Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

It Is Really a Shame

John 8:11

“No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

profileIn today’s passage we have the teaching moment in one of the stories about Jesus’ life and ministry.  Here is today’s passage in partial context.  John 8:3-11 – 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The teaching moment is clear – although adultery was sin – Jesus was not here to condemn the woman but rather to show love and grace.  He wanted to love the woman into a relationship with Him.  A great example to the church today – show love and build a relationship.  But in the midst of building a relationship and showing love – Jesus told the woman in no uncertain terms – “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus showed love to the woman caught in adultery – but He called sin sin and left no doubt about that fact.  Unfortunately some in the church today fall way short of the Lord’s example.  Although they try to preach a message of love they strive to eliminate the teaching moment when sin is called sin.  A retired bishop in the United Methodist Church recently talked at a gathering of like minded persons in Washington, DC.  He called for the UMC to show love to the LBGT community – which is what we should do – showing love to all persons – regardless of our sins.  Where retired bishop Melvin Talbert fell short of a Jesus teaching moment was that he didn’t call the practice of homosexuality a sin.  Instead he called the church to change their view that that practice of homosexuality was abnormal – a sin.  Here is a link to an article that reports on his talk.

The reason I write about this is simple.  When a bishop – pastor – agency or lay person speaking as a United Methodist fails to represent the truth – someone needs to speak out so that people in the pew do not think that this person speaks for the church.  The following is what I put on Facebook this week.

The Bible reminds us that we are to love the sinner but not the sin. Jesus showed the woman caught in adultery love and mercy while telling her to go and sin no more. The Bible clearly shows that the practice of homosexuality is unnatural and sinful. In talking about lustful (sinful) behavior Paul wrote: Romans 1:27 – “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”  I could list many Scriptures that speak to the unnatural and sinfulness of the practice of homosexuality. To love one another doesn’t change our sin – it is a call to show love to everyone. God loves us too – but loves us enough not to allow us to remain in our sin.

The official position of the UMC is still the same – since 1972 – the act or practice of homosexuality is not acceptable – not a Christian act. The current (2012) Discipline reads – par. 161f – “Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.” . . . “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Par. 341.6 reads – “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

I feel compelled to list these facts when such an article and such statements are made – because when such statements are made and reported by our bishops, pastors and agencies and not refuted with truth (fact) – folks in my church and in other churches I’m sure may tend to think that the UMC has moved away from Scriptural truth and changed our stance on the issue at hand to follow the culture around us. We have not in this case.

Since 1972 the UMC has – with an increasing percentage of the majority – affirmed our stance as stated above at General Conference – the only agency which can set the church’s stance on doctrinal and social positions.

This is not the first time retired bishop Talbert has been in the news – in a negative light.  Here is an article about his misuse of power as a bishop as he caused several United Methodist pastors to leave the denomination.

The church’s stance on homosexuality is Biblical and sound.  A call to love all persons is as well.  But we must never get to the place where we condone or accept sin in any of our lives.  Jesus Himself gave us the example when He didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery – showed her love – and yet told her “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  It is really a shame when a bishop, pastor or agency of the church speaks with such disdain for the church’s stance and for Biblical truth.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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September 20, 2013 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 Comments »

  1. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Like

    Comment by Jean Ohmann | September 20, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you for reading and commenting Jean.

      Like

      Comment by raymcdonald | September 20, 2013 | Reply

  2. More reads than normal on this one but few comments. Tough subject?

    Like

    Comment by raymcdonald | September 20, 2013 | Reply

  3. The pro-homosexual sin acceptance lobby would ignore the whole concept of sin in favor of pleasing the masses who are easily led astray, like sheep. It’s true that even believers have “itching ears” for false prophets and false doctrines that explain away what God has firmly established in his Word. It is the duty of each faithful generation to uphold Scripture’s clear teaching, the faith once delivered to the saints, apostolic. Witness the confession, assurance, pardon cycle is omitted from Conference or District Communion celebrations, because, well, people there who lead don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by mentioning sin and sinners. It’s just ignored and left out. Sad.

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    Comment by Favorite Son | September 20, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks for reading and commenting…

      Like

      Comment by raymcdonald | September 20, 2013 | Reply

  4. Question. Since our belief system is that the Bible is God’s Word, directions for our lives (if that is not where you are this will fall on deaf ears), we can find many passages that talk about man and woman as God’s plan for marriage. If same sex marriage is natural and acceptable, why is there no mention of it in Scripture, in a positive light?

    I am not highlighting one sin over others, but rather responding to an attempt to call sin acceptable, in this case the practice of homosexuality. I am a sinner in many obvious and some hidden ways but I am not trying to get the church to approve of any of my sins. That is the issue, not whether one sin is greater than others.

    We all have loads of sins to deal with for sure and should heed Jesus’ words to go and sin no more. Instead, which is only natural (our natural sinful self), some try to minimize their sins and in this case, even try to get the church and others to approve of it.

    In society this may be a civil rights issue, I’m not sure, because unless someone is hurting another person, we should live and let live it seems. But in the church, we MUST stand by truth, by God’s Word. IMHO

    Like

    Comment by raymcdonald | September 20, 2013 | Reply

  5. Yes there are those ,who are trying very hard to rewrite the bible. Thanks rev ray for standing up! wake up America !

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    Comment by Jsansosti | September 20, 2013 | Reply

  6. Spot on Pastor Ray. Thanks for speaking the truth with love.

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    Comment by JR | September 21, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks JR… have a blessed day!

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      Comment by raymcdonald | September 23, 2013 | Reply

  7. I appreciate your willingness to speak the truth from God’s word. Not all pastors are willing to take on the powers that be so to speak. I appreciate you Pastor Ray.

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    Comment by Mary | September 25, 2013 | Reply

  8. If we Christians focus first on debating the Truth, and if this is primarily what the world sees (the world loves a good controversy filled of sound bites), then I believe the continued decline of believers that all Christians fear will only continue.

    It is a matter of priority – what is our message to the world? Are we to bring the Gospel message, or defend/oppose the numerous worldly-interested topics?

    I would contend that bringing the Gospel message first, of God’s grace to all of humanity through the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ – that message should be what the world hears first. This does not dilute the Truth at all.

    Am I saying we should snooker them in, and then corner them? Certainly not! But, with Gospel-filled eyes, ears, mind, and soul, a more beneficial discussion and understanding of tough questions can be fruitful. With the eyes, ears, mind, and soul of the world, little true progress for the Kingdom can be expected; and yet, this is how the world wants to decide first, Gospel second if at all.

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    Comment by Former Catholic | September 28, 2013 | Reply


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