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Expert: Pennsylvania pastor deserves rebuke for gay wedding

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  • Contrariusier mid-state, TN
    Nov. 22, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    @brokenclay --

    "To even grant the passage in Clement this meaning..."

    You're reaching now. It's pretty obvious what a "natural sense of repulsion" means.

    "The most plausible explanation..."

    Nope. Impaired sexual organs have nothing to do with "a natural sense of repulsion". Impotent straight men still desire women just as they would otherwise.

    You should read your lexicons again. Since you're interested in the word "eunuch", you should know that the Aramaic root of the word actually refers to "trusted ones" -- as in someone who was trusted around women. And the Greek roots are from "bedchamber guard". Neither word requires physical alteration.

    "4. It certainly is difficult to discern why you've raised this point multiple times with so much gusto, then. Perhaps you can explain. What is the significance for this pastor not being "fringe"?"

    I've only "raised" it once. You're the one who keeps questioning it. ;-)

    And.........we still haven't heard anything from you about Paul and his teachings that women are inferior to men, or that it is better to remain single than to marry, or that nobody should ever get divorced....I wonder why??

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Nov. 22, 2013 2:46 a.m.

    Folks! Jesus Broke the Rules!

  • brokenclay Tempe, AZ
    Nov. 21, 2013 4:39 p.m.

    1. You've glossed over most of the points made here. The Greek language had plenty of words to describe homosexuality, none of which are used in either passage. To even grant the passage in Clement this meaning, you have to establish that a lack of attraction towards women necessitates attraction towards men-- and there is nothing in the passage to do this. The most plausible explanation is that these men were born with impaired sexual organs, which employs the usual definition listed in the lexica (again, homosexuality does not fall within this word's semantic domain in the lexica!). And this definition works here and in Matthew. The addition of homosexuality to these passages is completely ad hoc, and smacks of someone grasping at straws to justify a position.

    2. Indeed. It is difficult to debate cherry-picked data with four 200 word comments.

    3. Wikipedia . . .

    4. It certainly is difficult to discern why you've raised this point multiple times with so much gusto, then. Perhaps you can explain. What is the significance for this pastor not being "fringe"?

    Last comment . . .

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    Nov. 21, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    Redshirt1701

    "if somebody commits adultery that both the MAN and the WOMAN are to be put to death. Where was the man? "

    You appear to be saying that if a murder is committed by two people, and we can only catch one of them, then we should let that single murderer go. Is that really what you want to say, Red?

    "you are confused with tradition"

    Mosaic Law is not "tradition", Red. That was God talking directly to Moses, remember?

    "in the OT it states that the Lord can forgive all things"

    The Lord can break his own rules. That doesn't mean the rules weren't broken.

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    Nov. 21, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    @brokenclay --

    "1. You're using a diachronic, third-hand account..."

    Nope. I'm using a near-contemporaneous (compared to today) account to illustrate how the word "eunuch" was understood and applied by people living around the time of Christ's life.

    There are other such accounts and examples available, of course.

    "(but interestingly enough, not in 19:12b and c! "

    There is no conflict here. The term "eunuch" encompassed "born" eunuchs -- homosexuals -- "made" eunuchs -- castrati -- and "chosen" eunuchs -- those celibate by choice. Jesus' own words help to illustrate how widely that term was applied.

    "far different than condoning the institution of slavery..."

    That's okay. I'm content to agree to disagree on this one. You still haven't explained away Paul's teachings that remaining single is better than marrying, or that nobody should ever get divorced, or that women are inferior to men.

    "3. Jude 1:7 also references "different flesh," ... "

    "Strange flesh" has multiple possible interpretations. I'm out of room here, but the wiki page on Sodom has a selection of alternatives.

    "4....not does nothing to delegitimize the actions of the church"

    I never claimed that the actions of the church were illegitimate.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Nov. 21, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    Gotta love the "Mormon" commentors here,
    telling the Methodists what to do.

    The paster didn't break any "laws" of the land,
    therefore the Bible is a set of "rules" subject to various religous interpretations.

    Unless you want America to become a Theocracy,
    and devolve into a similar Islamic State based on Sharia Laws,
    blowing each other up over who's the "real" Muslims...

