Tuesday, February 26, was an historic day in the United Methodist Church and possibly for Christian churches in America. On Tuesday, delegates of the United Methodist Church decided to not adopt the One Church Plan which was proposed by its bishops and would have allowed each congregation and each conference to decide for itself about performing same-sex marriages and LGBT issues.
Two important movements determined the outcome of the vote. First, this vote showed that united Methodists are more committed to the Bible and to marriage as directed by the Bible than many have thought. Second, United Methodists from around the world are overwhelmingly committed to biblical doctrine and traditional views of marriage and sexuality. Methodists are growing amazingly in the Philippines and in Africa. These “new“ believers are driving the church back to the roots of historic Christianity.
This seems to be an issue for young Methodists as well. Aislinn Deviney, a young delegate from Rio, Texas, said, “I am a young, evangelical delegate. We young, evangelicals want you to know we are here. And, we are striving to leave a legacy of scriptural holiness for generations to come.”
This is not about discrimination. Our Methodist friends have long demonstrated a love for people who don’t always follow their teaching. This is not even about current issues of the day. It is about something much deeper and even more important. It is about following holy scripture and obeying the commands of Christ. It is about a “scriptural holiness” that pleases Christ.
Christ wants a “scriptural holiness” from me as well. He wants me to follow all Scripture. He wants me to love others as Christ has loved me. He wants me to be kind and compassionate. He wants the same from you.
Why is this news important for a Baptist pastor and denominational leader?
First, I have noticed through the years that when churches around us do badly, we struggle. I have also noticed that when other churches do well, so do we. While we are Baptist, Methodist, or Presbyterians, we are all Christians. It matters what other churches do and how they lead and teach.
Second, public opinion and momentum often drive peoples’ perceptions and even beliefs. When churches seek scriptural holiness, it gets noticed.
May God bless and protect His church, the Bride of Christ.