United Methodist Church split

The Rev. Jerry Neff, senior pastor at Moody Memorial First United Methodist Church in Galveston, is photographed at the church on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Neff issued a letter to congregants last week outlining a proposal that could potentially split the United Methodist Church over the issue of rights of LGBTQ members.

Less than a month into the new year, 2020 is shaping up to be a time of either apprehension or anticipation for the more than 13 million worldwide members of the United Methodist Church, depending on where they stand on a proposal that would split the church over the issue of rights of LGBTQ members and clergy.

Beyond the financial and logistical bottom line of breaking up the enormous church organization and its resources, individual church congregations, like those in Galveston County, stand to lose or gain the most.

Kathryn Eastburn: 409-683-5257; kathryn.eastburn@galvnews.com.

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(43) comments

Bill Cochrane

Sorry Kathryn, but you failed am important part journalism 101. If a subject is worthy of ink and is defined with an acronym, it should be spelled out for readers in the first mention.

Carlos Ponce

“Jesus was always broadening the circle” What did Jesus say? " "However, at the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.

For this reason, a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife,and the two are to become one flesh. Thus they are no longer two, but one." Mark 10:6-8

Jesus didn't broaden THAT circle. The Bible is clear on this. Marriage is between a man and a woman, male and female. A Christian Church allows ALL to hear the word of the Lord - but not to change it.

Robert Braeking

The 'scoffers' mentioned in 2 Peter 3 are attempting to make the word of God conform to their own desires when it should be the other way around.

Charles Douglas

[thumbup][censored]

Paul R Heinrich

You have previously mentioned that you are Catholic. This article is about the Methodist church. The Methodists do not need your permission.

Carlos Ponce

"This article is about the Methodist church. The Methodists do not need your permission." But you do need Jesus' permission. I quoted from Jesus, from the Bible, not the Catholic Catechism. Jesus is the ultimate authority for those who call themselves Christian. The word of the Lord is clear. Jesus has spoken.

Gary Scoggin

He also spoke when he told the rich young man "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mt 19:21). I admit I haven’t done that. Have you?

Carlos Ponce

I'm not looking for "treasure in Heaven", Gary Scoggin, just space in a small corner would be sufficient.

Gary Scoggin

Your answer was another dodge of the question. But as I interpret it, it seems you thing we do get to pick and choose what commandments we follow, then.

Carlos Ponce

Christians follow all Christ's teachings.

Gary Scoggin

So you have sold all your possessions and given the money to the poor, then. Good for you. How do you afford your GCDN subscription?

Carlos Ponce

Examine Matthew 19:21 carefully: " A man approached Yeshua and said, 'Rabbi, what good thing should I do in order to have eternal life?' He said to him, 'Why are you asking me about good? There is One who is good! But if you want to obtain eternal life, observe the mitzvot [Commandments].' The man asked him, 'Which ones?' and Yeshua said, 'Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't give false testimony honor father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself.' The young man said to him, 'I have kept all these; where do I still fall short?' Yeshua said to him, 'If you are serious about reaching the goal, go and sell your possessions, give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me!' But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he was wealthy."

Jesus (Yeshua) looked into the rich man's heart. The man was not satisfied with Jesus' first answer to observe the Commandments. "By asking "Which ones?" one can see he was trying to get eternal life by doing the least amount possible, the minimum. So Jesus set a higher goal for that person who is monetarily rich with many possessions. Why does Gary Scoggin think that a retired school teacher is rich with many possessions? The goal is specific to that RICH man. In Luke 12:48 we read, "From him who has been given much, much will be demanded".

Gary Scoggin

Carlos, I am glad you agree with me that context matters and interpretations are important and that we don’t have to follow everything in the Bible literally. Or are you just rationalizing not having to give everything away?

Carlos Ponce

"we don’t have to follow everything in the Bible literally." Yes, we do. Are you still contending that I'm a rich man with many possessions?

Gary Scoggin

By the standards of First century Palestine you are extremely rich. So if we are being literal you must obey this command. Unless, that is, context matters.

