Friday, June 10, 2011

Somewhat Confused.....

Somewhat Confused.....     
     Of the many sordid, morally bankrupt and counter Biblical resolutions and petitions presented and voted upon at the Nebraska Annual Conference of United Methodist Church, there was one resolution which did actually have some Christian merit.

     Resolution #8 was presented in an effort to "restore the name of Jesus Christ to the Mission Statement of the United Methodist Church." This was submitted because the original mission statement which reads, "The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world" has been shorted by conferences to only read, "The mission of the church is to make disciples for the transformation of the world," thus removing the name of Jesus Christ.

     However, in the final paragraph of the resolution, it is resolved to amend the mission statement by removing the words 'for the transformation of the world', so that the primary focus remains "making disciples of Jesus Christ."

     I am somewhat confused because I don’t remember as to whether that last line was removed or the resolution was amended to retain it, along with restoring the name of Jesus Christ to the mission statement under an amendment.

     Unlike the many other resolutions and petitions which passed or failed by very slim margins, this resolution passed almost unanimously. To restore the line 'to make disciples of Jesus Christ (for the transformation of the world)' seemed extremely popular and welcomed.

     That being said, I must admit that I am confused. I am confused at the fact that the conference would, on one hand, vote to restore the name of Jesus Christ to their mission statement, while on the other hand, vote to diminish, distort or disavow the very Word He embodied. I am confused as to how you can say your 'foundational focus is on Christian discipleship as understood in Matthew 28', while denying the very Word of God as it pertains to certain sins and practices.

     Even though the many resolutions and petitions to amend the Book of Discipline and clergy procedures to allow GLBT pastors and the marrying of same sex couples were voted down, they were so by very slim margins. Thus, indicating that almost half of the voting members of the Annual Conference (both laity and clergy) condone or support practices which are clearly spoken against in God's Holy Word.

     When someone spoke on the floor against these resolutions/petitions and gave the Scriptural references, they were accused of 'picking and choosing certain passages to support their personal agendas'. It was also stated by those in support of these resolutions/petitions that the current liberal, progressive theology is one of 'inclusiveness, tolerance, of being nonjudgmental, and non discriminatory.' We were told 'that the Bible doesn’t really condemn these actions and that calling them a sin or abomination is a gross misinterpretation of the Word.'

     I had one pastor e-mail me and state that "Jesus never spoke directly about homosexuality. That I had a bigger problem with it than Jesus did." He went on to say that if Jesus didn’t speak directly about it, then it must be OK. Interesting logic! So if we follow this line of thought, would that mean because Jesus never spoke directly about pedophilia, drunk driving, euthanasia, pornography, or bestiality - then these must be OK too? Sorry, I don’t buy this shallow, ill-informed line of useless secular logic cloaked as theology. 

     I am confused. Confused as to how we can claim the name of Jesus Christ, but yet deny God's Word (or certain parts of it). If we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ, yet leave out or change parts of the Word He became (John 1), then which parts of Christ do we leave out or discard? In effect what we are doing by carving up and tossing out parts of the Bible as irrelevant, is to hold down Christ while we amputate a hand, or a foot, or an arm or a leg, or pluck out an eye or cut off an ear - until we have removed that which we disagree with or that which offends us.

     I am confused as to the term 'for the transformation of the world'. It seems to me that this line should be dropped all together. It should be dropped because the church, under the current liberal, progressive theology and pressure from certain groups within society is actually being transformed to the world.

     The values and principles the church has stood for, proclaimed and tried to pass on are continually under attack. And the church, by in large, has been able to fend off these attacks and hold onto the holy ground which has been its foundation since its inception. There have been changes in doctrine and methodology throughout the years, but the church has remained on solid spiritual footing for centuries.

     Today, however we see a frightening trend which is far worse than ever before. The lies, deception, and coercion of the evil one have been tuned up and turned on like never before. We see the church slowly but surely succumbing to and embracing the wiles and whims of the world at an alarming rate. The lines between right and wrong, good and bad, righteous and evil are becoming more and more blurred every day. 

     The church, in an effort not to offend anyone, to be inclusive and tolerant, and nondiscriminatory has played directly into the serpent's plan. The Word of God has become twisted, distorted, degraded and disposed of in favor of appeasing the very people it should be speaking to. 

     Today, we must accept every social group's way of living, lest we be labeled as intolerant, close-minded bigots by our peers. Instead of God's Word being the standard for society and human behavior, society and the world seem to have the prevailing ideals and criterion for the way we should live. And sadly, the church is buying into it at an alarming rate.

     I am confused. We are to make disciples of Jesus Christ, but only use certain parts. Or, at least change those we don’t like or those which may be too offensive or not fit our agendas. We are to transform the world . . . While the world steadily encroaches and infiltrates our churches and leadership until God’s Word and ways are replaced by man’s means and ways.

     I am confused. Confused as to where the church is. Where are those men and women who believe in the Bible, who believe it to be the inspired, infallible Word of God and who are willing to stand up for the truth? Where are those disciples and ministers of Jesus Christ who have what it takes to honor God rather than merely appease man?

     Yes, I’m somewhat confused because I thought we were to place God first in our lives, to seek first the Kingdom of God, to be called to a higher standard, and not be given to the world and the capricious, depraved desires of man.

     I am confused because it would seem that the church wants it both ways. We need to appease man to boost attendance, gain members, and increase revenue, while holding on to a modified version of Christianity which is 'inoffensive and more user friendly', in hopes of pleasing God. Yep, I’m confused . . .   And perhaps, God is too!

 Eldon Fablinger