Northwest United Methodist Defiance
United Methodists in the Greater Northwest Area, under the leadership of Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky, have again decided to disregard the letter and spirit of United Methodist Church teachings. Indeed, it seems Stanovsky has gone out of her way to poke the eye of any vestige of church unity during this time of prayer and discernment about a faithful way forward for our denomination.
On February 19, Stanovsky announced the appointment of the Rev. Kathleen Weber to serve as the District Superintendent for the Crest to Coast Missional District in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Weber is a second generation United Methodist pastor, a graduate of Candler School of Theology, and has been under appointment since 2005. Oh, and by the way, she is married to Dr. Danae Dotolo.
The fact that an openly married lesbian is serving as a pastor in The United Methodist Church in the state of Washington is not surprising, but it is disheartening. The Pacific Northwest Annual Conference is one of those conferences that stated it would ignore the issue of sexual orientation or practice in considering candidates for ministry, and that it would not conform to the requirements of the Book of Discipline regarding marriage and sexuality. It appears that, despite the Judicial Council declaring such actions by annual conferences to be illegal under the Discipline, Bishop Stanovsky and conference leaders continue to ignore the parts of the Discipline that they disagree with.
Even more disheartening during this time of discernment, however, is that the bishop would appoint a married lesbian as a district superintendent. This raising of the profile of Weber is an overt defiance of United Methodist standards and a callous disregard for the attempt by the Commission on a Way Forward to find a fair and faithful way for our church to resolve its impasse over these matters. It certainly makes it more difficult to come to a positive and unifying resolution of our disagreements.
But Stanovsky was not finished. On February 22, she announced that the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference (which she also serves) is hiring a half-time LGBTQ+ Advocacy Coordinator for the conference. The Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell is a Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor and was an Assistant Professor of Christian Nurture at Duke Divinity School. He and his partner, Dean, have been together for 22 years and have two adult children.
In deference to the fact that the Book of Discipline forbids the spending of church funds “to promote the acceptance of homosexuality” (¶ 613.19), funding for this position is being received from The Collins Foundation, a family foundation located in Portland, Oregon, dedicated to “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Many of the activities to be supported by Webb-Mitchell are conducted in partnership with the Love Your Neighbor Coalition, the group that has been promoting at General Conference a change in the United Methodist teachings in order to allow same-sex weddings and the ordination of practicing homosexuals. (This is in addition to the extravagant funding that pro-gay General Conference efforts have received from wealthy non-United Methodist foundations such as the Arcus Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.)
These two announcements, within days of each other, constitute a double-barreled assault on the church’s standards and further diminish prospects of an amicable resolution of the current impasse in our church. Along with the continued service of married lesbian Bishop Karen Oliveto in the Mountain Sky Area (despite the Judicial Council ruling her consecration illegal), this escalation in the form of the appointment of two openly gay clergy to annual conference leadership positions is an “in your face” repudiation of United Methodist polity and discipline.
As the Commission on a Way Forward conducts its eighth meeting next week and prepares to send its final report to the Council of Bishops, it has become more apparent than ever that we are two churches pretending to be one.
41 thoughts on “Northwest United Methodist Defiance”
Tom, you nailed it. We have been two churches for quite some time. We just need a council with the courage to proclaim the obvious.
An Open Letter
To Rev. Tom Lambrecht, member of the Commission on a Way Forward
From Elaine Stanovsky, bishop of the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church
My heart is not at war. I am not using clergy and staff appointments to undermine the unity of
the Church or the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. . . (follow the link to read more)
Lovely response — grace-filled, honest, open — to Lambrecht’s harsh rhetoric. Which epistle better glorifies the way of Christ? I know others will disagree, but I thank Bishop Stanovsky for a gentle word that tries to turn away wrath.
*what pathetic arrogance
*Jesus is love and love never rejects anyone or anyone’s passions or desires
sorry–hit send too quickly
“…anyone–or anyone’s “heart-felt” desires and passions, because that’s how God made them”
Please Take a Chill Pill.
