FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2019
A Statement on Ordination Standards
From the Renewal and Reform Coalition
From the very beginning of the 45-year conflict within United Methodism over
marriage and sexual ethics, the issue has never been about temptation or
attractions. It has always centered on behavior. With that clear focus, the
Traditional Plan continues to create standards for practice, not orientation or
attraction, despite what some are declaring.
One of the provisions of the Traditional Plan recently approved by the Judicial
Council amended Discipline ¶ 415.6 to prohibit bishops from consecrating a
bishop or commissioning or ordaining clergy who are “self-avowed homosexuals.”
The omission of the word “practicing” is being taken by some as the Traditional
Plan’s intention to change the church’s longstanding policy that it is the practice
of homosexuality, not the attraction to persons of the same sex, which is contrary
to Christian teaching.
The Renewal and Reform Coalition supported the Traditional Plan and some of
our leaders submitted it. In this particular petition (90036), the word “practicing”
was inadvertently omitted when the plan was submitted. It was never our
intention to change our church’s policy of what behavior is acceptable for clergy.
Our attempts to correct the omission in Petition 90036 in St. Louis were thwarted
by the delay tactics used by opponents of the Traditional Plan.
In light of the confusion caused by this omission, the Renewal and Reform
Coalition advocates the following:
1) We plan to introduce revisions to the Traditional Plan to the 2020 General
Conference, including adding the word “practicing” to ¶ 415.6.
2) Until that correction is made, we urge that no complaints be filed against
any bishop who consecrates, ordains, or commissions a “self-avowed
homosexual” who is not engaged (or intending to engage) in the practice.
The Coalition affirms the biblical understanding that sexual relations are reserved
exclusively for the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. We
acknowledge that all of us experience attractions, desires, or temptations to
transgress the boundaries God has established for human behavior in the area of
sexuality, as well as in many other dimensions of life. To be tempted or attracted
is not a sin, but to embrace that temptation and act upon it leads us into behavior
that violates God’s will for us. We have great respect for those who choose by
God’s grace to live in celibacy in order to honor the teachings of Scripture and the
church, as well as for those who pursue and by God’s grace experience the depth
of healing that can lead to healthy opposite-sex marriage and family.
To reiterate, The United Methodist Church’s long-standing policy is that the
practice, not the attraction, of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian
teaching. The Renewal and Reform Coalition supports this long-standing policy
and urges all United Methodists to act consistently with it.
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The Renewal and Reform Coalition includes Good News, the Confessing
Movement, UMAction, the Wesleyan Covenant Association, Lifewatch, Renew,
and Transforming Congregations. Although independently governed, these
organizations work together to foster scriptural renewal and reform within The
United Methodist Church.