I am currently on vacation with my wife in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. We have spent a lot of time at Morningside Church in Blue Eye, enjoying some wonderful worship and teaching. My wife is attending a special program for ladies this morning with Lorrie Bakker and I’m sitting in a nearby cafe meditating on a number of issues that have been eating at me over the past few days.
I then read an article that seemed to bring a lot of into focus. In an article posted by ChurchLeaders.com at https://churchleaders.com/news/354719-7-churches-in-mississippi-have-decided-to-leave-the-umc.html regarding a church that has recently left the United Methodist denomination.
You may know that the Mississippi Conference of the UMC recently, after a long and contentious debate, voted to uphold traditional marriage. At that time, the church also agreed to allow churches to withdraw from the conference if they should disagree with the denominational policy. A number of churches elected to take them up on the offer and disassociate themselves from the United Methodist Church. However, not all of the churches are leaving because they disagree with the decision of the UMC to uphold traditional marriage. At least one church believes there never should have been such a debate in the first place.
Finally! Somebody gets it!
Rev. Nathan Hodum, pastor of Dennis United Methodist Church says the reason his church has chosen to leave is because members believe the UMC has gotten sidetracked by an issue that should not even be subject to debate.
Rev. Hodum says the Bible clearly prohibits same-sex activity: “We just don’t think it’s a debate because the Bible’s already stated what it says.” He also said, “For us, (the debate about sexuality) was like a thing that kind of made us lose focus because I think the conference had become consumed with it and lost what the church is really supposed to be there for. … We felt like we needed to focus on getting out in our community and doing evangelism and missions instead of continuing the argument.”
The enemy is such a clever adversary who, rather than opposing The Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples of the nations, simply provides us an enormous menu of “shiny things” to chase.
I am an ardent opponent of abortion. I believe abortion to be the epitomy of wickedness for which America will come under severe judgment from God. I do not celebrate the gay and lesbian life-style in any of its various expressions. Transgenderism and same-sex marriage is a practice that is in direct opposition to God’s Word. And that is my point...these things ought not be a matter of debate in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. That men would have the temerity to sit in judgment of the principles of the Word of God is the height of blasphemy.
I honor the Rev. Nathan Hodum for not allowing his congregation to be sidetracked by such debates and arguments over issues that were settled by the verdict of the most high God. God has already rendered His verdict on abortion, on homosexuality, same-sex marriage – these are settled issues – settled by the Will of God.
Yesterday, I listened to Historian David Barton speak, as he presented his new book, THE FOUNDERS BIBLE. I bought a copy of this powerful book for each of my children so that they can teach their children the true history of America, showing how each principle that guided our founding Fathers in the establishment of this nation was rooted in the Word of God.
During his interview he was asked, “What does the church need to do to turn America around?”
His answer was powerful:
“I am not concerned about the American church. I am concerned about the American Christian. Christians need to do what Christians are supposed to do. 32% of the world population is Christian. If everyone who claims to love Christ would commit to win just ONE person to Christ this year, by next year that number would jump to 64% and in two years – we could win the world.”
I pray we can see an end to abortion. I really do. This barbaric practice reveals the full depth of the wickedness in America. However, we must be clear – ending abortion will not win the world to Christ. David Barton powerfully revealed that the same spirit that drove the Dred-Scott Decision in which black men were effectively rendered by the Supreme Court as property, to be owned by other men – dehumanized as it were – is the very same spirit that drives the abortion argument.
The Civil War ended slavery in America, but it did not end racism.
Ending abortion will not change the world. Preaching Christ will change the world.
David Barton’s statement resonated within me in such a powerful way. The problem does not lie with the American church; it lies with the American Christian. If each of us will begin to do what we’ve been commanded to do – any problems with the church will be resolved. The burden of the Great Commission does not lie upon an institution – it is a burden that belongs to you and me.
I have written two books which I would invite you to read. You can purchase them at www.mkgantt.com/books