue of lukewarm Christianity. I suspect all of us, even the most passionate, go through periods of dryness in our spiritual journey. Awareness of our spiritual condition and a real confidence in Jesus promise that if we seek, we will find must sustain us on our journey. There are many remedies for lukewarm Christianity but none will be effective without a realization of our own need and of God's loving kindness. I had promised that I would add my own opinion on this issue but with all that has been said I think I will leave it with this.

Last week I went to our yearly gathering of elders. I had to miss the first day and was very sorry I did. My father, who is also an elder in Arkansas, gave a satirical lecture in which he reminded the audience that in college I wrote a paper in favor of homosexual marriage. I can only verify that as true and say that I am grateful to the evangelical pastors, seminary students, and lay people who lead me back to an orthodox faith. At another session that I did attend, retired Bishop Dan Solomon shared the podium with our own Bishop Janice Huie.

Many of the more conservative elders were taken aback by one of the statements by Bishop Solomon. As a southern bishop with an evangelical preaching style, we had thought that Bishop Solomon shared a lot in common with us. At the meeting, however, Bishop Solomon suggested that John Wesley and the Methodists have a "both and" approach to theology and ethics. He mentioned our divided views on divorce, abortion, and war as examples. Although we may strongly disagree on these issues, we manage to respect each others viewpoints within the church. Bishop Solomon suggested that the "both and" principle should also operate on the issue of homosexuality.

First, most of us as conservative Methodists read Wesley in a different light. Wesley did have an openness to various points of view WITHIN Christianity, but he was a dogged defender of the central doctrines of the faith. Any suggestion that Wesley was indifferent to these central doctrines of Christian theology is an profound misunderstanding of the facts. There was no more dogged defender of orthodox Christianity in the eighteenth century than Wesley.

Secondly, we were shocked that Bishop Solomon would suggest that we should simply accommodate various approaches to homosexuality. It sounded to us like he was proposing we conservatives should agree to disagree on issues like ordination and marriage of homosexual persons. We were stunned that he would think this was a viable solution. This is all liberal United Methodists are asking for right now. That avenue has been open to our church all along and we have consistently rejected it. That Bishop Solomon would even think that the conservatives would ever surrender our principles on this, shows a surprising naivete for someone in Bishop Solomon's position. Let me make it clear to everyone who thinks that time will wear us down, there are thousands of United Methodist pastors and millions of United Methodist lay people who will never accept homosexual marriage or ordination within our church. People may say whatever they like about our bigotry, intolerance, and narrow mindedness, we have heard it all before, but it is wishful thinking to believe we will ever slacken in our resolve.

Your Brother,

John Miles

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