Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Nothing Can Separate Us
Yesterday the General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted with Paul, but it was closer than you might think.
In the morning session they were revising the Preamble to our United Methodist Social Principles. The Rev. We Hyung Chang, pastor of the Belmont UMC in Belmont, Massachusetts, one of the clergy delegates from New England, proposed that they add this sentence, “We stand united in declaring our faith that God’s grace is available to all, that neither belief nor practice can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”
This might seem like basic Wesleyan theology. In fact, it might seem like basic Christianity. But among some of the delegates there was a fear that this would somehow soften their declaration that homosexuals and non-Christians really are (by their own choice, of course) separated from the love of God.
The Rev. Lisa Dianne Schubert, a clergy delegate from Indiana proposed that the word “nothing” be substituted for “neither belief nor practice. As she explained, “I want to say like in Romans 8, “nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
But that didn’t stop the debate.