Carlos Ponce

"First century Palestine" - NO SUCH THING. Hadrian did not like the name Judea so he renamed the land Palestine - a corruption of Philistia in the SECOND CENTURY. The people who call themselves Palestinians today are really Jordanian. Just compare the Jordanian flag to their flag.

Gary Scoggin

Nice evasion. So I guess my greater point holds.

Carlos Ponce

No Gary, your entire premise is incorrect.

Gary Scoggin

Carlos, let’s go with your (questionable) interpretation that this applies only to the very rich. Then, should Donald Trump, who claims to be worth $10 billion, sell all he has and give it to the poor? If not, at what financial threshold does Jesus’ words apply?

Carlos Ponce

The Lord has placed Donald Trump in a position to do His will.

Gary Scoggin

So, Mr Trump gets an exemption from scripture. How convenient. And through this exemption he’s not obligated to follow the scriptures literally. Who else gets these exemptions? Can I get one for some scripture I’d rather not follow? Is there a form you can fill out? Can you point me to the Bible verse where these exemptions are authorized? Or, is it possible that, like the rest of us, you pick and choose which scripture is mandatory and which can be rationalized or waived away?

Gary Scoggin

According to Carlos, there is only one correct interpretation of the Bible. His. Oh how we all envy him for being granted exclusive wisdom.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin, if you have a DIFFERENT interpretation of what Jesus said in the Gospel, please contribute. I'd like to see how anyone can twist His words to mean something other than what is written. Here is the original Greek: 6 "ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως Ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς·" Literal translation: " From, however, the beginning of creation, male and female he made them." 7 "Ἕνεκεν τούτου καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν μητέρα, ‹καὶ προσκολληθήσεται πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ›." " On account of this will leave a man the father of him and the mother and be joined to wife his," 8 " καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν· ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσὶν δύο ἀλλὰ μία σάρξ." "and will be the two for flesh one'. Therefore no longer are they two, but one flesh."

Gary Scoggin

What Jesus may have originally said was in Aramaic, not Greek. The Greek account of his words was written decades later. And that’s the issue. How faithfully do we follow the Bible from sentence to sentence versus the bigger themes? That’s why there are different interpretations. Some people are super literal, some are super contextual. But the fact is this: ALL Christians pick and choose the Bible verses they want to follow. Some admit it. Some don’t. But we all do.

Bailey Jones

"male and female he made them". And yet, reality shows that he made them male, female, gay, straight, bi and transsexual. And we see that across all species, and across all of recorded history. I guess Jesus got it wrong. Oops. Now I have to question everything else he said. Or at least everything else the writers of the gospels say he said.

Carlos Ponce

Gospel According to Bailey - " And yet, reality shows that he made them male, female, gay, straight, bi and transsexual."

Gospel according to Jesus - "God made them male and female."

I'll stick with what Jesus said.

Charles Douglas

Gary, I told you this year's ago! You did not pay attention. You are on the right tracks, but you are going the wrong way with this MAN MADE UP STUFF!!!! You make a big deal about somebody's opinion or some denomination's way of doing something! Jesus helped his disciples get what he said right! Peter and John and James were not allowed to do what they wanted to do. The Word explained the Word! When he left, He sent the world another helper called the HOLY SPIRIT, who knows far more than any man, to be a comforter, counselor, and a teacher of the word of GOD in order that the spirit of man would correctly improve the heart of man from which the issues of life flows. Let me be clear, I don't care what others believes, do it your way! You won't be answering to me when it is time for you to approach God's throne to be judged. You will face the Lord of Lords, and Kings of Kings! My duty, as every Christian's duty is to say it, shout it, and minister It! That is what many of us are doing. I got to be honest though, I Could care less it you believe what I'm saying. If God was going to leave it up to everybody to determine what he said in the word, why did he form the church period, why is the HOLY SPIRIT, counseling with spirits of men, so they could correctly assimilate themselves to what God meant. Your way all any man need to do his just get the bible get in a corner and go at it.

Gary Scoggin

Charles. I've been paying attention. Now if only Carlos would. In this, like in most everything, he thinks he has the only correct view. I appreciate it that you leave room for differences. When and if we are called to defend our choices to "the Lord of Lords" there are those that believe you have to score a hundred on the test. There are others that believe in Grace. I'm a Grace kind of guy. Only one person ever scored a hundred. And he didn't talk about this particular subject.

