Pastor's Corner

9 May
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Mid-Week Challenge

When does a system of laws, created by people, trump the law of God?  I guess it depends on the amount of authority one gives the Bible.  A case in point, a news article titled:  United Methodist Bishops Want to Let Pastors, Conferences Decide on LGBT Clergy explains a divide in the Methodist church over the ordination of homosexuals.  According to a statement released by The Council of Bishops, after a lengthy investigation, there are three ways to approach the situation: The Traditionalist Plan, The One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan. These ideas range from a traditional stance, all the way to a modern progressive stance that allows anyone to be ordained.  http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/united-methodist-bishops-recommend-a-way-forward  At the end of the day, the council’s recommendation is as follows: 

Guided by the mission, vision and scope document, the bishops agreed to recommend the One Church Plan. This plan provides conferences, churches, and pastors the flexibility to uniquely reach their missional context while retaining the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church.

The sad reality is that this approach is becoming the norm for our mainline protestant churches.  Denominations that have historically relied heavily on their national and global leadership teams to make and enforce policy are no longer taking the strong Biblical stances on leadership issues.  Instead, these leadership teams are pushing theological decisions and major church polity issues down the chain to the local associations and individual churches.  This is a degree of power and authority individual churches in these denominations have never had.  The reality is that even when leadership at the top is deferred the problem does not go away; a decision still must be made.  Unfortunately, in most cases, the decision on the local level will be made based on emotional attachment instead of theological foundations.  Many of these church leaders have never been saddled with the responsibly nor give the authority in their careers to make pivotal decisions such as these.  This is a complete failure of leadership from the top down.  In a denomination that prides its self in this system of church polity they are not only going outside God’s mandate in scripture, but they are not enforcing their own system of rules http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/homosexuality-full-book-of-discipline-statements They have not pointed to the authority of Scripture for decision making, instead leading based on the mood of the culture.  Local leaders have not been allowed to establish what they believe the Bible has say and in the process created a leadership model based on emotional attachment to changing membership.   

As church leaders we cannot pick and choose, making decisions only when the situations are easy.  In some ways this system of church leadership has never allowed church leaders to determine what they believe about the Bible and why they believe it.  In this model decisions are made and are handed down, many times with no real clarification.  We owe it to our congregation and to the world to demonstrate a consistence of conviction.  We must base our beliefs on an unchanging foundation or run the risk of changing our practice every time the culture changes.  If we believe the Bible to be God’s Word then our actions must reflect that belief.  However, if we don’t consider it to be authoritative then why should the world?  

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 

Serving the Savior

Bro. Jonathan

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