Before I left the United Methodist Church to join Scotts Hill Baptist Church, I made a few remarks critical of the United Methodists. Since I officially walked out of the “open doors” of the UMC, I’ve been asked repeatedly about what motivated me to make that decision.
Based on my conversations with a number of other unsatisfied Methodists I started to have an increasing number of unanswered questions about the direction in which the church is going. Many of these questions deal with sin in general and sexual sin in particular. Instead of answering the question of “why I left”, perhaps some Methodists who did not can answer some of my questions concerning “why they are left.”
1. A young pastor was conducting a UMC 101 course required of all prospective members of a small Methodist Church. When asked whether there was such a thing as hell, she answered “I’m not sure and I don’t know that it’s important.” Given that Jesus talked about hell more than anyone else in the Bible, isn’t the question of whether hell exists an “important” one? If there is no hell, doesn’t that make Jesus a liar?
2. A Methodist preacher makes the statement “We don’t like to talk about sin here at (deleted) United Methodist Church.” Instead, he likes to talk about “grace.” If there is no sin and there is no hell, what was Jesus saving people from? Does silence on the issue of “hell” and “sin” render the term “grace” completely meaningless?
3. A man asks the Methodist preacher to pray to give Congress the courage to protect the institution of marriage from homosexuality. The preacher corrects him in front of the entire congregation saying “give Congress wisdom as difficult decisions are considered.” Why did she publicly correct him? Was he out of line?
5. A United Methodist preacher does not allow his teachers to talk about abortion or evolution. Why is that?
6. A United Methodist preacher supports John Kerry for President. She says this is because she opposes war and the killing of innocent children. Is she aware that Kerry thinks life begins at conception but supports abortion anyway? That means he supports 4000 intentional murders in the name of “choice” every day in America. How many children are killed on purpose by U.S. troops every day? Is it less than 4000? Is it time for the Methodists to start talking about abortion?
7. A college freshman goes to school and begins sleeping around the first week of college. A Methodist minister visits her in her dorm to give her a talk. He is unhappy with her behavior. Can he have a meaningful talk with her without using the term “sin?” Would things have been different if she heard that word at least once in her eighteen years as a member of the United Methodist Church?
9. A United Methodist youth minister circulated a petition supporting gay marriage on the internet. Her pastor does not want the youth leaders talking about creationism because it is too controversial. Why the double-standard?
10. A man gives his testimonial in a United Methodist Church. He says that he likes the church because no one talks about sin and it makes church fun. He says he isn’t a religious person. He’s only a spiritual person. Why is the preacher seated behind him nodding vigorously in approval? Is the United Methodist Church still a religion? Or is it just whatever you would like it to be?
To be continued...