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Revd Michaela Youngson, President of the UK Methodist Conference. Video.

Graham responds to UK Methodists avoiding terms ‘husband, wife, mother’

The Methodist Church worldwide continues to move away from traditional biblical teachings about gender. In the United Kingdom, the denomination has released an inclusive language guide that discourages ministers from using terms such “husband” and “wife” and instead opt for gender-neutral terms such as “partner” and “parent.” Franklin Graham is having none of that.

In a blog post, Assistant Secretary of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Michaela Youngson said the goal was to avoid using “offensive, racist, sexist or homophobic language.”

The guide, which is updated every six months, suggests that relationships come in many different forms and that using “parent,” “partner” and “child” are good ways to start a conversation. This recommendation is in stark contrast to the biblical teaching of marriage as a lifelong, monogamous relationship between a man and a woman, as laid out in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

The denomination’s new stance also promotes the use of chosen pronouns to adhere to a person’s identity, as well as encouraging the use of controversial gender-neutral titles such as “Mx.” These changes are being made in the name of inclusivity and to avoid “demonizing” or “marginalizing” certain groups in society it contends.

Franklin Graham criticized the move for “trying to edit what the Word of God says.”

“Shame on the Methodist Church,” Graham, CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, wrote in a social media post Tuesday. “These are Biblical terms — and marriage between a man and a woman is biblical truth. The word ‘wife’ is used in some 360 verses in 38 books of the Bible. They are in essence trying to edit what the Word of God says and teaches to be more appealing to the changing whims of culture. We are warned against that in Scripture. As Christians, we aren’t called to avoid what might offend people — we are called to share the Truth of God’s Word that can guide and direct us through every step of life.”

READ: Number of US churches leaving UMC tops 7,000

The church’s stance on marriage and sexuality is causing concern among many Christians who see it as an outright abandonment of scripture and being taken up with the values of the world. In 2021, the governing body in Great Britain voted to redefine marriage, conduct same-sex weddings and affirm cohabitation. This moves further demonstrate the church’s departure from biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality.

Despite these changes, Sam McBratney, chairman of the pro-LGBTQ lobby group Dignity and Worth, said ministers in the denomination still will be able to preach faithfully on biblical sexual ethics.

“This is quite unlikely, as the very idea of marriage as anything outside of being between one man and one woman is against scripture,” the article said. “These deceptive statements and practices have found root in the hearts of many churches across the world who have now replaced the cross in their buildings with that of the pride flag.

“The Methodist Church’s decision to abandon the biblical definition of marriage and embrace worldly views on marriage and sexuality is a reminder that the church must remain faithful to the teachings of the Bible, even in the face of pressure from the world.”

Around the world and in the United States, thousands of churches are leaving the denomination as it moves away from biblical Christianity. They are, instead, joining the Global Methodist Church, a theologically conservative denomination launched as an alternative to the UMC last year.

–Alan Goforth | Mv


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