The United Methodist Church is on of the last of the old mainline Protestant churches to maintain the traditional Biblical standards concerning marriage as being a relationship between one man and one woman. Church doctrine dictates that Methodist ministers may not marry gay couples and gays actively participating in that lifestyle are not to be ordained as ministers. Despite these rules, a number of ministers have performed marriage rites in protest and have met with varying degrees of protest.
While the issue was a hot topic at the last General Conference in 2012, the status quo was retained rather handily. But this year is much more tumultuous, following the Supreme Court ruling and the government's push for the entire spectrum of homosexuality as the norm, including the transvestite lifestyle. A number of outspoken liberal Methodists who favor a change may potentially create a degree of chaos and protest at the gathering and frankly, if the decision is left to the strictly American-based churches, it's conceivable that acceptance of what is deemed by Bible believers as a violation of God's Law could be approved.
Many predominantly urban and more liberal churches have clearly changed their thinking while the more rural among them are usually more traditional. And while the Methodist Church has a large number of small rural congregations, they likely are not sufficient in number to stop the evolution of church thought among the majority even if it is done largely in a futile attempt to grow the church, sacrificing the word of God in the process. But all is not lost, and those who are traditionalists can thank their international contingent of delegates from Africa if the conference does hold the line.
The African church is the largest growth contingent in Methodism, accounting for thirty percent of the delegates in attendance and a solid block of votes for Biblical teachings. That should be sufficient to turn back the liberal push for another four years but, then again, nothing is for sure until the final vote is in. Key to the process is a vote on Rule 44 concerning sexuality. A change to the rule would install a discernment process for decision-making as opposed to the more controlled Roberts Rules of Order currently used.
This writer thanks the African contingent for their steadfastness in supporting the meaning of the word as it is literally given in the Bible. Some things are absolute and don't evolve, folks, and foremost of them is the Word of God. Once you give in, you can never go back and the change is one that would ruin the denomination founded by John Wesley so many years ago. So many Protestant churches have been torn asunder by those who want to change the word of God because it is convenient for them. God demands allegiance to His dictates, not a shallow interpretation. Let's stand fast and keep it that way.
Lord, We thank you for giving us Thy word as found in the Bible. We know that Thy word is sacred and that it means just what it says and to believe is to follow it just as it is written. Help us to uphold it as the truth and the guide to following Thy way. And may we ever be true to Thee. Amen.