Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Will We Be Ashamed of the Gospel?

Romans 1:16

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

profileOn Monday I wrote about the primacy of scripture in determining God’s will in our lives – you can read it here.  Scripture is primary when determining God’s will – using tradition – experience and reason as tools.  My conclusion was that when tradition – experience – and reason differ with Scripture – if they would every line up as such – Scripture is still primary and trumps the other three.

On Tuesday I wrote about God’s design for marriage – one man and one woman – you can read it here.  In our Lord’s own words we read – Matthew 19:4-6 – 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’  5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”  There is no suggestion otherwise in Scripture.  Jesus even told us that some would not be able to accept this truth – this teaching.  Matthew 19:11-12 – 11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Today we will grapple with taking a stand for the truth or letting the world have its way in our church.  Today we grapple with a battle that has raged for 40 years in our denomination.  Our denomination has not wavered in those 40 years on their stance.  Our stance on this subject – the subject of homosexuality – has not changed.  In paragraph 161(f) of the Book of Discipline we read – The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.  In paragraph 304.3 we read – While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. 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.  In paragraph 341.6 we read – Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.

In previous posts we talked about the primacy of Scripture and the design of God for marriage – one man and one woman.  Unfortunately there are some in the church who apparently do not see things as I have described them.  Here is an article to read about one who differs with the views I have posted.  The article opens with the following words – The Rev. Frank Schaefer officiated his son’s same-sex marriage “because I love him so much and didn’t want to deny him that joy,” but his decision to flout Methodist law could cost him his pastor’s credentials in the latest flashpoint of a debate roiling the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination.

Rev. Schaefer reports that three of his four children identify themselves as gay.  His experience – his love for his children – has promoted him to overlook 2,000 plus years of Christian tradition on the subject of homosexuality and church law.  He has overlooked the Orthodox teaching of Scripture on the subject which is to be primary in our thinking.  He has reasoned that his experience with his own children supersedes Scripture  – tradition and church law.

Rev. Schaefer believes that his children – three of his four children – were born gay and he believes that this proves – at least to him – that God created them this way.  As I suggested in my post on Monday – we cannot say because I was born a certain way means that God approves of how I am and even made me this way.  Sin has caused corruption in humanity and has tainted the creative order.  Many birth abnormalities were mentioned in my article that should not and cannot – IMHO – be attributed to God.  I believe that whether homosexuality is nurture or nature – it is not part of God’s plan or design for creation.  I supported this belief in scripture and in the traditions of the church.

Paul writes – I am not ashamed of the Gospel.  Oh – I believe that more believe it than come forward – but many sit back and hide their belief – their faith.  Let’s read today’s passage in partial context as Paul opens his Epistle.  Romans 1:16-25 – 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.

Will we stand up for truth or will we allow society to dictate what we are to believe and accept?  Will we allow reason and experience to trump tradition and scripture or will we – as the United Methodist Church – love the sinners (all of us) but stand opposed to the sins (in all of us)?  Cases are being brought before the church courts as I type and we will see where the church stands in the days – weeks – months – and years to come.  I am praying for our church.  Please join me.  Will we be ashamed of the gospel?  Will we yield to public opinion?  Or will we stand by the tradition of the church which is in line with the Holy Scriptures?

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


November 13, 2013 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Being ashamed before Jesus, when he serves as Judge, is not something I’d want to be. Nevertheless, I am a sinner, so the Cross covers my sins when I repent of them and confess them and ask forgiveness. But to pretend they aren’t sins? Only delaying the inevitable moment when I stand before my risen Savior in Heaven and must account for my waywardness. Better to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Thank you, Ray!


    Comment by Favorite Son | November 13, 2013 | Reply

  2. In the Bible, old Eli, the priest, suffered God’s judgment for letting his sons defile the sanctuary with their sexual sins. Pastors are responsible before God for their sons’ sins.Let our response be faithful, no matter whose adult children are making-less-than-God’s-best choices. If Rev. Frank fears God, he should ask God to transform his attitudes and behavior to biblical standards, not conform to worldly ways.


    Comment by Favorite Son | November 14, 2013 | Reply

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