Okay, back to basics. What did Jesus teach us? Not to hate, anyone. Love your neighbor. I’m guessing that supercedes even the Book of Discipline.
No one is saying they hate anyone. We just need to follow God’s laws and instructions.
This is the only way to stay in God’s will. We do not need to follow current political or social trends. Love, as Jesus did. Do not con volute His life-work with ‘I think-I feel”. That is a spiritual violation of the First Commandment. When you put your own ideas/feelings above God’s clear rules. Loving does not mean to ‘become-like’ sinners, but to make every effort to gently guide them to accepting Jesus. He did not change himself to be like them. Follow the Bible.
Wonderfully said. We need to follow Jesus~~~~~NOT the BoD.
Were United Methodists made for the Book of Discipline or was the BoD make for us? Is it just me or is following Jesus in matters of sexuality judgment more important than following the (sacred?) BoD? I see in Bishop Stanovsky’s hiring decisions no sin against the Christ of scripture. Not sure I see the tone of this blog in that same way.
Interesting Mr. Held
You see contradicting Our Lord’s reaffirmation of the binary male-female two-person marriage as the basis of sexual ethics (Mark 10 Matthew 19) as nothing?
You see contradicting Our Lord’s rejection of sexuality outside of the relationship (Mark 7 Matthew 15) as nothing?
That’s Jesus’s take on “sexuality [sic] judgment”
What’s your authority for rejecting His teachings?
Dear Mr. Lambrecht,
You wrote that the appointment of two openly gay clergy to annual conference leadership positions is an “in your face” repudiation of United Methodist polity and discipline.
Your statement perfectly dovetails with my understanding of Easter as an “in your face” repudiation of the polity and discipline of the Roman Empire. In fact, religious and civil authorities were both so afraid of the changes Jesus was creating that they made sure he was executed. What is it that you are so afraid of that you are willing to continue crucifying innocent children of God?
Following the graciousness of our bishop, I, too, invite you into dialogue about your fears, and I will listen.
A sister in Christ,
The Rev. Dr. Beryl A. Ingram, Ph.D.
But although a difference in opinions or modes of worship may prevent an entire external union, yet need it prevent our union in affection? Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences. These remaining as they are, they may forward one another in love and in good works. – John Wesley Sermon 39
I have seen many examples of the Book of Discipline being violated and amended in ways that damage the mission and work of the church.
For those interested in hearing both sides of the story http://greaternw.org/an-open-letter-to-rev-tom-lambrecht-member-of-the-commission-on-a-way-forward/
Your characterization of Methodists as two churches pretending to be one would be more accurate if you said Methodists are one church trying to be two.
As a United Methodist I affirm with our Constitution, that “all persons are of sacred worth, created in the image of God, in need of the ministry of the Church, and eligible to attend our worship, receive our services and upon baptism and declaration of the Christian faith, to become members of our congregation.”
I affirm with our Social Principles that “sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons, that basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons and that we are committed to supporting these rights and liberties for all, regardless of sexual orientation. We support efforts to stop forms of coercion against all persons regardless of sexual orientation.”
I find these central demands of our Constitution and Social Principles to be at irreparable odds with the subordinate disciplinary statutes that prohibit ordination, appointment and marriage of homosexual persons.
I also accept as my right and responsibility “to dissent when acting under the constraint of conscience.”
Therefore, it has and is my practice to officiate weddings and to accept and cherish my ordained colleagues regardless of sexual orientation.
Those who support the status quo always have the power of inertia on their side. The Holy Spirit has always had an uphill battle against human comfort when transforming the world by opposing war, slavery, rape, racism, sexism and other forms of oppression. This continues to be the case during the current struggle.
This article’s use of inflammatory language claiming disregard for the law, neglect of select parts of the Discipline, a double-barreled assault, and extravagant outside funding, is the same duplicitous fear mongering we have seen each time the Spirit inches society closer to the egalitarian Holy City of God.
