Clergyman surrenders credentials in response to conference action on same-sex marriage

Rob Schmutz praying over a young man in the park as part of The United Methodist Church at Park City's outreach. Photo via Facebook, Taken by Ashley Bass Photography

Rob Schmutz praying over a young man in the park as part of The United Methodist Church at Park City’s outreach. Photo via Facebook, Taken by Ashley Bass Photography

The Wichita Eagle highlights a dramatic scene where Rob Schmutz, a pastor at The United Methodist Church at Park City in Wichita Kansas, turned in his credentials after the Great Plains United Methodist Church Annual Conference session voted to approve a petition that “would eliminate the performance of same-sex marriages from the list of offenses that would initiate a church trial.

At the Great Plains United Methodist Conference on Saturday, about 1,000 representatives from churches across the two states voted to pass Petition 7, which called for “acknowledgement of diverse beliefs regarding homosexuality.”

The petition itself, which passed with a roughly 60 to 40 percent majority, does not change the church’s policy – rather, it gets sent to the United Methodist General Conference in 2016, which is regarded as the legislative body of the church. The general conference “can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues,” according to its website.

Currently the church does not allow gay people to become ministers and it does not recognize gay marriage. Ministers who perform gay marriages can have their credentials – a license to preach and operate a church – revoked.

The vote sparked heated debate inside Century II, where the conference was held, and some got up to leave after the vote was taken.

One of those people was the Rev. Rob Schmutz, of the United Methodist Church at Park City.

While the petition was being discussed, he spoke out, saying he would resign as a minister should the petition pass. After the votes were tallied, Schmutz handed his credentials over to Bishop Scott Jones, who was presiding over the conference, and left, said David Livingston, a pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Lenexa.

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Rob Schmutz on Tuesday released a statement via his Facebook account. His statement is generally directed at his former congregation, The United Methodist Church at Park City, and friends within the United Methodist Church.

Thank you so much to so many, for all of your calls, emails, Fb messages, texts tweets, posts, and so many kind and encouraging words (and some very challenging ones as well). I appreciate you ALL, so much more than I can say!

Please know, I am not writing these words to begin some theological debate via social media. That’s really so very pointless. And, please know that I am neither a “Hater” nor a “Phob.” In fact, interestingly enough, it was a homosexual friend of mine that I knew back in college (we’ll call him Dave) who shared the gospel with me after he had himself given his heart to Jesus and had chosen to walk away from the lifestyle he had known for most of his life. It was his personal transformation that helped me first see, and believe in, the true transformational power of Jesus.

For me, I believe that we are all born with a “sin-nature” and a “bent” towards sin. And, just as there are many different kinds of people in the world, so to there are many different kinds of sinful practices, or “bents” if you will. That’s why Jesus came… To save us “from” our sins. And when He came, He did so in love, though we ourselves expressed so much hatred to and toward Him. When Jesus saves us, He sets us free “from” sin, not free “to” sin. Similarly, I believe that the Bible teaches that we ALL need saving, because we are all “born that way” (into sin). But that doesn’t change God’s Word, or His plan for forgiveness, salvation and deliverance.

What I did this past Saturday in surrendering my credentials as an Ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church, was not about hate, or even really about homosexuality. It was however, about the Authority of God’s Word, about the Primacy of Scripture, and about supporting and defending the existing position of our Book of Discipline and the official Mission of the United Methodist Church: “To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ, for the Transformation of the World”. My actions were simply a statement that I believe our denomination (like so many others) is losing (and in many ways already has lost) it’s way. I believe, as believers, as pursuers of Jesus, sometimes, God calls us to lay it ALL out there, and really BE who we say we are, or DO what we “say” we believe. The Bible teaches that The Church… is the Bride of Christ, and I personally think she’s a beautiful bride, and well worth standing up for, and defending, and even, if necessary, laying it all down for.

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Many conferences have passed petitions to edit the church’s stance forbidding gay clergy and clergy participating in same-sex wedding services.

Rob has pastored the planting of The United Methodist Church at Park City since 2012 according to Path 1. The church currently averages 230 in worship attendance.

 

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Hehehehe
Guest
You can do things for the greater good, or do things for God. In today’s society doing things for the greater good doesn’t line up with Gods plan. Rob did what he did for God. In Galations ch.1 the bible says that any other gospel is not a gospel at all and that if you try to pervert (change) the gospel then the devil will curse you. The vote that went down is an attempt to change how the Methodist church views the gospel. Rod stood up for God when know body else there would. I don’t believe he was… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

It seems to me you are confusing “the gospel” with contuinuing a systemized oppression. That’s apples and oranges there.

DW
Guest

In my earlier post I meant Tim, not Mark. Sorry.

Christy Jay
Guest
Do none of you have any respect for a man of God standing up for what the biblical principles are?! Are any of the prior respondents Christian? If so, why are you name calling and spewing venom? I respect Pastor Rob for his beliefs. I thank the Lord daily for people like him who will stand firm without professing hate. A steadfast belief, stated without malice should not result in such hateful responses. Pray before you speak! Speak as a kind, wise person who’s words will be edifying to the Lord. I am now an ex Methodist. Most of these… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I’ve no condemnation of the man; considering what he did, the UMC clergy is better off without him.I don’t believe the position he took was ethical and I certainly pray he finds peace – but the mindset that our LGBT Brothers and Sisters are not as good as we are never leads to a peaceful end because it becomes an obsession and a hatred. We certianly see it in the rhetoric used by opponents of equal rights.

