This article offers a minority perspective, it appears…..from one who has lived a homosexual life and still, at times feels its pull, but has chosen a lifestyle that she believes honors God’s choice for herself and for humanity, as taught in Scripture.
Observations in social media and elsewhere have been that issues related to same-sex marriage and ordination of homosexual clergy will be among the most debated and potentially divisive conversations at next year’s quadrennial General Conference of The UMC, which means they will also be highly visible at THIS year’s Annual Conferences, including in the Alabama West Florida Conference in Montgomery, AL, as delegates are elected to the General Conference for 2016. Can the UMC avoid the fractures observed in several other denominations? It remains to be seen. These issues have been debated again and again for over 20 years in UMC circles and it seems we are still far from resolution. Some have now said openly that resolution short of a split is not possible. Others are earnestly and prayerfully requesting continued pursuit of consensus or compromise. Some have been willing to “think and let think”, at least in terms of tolerance of individuals’ lifestyle choices, trusting God to do the convicting according to God’s timing and purpose for individuals’ lives. But when it comes to what the church itself will and will not sanction and endorse, celebrate or discipline, there appears to be so much polarity and inconsistency that it is difficult to see how the denomination can accommodate the wide range of passionately held positions and remain united. If it comes down to endorsing a church-by-church choice about issues of same sex marriage, ordination of homosexual clergy, etc. how long will it be before each UMC will choose to attach some descriptor that identifies its theological and social position, as some are already doing (“reconciling congregation”, “confessing church”, etc.) for the benefit of those seeking to affiliate with a church in part based on its position on social issues.? And is that not a de facto split? For those charged with representing local congregations in upcoming Annual Conferences, there is dread and grief in knowing that no matter what is done, there is going to be disappointment and hurt for a significant number of people. Pray for the delegates; pray for the meetings coming up; pray for The UM Church. Some have cautioned against discussion or commenting on such matters. Others have said it’s a moot point, as the culture and courts have already made the decisions and the church is irrelevant. Does it matter anymore?
Matthew Henry commentary that, I believe speaks to part of this discussion:
(Luke 18:8): “Nevertheless, though such assurances are given that God will avenge his own elect, yet, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” The Son of man will come to avenge his own elect, to plead the cause of persecuted Christians against the persecuting Jews; he will come in his providence to plead the cause of his injured people in every age, and at the great day he will come finally to determine the controversies of Zion. Now, when he comes, will he find faith on the earth? The question implies a strong negation: No, he will not; he himself foresees it.
(1.) This supposes that it is on earth only that there is occasion for faith; for sinners in hell are feeling that which they would not believe, and saints in heaven are enjoying that which they did believe.
(2.) It supposes that faith is the great thing that Jesus Christ looks for. He looks down upon the children of men, and does not ask, Isa. there innocency? but, Isa. there faith? He enquired concerning the faith of those who applied themselves to him for cures.
(3.) It supposes that if there were faith, though ever so little, he would discover it, and find it out. His eye is upon the weakest and most obscure believer.
(4.) It is foretold that, when Christ comes to plead his people’s cause, he will find but little faith in comparison with what one might expect. That is, [1.] In general, he will find but few good people, few that are really and truly good. Many that have the form and fashion of godliness, but few that have faith, that are sincere and honest: nay, he will find little fidelity among men; the faithful fail, Ps. 12:1, 2. Even to the end of time there will still be occasion for the same complaint. The world will grow no better, no, not when it is drawing towards its period. Bad it is, and bad it will be, and worst of all just before Christ’s coming; the last times will be the most perilous. [2.] In particular, he will find few that have faith concerning his coming. When he comes to avenge his own elect he looks if there be any faith to help and to uphold, and wonders that there is none, Isa. 59:16; 63:5. It intimates that Christ, both in his particular comings for the relief of his people, and in his general coming at the end of time, may, and will, delay his coming so long as that, First, Wicked people will begin to defy it, and to say, Where is the promise of his coming? 2 Pet. 3:4. They will challenge him to come (Isa. 5:10; Amos 5:19); and his delay will harden them in their wickedness, Matt. 24:48. Secondly, Even his own people will begin to despair of it, and to conclude he will never come, because he has passed their reckoning. God’s time to appear for his people is when things are brought to the last extremity, and when Zion begins to say, The Lord has forsaken me. See Isa. 49:14; Isa. 40:27. But this is our comfort, that, when the time appointed comes, it will appear that the unbelief of man has not made the promise of God of no effect.