Letter to the editor: Methodists battle homosexual issues

The Rev. Karen Oliveto is the pastor of a United Methodist Church (UMC) in Colorado.  However, she is also a self-avowed practicing lesbian married to another lesbian – and she now has been consecrated as Bishop of the UMC Mountain Sky Area, which includes churches in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana, as well as one church in Idaho.

According to the UMC Book of Discipline, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” meaning “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers or appointed to serve.

On April 25, the UMC Judicial Council, the denomination’s highest court, held a hearing on whether an openly gay or lesbian pastor can serve as bishop.

The New York Times reports that the UMC Judicial Council decided on April 28 that the Rev. Karen Oliveto, and those who consecrated her as bishop, were in violation of their “commitment to abide by and uphold the church’s definition of marriage and stance on homosexuality.”  The vote was 6 to 3.

The council ruled: “Under the longstanding principle of legality, no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or negate church law.  It is not lawful for the College of Bishops or any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop.”  But at the same time, the UMC Judicial Council also ruled, “Bishop Oliveto remains in good standing until an administrative or judicial process is completed.”

Apparently, this UMC Judicial Council (UMC’s highest court) has decided to “not decide” until after the next UMC General Conference, which is scheduled for February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri.  Religion News Service reports that a special session will be held at the General Conference to “settle questions of LGBTQ inclusion in the United Methodist Church.”

The UMC denomination was deeply divided on the LGBTQ issue at the 2016 meeting of its General Conference.  And at that time, the bishops decided to appoint what they called a “Commission on a Way Forward” to propose a solution to the stalemate over issues of sexuality.  Apparently, they hope to resolve this in the February 23-26, 2019 meeting in St. Louis.

In recent years, approximately 150 UMC ministers have publicly come out as homosexuals, according to the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus, an advocacy and support group.  Some other mainstream churches (The Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church) have decided to allow same-sex marriage and openly gay ministers.  But that decision caused the Presbyterian Church to split into two groups; The Presbyterian Church (USA) allows same-sex marriage and openly homosexual ministers – but – The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) does not.

These United Methodist Church “leaders” obviously know God’s position on this issue as evidenced by their UMC Book of Discipline.  And yet, they are willing to offend God in their efforts to appease the LGBTQs.  Their double-mindedness is shameful.  God’s Word is quite clear:

  • “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Act 5:29 NIV)
  • Choose you this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (See Joshua 2:15 NIV)

Stop listening to man – and start listening to God!