I say duplicitous because this organization has selectively disregarded the foundational portions of our Book of Discipline cited above and, with similar organizations, has received extravagant support from outside sources.
Once upon a time, a Pharisee named Gamaliel said to the council, “I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!” That would be my advice to the author.
I do not believe that Bishop Stanovsky’s appointments are an, “’in your face’ repudiation of United Methodist polity and discipline.” I believe that they are the bishops’ faithful adherence to her understanding of our Discipline, even as the author’s life is a faithful adherence to his.
I do not know whether our denomination will split or not. It seems clear that there is a desire on the part of some that it do so. At the cosmic level that is unimportant. God’s will is preeminent, and in God’s history, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Thank you for your comments, Melvin. As a point of clarification, Good News has never received “extravagant support from outside sources.” Such reporting is in error.
I am just a simple man, not educated as it seems, by your writing you are. You talk about everything except what the Bible says is sin. So I ask a simple question to you. If homosexuality is no longer to be considered sin, what is? Can someone now watch pornography? Have sex with a young person. What sins can I decide are sinful in the eyes of God. Homosexuality is stated in the Bible as something God did not plan for the human race. Free will allows temptation to lead people down the wrong path, whether that path is homosexuality or watching pornography, cheating on a spouse, sex with kids, shall I go on? These are all sex sins. You cannot decide what sin is, only God decides and that is why we have the Bible.
Thomas Lambrecht, I know you are a man of conscience and integrity, however, I fear you do not hear how offensive your attitude and words are to so many people. They are equivalent to those in the past who spoke this way about women and about people of color. To see what I am saying, let’s just substitute those words in a couple of your statements. “On February 19, Stanovsky announced the appointment of the Rev. Kathleen Weber to serve as the District Superintendent for the Crest to Coast Missional District in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Weber is a second generation United Methodist pastor, a graduate of Candler School of Theology, and has been under appointment since 2005. Oh, and by the way, she is married to [a black man].”
“The fact that [a woman] is serving as a pastor in The United Methodist Church in the state of Washington is not surprising, but it is disheartening.”
“These two announcements, within days of each other, constitute a double-barreled assault (nice gun imagery here) on the church’s standards and further diminish prospects of an amicable resolution of the current impasse in our church. Along with the continued service of [a woman] Bishop Karen Oliveto in the Mountain Sky Area (despite the Judicial Council ruling her consecration illegal), this escalation in the form of the appointment of [a woman and a black man] to annual conference leadership positions is an “in your face” repudiation of United Methodist polity and discipline.”
Now, of course, you didn’t use those words in the brackets that I substituted, but as offensive as they sound to many today, so too, do your degradation of people based on their sexual orientation. And you and those with you targeting people who are LGBTIQ in this world based on a literal interpretation of just a couple of scriptures is a call to the purity laws rather than the laws Jesus preached of justice for the oppressed and an inclusion of all the outcasts in his family. I have been friends with many, many people over the years from all walks of life. Many have been people of different sexual orientations than I. I have always found these people to be closer to the heart of Christ than the more judgmental Pharisees masquerading as followers of Jesus who condemn them. I choose to walk in grace rather than legalistic religion.
As a lifelong United Methodist who is an ordained Deacon, I resent Lambrecht’s attitude toward those who follow their conscience in this matter. His article was publicly rude, unkind and presumed the motives of another clergy. The work toward full inclusion will not go away just because the Discipline might be used as a weapon against it. Love always prevails. I applaud Bishop Elaine for her ability to be non-discriminatory in her personnel matters, as well as her very clear and reasoned response to his attack.
I think it is time for all of us to take a step back and realize that every four years something in the discipline changes. Amen. It is time for us to take a hard look at what “Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors really mean!. We have been living a hard LIE since it came to be part of the united Methodist Church. Lets get it right!. Everyone, everyone should be blessed to enjoy a full life according to the Scriptures, first. How many of you that constantly refer to the Disciple as your guiding force in everyday life allow others to determine your happiness? How many of you are critical of others when it seems to agree with our way of thinking? Always remember that the guidelines of the Disciple are to lay the ground work for the body of Christ called United Methodist and when they come together everyone four years they make changes because someone has decided in order to move forward in certain areas of the church some changes has to be made in the way we did things according to the discipline, but God’s Word is still the same, ‘judge not that you be not judged’.
