The denominations may be different, but the rules being broken and the tactics being applied are the same. Both the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) prohibit their ordained leaders from participating in the performance of same-sex weddings. All ordained officers have agreed to submit to and be governed by the mutually agreed upon constitutional standards of their respective denominations, unless apparently, their personal conscience dictates otherwise.
That embrace of anarchy is demonstrated regularly in the PCUSA by advocates for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) concerns. And the tactics used in the PCUSA are mirrored in the UMC. And they do not seek to hide their offenses, in fact, the use of press releases is now common practice.
One case in point, on Sept. 25, the Communications Director for the Reconciling Ministries Network issued a press release that begins:
UNITED METHODIST BISHOP TO OFFICIATE SAME-SEX WEDDING
On October 26, 2013, Bishop Melvin Talbert will be performing a holy wedding ceremony in Birmingham, Alabama for Bobby Prince and Joe Openshaw, two members of The United Methodist Church (UMC). Talbert is a retired bishop in The UMC.
Openshaw and Prince seek to build their lives together and have the church present in that life. They believe that commitment to love in marriage helps bring them toward the fullness of their individual humanities. They believe that marriage strengthens their relationship in ways that benefit the entire community. They have been together for 12 years.
Openshaw was born into the Methodist faith, and Prince has been Methodist for a number of years. They are members of Discovery UMC, located near Birmingham.
For many reasons outlined in their story, they wanted to get married—not just legally (which they did in DC), but in a religious ceremony. Their story can be found at: www.rmnetwork.org/openshaw-prince
Note the emphasis on what the two people want and what “they believe.”
No mention is made of what God has clearly revealed He wants nor is their mention of the Methodist “disciplines,” which are abundantly clear on the subject.
The following excerpts are taken from the 2012 edition of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church.
Paragraph 161 B) Marriage – We affirm the sanctity of the marriage covenant that is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between a man and a woman. We believe that God’s blessing rests upon such marriage whether or not there are children of the union. We reject social norms that assume different standards for women than for men in marriage. We support laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Paragraph 161 F) Human Sexuality – We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift.
Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults.
We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.
Additionally, much like the PCUSA, the UMC has ecclesiastical court cases related to these issues. But none of that is stopping individuals like former Bishop Melvin Talbert from planning to commit ecclesiastical treason.
The motivation to perform this particular same-sex ceremony on Oct. 26 is that the UMC will be hearing several cases that week (Oct. 23-26 in Baltimore) related to the open defiance of UMC clergy to the church’s standards.
As posted on the PCUSA website, September 30th,
“Facing a wave of open defiance to church law, the top court of the United Methodist Church is set to consider rulings challenging church teaching on homosexuality.
The United Methodist Judicial Council will decide whether church ministries can advocate for the acceptance of homosexuality, whether ministers can officiate at same-sex ceremonies and whether a regional conference can urge members to ignore portions of Methodist law.
The parallels to tactics in the PCUSA are impossible to ignore as is the assault on natural marriage on all fronts.