  • brokenclay Tempe, AZ
    Nov. 21, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    1. You're using a diachronic, third-hand account that is itself inexplicit and ambiguous concerning motivation as incontrovertible evidence that Jesus was referencing homosexuality in Matthew 19:12a (but interestingly enough, not in 19:12b and c! Accusations of anachronism are appropriate here), while none of the standard lexica list this as a possible meaning for the word (check BAGD). It sounds to me like you're running roughshod over basic principles of exegesis and hermeneutics. Your original comment was deleted so I will withhold further comment here.

    2. Telling Christians to act like Christians in whatever social situation they find themselves is far different than condoning the institution of slavery as morally good. It would be analogous to Chinese Christians refraining from criticizing the communist government, even though facets of it may be immoral. To do so would be suicide over a cause that is not primary to the movement.

    3. Jude 1:7 also references "different flesh," which you conveniently ommitted. Most scholars recognize the obvious allusion here.

    4. Whether the pastor is fringe or not does nothing to delegitimize the actions of the church, even if their policies are inconsitently enforced.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Nov. 21, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    To "RanchHand" again, you are getting tradition and rules confused. Eating with publicans and sinners is not against rules, but is a tradition. The stoning of the woman was not being done in accordance with the law. The OT in multiple places states that if somebody commits adultery that both the MAN and the WOMAN are to be put to death. Where was the man? You also have to realize that Jesus did not catch her in the act, and it was not to him to enforce the law.

    Again, Jesus was obeying the law.

    To "Contrarius" you are confused with tradition, and omit the fact that in the OT it states that the Lord can forgive all things. Jesus is the Lord/Jehova from the OT, and is complying with the laws that he gave the Jews.

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    Nov. 21, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    @donn --

    "All Scripture...is God-breathed...that is, it is the very Word of God...."

    If all scripture is God-breathed --

    -- Then why does Paul disagree with Jesus? Paul says that nobody should ever get divorced -- Jesus says it's okay to divorce for infidelity.

    -- Then is Paul right when he teaches that it's better to remain single than to marry?

    -- Then is Paul correct when he supports slavery?

    -- Then is Paul correct when he says that women are inferior to men?

    "Jesus did not break the rules."

    He broke tons of rules.

    -- touched a leper.

    -- worked on the Sabbath.

    -- let the adulterous woman escape stoning

    -- forgave a Samaritan woman with 5 husbands who was living in sin

    -- didn't sacrifice on the day of Atonement.

    -- didn't insist Peter be punished for lying or pay the price when he cut off someones ear.

    -- let Paul get away with participating in the killing of Stephen.

    -- ate with Gentiles and didn't wash his hands.

    "the only way that Jesus could be convicted of a crime was to falsify charges against him."

    You're confusing civil laws with religious rules and laws. Pastor Schaefer hasn't broken any civil laws either.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 6:34 p.m.

    @RedShirt;

    Rules Jesus broke:

    1) Ate with the publicans, sinners and tax collectors. It was a rule.
    2) Didn't stone an adulteress. It was a rule.

    Tradition is just another way to say "rules". Breaking rules that are idiotic doesn't make one evil or bad. Rules are not commandments of god. Jesus condemned the religious leaders of his time for their hypocrisy in relation to the rules.

    @brokenclay;

    Jesus positively taught no such thing.

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    RE: Contrariusester, Jesus never said a single word against homosexuality.

    All Scripture (which, according to 2 Peter 3:16, included Paul’s writings) is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16)—that is, it is the very Word of God, His own breath.

    “But,” you ask, “didn’t men write Scripture?” Yes they did. But the Holy Spirit so superintended the minds and wills of the writers of Scripture such that the words they wrote under their own recognizance were precisely what God wanted to say to His people (2 Pet 1:20–21).

    So did Jesus address homosexuality? Yes, He did. He did so by sending His Spirit to superintend the writing of Paul such that what Paul wrote was precisely what Jesus intended.

    @No, actually, I said that Jesus DID break rules. Could you try again, with more clarity? OK,

    Per(RedShirt) To "RanchHand" and "Coontrariusester" actually Jesus did not break the rules. Remember, the only way that Jesus could be convicted of a crime was to falsify charges against him. It was actually his accusers that broke the rules.

  • Coontrariusester mid-state, TN
    Nov. 20, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    @donn --

    "And you claim that Jesus didn't break rules."

    No, actually, I said that Jesus DID break rules.

    Sorry, sharonna/donn, but I can't quite make heads or tails of your post. Could you try again, with more clarity?

  • Coontrariusester mid-state, TN
    Nov. 20, 2013 12:37 p.m.

