Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

How Does God Speak?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

How Does God Speak?

Article excerpt

My denomination, the United Methodist Church, recently concluded its ten-day General Conference. This body, made up of more than 860 delegates from around the world, meets every four years.

It is a time that includes truly inspiring worship as well as celebrating both local and global ministries. It is also a time for making official resolutions and policies.

As with other denominations, this Conference dealt with LGBTQ issues. Debate ensued between conservatives wishing to keep the current doctrine the same, and liberals advocating for more openness.

The resolution ultimately endorsed was to push the pause button, form a commission to engage in deeper study, and come up with recommendations to be considered at some point in the future.

There have already been different scenarios offered where we may still remain united while continuing the dialogue and moving ahead. I am hopeful that will be the result of the work of this commission.

As I followed the debate, it struck me that what's behind the disagreement over LGBTQ may be a disagreement over a fundamental theological question:

How does God speak?

Traditionalists seem to lean toward emphasizing that God has spoken. They cite various scripture passages prohibiting homosexuality. It is difficult, therefore, to understand why people could think God is saying anything differently today. Right and wrong are spelled out in black and white.

Liberals seem to express more the sense that God is speaking. While arguing about the biblical references cited by traditionalists, they also lift up broader biblical themes in support of committed LGBTQ relationships.

So, what's it going to be? God speaks in past tense, and we look at modern issues primarily through the lens of passages written millennia ago? Or God speaks in present tense, and biblical stories and themes are used as a Rosetta stone to discern God's will in modern life? …

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