While the Bible is rightly seen as the first and last word of instruction for Christian believers, the passage of time and a 24/7 secular assault on the foundations of the faith have apparently caused the hearts of many to stray.
Case in point: The split that is currently hovering over the United Methodist Church, in regards to sexuality and gay marriage.
From The Blaze:
The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, which outlines church regulations, is explicit in noting that marriage is confined to one man and one woman. The official church rules on matrimony read, “We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman,” with pastors falling under strict guidelines.
“While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world,” the rules read. “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”
It would seem that the guidelines are very much in line with what is taught by the Christian faith. There was no gray area within the pages of the Bible, and most Christians understand that it was God, Himself, who created the institution of marriage, in the Garden of Eden.
Furthermore, Jesus gave the answer in Matthew 19:4-6 NKJV:
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[b] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c] 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
That emphasis is mine, because it would seem the author of the ultimate Book of Discipline is laying out a very firm directive, in regards to men seeking to define what is acceptable marriage practice.
So while the United Methodist Church is proposing a 2-year investigation into their position on gay marriage, the final word was already handed down over 2,000 years ago. I’m not sure what the problem is. Either you believe that Word, or you want your own word, but there isn’t room in the Kingdom for both.
A possible divide is something that has been floated for quite some time, as the denomination, which dates back to 1784, has struggled to balance the interests and views of liberal, conservative and moderate wings. Some pastors, in fact, have become defiant over the past few years.
As TheBlaze recently reported, two Methodist preachers openly married a same-sex couple at First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina last month — a move that could lead to church discipline for the clergy members.
That would be Charlotte, North Carolina, of the now infamous and testy HB2 “bathroom bill” dust-up.
This would not be the first divide in a major denomination. The Presbyterian church has already had this battle, with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) being the liberal offshoot of the mainstream Presbyterian church.
They were joined by the Episcopal Church last summer. Also, if you’re a true believer and you see the terms “United Church of Christ” or “Universalist” related to a “church,” run like hell, because that’s likely what’s being preached within those walls.
Sadly, these issues will continue to crop up, as secular society continues to press against and encroach on the rights and religious freedoms of Christians.
Even the most pious are still made of flesh and still prone to human weakness, so when a church that should be preaching truth in Christ seems to wilt under the pressures of the ungodly, be sad, but not surprised.
Take heart that the true Church is not in any denomination, but in the faith of the people.