ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Delegates at the United Methodist Conference voted on Tuesday to retain the denomination’s ban on officiating or hosting same-sex “weddings” and ordaining practicing homosexuals.
According to reports, three plans had been presented for selection: The “Traditional Plan,” which retains the current prohibitions; the “One Church Plan,” which would have allowed each individual congregation to decide for itself whether or not to make the allowances—with the exception of ordination, which would be left up to each regional conference; and the “Simple Plan,” submitted by the Queer Clergy Caucus, which would have removed the prohibitions completely from the Book of Discipline.
Those attending the four-day General Conference Special Session ultimately voted down the One Church Plan and the Simple Plan, with votes of 436 to 386 and 494 to 323, respectively.
According to UM News, an effort was made on Tuesday to bring the One Church Plan back, but was unsuccessful, and “[a]fter hours of delaying tactics by opponents,” the Traditional Plan was brought up for a vote. It passed 438 to 384.
The move reportedly increases penalties for those who violate the Book of Discipline’s prohibition, but the United Methodist Judicial Council is to also review the plan for any segment that could infringe the denomination’s constitution.
Upon passage, supporters broke out into the hymn “Blessed Assurance.” Opponents began chanting and protestors were blocked from coming on to the floor.
The varying sides spoke ardently about their views throughout the special session.
“You will be putting a virus into the American church that will make it very sick, and it will be sick quickly,” Thomas Berlin of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia claimed in speaking against the Traditional Plan. “Many of us have members who will leave and have already notified us to tell us so.”
“Friends, please stop sowing seeds of deceit,” said Nancy Denardo of Pennsylvania in voicing opposition to the One Church Plan. “I’m truly sorry if the truth of the gospel hurts anyone; I love you and I love you enough to tell the truth.”
“The Traditional Plan is not only traditional but biblical; it ensures God’s word remains foundational to the life and growth of the UMC. I submit we love our LGBTQ friends [by upholding the Bible],” Jerry Kulah of the Africa Initiative Coalition declared.
According to Fox News, 43 percent of delegates were from overseas, with the majority being from Africa. Africans were strongly in support of the Traditional Plan.
As previously reported, the Bible teaches that all men are in the same predicament: All are born with the Adamic sin nature, having various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law of God and being utterly incapable of changing themselves. It is why Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and be transformed from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus saith unto him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’
Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.’”
Ephesians 2:1-3 reads, “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience—among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
The late preacher J.C. Ryle once declared in his sermon “Regeneration,” “Examine yourselves, then, I pray you, whether you are born again. Have you good solid reasons for thinking that you have put off the old man which is corrupt, and put on the new man which is created after God in holiness? Are you renewed in the spirit of your minds? Are you bringing forth the fruits of the flesh or the fruits of the Spirit? Are you carnally minded or heavenly minded? Are your affections with the world or with God? Are you natural men or are you spiritual men? Oh, but it were no charity in me to keep back this weighty truth, and it will be no wisdom in you to put off and delay considering it.”