The Coming Persecution
by Kent Svendsen
Recently it was announced that a group of ministers within the United Methodist Church would not be prosecuted for co-officiating in a same sex commitment service. It is now apparent that the Book of Discipline can be deliberately undermined and the commitment they made before God to uphold and defend it broken. The door has been left open for more unfaithfulness and covenant breaking. It has also provided an open door to increase the persecution of evangelicals using hate speech.
A quote by Jeanne Knepper's: "United Methodists participate in violence by our continued promotion of a lie that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."
So we are now liars and not only promote violence but participate in it simply by stating our beliefs on the subject. Evidently our leaders are either too weak and too afraid to perform their duties of performing church discipline. Or perhaps too many of our bishops lied when they were asked if they could affirm, promote, and defend the Book of Discipline upon receiving their promotions to bishop and being appointed over their kingdoms.
It is my opinion that it is only a matter of time before ministers who promote the position that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching will be hounded out of the ministry or bullied into silence. Evidently inclusiveness is a word you use only when you want to open a door to change, and then when a controlling interest is gained, that door is slammed shut. Then words of violence are brought out as weapons to be used against the very same compassionate people who allowed the door to be open in the name of inclusiveness. Now those words are being used against us: "Bigot" "Promoter of violence" "Liar" "intolerant" are just some of the phrases which are beginning used. Examples are also being made to warn us not to publicly proclaim the biblical message that homosexual practice is a sin. Within the Northern Illinois Conference the Reconciling forces are attempting to sue the Des Plaines Campground into bankruptcy. Why? Because they allowed both viewpoints to be preached from their public pulpit. Because defending the Book Of Discipline when it comes to its view of homosexuality creates a "atmosphere of bigotry and intolerance" in the view of the Reconciling supporters. And of course we must do everything we can to stamp out bigotry and intolerance in the name of social justice. Right? It is the righteous thing to do in their opinion. How can they do anything less when they see us in such a light?
The up coming General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be a major victory for those supporting the present discipline. Evidence supports this assumption. But the leadership of our denomination has become infested with covenant breakers who will turn a blind eye to the coming persecution. They are already looking forward to 2004 and will be working very hard over the next four years. So unless biblical evangelicals awake from their slumber it is only a matter of time. The Reconciling forces are forming their lynching parties and will be coming for us one-by-one under the cover of plausible deniability. On the surface they will offer words of sympathy and support with gentle, even angelic smiles, but behind those smiles will be their agenda of destroying our ability to minister and removing our voice from their midst. Then finally after enough are removed and the rest are silenced, the Book of Discipline will be changed and sin will become fashionable and blessed. This is the future I see for us.
The book of Jeremiah is a perfect example of what we are facing today. Too many refuse to stand up for righteousness and defend the biblical witness because of apathy or fear of covenant breaking leaders. Therefore, we can expect to be either dragged off to Egypt as Jeremiah was or enslaved by those who would destroy our witness.
Rev. Kent Svendsen firstname.lastname@example.org
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