CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A United Methodist clergy woman in Tennessee has had her ministerial license revoked for officiating a same-sex “wedding” in violation of the UMC’s Book of Discipline.
The Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church withdrew the license of Anna Golladay, associate pastor at both St. Marks and St. Elmo United Methodist in Chattanooga, on Feb. 28.
Golladay said that she knew the Book of Discipline prohibited leaders from conducting same-sex ceremonies, but did it anyway.
“Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches,” section 341.6 reads.
The Book of Discipline also requires its leaders to personally “maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world.”
“If I am going to step out in faith knowing that I am potentially crossing a line based on the rules of a man-made book, I wanted to be intentional about that,” Golladay told local television station WTVC. “I wanted to be sure that it was exactly what God intended me to do.”
“I very intentionally agreed to this wedding because I believed wholly in my call to be their pastor,” she said.
Both congregations are open and affirming of homosexuals.
District Superintendent Randy Martin learned of the matter after being provided with a photo of the event and advised that it was Golladay who officiated the ceremony. Golladay was subsequently contacted about the matter, and as she confirmed that she was indeed involved, he submitted the information to the Scenic South District Committee on Ministry.
The Committee then voted to revoke her license, the announcement of which was made on March 4.
According to the United Methodist News Service, Martin said that Golladay may still continue to be a member of the two locations and is free to be involved in any activities.
One member of St. Elmo, who identifies as a homosexual and is the chair of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, told reporters that he wants the prohibition removed from the Book of Discipline.
“We do understand that it is in the Book of Discipline, that is was wrong, but the Book of Discipline needs to be changed,” he told WTVC, claiming that Golladay was only doing God’s work.
However, as previously reported, Christians believe that sexual relations between those of the same sex are clearly prohibited by God’s immutable moral laws, and that all men are born with sinful inclinations that are a distortion from God’s original design at Creation. The sinful nature of man is why Jesus said in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
“After Paul had reviewed his catalog of sin and warned that those who give themselves to such sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God, he turned to the Church and reminded Christians, ‘Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Corinthians 6:11),” writes Albert Mohler, as published on DesiringGod.com.
“This text declares that Christians, saved by the grace of God, are those who have come out of these patterns of sin, who have been justified, and whom the Holy Spirit progressively conforms to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he explains.
Mohler says that this gospel hope of regeneration and rebirth for all men—no matter what the sin—is, of course, not proclaimed by the secular world.
“This message of transformation by the grace of God—the presentation of atonement and redemption in full biblical glory—stands in stark contrast to the message homosexuals are given by the secular world. Therapists, sexologists, physiologists, and sociologists say to homosexuals, ‘This is who you are. Just claim your identity as a homosexual man or woman and press for full rights in the normalization of your lifestyle,'” he laments.
“Christians have no right to excise homosexuality from the Bible, but our ultimate purpose is to move from the diagnosis of sin to the power of the gospel. We are the people who know that Christ has won the victory,” Mohler exhorts.
“The God of the Bible is not only clear in judgment, but powerful to save. The Church must declare without reservation the Bible’s doctrine of regeneration. This is not a self-help program or a mere sexual recovery program—it is a comprehensive program of transformation as the dead are made alive. The old things have passed away even as all things become new.”