    @brokenclay --

    "1. You're claiming... Jesus actually positively affirmed the legitimacy of homosexuality. "

    Nope. He positively affirmed its existence, and advised that such men should not marry women. He neither affirmed nor denied its "legitimacy".

    "I want to know the source.... "

    There are multiple. One old one is Clement of Alexandria.

    As Clement of Alexandria wrote 1800 years ago (he is quoting the Bible and then referring to followers of Basilides -- and yes, this is a direct quote from Clement):

    "'...there are some eunuchs who are so from their birth...' And their explanation of this saying is roughly as follows: Some men from their birth, have a natural sense of repulsion from a woman..." (Stromata, III. 1.1) .

    They acknowledged the meaning of this phrase 1800 years ago.

    "False. "

    True. "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything". (Col 3:22)

    "You may want to take a look at Jude 1:7..."

    Jude 1:7 talks about sexual immorality in general, not homosexuality in particular.

    "numbers do nothing to legitimatize a cause."

    Numbers do not prove its justness. But they do show that this pastor is not an isolated extremist, which is what I said in the first place.

  • brokenclay Chandler, AZ
    Nov. 20, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    1. You're claiming that in addition to saying nothing explicitly concerning homosexuality, Jesus actually positively affirmed the legitimacy of homosexuality. This appalling claim stretches beyond absurdity, and it at best commits the etymological fallacy of loading a word with all of its possible meanings. But beyond this, I want to know the source that gives this meaning to the term eunuch. Name the source. If it is a secondary source, I want to know that person's academic credentials. If it's a primary source, I want to know the date of the document and the place I can find the reference. And then if this is done, show me by the context that the word is referencing homosexuality and not reasons why a man might remain single rather than marry.

    2. "Paul . . . supported slavery"

    False. "But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity." (1 Cor 7:21)

    3. "Paul is the ONLY person in the NT who spoke against homosexuality."

    You may want to take a look at Jude 1:7, a book written by the half-brother of Jesus himself.

    4. I'm not LDS, I'm evangelical, and again, numbers do nothing to legitimatize a cause.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    brokenclay,

    Yes, and living in a free, egalitarian county is also "voluntary". If you can't support the law, you are welcome to move to a country that better fits your religious zeal...

    ...or so we always hear from the religious folks when a "sinner" doesn't like the religious hegemony against which we are fighting.

  • Coontrariusester mid-state, TN
    Nov. 20, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    @RedShirt --

    "you are getting rules and tradition mixed up."

    Nope. You are getting civil law and religious law mixed up -- and also getting "breaking the rules" and "setting new rules" mixed up.

    "Avoiding touching a leper was a tradition, not a rule."

    It's part of the Mosaic laws of the OT. For example:

    "if they touch human uncleanness...they must confess in what way they have sinned. As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin." (Lev 5: 3-6)

    "As Jesus explains in the Bible, and the Priests and Scribes agreed, the work he did on the Sabbath was righteous and acceptable."

    Jesus is setting a NEW rule here -- in contravention of the old one.

    "Jesus forgiving sins was actually in accordance with prophecy and scripture."

    So they prophesied that he would break rules. :-)

    "Since Jesus is the Jehova from the OT, he is not doing anything wrong."

    I never said he did anything **wrong**. I said that he broke rules -- which he obviously did.

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 10:04 a.m.

    RE: Contrariusester, And you claim that Jesus didn't break rules. (Jesus )committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth , 1 Peter 2:22. we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:15
    ” Mark 10:19, Here’s the point: When Jesus said to him “you know the commandments” and even “go, sell all that you have,” Jesus was not saying that we become saved by keeping the commandments. That would contradict the point of the parable, that none of us are law keepers but are only justified by acknowledging our sinfulness. For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God's laws.(James 2:10).
    @Didn't sacrifice a lamb on the day of Atonement. He was the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed.
    (Jesus), “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male(Adam) and female(Eve),’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’]?.” Matthew 19:4-6

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    To "Coontrariusester" you are getting rules and tradition mixed up.

    Avoiding touching a leper was a tradition, not a rule.

    As Jesus explains in the Bible, and the Priests and Scribes agreed, the work he did on the Sabbath was righteous and acceptable.

    Jesus forgiving sins was actually in accordance with prophecy and scripture. See Exodus 34: 6-7. Since Jesus is the Jehova from the OT, he is not doing anything wrong.

    Paul didn't get away from by martyrdom of Stephen.

