Let's Split the United Methodist Church! OK?
Let's Split the United Methodist Church!


The verdict came in and she was found not guilty! Yes, you've heard all about it -- Karen Dammann, the lesbian pastor in the Pacific Northwest Conference was put on trial due to the fact that she had "come out" and informed her bishop that she was living in a committed partnership with another woman. And just before the trial took place Karen and her partner became Mrs. & Mrs. -- that is, they were "married" by taking advantage of the west coast rage of same-sex partners being able to obtain marriage licenses in certain places and then tie the knot!

The verdict involved a jury of 13 pastors (5 men and 8 women) -- 11 voted "not guilty" while the remaining 2 jurors were undecided -- so there was not one "guilty" vote cast. And while presiding Bishop William Grove had previously instructed that no expressions of emotion (either elation or dismay) be demonstrated when the verdict was announced, he was totally ignored as the celebration of "victory" began to erupt!

For some time there have been voices within the ranks of the denomination which have been saying that we ought to split -- let those who favor sodomy and lesbianism as acceptable moral practices go one way with all their supporters and let those who are adamantly opposed to those practices on the grounds of divine revelation go their way with the formation of 2 "denominations" where before there had been just one which has been known as the United Methodist Church ever since the Evangelical United Brethren/Methodist merger of 1968.

No great grass-roots movement is on to do this -- just murmuring from time to time which often takes place in informal settings among pastors and lay persons. A number express a kind of weariness as the conflict wears on and express the fact that perhaps this is the best way to end it -- simply come to the "parting of the ways" in as peaceable manner as possible.

The subject may in some way or other come up at General Conference 2004 which is set to meet beginning April 27 at Pittsburgh. No, it is unlikely any resolution will be submitted -- it will be more of the murmuring process, but maybe a bit more forceful in light of the Dammann trial results and happenings of other kinds going on as the sodomite/lesbian cartel turns the screws a bit tighter in pressuring for the adoption of changes that will essentially say, "The United Methodist Church welcomes all sodomites and lesbians into the full life and ministry of the church -- we are all brothers and sisters in the faith and need to work and labor together for the cause of the Kingdom of God!"

Is the occasional mentioned "split" or "schism," as some prefer to say it, really possible? Probably, but it will take a heap of work -- you have national boards and agencies -- the Episcopal areas -- and the pension system to deal with just for starters.

But even it did come about, would it really work? The answer is "No!" for a very simple reason.

A split is not what the sodomite/lesbian crowd wants -- what they really want is full acceptance and inclusion in every strata of our culture, without objection on anyone's part! They want all of us to so conform that when any of us make reference to sodomy or lesbianism we shall all agree that it is good and just as moral as a healthy marriage between a male and a female. Perhaps we should push it one step further -- that if two sodomites are in a "committed" relationship or two lesbians likewise, then that is also good, and if they have adopted children (adoption seems to be necessary since it is pretty difficult for 2 sodomites to conceive and bear a child strictly on their own!) then who are we to object?

So, even if we were able to split the UMC as some seem to be suggesting -- and we quit all the wrangling and fighting -- and each group goes its own way for a time, we'll still be back to square one so far as the Bible believing truly conservative element is concerned! Don't you see -- the sodomite/lesbian cartel is out to "convert" all of us to their way of thinking and the full acknowledgement that their lifestyles are morally acceptable and just as legitimate as the heterosexual marriage union! So even if we split the UMC, they will follow us into our newly established "denomination" and do exactly everything they are doing now!

And if things continue to proceed as they have been in the "Hate Crimes" department, we may expect that the time will come when it will be an issue of "Hate Speech" -- a penalty exacted for merely speaking against sodomy or lesbianism, and especially for pastors to preach and teach against it!

It may sound wild now, but when I started in ministry 45 years ago if someone would have said to me that a day would come when a lesbian pastor would flaunt her lifestyle publicly, be tried in a church trial, and found not guilty by her peers (is this a case of scratch my back and I'll scratch yours?), I would have probably said, "You're crazy -- it will never happen!"

No, don't split the UMC since it won't do any good and won't solve the problem -- a lot of pastors and lay folk have already left, and a lot more are going to be leavin in the future -- especially since Pacific Northwest Conference decided to try to play a "trump card" just before GC 2004 in Pittsburgh!

BUT, for those of you who feel strongly that God wants you to stay and slug it out, be prepared to take a lot of flak -- you will be labeled as being unloving, uncaring, unchristian, divisive, judgmental, self-righteous, homophobic (favorite term of sodomites and lesbians directed to the opposition), right-wing extremist, rabid fundamentalist, etc. Just remember -- no sodomite and no lesbian will have the final word on the stand you have taken for God's eternal unchanging truth and the transforming salvation He provides through His Son, Jesus Christ!

But there is good news in the midst of this mess of the first magnitude in which we presently find ourselves -- as we fight the good fight of faith (we need to remember we are in a vicious spiritual war) we have the promise of Jesus' return to set things straight -- it's going to be quite an event -- just be sure you are on the right side and prepared for it!

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed."
2 Thessalonians 1:2-10 NKJV

Hey, that's not my opinion -- that's a promised fact -- read for yourself -- God says there's a judgment coming!

March 22, 2004
Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in full connection
Western Pennsylvania Annual Conferenc
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy, Pennsylvania

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