As a nice change of pace from the usual news about Christian leaders tripping over themselves to accommodate the spirit of the world, today we have a couple of refreshing positive developments.
First up, African Methodists call their pozzed American brethren’s bluff in the face of an attempted shakedown.
(Here are remarks of Dr. Jerry P. Kulah, Dean of Gbarnga School of Theology, United Methodist University in Liberia, to the Reform and Renewal Coalition Breakfast at the United Methodist Church Special General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, Saturday, 23 February 2019.)
NB: The event name has two red flags in it. Here’s Dr. Kulah:
As I understand it, the plans before us seek to find a lasting solution to the long debate over our church’s sexual ethics, its teachings on marriage, and it ordination standards.
This debate and the numerous acts of defiance have brought the United Methodist Church to a crossroads (Jeremiah 6:16).
One plans invites the people called United Methodists to take a road in opposition to the Bible and two thousand years of Christian teachings. Going down that road would divide the church. Those advocating for the One Church Plan would have us take that road.
Another road invites us to reaffirm Christian teachings rooted in Scripture and the church’s rich traditions.
It says, “All persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God,” that “All persons need the ministry of the Church,” and that “We affirm that God’s grace is available to all.”
It grounds our sexual ethics in Scripture when it says, the UM Church does “not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers [it] incompatible with Christian teaching.”
While “we commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons,” we do not celebrate same-sex marriages or ordain for ministry people who self-avow as practicing homosexuals. These practices do not conform to the authentic teaching of the Holy Scriptures, our primary authority for faith and Christian living.
However, we extend grace to all people because we all know we are sinners in need of God’s redeeming. We know how critical and life changing God’s grace has been in our own lives.
We warmly welcome all people to our churches; we long to be in fellowship with them, to pray with them, to weep with them, and to experience the joy of transformation with them.
Friends, please hear me, we Africans are not afraid of our sisters and brothers who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, questioning, or queer. We love them and we hope the best for them. But we know of no compelling arguments for forsaking our church’s understanding of Scripture and the teachings of the church universal.
And then please hear me when I say as graciously as I can: we Africans are not children in need of western enlightenment when it comes to the church’s sexual ethics. We do not need to hear a progressive U.S. bishop lecture us about our need to “grow up.”
Let me assure you, we Africans, whether we have liked it or not, have had to engage in this debate for many years now. We stand with the global church, not a culturally liberal, church elite, in the U.S.
A little context: The United Methodist Church is currently considering three proposals regarding their teachings on sexual ethics. The Modified Traditional Plan is basically what it says on the tin, and it’s what the Africans support. Some of the Methodist leadership in the US are pressuring their African brethren into adopting the more liberal plan by essentially saying, “Nice American financial support you got there. Shame if anything happened to it.”
To such crass coercion Dr. Kulah replied:
Some Africans have been told that if a gracious exit petition is passed our evangelical friends in the U.S. will go their own way and no longer support efforts in Africa. That is not true.
Many of us in Africa have developed deep and long lasting friendships with our brothers and sisters in the U.S. Those relationships will not be severed if a gracious exit petition passes.
Unfortunately, some United Methodists in the U.S. have the very faulty assumption that all Africans are concerned about is U.S. financial support. Well, I am sure, being sinners like all of you, some Africans are fixated on money.
But with all due respect, a fixation on money seems more of an American problem than an African one. We get by on far less than most Americans do; we know how to do it. I’m not so sure you do. So if anyone is so naïve or condescending as to think we would sell our birth right in Jesus Christ for American dollars, then they simply do not know us.
We are seriously joyful in following Jesus Christ and God’s holy word to us in the Bible. And in truth, we think many people in the U.S. and in parts of Europe could learn a great deal from us. The UM churches, pastors and lay people who partner with us acknowledge as much.
Please understand me when I say the vast majority of African United Methodists will never, ever trade Jesus and the truth of the Bible for money.
In the West, Christian leaders of all denominations are turning their backs on Christ and the Scriptures. They should really study those Scriptures more closely, because in them God clearly explains what happens when a people forsake Him.
Speaking of the Kingdom being taken away from apostates and given to others more faithful, here’s a viral video of Nigerian soldiers–the guys fighting Boko Haram–practicing Eucharistic adoration:
The phrase they’re enthusiastically repeating at the end translates to “King Jesus!”
My diocese has brought in a number of African priests to compensate for the worsening priest shortage. At this point, the Catholic hierarchy could do much worse than to defrock all clergy guilty of sex abuse, as they recently did with ex-cardinal McCarrick, and replace them with African priests who are proving to be much more serious, dedicated, and yes, holy.
Item 2: After decades of dominating in the court of public opinion, abortion supporters suddenly find themselves in a dead heat with Americans who oppose infanticide.
The recent debate over late-term abortion,[ed. disingenuous Fake News scare quotes removed.] fueled by state measures in New York and Virginia that loosened, or sought to loosen, abortion restrictions toward the end of a woman’s pregnancy, has caused “a dramatic shift” in public attitudes toward abortion policy, according to Barbara Carvalho who directed a new Marist poll, commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization.
By the numbers: The poll found Americans are now as likely to identify as pro-life (47%) as they are pro-choice (47%). Last month, a similar Marist survey found that Americans were more likely to identify as pro-choice than pro-life 55% to 38%, a 17-point gap.
- The survey also found that 80% of Americans support abortion being limited to the first three months of pregnancy, an increase of 5 percentage points since last month’s Marist poll.
Between the lines: Marist has been polling Americans’ attitudes on abortion for over a decade, and Carvalho told Axios this is the first time since 2009 that as many or more Americans have identified as pro-life as have identified as pro-choice.
- But what Carvalho said she found most significant was that Democrats, specifically those under the the age of 45, seem to be leading the shift: This month’s poll found 34% of Democrats identify as pro-life vs. 61% pro-choice. Last month, those numbers were 20% and 75%, respectively.
- Among Americans under 45, 47% identify as pro-life vs. 48% pro-choice. In January, those numbers were 28% and 65%, respectively.
“This has been a measure that has been so stable over time. To see that kind of change was surprising,” Carvalho said. “And the increased discussion [of late-term abortion] in the public forum in the past month appears to have made the biggest difference in how people identify on the issue.”
Dear Pro-Life leaders: Wholly independent of your milquetoast efforts, the Left’s reckless barbarism has once again served you a golden opportunity on a platter. Don’t let this chance go to waste like you did with Kermit Gosnell’s Chamber of Horrors and Planned Parenthood getting caught on tape selling baby parts.
Public opinion is surging in your direction. Introduce amendments to state constitutions defining abortion as murder. Sue to get Roe v Wade overturned now that Coach K is on the court. And FFS, knock it off with the pedestal-polishing, “Abortion hurts women the most!” rhetoric. It hasn’t worked in 40 years. It won’t work now. People rightly see your vilification of abortionists while excusing mothers who pay to have their own children killed as incoherent. Abortion is murder. Doctors who perform abortions should be charged with murder. Women who hire those doctors to kill their babies should be charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Do that, and watch abortion rates plummet.
There is no reason why someone who had seventeen of her children killed–which would be classified as serial killings in any other context–should be free to walk the streets.
In short the solution, as always, is brimstone, millstones, and stonings.
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