The United Methodist Church is going through an internal struggle right now. I recently shared this article on Facebook.
The article discusses the fact that the more liberal strains of the United Methodist Church, particularly as demonstrated by support for the LGBTQ movement, are facing strong reductions in attendance and membership, while other conferences are facing slower decline or small growth.
I was asked what I thought about my old church exploring the idea of becoming an all inclusive church. I had quite a bit to say, so I’m posting it here.
I think the idea of being an all inclusive church is a great idea at first glance, but it’s tricky because the term means two things at the same time. On the one hand it means accepting everyone into the church building and encouraging them to join the church community. I whole-heartedly support the idea of accepting and even encouraging everyone into the church community no matter where they are at or what they have been through. No one is perfect except Jesus himself. We are all works in progress. If sinners weren’t allowed in churches they would be empty.
The less obvious meaning of an all inclusive church is a church which affirms the LGBTQ lifestyle. Affirming is importantly different from merely accepting such people into the community. It includes, in my view, accepting teaches which are clearly incompatible with scripture. Such teachings include affirming LGBTQ marriages as Godly marriages, or the teaching that active homosexuality is not sinful.
Is homosexuality sinful? If homosexuality is same-sex attraction, then I do not think so. Scripture clearly indicates that temptation is not sin. If homosexuality is having sexual relations with a man, then I think scripture clearly speaks against it.
I hope there are always homosexuals in the church. I think this is a sign that the church is attracting people to Christianity and engaging the community. That being said, I hope the church never moves on to actually affirming such a sinful lifestyle. We are all sinners, but as Christians we should not affirm sin and we should not forget that Christianity is built on scripture, which is more concerned with truth than comfort.