Saturday, March 14, 2020
It is all about sex. . .
For example, the Episcopal Church has shown nearly every latitude about doctrine when it comes to what is believed and confessed about the deity of Christ, the historicity of His resurrection, the errors in Scripture, etc... The same church body that tolerated and even celebrated the celebrity status of Bishop John Shelby Spong and his kookiness when it came to the core doctrines of orthodox Christianity finds it impossible to allow a Bishop William Howard Love (Albany) to reject the decision of the Episcopal Church to sanction same sex marriage and clergy. He is no fundamentalist when it comes to Scripture but affirms the ordination of women and his chief error, it would seem, is to offend the GLBTQ+ lobby in the EC.
In the ELCA, you can worship a goddess (Ebenezer or Her Church, San Francisco) or suggest that Jesus was a naughty little boy and rebellious teen like any other (December 2019 The Living Lutheran) or be lauded as the first transgender pastor or bishop (or the first transgender pastor or bishop of color), but the one thing you cannot do and advance in the ELCA is to reject the decisions of a minority to sanction same sex marriage and open the clergy door to every version of GLBTQ+ there might be. That was too much for some who had tolerated the climate change gospel or liberal social positions on every other issue (abortion, for instance). So about 600,000 or 700,000 left to make a new church that looked an awful lot like the old ELCA prior to 2009 rather than accept the decision.
And in the not so united Methodist Church, apparently the church found it impossible to deal with Bishop Joseph Sprague, who denied Christ’s eternal deity and bodily resurrection or to sanction a UMC church hosted a conference where the resurrection was denied. But when it comes to sex and gender issues, enough is enough. Give the conservatives $25M to leave and the liberal progressives get to keep everything else (largely because they are American and have the positions of leadership in their pocket). How does it happen that you can believe anything you want about Jesus but when it comes to sex and gender people suddenly get a backbone?
My point is not to harp on the failings and failures of these church bodies but to suggest that orthodoxy has come and gone for most of Christianity -- at least when it comes to creed and confession and Scripture. Most of Protestantism is a lost cause. You do not have believe much of anything to join or remain BUT you must believe certain things about sex and gender. Now people tell me (those who have left or are leaving these church bodies) that it is not just about sex, but the track record suggests differently.