May 14, 2024

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May 14, 2024

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Did God Change His Mind?: United Methodist Church Chooses To Embrace And Welcome Sin

The United Methodist Church (UMC) voted on May 3 to change its bylaws (called Book of Discipline), repealing its longstanding ban on same-sex marriages by its clergy or in its churches. The change allows clergy to be homosexuals themselves and to perform all homosexual ceremonies celebrating homosexual unions.

The decision followed a repeal of language banning homosexuality among the clergy two days earlier. The UMC had for 52 years labeled homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teachings” but chose to remove that language as well. They also changed the marriage clause to read: “a covenant between two adults” rather than limiting it to heterosexual couples.

Some UMC churches have tried to remain neutral, but neutrality is a fallacy. There is no uncommitted zone here. Choosing a side on this sin or any sin in Scripture will be controversial to someone who wants to commit that sin, but that’s not how we decide. Any doctor can tell you cancer is still deadly, even if we all stop calling it a disease and start calling it “alternative health.”

There is no safe or “centrist” position on sexual perversion. There is never a middle ground between truth and lies (1 John 1:5-7). Not taking sides IS taking a side. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with Me is against Me…” (Luke 11:23). You side with God, or you side with sin; God never allows a muddy middle to avoid being involved in the controversy.

Sadly, instead of throwing off the sin that entangles and disables (Hebrews 12:1-2), the UMC chose to embrace and welcome the sin, effectively changing the label from sin to “a matter of personal conscience.” Did God change His mind?

We must confront sin in love but confront it clearly, repeatedly, and publicly. Love does not keep us silent or make us back down to perversion. Would you allow two people to speed over a cliff without trying to warn them because “they look so happy together?” Of course not. You would do your best to tell them the bridge is out. Speeding ahead is certain destruction. Failure to not warn about sin is also a sin (Ezekiel 33:6).

Is Homosexuality Sin or An Alternate Lifestyle?

Let’s be clear: homosexuality and every form of sexual immorality are always depicted as sin in the Bible. It is never an acceptable alternative or inability because “God made me this way.” That’s a lie. God’s position on sexual behavior and sexual perversion is consistent from the first book of the Bible to the last. God stated what is normal, healthy human sexuality in the first chapter of Genesis. Jesus confirmed it was God’s plan “from the beginning” (Matthew 19:4).

Homosexuality and every other sexual behavior is, was, and always will be a perversion of God’s clear and unequivocal design for humans from the beginning (Genesis 1:27, 2:24).

Anything other than God’s design is wickedness because it perverts God’s plan for humanity. Gay, bi-sexual, trans, lesbian, pedophilia, incest, bestiality, and any perversion that hasn’t been dreamed up yet; they are all evil and wrong. Never once does God suggest it’s an alternate form of love.

It is sin. It is condemned. It is perverse to God. He uses the strongest possible term in Hebrew: tobah, translated “abomination.” It means loathsome, detestable, vile, unclean, and vomitous. It literally means it makes God want to throw up!

Every time sexual perversion in any form is mentioned in the Bible, it is always called sin. It doesn’t matter what kind: homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, prostitution, or any other form of sexual immorality. They are always evil and often grouped with other sins that God abhors and promises to judge. [See Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 2 Corinthians 6:9,10, 2 Peter 2:10]

Love Is NOT Love When It’s Sin

Love is NOT love if it is based on an action that is sinful, wicked, perverse, vile, or immoral. Debauchery, legal or not, is still debauchery. Here are a few basic principles to demonstrate whether it is right for the Church or any of us to accommodate this or any sin to be loving:

• It is never loving to affirm sin (Rom. 12:9).

• It is never loving to make light of sin (Prov. 14:9).

• It is never loving to confuse the next generation about sin (Matt. 18:6)

• It is never loving to confuse weaker believers (1 Cor. 8:9).

• The one who approves of sin is also committing a sin (Rom. 1:32).

• Hiding sin is not love. Don’t accept it; expose it (Eph. 5:11).

God will judge those UMC leaders who voted in favor of homosexuality by the same law as He judges homosexuals. But because they are leaders, they will be judged more harshly (James 3:1). Imagine how God feels about telling 6.4 million people to welcome and celebrate sin. You do not want to be one of those leaders on judgment day.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

If we have the opportunity to correct a brother or sister in error, we should attempt to do so. Paul warns that our silence or failure to do so opens us up to the same temptation (Galatians 6:1). Aquila and Priscilla faithfully showed Apollos his errors, in gentleness, not harshness, but with clarity and conviction (Acts 18:24-26). They didn’t just take a vote to accommodate his mistakes because of pressure or because he had a big following.

Simply because someone wants to live in defiance of God’s plan is not sufficient reason to approve. Our natural sinful nature wants many things that God forbids. We are commanded to “put to death the components of our earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, anger, and malice…” (Colossians 3:5).