Help others to understand why the discussion is not based on God’s Word but on discissions made by individuals that we elect to represent us. I know each person on this earth is entitled to the same benefits of God’s blessings as me, which may include differences in many areas of life! Leave people alone to be examples of God’s love. One day you may wake up and find your child, sister, brother, in the same situation. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Love is shown not spoken.
I admire Tom Lambrecht for his restraint, in the wake of having been criticized in this space. Once is all I observe that Tom replied to his critics, and then he used a brevity of words in doing so. Please notice that in his initial statement, Lambrecht was not criticizing the person nor the office of the Bishop. He was criticizing the actions of the Bishop. His use of “poke” in “poke in the eye” was as a verb. A verb is a word used to describe an action. His use of “assault” in “double-barreled assault” was as a noun denoting action. Lambrecht was speaking to the Bishop’s actions, not maligning her personage. I have not met Tom Lambrecht. Were I to meet him, I would not be surprised if I discovered that his heart is filled with God’s love and that he reaches out to all people in love. Some folks wonder how conservative evangelical Christians could possibly be loving. Many years ago, a neighboring pastor who happened to be strongly progressive, repeatedly took verbal shots at me in public regarding my conservative evangelical approach to Christianity. For instance, mocked me for being a part of the “saw dust trail” (Whatever that was supposed to mean) of the camp meeting experience of bygones. I just endured it. The progressive pastor and I actually became close. One day, a gay man sought out the progressive pastor for counseling, as he was frightened that he might have contracted the HIV virus. The progressive pastor did not counsel the gay man but instead suggested the gay gentleman see me for counseling. I do not share that story here to make myself look like a great person (Which I am not). My wife, a licensed counselor with twenty five years experience, reminds me now and again that what really matters to people is that they know we truly care about them. I would not be surprised if I discovered Tom Lambrecht is a pastor who demonstrates to LGBT people that he truly cares about them. And I furthermore admire Tom Lambrecht for staying as focused on his task as a member of The Commission on the Way Forward, as does Robert Mueller remain focused on the Grand Jury Investigation.
Just as a lifelong Methodist member looking on quietly on the whole bickering on both sides of the issue, we had better get ready for a split Methodist church as this issue will never be settled harmoniously.
Where do we stand? What are standars? We need to love the sinner but not their sins. If we do not stand for something we stand for nothing. We need to follow the present BOOK Of DISCIPLINE. The LGBTQ should form their own church and not high jack the present Standards in the United Methodist Church. We need to pray for the LGBTQ move on and allow us to pray that find peace with the Lord
Dear Rev. Morris, You fail to realize that if every non-heterosexual in The UMC left today, and formed “their own church”…..you would soon find a whole new group of non-heterosexual people being born to the remaining members of The UMC, being baptized and growing up in The UMC. You see, it is just normal. Not all people are born heterosexual. And if you remember, Jesus calls us all to follow Him. All. Heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals. All.
Yes–He calls us to follow Him–and His teachings about marriage being between two persons, a man and a woman (Mark 10, Matthew 19) and His rejection of sexual relationships outside that marriage (Mark 7, Matthew 15).
Rather than teaching people to reject Our Lord’s teachings, Ms. Vega, oughtn’t we try to help and support one another as well all fumble toward following His teachings?
It seems to me, in the past UMC failed in speaking out against sexual sins of adultery, incest, consenting adults , and the likes thereof. The result of this, we have the disappearing of the family God suggested we be. As a result not only has families suffered our Christian nation has lost it’s witness to the world. Let us not continues to accept behavior displeasing to the word of God. We must remember, Gods love and His severity, as the Book Of Roman tells us. We do not throw the repentant drunk or any other out of fellowship in the church the thing that worries me is who we allow to teach us what. The day of Christ’s return is nearer every day and we are told to be careful what sounds good may not be. Love love sounds good, what does that mean? There a way that looks like the way, but it only a road that runs along side the way that never ends to where we all want to go. Pray pray pray for the truth to be revealed and followed. Thank you.
