Good News responds to clergy coming out letter

GoodNews_sqThe Rev. Tom Lambrecht, Vice President and General Manager of Good News, an organization that has advocated for the retention of the current United Methodist teaching on homosexuality, released a statement this afternoon in response to the letter from 111 UM clergy identifying themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI).

“Unfortunately, the statement comes across more like a manifesto for an orchestrated campaign to influence General Conference than a ‘Love Letter to the Church,’” Lambrecht wrote.

Regrettably, it asks our global denomination to abandon clear scriptural teaching and 2,000 years of Christian understanding. We recognize that this public relations campaign is designed to overwhelm our denomination’s infrastructure until traditionalists abandon their theological moorings. The statement once again emphasizes the determination of many within United Methodism to act in defiance of the church’s teaching, reaffirmed for over 40 years. For the most fruitful future of United Methodism, we believe the delegates should resist the pressure to go along with a culture that has discarded biblical values regarding sexuality and marriage. In order to have a growing and vibrant denomination, delegates should remain true to an orthodox, Wesleyan understanding that promotes scriptural holiness through repentance, obedience to Scripture, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Rev. Thomas LambrechtUMNS photo by Mike DuBose

Rev. Thomas Lambrecht

Lambrecht addressed the concerns raised by the letter writers about their need to hide parts of themselves as they carry out  the work of ministry:

The letter talks about LGBTQI persons being forced to hide parts of themselves in order to engage in ministry. No one is forcing LGBTQI persons to hide their identities. That is a choice that they are making. The church has always been straightforward about what is acceptable behavior for clergy. Having same-sex attractions or being LGBTQI is not a bar to ordained ministry. Engaging in sexual relationships outside monogamous heterosexual marriage is a bar to ordained ministry. The line is clear. It is LGBTQI persons who have chosen to cross that line and yet pretend to fulfill their ordination vows. Such an action constitutes a fundamental lack of integrity that undermines the doctrine, discipline, and unity of the church.

Lambrecht concluded by differentiating between the core identity of the individual and the behaviors in which they engage:

The only resolution of the conflict proposed by the writers of the letter is that the church should “see that all persons are made in the image of God and welcomed into the community of faith.” The church already declares that all persons are made in the image of God and welcome in the community of faith. All behaviors, however, are not affirmed by the church, whether they be gossip, lying, theft, greed, or sexual sins. It appears that the only resolution acceptable to the writers of the letter is that the church affirms same-sex relations, which would contradict the teaching of Scripture and would violate the consciences of many United Methodists. It is the authors and their fellow activists who are creating a zero sum game that makes compromise difficult, if not impossible.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and MethoBlog.com. Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. 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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21 Comments on "Good News responds to clergy coming out letter"

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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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Richard Hunter
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In case you missed it… The Conservative Evangelical* Agenda United Methodist General Conference 2016 1) Uphold biblical teaching on life, marriage, and human sexuality This means that we consider the practice of homosexuality to be “incompatible with Christian teaching,” we do not allow pastors to perform same-sex weddings or unions, and we do not accept self-avowed practicing homosexuals as ordained clergy. 2) Restore and strengthen the integrity and accountability of our covenant connection as United Methodists Imposing a mandatory minimum penalty for clergy found guilty of performing a same-sex wedding of a one-year suspension for a first offense and removal… Read more »
Brook J Hill
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Excellent points by Rev. Tom Lambrecht. We should all review Romans 1:18-32 at times like this. These battles have been raging for thousands of years. But the truth never changes. Those who rebel against God will not see heaven.

Mike Thomas
Guest
Yes, by all means, I wish everyone would review and study Romans 1 in full context and maybe they would see that Paul is talking about the idolatry that was being practiced by the pagans in Rome which included all kinds of sex acts during their various fertility rituals. This is what Paul was condemning – the idolatry. He saw the homosexual acts as a result of or a consequence of the idolatry that they were practicing. And furthermore, he saw this idolatry as leading to a whole host of wicked things which he goes on to list at the… Read more »
Douglas Asbury
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Amen! And that whole first portion of Romans, up through Chapter 7, is at least a call for humility on the part of all followers of Christ; since, as Paul writes in Romans 7, we are all in the grips of sin. But his point doesn’t end there. He goes on to say that it is God’s purpose that all of us hear God’s Spirit speaking to our spirits that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs to all God has to offer humankind, just as his Son received all. He ends that portion of his message… Read more »
Brook J Hill
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“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21:23. What does it mean to do the will of God? What does it mean to practice lawlessness? If you keep reading in Romans, you will… Read more »
Mike Thomas
Guest

What sin do I need to turn away from, Brook? What is it that you see that is apparently blinding me?

Kevin
Guest

How quaint. Tom Lambrecht seems to think there is a compromise that might work. There isn’t. We are engaged in a UMC civil war and this conflict will need to play out.

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MerrillBender
Guest

The 111 Clergy persons have broken their UMC Covenant and Ordination vows. Repent your Disobedience. Beware the lying you have done before the Holy Spirit. Acts 5:1-11 Ananais & Sapphira.
If you have Different beliefs that means you belong in a different denomination. You are no longer a Methodist believer in Christ.
Go in Peace.

Grace Kirkland
Guest
Seems to me that Adam was made in the image of God but when sin came THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE, those of us born after that were born after the image of Adam, therefore God, in His plan, sent His only Son (you know the story) so that we might be born again to bring us back in right relationship with God, in His image, being made in the image of His Son. THEN we find in Scripture that we are the children of God. We are not being made in His image if we practice unrighteousness but just have a form… Read more »
Richard F Hicks
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Not “orchesrated” but spontaneous. Thank you.

Eric Pone
Guest

Its funny how selective the good news movement is. Smoking and drinking alchohol are prohibited behaviors by clergy as well subject to trial. As a former local pastor I can attest to you that regardless of whether liberal or conservative or good news many many many clergy break these rules which break clear biblical guideline of maintaining a healthy body and Pauls exhortations for pastors to model Christ who wasn’t a smoker.(but a drinker!!)

David Ogden
Guest

Disappointing but not surprising by Good News. They pick certain parts of scripture while ignoring others. I do not believe that God chose to make people who are “incompatible with Christian teaching”.

Brook J Hill
Guest

No, but sin is incompatible with God.

Karen
Guest
I guess you also do not believe in a doctrine of the fall, individual sin, the need for personal forgiveness, reconciliation, and transformation, because all of these are affected by this agenda. By that revelation, we are all incompatible with Christian teaching and in need of God’s whole plan to remedy our situation. I am sorry it presents more of a challenge and even more of a sacrifice for some individuals than it might others, but then again, no one knows the full struggles of another. Nothing lost in this life is worth more than knowing Christ. Nothing given up… Read more »
Mike Thomas
Guest
There is so much wrong with this letter from Lambrecht, it’s hard to know where to begin. He refers to “clear scriptural teaching” when what is clear is that there are major disagreements about what scriptures say in this case and pretending otherwise is both misleading and insulting. He makes alarmist, hyped-up and ridiculous claims about what would happen if the church removed the divisive anti-gay language that was wedged into the Book of Discipline in 1972 such as saying it would …”overwhelm the denomination’s infrastructure”… and force traditionalists to “abandon their theological moorings…” What nonsense! It’s like listening to… Read more »
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