Good News responds to same-sex union performed by Bishop Talbert

GoodNews_sqHOUSTON, Tx — Good News, a group in the United Methodist Church which attempts to promote “orthodox Wesleyan Christianity,” released a statement today condemning Bishop Melvin G. Talbert for presiding at a service celebrating the marriage of a gay couple this past Saturday in Birmingham, and calling on the Council of Bishops to “exercise discipline and hold Bishop Talbert accountable.”

Talbert presided at the service in spite of calls from North Alabama Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett and the Council of Bishops Executive Committee to refrain from doing so. Talbert facilitated the service of celebration at the request of Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince, a United Methodist gay couple legally married in Washington D.C. but wanting the recognition of the church.

Good News has traditionally opposed changes to the United Methodist Book of Discipline regarding homosexuality, and published a statement prior to the service calling on Talbert to refraining from disobeying church teaching, which prohibits United Methodist clergy from “conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions.” (¶2702.1)

Here is the full text of their statement:

In an egregious act of defiance, Bishop Melvin Talbert has publicly and flagrantly violated the covenant that binds United Methodists together by officiating at a service of holy union between two men in Birmingham, Alabama.  We understand the emotional and sensitive nature of the sexuality debate within The United Methodist Church.  At the same time, same-sex marriage is not legal in the state of Alabama, nor is it permitted by the United ethodist Discipline. Not only did Bishop Talbert defy church law, he ignored the urging of both Bishop Wallace-Padgett, bishop of Northern Alabama, and of the executive committee of the Council of Bishops not to preside over the service.  Elected and sworn to an office of unity, Bishop Talbert has instead chosen to use his position to foment greater division within the UM Church.

As Bishop Michael Coyner has recently stated, “A bishop of the church, whether active or retired, has a special responsibility to teach the faith, to guard the church, and to order the administration and discipline of the church… I don’t think we can be ‘church’ together without a commitment to such order.”

Good News calls upon the Council of Bishops to exercise discipline and hold Bishop Talbert accountable, as they have publicly promised to do on several occasions.  A failure to hold accountable Bishop Talbert and other clergy who are flaunting our church’s policies will result in the unraveling of our church’s covenant and order.  Formal separation may not be far behind.

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is a Contributing Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and MethoBlog.com. Jay also serves as the Sr. Pastor of the City Road United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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Join the conversation....

  1. Can you feel the love?

  2. I understand their point,,,but then again…. they should also change their name….Good News? How about Methodist Episcopal Church South….that way they can flog him without worrying about that sacred worth thing.

  3. "Good News has traditionally been a leading voice in opposing full participation of GLBT persons in the United Methodist Church". This is supposed to be a news article of the Reporter? I'm sure Good News would oppose me if I wanted to bring my group into the church ON MY OWN TERMS, terms that are in direct conflict with Biblical teaching and the UMC Book of Discipline.

  4. Dean Snyder says:

    I don't get GN constantly calling on the COB to exercise Discipline. There is a process in the BOD to use if GN feels a bishop has broken a rule. GN or any of its members can make a complaint. Why do they keep calling on someone else to do it?.

  5. I'm not a spokesperson for Good News, but this expression reveals a certain bias: "Good News has traditionally been a leading voice in opposing full participation of GLBT persons in the United Methodist Church." From what I've read, I suspect that Good News would want to state its position differently, perhaps something like this: "Good News has been a leading voice in calling for a traditional understanding of biblical holiness." One's personal views aside, could the author not be more careful to represent the position of this group accurately, just as, in all fairness, the views of other groups should also be presented accurately?

  6. Is it not the Council of Bishop's responsibility first? If the COB chooses not to act then, yes charges can be, and likely will be brought.

  7. Don’t you love bias slanted reporting?

    “claims to promote “orthodox Wesleyan Christianity,” 

    “Good News has traditionally been a leading voice in opposing full participation of GLBT person in the United Methodist Church,”

    Good News which supports Orthodox Wesleyan Christianity,” ….

    Good News that supports the laws and doctrine of the UMC and opposes full inclusion of GLBTQ…….

    might be a little fairer.

    Maybe that is why most people outside the church won’t come in.

    They have as much faith in the UMC telling the truth as they do a used car sales man or the nightly news.

    • For the record we ran the descriptor by Good News prior to publishing the story and they agreed to our phrasing. As for the second phrase we acknowledge that the language used has become formulaic and was less than accurate, so that phrase has been changed.

