Methodist Minister in Virginia Suspended—Update
Three weeks ago I posted a link to an Agape Press report on Edward Johnson, a Methodist minister in South Hill, Virginia, who had been suspended for a year by his bishop, Charlene Kammerer, for refusing to allow a self-avowed, practicing homosexual to become a member of his church.
An Associated Press report, via Agape Press yesterday, states: . . .
Leaders of Good News -- an evangelical renewal ministry within the United Methodist Church -- are denouncing [the suspension] as "a serious error." Good News' chairman, Rev. Tom Lambrecht, asks, "Does the pastor of a local church no longer have the freedom to be discerning about who is ready to be received into membership in the United Methodist Church?"
Earlier this week, Good News issued a press release stating:
"I have received numerous emails and phone calls from pastors across the United States who have learned about this egregious action," said the Rev. James V. Heidinger II, President and Publisher of Good News. "They are deeply distressed, as are we, that a faithful pastor who was seeking to enforce the policies of our Book of Discipline was summarily removed from his church and left with no appointment and no pay. The matter screams with injustice," Heidinger added. . . .
The Good News leaders see a series of negative consequences from this action: A seasoned pastor has been suddenly removed from his congregation and from an appointment for upholding the Discipline; a congregation is angry at the sudden and unjust removal of its pastor; a practicing homosexual is feeling justified in his sinful behavior; other United Methodist clergy feel threatened by possible, similar action; and the unity of the denomination has been made even more fragile as a result of this unjustifiable action.