Defrocked United Methodist minister Frank Schaefer, who defied church law against same sex rites, has been reinstated by a church court on a technicality. See John Lomperis's analysis here.
Ironically, had Schaefer been immediately defrocked, the verdict likely would have stood. But the jury had suspended him for 30 days to allow him the chance to disavow further defiance, and his refusal provoked defrocking. Church appeals courts ruled this penalty punished him for future acts.
Schaefer has already quit Pennsylvania, where of course he left his local church in shambles, and now heads a small ministry in the fast declining and ultra liberal United Methodist region in Southern California. Good luck! more >>
There's a new kind of Gay Christian. Most of us are aware of the Justin Lees and the Matthew Vines, but, unlike those guys and like myself, these new Gay Christians hold fast to the truth of Scripture regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. They aren't out there practicing homosexual behavior. They aren't engaging in dating relationships with people of the same gender or seeking to do so. Celibacy is the path that they have chosen in light of their current sexual inclinations and their simultaneous, and stronger, desire to submit themselves to the Lordship of Christ.
These people are most definitely my brothers and sisters in Christ. I would hesitate to make such a claim about Matthew Vines or Justin Lee, but these folks– like Julie Rodgers or Matt Jones or Wesley Hill — I am confident I will stand with side by side in the age to come as we rejoice forever in the life Christ has purchased for us with His own life. But I strongly disagree with their chosen terminologies used to describe who they are.
I refuse to call myself a Gay Christian. Here are a few reasons why: more >>
The United Methodist Church's highest court has decided to overturn the defrocking of a Pennsylvania pastor who officiated his son's same-sex wedding.
The United Methodist Judicial Council has ruled that Frank Schaefer, formerly pastor at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona, Lebanon, could have his clergy credentials reinstated.
A UMC spokesperson provided The Christian Post with a copy of the decision Monday morning, wherein the judicial council upheld the Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals' decision overturning the defrocking of Schaefer. more >>
The altar call is an appeal in which the speaker invites attendees to come forward as a way of acknowledging their decision to follow Christ. Many consider Charles Finney (1792-1875) to be the founder of the altar call even though early Methodist used a similar approach known as the "mourners bench."
I have had the privilege of working on the field at large stadium events where altar calls have been given, and I have also offered many appeals to come forward as well, primarily in the early years of my ministry.
Let me begin by saying that anytime we give an honest appeal for a person to turn to God, it's a good thing. But in our zeal to "get people into the kingdom," we sometimes run the risk of offering false assurance. This is a very real danger in the church today. Many come forward after a sermon, but do they change? Often, it's the "I'll give Jesus a try" attitude, rather than a broken heart desperately seeking a Savior — the American gospel versus the true gospel. more >>
Pope Francis has called on Christians everywhere to campaign to end the death penalty and life imprisonment, a goal which has been achieved in the Vatican state. Meanwhile, a recently released Gallup poll found that six in 10 Americans support capital punishment.
"It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples' lives from an unjust aggressor," Francis said Wednesday in a meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law, Catholic News Service reported.
"All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment," he said. "Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty." more >>
Alternative rock musician and Dove Award winning Christian Michael Gungor of the musical collective, Gungor, is now calling for unity in Christendom months after being branded a heretic and other names like "twofold son of hell" for challenging the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis in the Bible.
Gungor, the son of a preacher, rattled the Christian community this year when he revealed that he and his wife, Lisa, the faces of the musical collective, don't literally believe in stories from the Bible on such topics as creation and the flood, a departure from orthodox Christian doctrine.
The revelation drew the ire of many Christian fundamentalists who have consumed Gungor music to the point of making some of the collective's popular songs like "Dry Bones" and "Beautiful Things" worship anthems. more >>