  8. The test facing the church right now are the currently scheduled trials and the possible coming multiple trials involving Bishop Talbert, the Penn 30 pastors, and perhaps others who are to perform same sex weddings. How these trials are conducted and the penalties thereof will go a long way in defining what happens to the UMC. If the Book of Discipline is upheld as intended with appropriate corresponding penalties, the church dodges a bullet and remains one. If the trials turn into abdications of responsibility, then the timeline for a divided church is accelerated.

  9. Bigotry, hard hearts, and a narcissistic ordained ministry is killing the UMC.

  10. I find it strange that people oppose an organization that is simply supporting what the Book of Discipline says – a Book of Discipline that has been upheld for years by the voting delegates of General Conference.

    You're free to oppose the position taken by the majority of voting delegates – delegates who, in the main, are not bigoted, or hateful, or ignorant.

    But if you find yourself disagreeing with most of the delegates at General Conference, out of unity with the Book of Discipline, then it is possible that while fellowship may remain among brothers and sisters in Christ, it would be prudent to align oneself with a denomination that upholds the same principles you do.

    • Why is it strange? BOD has been known to change from time to time…and reason is still one of the ways we find God’s grace. And, as for your claim about bigoted, hateful or ignorant….one should not make such claims unless you can verify that all hearts, minds, and doors would be open our gay African-American or Latino sons and daughters. Moreover, if your solution is “to align oneself with a denomination that upholds the same principles” I am sure the Southern Baptist will welcome the influx of new members…but the rest of us will remain because we believe that all of humanity is of scared worth. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.'

  11. Mickey Maze says:

    Amen to Rev Mama and Wad

  12. I'm not convinced regarding this issue that simply calling those we disagree with "bad people" is persuasive or likely to solve anything.

    It seems to me that the core issue is not so much theology as anthropology. What is the nature of human beings, and what is the nature of human sexual identity. I personally am heterosexual and I notice how that very innate wiring shapes my relationships with both men and women. I could not change my sexual orientation for a billion dollars. So what if I grew up knowing I had a same-sex sexual orientation instead? I could choose celibacy. But what if I wanted a life long committed companionship that included sexual love? If you accept that sexual orientation is innate and immutable, then you will read the passages in the Bible in the same way that you passages about shunning the disease or the disabled — you will read them as passages that God has given us the grace to move beyond. But if you believe sexual orientation is a choice, and a bad choice at that, then you will do what you can to help people make better choices. So it boils down to your view of human nature, and that really will affect how you read the Bible.. And, I suppose, it might also explain how a group called Good News often seems to have only bad news!

  13. Simple RESPECT the Discipline of the UMC if you don't like it don't be UM Clergy

  14. Please note: "The Good News Magazine" and "The Confessing Movement" are independent organizations and not affiliated with the United Methodist Church. They have no official capacity and no authority in matters pertaining to the UMC.

  15. Linda Worley says:

    The positions and behaviors of those like the Good News group, intolerance, bigotry, judgment and bias against many groups of people, is why I no longer participate in the UMC. I was raised in the Methodist Church and loved it for its courage in advocating for social justice….I have found that the UMC has become just another voice of exclusivity and legalism. That is not consistent with how I know God. If this trend continues, the UMC will shrink until it is insignificant.

  16. Your anthropology is wrong. You were not born a heterosexual. Human beings were born male and female. Our maleness and femaleness is the first information we have concerning the image in which we are created.

    Only in a culture in which there are no moral restraints on sexual behavior can the notion of 'homosexuality' or 'heterosexuality' arise.

    There is absolutely no evidence to support your belief that sexual orientation is hard-wired. The born-that-way-can't-change notion is a canard, a convenient slogan invented by the homosexual lobby.

  17. here we go with the U.M.C are bigots, judgmental, intolerant. the U.M.C hasnt changed. society has. the bible says, " homosexuality is perversion". regardless of the Bishop's behavior- This same sex "marriage" is not blessed in God's eyes. no. i don't see the U.M.C becoming obsolete. we are raising our children and their children the same teachings that we were taught. i believe this bishop should be separated from the church.

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  1. […] of the favorite commonplace arguments of the Good News crowd has unfortunately been taken up by the Council of Bishops: that performing the wedding of a […]

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 

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