Tom, good for you.
Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky has violated her vows (and the Book of Discipline) and that speaks to state of her character. She has also sinned against a Holy God who is LOVE is also one of JUDGEMENT. For her sake and that of the church, I hope she seeks repentance.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. –Romans 1:18-32.
The actions by Bishop Stanovsky are just another nail driven into Jesus on this cross of homosexuality. The immorality of this issue and what I knew then and know even more so today is the main reason I left my church of over fifty years . I cannot go along with such blatant disregard for Gods Word. Love one another for sure, do not judge that’s Gods job, but uphold His Word also. Its my belief from what God said concerning any sin , which LGBTQ is, that unless you ask forgiveness, repent, and turn away from your sin, whatever it is , you will not spend eternity in Heaven. So the UMC up until now apparently believed that also, but due to social pressure, the UMC has ” changed its mind”. It don’t work that way folks.
Bottom line, folks….do we as Christians, as well as Methodists, believe what the Bible teaches is sin…or do we dare believe that we can take God’s word concerning what He calls sin and twist them to suit our desires? The practice of the gay/lesbian/transgender/bi-sexual lifestyle is sin, according to God. At least that’s what MY Bible teaches. And I am praying that is the same Bible that my United Methodist leaders believe. Otherwise we are a lost cause.
People speak of God’s grace, love, and non-judgement, which is true. But just as some Bishops and Pastors in the UMC ignore scripture which instructs against sexual immorality, thievery, drunkeness and evil intentions, these same people are ignoring that Jesus teaches we must repent of our sins (ALL SINS), ask forgiveness for our sin and then go and sin no more. Then, the grace of God will be granted. We all have obligations to fulfill before God’s grace is granted us. And we have obligation to oppose those who would attempt to lead us astray. The UMC should STAY FAITHFUL and refuse to be led astray by those who pick and choose which Holy Scripture they think is applicable and disregard that Holy Scripture which today’s culture in the United States has deemed irrelevant. We are not the church of “Anything Goes”.
I am deeply grieved by the comments on this website. Most of the comments are just people spouting their opinions with little knowledge of God’s Word, and some heretically distort what little they do (or do not) know about the Bible. You can see for yourself all of the arguing back and forth, name calling, distortions, and other sinful behavior unbefitting children of the King.
After reading all of the comments, I thought, “These people need to know what God says.” I figured that if I posted my opinions about what God says, it would just lead to more personal attacks. I decided to simply post God’s Word (because the Bible is God breathed) with no commentary from me so that readers could discern for themselves God’s plain teaching. If anyone had an argument about my post, their argument would be with God (or they might attack Paul) because I didn’t say anything on my own. So I posted Romans 1:18-32. Unfortunately, I am not surprised that my comment was rejected.
Have we fallen so far that we can no longer stomach God’s Word? Are we too ashamed of it to post it, especially if it clearly defines God’s views on topics we are debating? Is God’s Word now too mean spirited? What if I had posted one of the other numerous passages in the New (or Old) Testament that deal with sexual sins in the Church? Would those have been rejected, too? Is the Bible no longer God’s truth? Is Jesus now subservient to the whims of the church? As a lay delegate to my Annual Conference, I have been distressed for more than a decade that we rarely invoke God’s Word or seek the Scriptures to learn and discern His will when making important decisions.
I’m growing weary of all of this, and I have to keep reminding myself of what God commanded us to do and to pray for His strength. Fifty years is a long time. The reason that we are in this dilemma is because we and those before us have been disobedient (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). In my opinion, It is better to be divided by Truth than to be united in error. Our problem is that we don’t fear God anymore. I long for the day when Jesus will return and straighten that which is crooked.
