Willimon endorses Bishop Carter statement

Retired Bishop and interim pastor Will Willimon republished on his blog Florida Bishop Ken Carter’s message to his annual conference on United Methodist mission with gays and lesbians.

Willimon also called the rejection of the Mike Slaughter and Adam Hamilton proposal on LGBT language in the Book of Discipline one of the many failings of General Conference 2012.

10 thoughts on “Willimon endorses Bishop Carter statement

  1. With respect, I don’t think the former bishop realizes how likely the Slaughter-Hamilton proposal’s passage would have finally caused a split in the church.

  2. Willimon has been equivocal about rather than prophetic on this matter for some time, at least ever since his remarks at the Confessing Movement Conference in Indianapolis in 1999 were sharply challenged by an incredulous Billy Abraham. Willimon has added NOTHING NEW to the conversation, except revealing his waffling.

  3. To elaborate a little on my earlier comment, what good does acknowledging that there are unorthodox members in our church who deny (defy?) traditional, historic, orthodox Christian doctrine do? It may be acknowledging the reality of our church in the pews (though I have a feeling it’s more a reflection of our church in the pulpit), but to paraphrase Bishop Cannon, why are we letting the world set the agenda for the church on this matter? As far as I can see, all it really does is weaken our witness by presenting a divided front on the issue.

  4. I wish Bishop Carter (and Bishop Willimon) had mentioned our church’s understanding of Christian marriage (between a man and a woman), and the moral standard that we endorse–celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in marriage. Holding these standards up, speaking about them, and living within these standards is part of the charge we are called to keep as we seek to become a holy people. I’m afraid many of our “leaders” will choose to simply be silent rather than offend others in the name of “graciousness”. Yikes.

  5. You may want to read the following

    About Adam Hamilton’s recent sermon on homosexuality
    Re. Brent L.White

    If these leaders are going to talk history in reference to GLBT issues they need to do a little more study. GLBT relationships were not exclusively related to pagan worship, abuse, and prostitution. Contrary to what some believe females were also provided with extracurricular activities as well as the male. Hope for the eunuch is found in Isaiah 56, 3-5.

    It is true slaves and orphans were many times castrated and used for sexual entertainment.
    It is also true history records love stories, marriage and long term relationships between same sex partners. The history, poetry, and art are prized within the GLBT community and used to sure up the validity of the relationships. One only has to go to GLBT History sites to see that is true.
    It would be a stretch to believe the Apostle Paul was not aware of the GLBT practice.
    The Apostle Paul was fully versed in OT teaching and GLBT relationships and practices are recorded and prohibited in OT writings.

    The Apostle Paul we know visited Lesbos where lesbian relationship was acceptable. One only has to read any of today’s Vacation Brochures to get a picture of the pride they take in the history of Lesbos.
    Nero was famous in Paul’s day for his marriage to Sporus and Pythagoras. 
    Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria & Augustine are just a few who wrote of homosexuality in negative terms.
    It is also true GLBT practices would eventually be outlawed due to the efforts of the Christian Church and the Jews.

  6. The Slaughter-Hamilton amendment might have allowed us to begin to move past an idolatry of sexual normality and a peculiar view of holiness that defines our holiness according to our stances on other peoples’ behavior. The Duke Divinity endowment took a big hit because they refused to turn away gay seminary students, so I realize there’s good reason to have a lot of anxiety about an exodus of big donors particularly in my beloved SEJ if there’s anything other than unequivocal condemnation. But I agree with Hamilton that this is not a question of Biblical authority, but Biblical interpretation.

    1. I find it interesting that your assumptions are that so-called “heteronormativity” is idolatry, and that the view that holiness is to some degree what you do as well as why (Wesley would have called this the “holiness of life” part of “holiness of heart and life”) is ‘peculiar.’

      Insofar as the Bible clearly indicates that male and female were created for one another (Gen. 2, Matthew 19:4-6), and insofar as homosexual behavior is condemned in every instance it is mentioned in the Bible, it is hardly idolatry to note that God intends for sexual activity to only take place in a heterosexual marriage. As for the view that holiness of heart and life includes proscribed behaviors as well as prescribed behaviors, it’s only peculiar insofar as it is the view of the Wesleyan movement and the Bible itself that holiness has an ethical component.

