Activities of United Methodist Lobby Office continue to demonstrate a link between women's ordination and embrace of liberalism.
The official lobbying office of the 7.9 million-member United Methodist Church recently joined with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Center for Transgender Equality in co-signing a letter of support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This legislation, supported by the United Methodist General Board on Church and Society, places those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender into a specially protected status.
In his recent book Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism? Wayne Grudem traces out the historical connection in mainline denominations between the rejection of biblical authority, women's ordination and the resulting downgrade that finally leads to a full embrace of theological liberalism.
One example Grudem cites is the United Methodist Church. The UMC officially sanctioned the ordination of women in 1956, the same year the northern branch of the Presbyterian Church USA approved female ordination.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, Grudem writes, and you find large contingents within the UMC, PCUSA and other denominations-all of which approved the ordination of women between 1956 and 1976-now endorsing homosexual conduct and fomenting for homosexual ordination. The downgrade toward liberalism, in each case, followed a rejection of biblical inerrancy and the ordination of women, Grudem argues. The recent activities of the United Methodist Church are consistent with his observations, and highlight the importance of pastors and local churches standing firm on a biblical foundation.
It should be pointed out that the UMC lobby organization took the action without the consent of the church membership and its actions directly contradict the United Methodist Book of Discipline, which declares that homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture.
Sadly, the denomination continues to be deeply divided over the issue and has, like other mainline denominations, witnessed a considerable exodus of members in the past decade. This past summer, the division became even more pronounced when the UMC appointed a transgender pastor for a church in Baltimore.
While there are no doubt many devoted believers within the UMC who stringently oppose the denomination's drift from historic Christianity, the lobby office's actions are a tragic reminder of the devastatingly high cost of selling biblical authority on the cheap. As Jesus told listeners in His Sermon on the Mount, when a house is built on something other than His Word, the foundation will crumble and the superstructure will fall.