Thank you for your comment, Wesley. I am sorry that your posting of Romans 1 was not approved. The web filter put that posting into the spam file for some reason, and I did not see it. I have posted it now.
Thank you for your reply and for restoring my faith. I’m glad that you share all comments on your site. When I posted on your website, I posted identical comments on Bishop Stanovsky’s open letter back to you to see what they would do, but so far, neither of my comments have been posted, which I anticipated. I fear we are entering a time when God’s Word will be filtered out more and more. As Paul told Timothy, a time is coming when people will no longer endure sound teaching (2 Timothy 4:1-5). I’m comforted to know that the Confessing Movement, Good News, and Wesleyan Covenant Association still do.
You are disheartened? That gay people can serve God? You should know how much that hurts me. I have been serving in the Methodist Church for 8 years. But to you, I am a heartbreak. Are you sure that you are speaking the mind of God? Or are you getting paid to say what the Book of Discipline says? SMH to hear you waste ministry hours and getting paid for it. I imagine that you will disregard my feelings and my point of view because I am obviously one of the reprobates that dishearten you. I am a human being with feelings and I have a purpose here on earth to serve God and His children. You would take that away. Are you sure you are doing God’s work? Or is this just part of the job that you get money for? Why else would you attack your very own members? I can always quit the church and find peace. But you, you will always have the fight in your heart where ever you go…because you have picked a fight to hurt God’s gay ones. May Peace to find God’s all embracing love, find its way to you..
I am unsure about writing in this form, but here goes
I am an 80 year old retired country preacher, with more experience than I have sense, but there is one thing I am sure of; that is the authority and validity of the New Testament. While in Paul’s writings there are the very few statements condemning homosexuality, there is a strong thread of openess an acceptance. I sat down a few years ago and read he Gospels and Paul’s writings, just for fun and not dealing at that time with homosexuality or any other controversary. Suddenly it struck me (and the Holy Spirit may have had something to do with it) that one of the threads that goes through this great series of Biblical material was that of openness and acceptance. In Jesus’ ministry and Paul’s writings there is the wonderful stream of thought and activity that says over and over that the Lord, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and all that is holy and spiritual is open to all people, whatever their sexuality. I find myself wanting to be holy in that way.
I am happily heterosexual. When my mother was about my current age, I asked her about my Northwest Kansas community when I was growing up. I wondered why homosexuality did not occur in my childhood in that place. She smiled rather tolerantally, and asked if I remembered Betsey and Ethel (names changed) and I said “We said they were just different.” She smiled and said “That was the word then! Different, not bad, not sinful, not wrong—-Just different.” They were women farmer neighbors. I had never made the connection. Fine, hard working people.
Right now I accept the authority of the Bible, as I always have. I see that Jesus life and ministry was open and welcoming to all. We don’t and won’t know whether the origional disciples and other followers were homo or hetero, except maybe Peter, who was married. If Jesus was not interested and Paul was not interested in their sexuality, to mention it, then neither am I. The Church should also be as open and disinterested in others’ sexuality. Let us bless their marriages, Let us celerate their ministry with ordaination. Let us be Holy! Let us be open! Let us be accepting!
This my first time writing in this form.
How about 1 Timothy 3:2 Elders should be beyond reproach… Now whether or not anyone thinks it is a sin, that is between them and God. It is not for me to judge, but if anyone may think it is wrong then the elder is not beyond
reproach. Plus breaking rules of the church plus you not beyond reproach.
As a retired elder, I am weary of this whole subject!
The current United Methodist Church has Bishops who openly defy their vows to uphold the polity and discipline of the Church, bishops and conferences who make up their own rules as they openly resist anything or anybody that does not meet their theologically progressive standards, and pastors who do not believe in the authority of scripture. The UMC is not united – it is untied! United from Christian history and teaching and untied from the truth and authority of scripture.
Disagree with me all you want. As for me, I will not submit to preaching and teaching that defies what the church has long held to be God’s truth revealed in holy scripture.