The United Methodist Church's (UMC) General Conference is currently taking place in Tampa, Fla., and will feature its continuing debate on gay clergy and same-sex marriage. Some have suggested that, in order to keep its membership from dwindling, the Methodist church must come to a compromise on its long-held doctrines on such issues.
Nearly 1,000 delegates, 40 percent of whom live outside the United States, are present at the General Conference, which happens once every four years. At each assembly for more than 40 years now, the UMC has debated its position on homosexuality. The conference, which takes place between April 24 and May 4, announced that this year there are more than 70 petitions on homosexuality, many of which seek to rewrite articles 161F and 161B in the 2008 United Methodist Book of Discipline that address homosexual clergy and same-sex marriage.
The UMC supports the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, and requires clergy members to adhere to "the highest standards of holy living." According to the church, "The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church." more >>
More than 40,000 people gathered at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow as Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, declared on Sunday, a nationwide Day of Prayer, that the church is "under attack by persecutors."
The Day of Prayer was indented to unite Russia's believers amid the recent turmoil the church has faced, particularly relating to criticism of its support of president-elect Vladimir Putin, who is considered unpopular in some circles, especially among the country's youth, Reuters reported.
The Russian Orthodox Church leader told those gathered Sunday at an outdoor stage that regardless of political differences, desecrating a church should never be an acceptable practice. more >>
The New York Times' youngest-ever op-ed columnist and also one of the few conservative Christians at the esteemed newspaper, Ross Douthat, made the case at the Q Conference Tuesday evening that it is not atheism that is replacing American Christianity, but bad religion.
During an interview with Michael Cromartie, vice president at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., Douthat presented key points from his soon-to-be released book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, in which he examines the historical story of institutional Christianity in America and then makes the case that heresy – which includes the prosperity gospel – is threatening American society.
"The overview basically makes the case that what has happened in American religion over the last 50 years is not that the country has grown more secular in any meaningful way. And in fact, if you look at certain factors of religiosity in American life – people reporting direct experiences of God and spiritual experiences, even belief in miracles and afterlife – there is evidence that America is more religious now than in 1945 or 1955," said Douthat at the Q event in Washington, D.C. more >>
The Russian Orthodox Church has released a strong-worded statement on Tuesday claiming it is under attack by strong oppositional forces that do not support the Church's backing of president-elect Vladimir Putin.
"The antichurch forces fear the strengthening of Orthodoxy in the country; they are frightened of the revival of national self-conscience and mass popular initiative," the statement reads, revealing that these "antichurch forces" are using financial, informational and administrative resources and are trying to alienate people from the Church.
The Church notes it is its support of traditional Christian ideals in contrast to "anti-Christian phenomena," such as same-sex marriage, and the "propagation of permissiveness and fornication" that has led to many misunderstanding its message. more >>
A conference focused on the current hostile climate toward Israel in the Middle East has revealed that a number of prominent historians and theologians believe the world is witnessing biblical prophecies related to the End Times unfold before its very eyes.
Israel, the Church and the Middle East Crisis conference took place March 23-24 at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., and was organized by Messianic Jewish organization Chosen People Ministries. In February, The Christian Post sat down with Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen Ministries, who revealed that based on the Old Testament and the teachings of the New Testament, he believes Israel will become the focus of the world as the second coming of Jesus Christ nears.
"The Middle East will become the nexus or the focal point of what God is going to do in the very last days of planet Earth. All eyes will be on Israel and her neighbors and so it is important for those who are trying to decipher the times in which we live – not date setting, but knowing 'the times and seasons' in which we live," Dr. Glaser said in a recent follow-up interview with CP. more >>
An openly gay Atlanta pastor previously removed from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and later reinstated has now been voted in by an overwhelming majority to the role of senior pastor at the biggest Lutheran church in Saint Paul, Minn.
The Rev. Bradley Schmeling, who in 2007 admitted he was in a committed same-sex relationship with Pastor Darin Easler, a former minister at the United Redeemer Lutheran Church in Zumbrota, Minn., was removed from ELCA's official clergy roster that year. His St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta, however, decided to keep him on as pastor despite the ELCA's decision, and he has served there since 2000.
Schmeling and Easler were reinstated in 2009 when the ELCA voted to permit gay and lesbian ministers in monogamous relationships to be on the roster. The 559-451 vote created a split within the Lutheran church, as a fraction of member churches left to start the North American Lutheran Church, which rejects openly gay clergy. more >>