      I’m curious, though. You say that you believe this is not a question of Biblical authority, but Biblical interpretation. The Methodist Articles of Religion say that the Bible contains all that is necessary for salvation. How do you engage with the text to determine what is “necessary”? The Church historically has looked at even the Old Testament for what it meant to the people of Israel as the chosen people of God, so as to understand God better. What do the various passages in the Old Testament (to say nothing of the New) relating to homosexual behavior say to you? What did it mean to the people of Israel that they believed that God condemned homosexual behavior as an “abomination”?

      If you say that it means that the Bible was written by men who were groping about for God but who were not infallibly (if mysteriously) led by the Holy Spirit to write and canonize various writings, I would contend that makes it an issue of Biblical authority, not interpretation.

    2. Morgan, you are wrong. You have bought into the lies of the homosexual lobby: God made us this way, we’re born this way, we cannot change, and our practices are not sin.

      There is no evidence that homosexuality is innate. This is a public and political deception perpetrated by the lobby. Over and over again one reads in the reconciling movement that “God made me (us) this way.” This is a convenient public lie that serves to disarm those who don’t want to talk about the issue. It is also a mantra that, repeated over and over again and reinforced by political and religious cultures totally clueless concerning the nature of the human person and the Divine plan for man, gives the “homosexual” a disabling mechanism of denial. There are things we cannot not know. The lie provides a structure of denial for men and women who experience same-sex attraction who have surrendered to their desire for same-sex genital intimacy which they cannot not know is contrary to their design and their Creator’s intentions.

      It has nothing to do with behaviors: it has to do with a program of deception and intimidation that demonizes men and women whose only fault is to affirm what the Church has always and everywhere believed, taught and confessed on the basis of the word of God about the nature of man and the Father’s gift of sexuality in the context of His plan for dominion by those He created in His image–all for His glory.

      Idolatry of sexual normality? This is political rhetoric, not prophetic or pastoral insight. You project evil intention on those who are humble servants of Jesus who struggle with their (our) sin(s) every day. I am an alcoholic who was formerly in bondage to alcohol and other gross sins. Whatever there was in my life which bent me toward my bondage, I acknowledge my bondage(s) and rely on the grace of God for victory over my bent to sinning.

      Homosexual advocates and apologists in the church smugly point to slavery and the oppression of women as examples of Spirit-driven movements which God used to perfect His church. The analogy is wrong-headed. The apologists are on the side of the slave-holders. We need to hear from Lincoln, who said of the slave powers: “Evil has within itself its own self-aggrandizing inertia. The slave powers are not satisfied merely with retaining ownership of their slaves; they will not stop until we stop calling slavery wrong and join them in calling it right.”

      Read the responses to Bp. Carter’s sensitive and thoughtful word. In one voice, we will hear: “A positive step, but the Bishop doesn’t really embrace and identify the pain of the excluded.” The lobby will never accept or acknowledge the possibility that they are sinners in bondage to sexual sin.

      It’s not about endowments. All the endowments in the world cannot save a denomination whose time is long past. Carter, Willimon, Hamilton, Slaughter, do not care if the broken receive healing. Their only concern is to save an institution that is in schism.

      The sinner invited to the gospel feast must be willing for God to reveal her sin. We must want God more than our sin. Those who want the UMC to formalize and institutionalize our division on this issue do disservice to the Church, and to those they would mollify in the name of peace.

  7. Actually, Holiness and sexual norms are not peculiar at all and they are not forms of idolatry.
    Scripture and the directive given by the prophets and apostles make that clear.
    The many forms of sexual practice man can dream up seem to unlimited.
    From masochism bestiality mans pleasures extend.
    I don’t think you will find the church supporting those form of sexual practice in the near future.
    The word paraphilia has replaced the term sexual perversion to eliminate the stigma attached.

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