Saturday, July 09, 2005

Methodist Minister in Virginia Suspended

An Agape Press article this week reports that a Methodist minister in South Hill, Virginia, has been suspended by his bishop for refusing to allow a self-avowed, practicing homosexual to become a member of his church.

According to the article: . . .

Bishop Charlene Kammerer of the United Methodist Church (UMC) Virginia Annual Conference intervened in the case and declared that Pastor Edward Johnson was obligated to accept a homosexual man as a member of South Hill Methodist Church. After Johnson declined, Kammerer placed him on an involuntary leave of absence until he complies with her request.

Mark Tooley, director of the United Methodist Action Committee for the Institute on Religion and Democracy, says the suspension is disturbing on several levels.

"Most obviously she was compromising the ability of local clergy to make their own decisions as to whether or not someone is prepared to join the church," Tooley asserts. "And United Methodist teachings do say that when you join the church, you are expected to uphold the beliefs of the church and to show repentance in your life."

. . . According to Tooley, the homosexual man involved is proud and unrepentant of his sinful lifestyle, and seemingly wants to make himself a test case against the church's teachings. That being the case, the IRD spokesman says Pastor Johnson was justified in denying the man membership.

In an article from the South Hill Enterprise, church member Gary Creamer said, "I feel Rev. Johnson was holding to Biblical principle in denying membership to that individual. I feel extremely sad and grieved. I feel a terrible injustice was done."

Creamer told the local paper that church members were never consulted in the matter: "I just feel like the congregation as a whole was ignored. I don't think anyone had any idea of the gravity of what was going on."

The Agape Press article also points out that Bishop Kammerer chairs a committee that oversees the denomination's Lake Junaluska conference and retreat facility in North Carolina. According to the IRD's Mark Tooley, Lake Junaluska will be the site of a pro-homosexual rally over the Labor Day weekend organized by a Methodist group known as Reconciling Congregations. Tooley says this group is committed to overturning the Methodist Church's teachings on marriage and sexual ethics.


At Saturday, July 09, 2005 3:38:00 AM, Blogger Matt Hill Comer said...

Reconciling Methodists want to do nothing more than create a loving and accepting atmosphere within the Church... the same thing Christ did for the people He ministered to in His time.


At Saturday, July 09, 2005 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

I encourage you to read Alexander Samuels post " Bethlehem Baptist Church and Homosexuality ( and then click on its link to Bethlehem Baptist Church's position statement on homosexuality (

At Saturday, July 09, 2005 1:05:00 PM, Anonymous Alex Samuels said...

There is a difference in the theology of Christ reconciling people to God who have repented and sought forgiveness for their sins and this new policy that is adopted to allow the church to be reconciled to people who are unrepentant and do not admit the sinfulness in their way of life.

At Saturday, July 09, 2005 7:58:00 PM, Anonymous Joel Gillespie said...

I think the sentence in the first comment would better be completed, perhaps as follows: reconciling Methodists want to do nothing more than create a loving and accepting atmosphere within the Church for all those who think like reconciling Methodists. Once again, just as in Mickey's other recent posts, one is faced with the obvious...theological liberalism, which produces the environment that would cause a minister to be suspended "for refusing to allow a self-avowed, practicing homosexual to become a member of his church" is at the core, and in every significant way, a different religion altogether than that of the historic orthodox Christian faith, that of the ancient Creeds, and that of the Gospels and Acts and Epistles. It would be better just to end the confusion and say so, rather than reconstructing, or deconstructing the message of the New Testament to make it fit the cultural/social/moral norms of today. Honesty is the best policy. There is no line of continuum between the message of Jesus and the Apostles and the ancient church on the one hand, and the Bishop Charlene Kammerer on the other. The attempts to rewrite the Gospels to fit our scruples, or to put a divide between Jesus and Paul, or to suppose one has found the “real” Jesus hidden behind all the various agendas of the editors of the Gospels and Epistles is really only to look into the mirror at oneself. For that is all one finds; that is, what one wants to find. Better to despair and say that we know nothing of Jesus, and better still to rename one’s religion as anything other than Christianity, so as not to confuse it with what has gone by that name since the Apostles started baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


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