United Methodist Church Caves and Embraces LGBT Ideology

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Sarah Holliday | The Washington Stand

Dwight L. Moody, an 1800s American evangelist, once said, “I thought when I became a Christian, I had nothing to do but just to lay my oars in the bottom of the boat and float along. But I soon found out I would have to go against the current.” And it’s true, isn’t it? To be a Christian is to deny oneself. Daily, we pick up our cross and choose to obey what Scripture commands. This isn’t merely done out of obligation, but out of affection for our Lord and Savior, the only way to truth and life everlasting.

To be a Christian is to go against the current, swimming up the stream of worldliness. And as disciples of Christ, living according to biblical truth, we’re the ones classified as intolerant, bigoted, hateful, and narrow-minded. But as the famous author C.S. Lewis stated, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.” And we are, indeed, watching as the whole world seems to be running toward this cliff, guised under the headings of “inclusion” and “acceptance.”

It’s plain to see how LGBT ideology has infiltrated schools, hospitals, government, and other aspects of everyday life. But most tragically, it’s infiltrated many churches too. Recently, among the slew of churches departing from biblical truth, the United Methodist Church (UMC) made a decision that turns biblical teaching on its head. Although the topic of homosexuality has been debated within the denomination for some time, the UMC publicly embraced LGBT ideology as a church last week.

Since the 1970s, the UMC claimed, “We do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider it incompatible with Christian teaching.” A 1984 version of the Book of Discipline added, “Therefore, self-avowed, practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church.” But at the 2024 UMC General Conference, the church, in effect, decided homosexuality is no longer immoral, nor incompatible with Scripture. This, theologically, is patently false. No matter what the UMC claims, Scripture still condemns the practice of homosexuality.

Really, when it comes to this topic, there never should have been a debate. As Pastor R.C. Sproul urged, “When God says something, the argument is over.” That’s because God, and God alone, establishes truth. But as guest host and former Congressman Jody Hice said on Friday’s episode of “Washington Watch,” “[H]ow can we stand for truth if we’re not immersed in it?” Furthermore, how should Christians respond to churches that don’t stand firm? I think there are three points to discuss here.

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  1. How Did the UMC Get Here?

The UMC “is the nation’s second largest Protestant denomination, and they reversed their teachings on marriage, sexuality, and even the ordination of LGBTQ clergy,” Hice said. As such, “It’s pretty stunning for many of us to think about where the United Methodist Church has come.” But as Joseph Backholm, FRC’s senior fellow for Strategic Engagement and Biblical Worldview, added, even though “it seems like a revolutionary position … in some ways, this outcome was kind of a foregone conclusion.” Particularly when considering how long this debate has been going on within the UMC.

Backholm explained how this longstanding debate resulted in more than 7,000 churches leaving the UMC over the LGBT issue. And the thousands that left the UMC were the more conservative churches of the denomination, which means the ones who stayed and voted to change the LGBT policies were the progressives. Backholm gave the example, “If you have an America where all of the Democrats have left and then the Republicans hold an election, then you’re not going to be surprised what the outcome of that election is.” The UMC vote was 692 to 51 — “an overwhelming supermajority of people to abandon the biblical position on the issue,” he pointed out.

  1. What Was the UMC’s Justification?

It’s important to dissect some of the reasoning they gave for the change. For instance, Reverand James Howell claimed, “[C]ynics and young adults will not listen to us talk about Jesus if we say we do not condone people they love and care about.” In response, Backholm pointed out that it’s true many people “won’t listen to us talk about Jesus.” However, he added, that makes it even more “important that if somebody does listen to us talking about Jesus, that we are talking to them about the actual Jesus.”

Backholm continued, “I would argue what the remaining United Methodists are arguing for is creating a fictional Jesus that doesn’t really exist and presenting that Jesus in the hope that their audience likes that Jesus better.” But this isn’t the way to salvation. Galatians 1:9 made clear, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” The same applies to the Jesus we proclaim. Any depiction of Him other than who He is in sacred Scripture is a path to destruction.

The Bible says Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and as Backholm made sure to emphasize, people truly do need to meet Jesus and have an encounter with Him. He’s the only way to reconciliation and eternal life, and Christians need to declare this truth. But for those who need to meet Jesus, Backholm contended, “they have to meet the real Jesus.”

Ultimately, “Jesus does not need us to amend His teachings … His doctrines, [or] His way of life,” nor do we need “to obscure what He said about Himself … [or] what He said about sin and our sin problem,” Backholm stated. It’s not the Christians’ responsibility to make Jesus “more palatable to people,” he added. “[A]s disciples, it’s our job to present Him as He actually presents Himself.” One may be successful in their pursuit to “modify” Jesus so that the world likes Him better, Backholm highlighted, but that modification, according to the gospel, doesn’t accomplish anything.

  1. How Do We Stand Firm Moving Forward?

“[W]e can’t avoid this cultural drift,” Hice conceded. “This is happening. It is coming to our churches regardless of what type of church we attend. It’s coming to many of our own lives and families. It’s in our culture.” And so, he asked, “[H]ow do we as Christians deal with this in a Christ loving, biblical manner?” And in a statement of solace, Backholm’s immediate response is that while “the culture is changing … God is not changing.”

He explained it’s not a “new phenomenon” that the culture is changing. However, “[W]e need to come to terms with the fact that conflict with the world is part of the cost of discipleship.” And Jesus is the prime example of this.

We see in Scripture how “not everybody loved Jesus,” Backholm noted. “That’s why they killed Him, right?” Jesus taught truth that “threatened the dominant cultural structures,” and as a result, He was opposed by many who were offended by the message He proclaimed. This is also why 11 out of 12 disciples were martyred. “And the one who wasn’t martyred survived being boiled alive twice,” Backholm added. This is all “because the gospel has implications that people don’t appreciate when they want to be in charge of themselves and other people.”

Backholm concluded, “Universal submission to God is a message that much of humanity does not take kindly to. And so, we just need to understand that that conflict is natural. It’s to be expected.” Because, if we see it coming, we’re better equipped to reject having the same response the UMC had, where they felt the answer to their problem was to conform to the pattern of this world.

But the answer is never, ever to turn away from the truth of God, but to stand firm in it — no matter the cost, scrutiny, or opposition.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

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The Washington Stand
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