    Washing hands after eating with Gentiles was a tradition, not a rule. See Mark 7:8

    He didn't "throw out" all of the rules. One of the rules was that when Jesus came, he would end the old rules and give new rules.

    Nice try. Next time, read the scriptures.

  • brokenclay Chandler, AZ
    Nov. 20, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    Scientist, in the former cases you have outside compulsion from government over religion, while in the latter case you have an issue internal to a church to which one is voluntarily aligned. Is the difference between the two really that opaque?

    "But Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men.'" (Acts 5:29)

    While it is true that God's edicts trump the rules of men, it is also true that the Bible is very clear on the issue of homosexual marriage. Jesus himself positively taught that marriage was between one man and one woman. Paul is explicitly clear on the matter (Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10). This pastor can argue that the UMC's rules are wrong, but he can't do it on the basis of the Bible.

    The UMC currently has about 34,000 congregations, presumably each with more than one pastor on average, so I'm not sure why 1000 pastors signing a document is that significant. It's also more unclear why numbers would legitimatize a cause.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    To "RanchHand" and "Coontrariusester" actually Jesus did not break the rules. Remember, the only way that Jesus could be convicted of a crime was to falsify charges against him. It was actually his accusers that broke the rules.

    Do you actually understand the Bible?

  • Coontrariusester mid-state, TN
    Nov. 20, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    @donn --

    "WRONG"

    Wow. If breaking the rules is never the right thing to do, then Jesus must have been an awfully bad man. He broke a LOT of them himself, after all.

    "(Jesus)You know the commandments"

    Sorry, sharonna -- oops, I mean donn -- but there is no commandment that says "thou shalt not commit civil disobedience".

    "Honor your Father and Mother”[not significant others]"

    "Significant others" are spouses, donn -- not parents.

    "God distinguishes father and mother from all other persons on earth, chooses them and sets them next to Himself, occupying the highest place in our lives next to God."

    What has that got to do with the subject of civil disobedience?

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 5:18 a.m.

    @donn;

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (i.e., break the rules if those rules are wrong and hurtful).

    Rosa Parks broke the rules.
    Jesus himself broke the rules.
    The US military says you are to obey your commanders, however, if they give you orders that are illegal, you are allowed to "break the rules" and not follow those orders.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 3:21 a.m.

    So here is a case that reveals the hypocrisy of the tightly righties. On the one hand, in the name of religious freedom, they insist that nurses should not have to perform procedures with which they disagree for religious reasons. And they insist that fast food companies should not have to provide medical benefits to employees if the owners have religious objections to the law. But now when an individual pastor has deeply held religious beliefs, he is not likewise allowed to exercise his religious freedom by going against a church's policies and dogma?

    Sounds like a double standard to me!

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    RE: Contrariusester, Sometimes breaking the rules is the RIGHT thing to do.

    WRONG,
    (Jesus)You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your Father and Mother(not Significant Other..’” Mark 10:19.

    Honor your Father and Mother”[not significant others],which is the first commandment with a promise. God distinguishes father and mother from all other persons on earth, chooses them and sets them next to Himself, occupying the highest place in our lives next to God..

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 5:54 p.m.

    @RedShirt:

    "Why couldn' his son have told his father to stay within the church rules?"

    Why couldn't the church realize that family love is more important than stupid rules that can hurt family members? Perhaps the father also wants to perform the marriages of his other 3 children (including the 2 gay ones). If his church removes him from his post he can always get licensed to perform marriages through the state; he doesn't need a church that would rather practice bigotry in order to love his family enough to do the right thing; even if it means he loses his job.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    And once upon a time,
    about 100 years agao,
    in a land not too far from this very spot...

    another group of unothodox married folks ran into this same sort of problem...

  • Contrariusester mid-state, TN
    Nov. 19, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    @Redshirt --

    "Breaking the rules is wrong, it doesn't matter if you agree with the rules or not."

    Oddly enough, that's the same argument that was used by many Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials. "But I was only following orders!"

    Sometimes breaking the rules is the RIGHT thing to do.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    To "Ranch" actually it does. If your employer has a rule that says you can only wear company logo shirts, but on a particular day you know that you will be getting dirty at work so you wear a non-logo shirt so that you don't get your work shirt dirty. You have broken the rules, that makes it a wrong. Yes you did the right thing, but did not act in accordance with the rules. Breaking the rules is wrong, it doesn't matter if you agree with the rules or not.

