Tuesday, July 05, 2005

United Church of Christ Officially Supports Homosexual Marriage

I grew up in the United Church of Christ. From as early as I can remember through my high school years my unbelieving family faithfully attended. For those aware of the denomination it won't come as any shock that I can't recall ever hearing the gospel. Sermons were moralistic. When Jesus was mentioned, he was presented as an example but not as the Savior from sin and its penalty. Much attention was given, from the pulpit as well as from the denomination's Sunday School curricula, to issues of social justice, world peace, and environmentalism. I'll never forget the time I heard one of the pastors explain the feeding of the 5,000 naturalistically. According to him, the real "miracle" that took place that day was that a small boy who unselfishly gave of his loaves and fishes shamed the large crowd whose members had been hiding their food under their cloaks.

When, in college, I understood my need for God's pardon and the gift of righteousness, I was angry at this church that had deprived me of the gospel. Mine was an attitude of "Why didn't you tell me?! Why did you keep the truth from me?" It took a while for me to realize that nothing had been intentionally kept from me. There was no clandestine plot to prevent me from learning the truth. The sad fact was that the leaders themselves were in darkness. That darkness showed itself yesterday when the UCC became the first mainline Christian denomination to officially support homosexual marriage. The New York Times reports that following the synod's vote, UCC President, Rev. John Thomas declared:
"On this July 4, the United Church of Christ has courageously acted to declare freedom, affirming marriage equality, affirming the civil rights of gay - of same-gender - couples to have their relationships recognized as marriages by the state, and encouraging our local churches to celebrate those marriages."
The same article illustrates the contradictions that groups like the UCC have to embrace in the name of "tolerance" and "open mindedness." The female pastor of a predominantly black UCC congregation described many blacks as being more "orthodox" in their biblical interpretation and gave the following reason for her vote against the resolution: "There are those of us who live in the tension of affirming love and relationships for people who have not had enough of that, and feeling like the theological evidence for it just hasn't been presented." An associate who voted in favor of the resolution stated, "I voted for it, and I agree with everything she's saying."


I doubt I could have remained in the UCC but some evangelical believers have chosen to work and pray for renewal and reform from within. The Biblical Witness Fellowship is a network of such Christians whose work, in light of this recent decision, will be all the more challenging.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

How sad! I grew up in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) which is currently conducting a church-wide sexuality study. The goal is to develop some type of "social statement on sexuality" basically deciding where the church stands on homosexual marriages. While their website touts this as a move toward unity, I'm afraid that any type of endorsement of homosexuality is going to cause a large church split, much as the UCC is experiencing now. Let's pray our churches would search the Word of God for direction instead of their own ways.

VGirly

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Chris Mangum said...

True disciples of Christ would flee such an abominable organization of God-haters. If there are some still involved and are confused about this, they would do well to hear God speak:

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

-1 Corinthians: 14-22

Patrick said...

"It took a while for me to realize That darkness showed itself yesterday when the UCC became the first mainline Christian denomination to officially support homosexual marriage. "

Oh for crying out loud, give it a rest. The ultimate act of your Church's corruption is that it approves of gay marriage? Does it strike you in the least that your priorities are more than a tad out of whack?

I swear, homosexuality is mentioned in only about 3-4 passages in the Bible, yet Christians obsess over it like its the whole damn book. Get a grip and get your mind out of other peoples pants. And quit acting like being gay is somehow a worse sin than any other of the myriad kinds of sins described in the Bible. Go find something else to point your finger at in other people. That way you can continue to avoid looking at your own faults. I'm simply tired of being both gay in a country of self-righteous bigots and also having to bear the blame from Christians for every damn thing in their lives they don't like. Buzz off and find yourself another friggin hobby you bunch of drama queens. God either exists or he doesn't. You either have faith or you don't. That's all you really need to know.

BW Holly said...

Patrick,

Those "only 3-4 passages" -- what is it that they say? That would seem the issue.

Thanks,
BW Holly

Mechphisto said...

The Bible does actually have many passages regarding homosexuality as an abomination.
(Or does it?
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibl.htm )
Here are some of them...intermixed with other equally valid and important Scripture comanding behavior:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 18:22

"If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days."
Deuteronomy 22:28-29

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
Leviticus 20:13

"And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death."
Leviticus 24:16

"And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel."
1 Kings 14:24

"And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof."
Genesis 19:5-8

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence [sic] of their error which was meet."
Romans 1:26-27

"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people."
Deuteronomy 13:6-9

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
1Corithians 6:9-10

And finally...
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,
5:13 And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner;
5:14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:
5:15 Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.
5:16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD:
5:17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:
5:18 And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:
5:19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:
5:20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:
5:21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;
5:22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.
5:23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:
5:24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
5:25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar:
5:26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.
5:27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.
5:28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.
5:29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
5:30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
5:31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity."
Numbers 5:12-31

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibl.htm

Ryan said...

I think two things, what the UCC is doing is good and what the UCC is doing is bad. Let me explain.

The good part is that they are teaching equality. The bible tells us to love everyone. For a person that doesn't love their neighbor doesn't love me. This might not be exactly word from word but the bible mentions it. If we say no to the homosexual community, or if we say no to the single parent community, then are we not loving our neighbor? If that's so, then we can't say that the church is teaching the teachings of Jesus.

The bad thing is that they bible does say that marriage is for a man and a woman. It never says man and man or woman and woman. Just a man and a woman. So, what about that isn't unclear? If you support gay marriage, than you are going against gods teaching and moving toward the worlds transition. You can't live in both realms and be holy. You have to either choose the world or Jesus.

Now, I'm not a member of the UCC, I'm just a follower of Jesus Christ. I'm attending a United Methodist Church. The church is a place where people can worship god together. It's not an organization that gets you closer to god. Just get that right and take the world out of church. Only then will you have a church that is pure. But of course, god gave us the ability to choose which realm we want to live in. And since most of us decided to live in the world rather than God's hand, we can't keep the world out of church.

So, long story short, let everyone in except the world. Love the sinner, not the sin. Love the people, not the homosexuals, single mothers, etc... Love them as a person. Everyone makes mistakes.

blog49 said...
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DiAnne said...

My 15 year old daughter has just been told by her church that she will not be allowed to be a part of the church as long as she wears a rainbow bracelet that she purchased in order to show support for her gay friends.

She is now looking for a new church which will accept her just as she accepts her friends. Thankfully, the UCC church is doing that. Otherwise, she'd be staying home on Sundays. It sounds like the "we love and accept everyone" policy is more along Jesus's teachings than her previous church's (or your) views.

Without the UCC, think about how many Christians would be churchless.

KP said...

DiAnne,

While I certainly believe that it's important for Christians to go to church, there's something more important than simply being in a church building on a Sunday morning. Someone who is sincerely seeking to follow Jesus should find a fellowship that will help her do that and that requires taking his teaching seriously.

I agree with you that Jesus loved people and if by "accept" you mean "welcomed," I agree with you there too. However, it sounds like you mean something more like affirming or supporting whatever lifestyle someone chooses for himself regardless of whether it violates God's commands. This, Jesus did not do. He described his own mission as one of calling sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32), that is a change of mind and life. He attributed the world's hatred of him to the fact that he bore witness against it that its works were evil (John 7:7). I know it's tempting to conceive of Jesus as the ancient spokesperson for contemporary relativistic "tolerance" but a thorough reading of his teaching in the gospels simply doesn't lend itself to such an interpretation. If I'm wrong about that, I'd appreciate your showing me from his teaching. Thanks.