In light of recent events and discussions regarding marriages of homosexual persons performed by United Methodist Ordained Clergy, I have been asked regarding my position on this subject. So, in this blog I will make an attempt to state my position with grace and steadfastness to my personal faith.
Is homosexuality a sin?
It is my belief that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings. Yes, I believe it is sinful. However, I believe that all humanity is broken and we are all guilty of sin in whatever forms it presents itself.
Should United Methodist Ordained Clergy officiate homosexual weddings?
Every United Methodist Clergy took a vow at their ordination and said yes to the following question: “Will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church, accepting its order, liturgy, doctrine and discipline, defending it against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word, and committing yourself to be accountable with those serving with you, and to the bishop and those who are appointed to supervise your ministry?” To which every ordained clergy answered, “I will, with the help of God.” So, each clergy has vowed to “accept our doctrine and discipline.” This doesn’t mean we have to agree with it nor is it a requirement that we have to like everything in the doctrine and discipline…however, we have vowed to accept it and defend it.
The 2012 United Methodist Discipline states: “¶ 341.6 Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”
This is the rule of the United Methodist Church and if a clergy or a bishop officiates a wedding, they have broken their vow. What does the willful and intentional breaking of one’s vow taken before God in a worship service say about said clergy’s honor? We also don’t have the privilege of a “Line Item Veto” where the clergy can pick and choose what parts of the Discipline they will uphold and live by. We vow to uphold and live by all the “doctrines and disciplines” of the church. If a person cannot do that, then they should pursue another avenue to live out their calling.
Each year as a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry, I ask the question of Candidates for the Ordination of Elder, “Will you itinerate?” Like it or not being itinerate is part of our church. If the candidate refuses to be itinerate, he or she should not be a United Methodist Ordained Elder. I believe the same is true as to someone who is so opposed to the UM stance on conducting homosexual marriages and are willing to violate the Discipline and their Ordination vow. It’s simple, this is the rule of law within the church, you’re taking a vow to uphold and abide by that rule and if you are going to refuse to minister by that rule…DON’T TAKE THE VOW!
It all comes down to a choice for the clergy and clergy candidates
- Can I take a vow to “accept and defend” something I may not like or am opposed?
- Will the rule of the United Methodist Church keep me from ministering in a way I feel called?
- Will I break or maintain a vow that I have taken before God?
If you disagree with church doctrine, there are other options rather than violating a vow and just breaking the rules. One can move to change the doctrine using the appropriate channels and means that have been laid out. You can change to a denomination that better fits your theology and beliefs or one can always turn in credentials.