    Are you sure it was the right thing to do for his family? Just so that he can make one child feel accepted, he has now possibly lost his job. Being a minister who lost his job going against his church's doctrine will make it hard to get a new parish. What can he do to earn money? How much suffering will his family go through now so that one child can feel accepted?

    Why couldn' his son have told his father to stay within the church rules?

  • Contrariusester mid-state, TN
    Nov. 19, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    @lost in DC --

    "it was not a personnel dispute with a choir director that got him in trouble, it was breaking the church's discipline."

    Read that article again.

    First, the pastor TOLD the church what he was going to do -- and no consequences were forthcoming. Second, the church did not raise any objections for nearly SIX YEARS after the fact. Third, the pastor ONLY got into trouble after the son of a disgruntled church employee complained -- again, SIX YEARS after the fact.

    The church was obviously happy to let the transgression lie. The employee's son was not.

    "the church has the right and obligation to its members to defend its teachings and doctrines against those who profess to represent the church but openly flaunt its rules."

    Jesus was a dissident. Following the rules is not always the right thing to do.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:50 p.m.

    RedShirt says:

    "The minister knew that what he was doing was wrong ..."

    Sorry, but he knew what he was doing was against the church's rules, but that doesn't make it "wrong". He also knew that it was the RIGHT thing to do; treat others kindly, the way he would like to be treated (not to mention that it was also the right thing to do for his family).

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    The legacy of protesting is fundamental to Protestantism. If a pastor doesn't like the doctrines of this employer, he should start his own church.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:15 p.m.

    contrariwhatever,

    it was not a personnel dispute with a choir director that got him in trouble, it was breaking the church's discipline.

    whethere YOU agee with those teachings is beside the point, the church has the right and obligation to its members to defend its teachings and doctrines against those who profess to represent the church but openly flaunt its rules.

    suppose the president of of the united states would openly and knowingly lie... oh wait, you WOULD still support him.

  • Contrariusester mid-state, TN
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    @RedShirt --

    "Shouldn't the congregation be more concerned that the Pastor was so willing to go against church doctrine?"

    You're missing a couple of important facts here.

    First, as pointed out in the revised article, the minister told his superiors that he was going to perform this service before it occurred. He gave them advance notice -- yet nobody saw fit to bring it up for nearly SIX YEARS after the fact. Obviously, the Church hierarchy wasn't all that upset about it.

    Second, as I pointed out in my first post, many other Methodist ministers have also performed gay wedding ceremonies. In fact, they have been doing so for years. This isn't some unique incident by some fringe extremist pastor.

    Third, as I also pointed out, more than 1000 Methodist ministers have signed on to Bishop Talbert's call to action. Many many Methodists SUPPORT gay marriage.

    There is already a huge rift in the Methodist community. Yup, this guy is guilty of civil disobedience -- but that's not always a bad thing.

  • J. S. Houston, TX
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    In 19th century, Methodist church split because northern churches were anti-slavery but the southern churches were pro-slavery. Fortunately, they came to consensus on slavery and re-united in 20th century. I don't know if history will repeat itself on this issue too.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    Shouldn't the congregation be more concerned that the Pastor was so willing to go against church doctrine? If they keep him, then they are saying that they too do not believe in the doctrines that their church is teaching. The minister knew that what he was doing was wrong and that he could lose his job.

    Imagine if he had robbed a bank and used the money for a food drive. Would you still have the same compassion for somebody who broke with church doctrine but did it with good intentions?

  • ChristoperB Salt Lake, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    I congratulate the church for what they're doing.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Contrariusester mid-state, TN
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    "Boger acknowledged that his mother — the church's choir director for more than 40 years — and Schaefer had a falling out in the months leading up to the complaint. "

    It's sad that a petty personal dispute led to the problems for this pastor. OTOH, it's not an altogether bad thing for these church trials to receive publicity. It's good to keep these issues in the public eye, much as cases of civil disobedience did in the 50s and 60s.

    I'm also proud of our local Methodist pastor, Melvin Talbert, formerly the Bishop for Northern California. He has also performed at least one gay marriage.

    Talbert has said: "Weddings are going on all the time, all across the church, but it's privately done, and bishops are just looking the other way, and it's time for someone to say, 'Let's deal with the elephant in the room.' "

    He also said: "I declare to you that the derogatory language and restrictive laws in the Book of Discipline are immoral and unjust and no longer deserve our loyalty and obedience."

    More than 1000 Methodist ministers have signed on to Talbert's call to action.