Tim
Guest

Lets see. What was his name…Oh yes, Frank Schaefer. Darling of the “left”-wing churches, a book deal, and generous speaking fees from the far left.
As for his “stupid and futile gesture has given him his fifteen minutes of fame and that’s about 14 and 3/4 more than he deserves” maybe that is what YOU are craving…..but have not done anything as bold.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
Tim, I believe you are confused about ideological taxonomies. The U.S. does not have a “left wing” per se, unless you count Bernie Sanders (and his ascendance does suggest we may develop one, but Sanders is a pretty mundane fellow, anyhow, that’s off-topic). by definition, the “far left” would not be able to pay speaker’s fees; maybe dinner with a family from the church and a bed in their spare bedroom with a lumpy matress, and a bus ticket home. By and large, Schaefer’s actions are regarded as heroic by most who know his story because he put love before… Read more »
Gregory Peterson
Guest

Compared to the right wing, good sense, goodwill and moderation is radical left wing extremism.

Tim
Guest
Nice to know there is no left-wing, only right-wing. As for your having your “time in the sun” please inform all of us of your glories. ” It’s BEEN an honor and a privilege to serve a greater good.” Are you in the past tense. One last thing. How pompous to think you are the arbiter of what is the “greater good.” What makes you think that YOUR moral compass is so perfect that you can say: 1) what is evil and right-wing and 2) personally be able to judge so many others as out of touch. God has not… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest
Tim says: “Nice to know there is no left-wing, only right-wing. ” That’s just political science 101. The “left wing” in the U.S. was decimated in the McCarthy Era. “As for your having your “time in the sun” please inform all of us of your glories.” I’ll pass. I’m in my sixth decade and believe I have lived well. The details are best left unsaid in this medium. ” It’s BEEN an honor and a privilege to serve a greater good.” Are you in the past tense.” Age 63. Do the math. “One last thing. How pompous to think you… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Enjoy. Always a pleasure.

Tim
Guest

“Whatever, Dude.” – 63 years of doing the “greater good” and THAT is your best retort. Your “answers” have only strengthened my observations. Thanks for making my case.

Have a great day.

DW
Guest

You say that Mark has no argument so he attacked you personally. What do you think you do? Almost any time someone tries to make an “argument” you’re sitting there ready to pounce. You belittle them, ridicule them and try to humiliate them. Eventually they just give up and move on because they realize they can’t have a constructive conversation with you. If you would extend to them the same courtesies that you expect, everyone would benefit.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
I don’t know this fellow but his stupid and futile gesture has given him his fifteen minutes of fame and that’s about 14 and 3/4 more than he deserves. I suspect this gambit will net him a position with a right-wing church, a book deal, and generous speaking fees at far right conferences. I suspect we will hear more here in the Great Plains Conference in the near future. I suppose The Bishop is grateful the poor schmuck had the credentials at the ready to submit therefore not requiring him to go to the guy’s house to pick them up.
Tex
Guest

Rob stood up for the word of God and his writings in the bible. I stand behind him 100% my family and I left the Umc after hearing this and refuse to go back!

Christy Jay
Guest

Right. He gave up 28 years of serving. He gave up an upstart church, that he poured 100% of himself into. He gave up his family’s stability. He possibly gave up richly rooted friendships. He has loved ones depending on him financially, emotionally and spiritually. He did not do this for “fame” or money. He risked everything to do what the Lord told him to do. He is a man of humble conviction. It is heartbreaking that you so flippantly dismiss his actions as ignorant and/or selfish. Are you a man or God? Where is your compassion? Grace? Integrity?

Gregory Peterson
Guest

Way to stab your college friend in the back. You can’t even use the word “Gay,” There hasn’t been any “homosexuals” since the 1970s….and pretty much for the same reason as there haven’t been any “Negroes.”

Who wants to be defined and labeled by people of obvious ill will?

DW
Guest

When did homosexual become a politically incorrect term, Mr. Peterson, and how does his failure to use the word gay make him a person “of obvious ill will”?

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

You bring up a good point. Probably not enough people noticed that any media is going to bother to look up this poor victim of so-called “ex-gay” torture, but the potential is always there: it is revelatory about this now jackleg preacher (that’s African-American term for a preacher without a church, yo) put his ideology before his friend.

Melissa Rada
Guest
I am female, and experience same-sex attraction. I know that God doesn’t want me to enter a same-sex relationship. I’m not “ex-gay ” and don’t believe in convincing gay people to try to be straight. However, I know that God doesn’t want me to enter into a same-sex relationship. I also know that God wants me to keep my thoughts obedient to Him as well. It was at one time difficult for me to accept staying single, but God healed me of my loneliness. I still have temptation, but the Holy Spirit working in me gives me power to resist… Read more »
Tim
Guest

At least Rev. Schmutz has more backbone than most of the UMC Bishops who will not plainly say how they stand on this issue. Cowards…..simply cowards.
Where is their strength of purpose / conviction.

Christy Jay
Guest

Agreed.

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