NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists with differing views have weighed in on a statement from 36 retired bishops calling on the denomination to lift its ban on homosexual clergy.
The Renewal and Reform Coalition, representing six unofficial evangelical renewal caucuses in the denomination, issued a statement on Feb. 17 that called the bishops’ document “woefully inadequate.”
The retired bishops did not address “the clear pronouncements of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments and almost 2,000 years of Christian history,” the coalition said. “The teaching of The United Methodist Church on human sexuality is consistent with the teaching of the church universal.”
Reconciling Ministries Network, an unofficial caucus that advocates for greater inclusion of homosexual members, also responded to the retired bishops’ statement. Troy Plummer, the group’s executive director, said the bishops “breathe Gospel life into putting in policy what we know to be true.”
“Gay clergy are called, gifted, prepared, qualified and are ready to continue or to begin serving our church openly,” Plummer said in an e-mail to UMNS.
The Book of Discipline, the United Methodist law book, states that homosexuality “is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Only General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, can change the Book of Discipline.