We are never told to embrace, accept, affirm, celebrate, or dedicate a month to sinful desires.

Voting sin into the bylaws of a denomination or removing the official wording that condemns it does not erase its sinfulness. Sin is still filthy and repugnant to God. His law does not accommodate localized or legalized perversion. He condemned wicked societies throughout the ages based on the same standard (Canaan, Moab, Assyria, Babylon, Rome, and others).

Isaiah 5:20 is vividly blunt, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil….” Renaming homosexuality ‘gay’ doesn’t change the behavior. Embracing a sin as “pride” is using the lies of the devil. Pride itself is a sin. How much more so when you are proud of sin!

God never “updates or amends” His commands and prohibitions because people began to accept sinful behaviors under the guise of “tolerance.” 

Tolerance – meaning to tolerate sin – is not a Christian virtue or fruit of the Spirit. God did not tolerate sin, especially sexual perversion. He did, on several occasions, destroy millions of people for defying His commands on it! Jude suggests Noah’s flood was linked to perverse sexual behaviors, and Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed primarily because of the sin of homosexuality.

The men of Sodom demanded Lot send the angels out to them so they could “have sexual relations with them” (Genesis 19:5). The Hebrew word is ‘yada’ the same word translated “to know” (sexually) in the KJV. Just FYI: Angels are always male in the Bible, so what happened in Sodom was quite clear. The city and its sin gave us the name for the crime of ‘sodomy.’ Lot called it a “wicked act” (Genesis 19:7).

Ideas like “When in Rome…” or “What happens in Vegas…” are men’s wicked imaginations and excuses to behave how they want without consequences. God does not make allowance for perversion simply because it is acceptable in one culture. Sexual sin is never permissible to God.

God Sets the Standard

Humanity is subject to God’s standard, not the other way around. God’s standard does not change (Malachi 3:6). Just because a sin is acceptable in a particular society does not make it right in God’s eyes. We submit to God’s standard; He does not submit to ours.

Humanity has an evil heart that is drawn to sin and always has been (Romans 5:8,12). Jesus came to save us from our sins, and we can be forgiven for any unrighteousness, but we must repent and turn from it, not legalize and embrace it. You cannot be a “gay Christian” any more than you can be a Christian thief, Christian serial murderer, or Christian rapist.

This is not a “matter of conscience,” as some claim (see Galatians 6:7,8). Your conscience can be ignored (Ephesians 4:19), deceived (Romans 1:28), seduced (2 Corinthians 11:3), or seared (1 Timothy 4:2). In other words, your conscience, desires, sensibilities, and personal convictions can all be tainted or just plain wrong. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Making decisions based on bad influence, poor judgment, or a misinformed conscience is still a sin.

Jesus used the example of when light enters a person’s mind and changes what is inside—what they think and believe: “If your eyes are evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). The darkness and evil and sin comes from within.

It is a clear matter of choosing to obey God’s word or reject it in favor of political pressure, public opinion, radical ideology, or allowing LGBT clergy to join the UMC and have a vote when they should have been disciplined out or forbidden in the first place. Allowing them to influence congregations across the nation with the heresy and wickedness of sexual perversion caused this to grow. Many are affected by the failures of these leaders.

Anyone who sides with sexual perversion is seeking public approval, not mutual respect, peace, or love. God doesn’t need public approval to be right. The majority can be and frequently is completely wrong. In God’s order of things, the majority may make the rules, but the majority does not rule; God rules. Righteousness is not determined by consensus.

As Matthew records above, sin and every expression of it are heart issues. Society is merely a larger sampling of individual hearts. Society can be wrong, just like individuals. Mark echoes Matthew’s record: “For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery” (Mark 7:21, emphasis mine). 

The Church’s position has been based on God’s creation and Jesus’ words for over 2000 years. The UMC’s decision changes neither.

What Can You Do?

These issues will only become more contentious and more blatant in the last days: “You must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires” (2 Peter 3:3). It has been a battle for the heart and body for millennia and will continue to the end. But make no mistake—God’s standard has not changed. He created male and female, not bi, trans, or fluid. Sex is reserved for one man and one woman in marriage, not two men or two women, and not outside of marriage.

It’s sad to see what happened in the UMC, a once Gospel-preaching, solid evangelical group of churches. Many have come to Christ through this denomination, and it’s heartbreaking to see them follow the Epicaplaians and others down this road of sexual suicide and moral compromise.

Over 7,600 congregations left the UMC in 2019 over the first move toward allowing gay clergy. More have departed since. Pray for those who have stood for truth. Pray for those caught in error. Pray for those confused people who don’t know what to believe. Contend for the truth! (Jude 1:3). Offer the information here to anyone you can help.

You can “contend for the faith, without being contentious.


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