Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Making Our Own Rules

Judges 17:6

…everyone did as they saw fit.

profileIn the days before Israel had a king – people made their own rules – just as each person decided. Judges 17:6 – In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

A favorite saying that seems to have lasted even into current history must have been – you’re not my boss or something like that in Hebrew. Every tribe – even every home – even every person – did as they thought best it seemed. They actually did have a boss – it was God – but they seemed to need a physical hands-on boss (not sure how God could have been more hands-on than in the Old Testament – but that it another subject).

Many people in our society and even in the church today have a problem with absolutes – with rules in general – with someone being in-charge. Our denomination has a General Conference to make the rules for our church. Every four years – elected representatives – lay and clergy – gather to pray over and decide the direction of our church – the United Methodist Church. Unfortunately – some want to do as they see fit rather than obey the rules of the church. Some people think they know better than those elected to represent the people – the church.

Four over 40 years a debate has raged over same-sex relations and for over 4 decades the church has decided that same-sex relations are not in line with Biblical teaching and incompatible with Christian teaching – yet some lay and clergy alike – even Bishops who have pledged to uphold the rules of the church – have taken it upon themselves to defy the church’s law. Some Bishops have even denied the church by refusing to prosecute those who break church law. The cases are too numerous to include but anyone can find them on the Internet. It is a shame.

I wonder how the church would react if a number of lay and clergy alike – in the local church – decided to not pay their apportionments? Just totally rejected to pay their apportionments because they didn’t agree with how the church as a whole was spending this money. I bet there would be a strong reaction. What if churches decided to break with church law and succeed from the denomination and take facility and grounds with them? I bet there would be a strong reaction. Who gets to decide which laws to obey and which laws to not obey? When there is no absolute – no law that all will obey with consequences if we don’t – than anything goes – everyone will do as they see fit. There will be chaos – anarchy.

That didn’t work in the Old Testament – it doesn’t work today. It won’t work in an individual home and it won’t work in the church. Our denomination is headed toward a split unless the rules apply for all and will be enforced by those elected to do so. We can have open debate and discussion – forever – but when it is all said and done – if the laws don’t apply to all – it just won’t work!

If those who sincerely disagree with the church’s stance of 40 plus years at General Conference want something different – I believe they should turn in their credentials and start a denomination that would support their view – either that or obey the church’s law until they are able – if they are able – to change it. I know if General Conference were to reverse their stance – I would turn my credentials in and start a new church or join another denomination! We are spending way too much resource rehashing this subject IMHO. There are other issues that our church should be focused on rather than – again IMHO – a subject the church has decided to be sinful.

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


May 8, 2014 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Questions, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , ,

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