Carlos Ponce

I believe in God's Grace. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."John 14:21

"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On that Day, many will say to me, `Lord, Lord! Didn't we prophesy in your name? Didn't we expel demons in your name? Didn't we perform many miracles in your name?'

Then I will tell them to their faces, `I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!' So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on bedrock." Matthew 7:21-24

People will claim God's Grace but if they hear and read His teachings yet ignore or disobey.......

All of us fall short of the Kingdom. Not one of us is perfect. Only through God's Grace do we have a chance at Heaven. But for a "church" to justify actions that run contrary to His teachings is bad. That "church's" leaders will have to answer.

"But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand." Matthew 7:26

Miceal O'Laochdha

Gary, since The Donald is exempt from the US Constitution, IRS, and marriage vows, it only makes sense that he be exempt from any troublesome biblical rules too...how else can he do the greatest job of any President ever in history?

Charles Douglas

[thumbup][censored]

Bailey Jones

This sounds like a win-win to me. Breaking up is hard to do, I suppose, but in the protestant tradition - which has always valued freedom of conscience and personal revelation over institutional ossification - schisms are to be expected, and welcomed. It's worth remembering that every Protestant denomination began with a divergence of opinion.

Jim Forsythe

“Jesus was always broadening the circle,” he said. “I can love people on both sides of this issue.”

Can you love people on both sides of a issue, or is it just your way only?

“That’s OK within our tradition. If you’re looking for one point of view, you won’t find it here.”

Are different point of views ok with you, or are you a only my way person?

Splits have happened in the past.

Lutherans and the Church of England split from the Catholic Church.

Lutherans split from Roman Catholicism . This split was due to some disagreements within the Church regarding Church authority and doctrinal issues relating to salvation.

Charles Douglas

I don't know why that censorship sign appears with my thumbs up unless my big fingers are double hitting them.lolo

Ted Gillis

These “traditionalists” can split themselves away from reality all they want. Within a generation they will be diminished in numbers and then not being able to support their church will either merge back into the full congregation or just cease to exist. Let’m go and take their prejudices with them.

Bailey Jones

Don't be too sure. The denomination I was raised in, Southern Baptists, split from the greater Baptist tradition in 1845 because they didn't want to recognize the humanity of blacks. 175 years later they are still going strong.

Mike Meador

[thumbdown]

Carlos Ponce

Ted Gillis, the numbers suggest the United Methodist Church in this country is declining. The same can be said of many denominations in this country. On the other hand, traditionalist Methodists outside this country is increasing in number of congregants. Protestants growing in numbers in this country include non-denominational Evangelicals.

Jim Forsythe

Sep 2018--Catholic Church Has Lost More Members Than Any Other Religion in the U.S.. The American Catholic population has decreased during the last 10 years. The numbers say it clearly: in 2007, Catholics made up 24 percent of the U.S. population. In 2014, it went down to 20 percent. And that number actually would be 14 percent (nearly a 50 percent decline) if it weren’t for the dramatic inflow of Hispanic immigrants over the past 10 years.

Carlos Ponce

"Catholic Church Has Lost More Members Than Any Other Religion in the U.S." Because Catholics OUTNUMBER others. The loss still puts them ahead in Christian sect membership. 20% is still significant. Now compare the number of Catholics to the number of say United Methodists......

Jim Forsythe

Has it become, my church is better than yours because we lose less members than you do.

If the only reason you belong to a church is because it's is the largest, you are going to church for the wrong reason.

If you are going to a church because of the church believes is the same as yours, is a much better reason. To degrade a church because it loses members when your own church is also losing members, is not what belonging to a church is about or the teaching that you received in the church.

If this is what yours is teaching, you may want to think, is that the church for me.

Carlos Ponce

"Has it become, my church is better than yours because we lose less members than you do." I mentioned this was evident in most Christian denominations. Ted believes the traditionalists will lose out and rejoin the others but traditionalist Methodists outside this country are thriving.

Ted Gillis

Good point

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