Methodist Division and the Future of Religion in America

One of the most divisive issues facing all Americans, including churches, is the question of how to handle the issue of sexuality in a changing culture. The United Methodist Church has been the most public about the struggle going on within their denomination. In an article in Christianity Today for January/February 2020, Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, discussed the Methodist Church as an indicator of religion in America. Tooley says, “The Methodist Church has boasted of being America’s church, and whatever is going on in America is going on in the Methodist Church.” What can we learn from the Methodist division about the future of religion in America?

Atheists have used the LGBT issue effectively against belief in God. They insist that refusing to accept anyone based on sexual preference is a form of abuse and a violation of human rights. The United Methodist Church added a sentence to “The Book of Discipline” in the 1970s, saying that the Methodist Church “does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” In 2019 that stance was reinforced by a vote of 438 to 384. That vote indicated the depth of division on this issue. Now the Methodists are debating how to divide into two denominations to make everyone happy. Will the Methodist division make anyone happy? What effect will it have on the future of religion in America?

The fundamental question is whether the culture of the day should decide the stance of the Church on moral issues. It seems that all of us who claim to be Christians should be guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ and the message of God, as expressed in the Bible. We cannot let the media, the entertainment business, and the commercial industry make moral decisions for us. The Methodists talk about traditionalists and progressives in their struggles with the LGBT issue. By traditionalists, they refer to the statement made in the 1970s, and by progressives, they mean “what is going on in America.

The Does God Exist? Ministry maintains that God’s Word is 100% true and is the only trustworthy guide to all decisions made in life. These facts support that view and are the only way Christians can consistently deal with the LGBT issue:

*Abusing anyone because of their choices in life violates the teachings of Jesus.

*Sexual feelings do not demand sexual expression. Premarital sex, adultery, and fornication of all kinds are not mandated by being human. Same-sex attraction does not have to be consummated in sexual acts any more than being a single sexual teenager with raging hormones does. Abstinence is biblical and logical.

*LGBT lifestyles are destructive. All data shows that STDs are more prevalent in LGBT practitioners. Sex-change operations create the need for medication for the remainder of life. Psychological issues are involved in most LGBT choices.


Sexual orientation is not always a conscious choice of those with LGBT issues. Environmental issues, genetics, abuse, and family and peer issues are always involved. The Christian response to people struggling with their sexuality must be compassionate caring, and loving-kindness, with sympathetic support. The Church must lead in doing all of this. The future of religion in America must require that we NOT change the Bible to fit the current beliefs of the culture.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

The picture is from babylonbee.com, a Christian satirical website. Their slogan is, “Fake News You Can Trust.” To read their satirical post about the Methodist division, click HERE.

STD Rates Increasing

STD Rates Increasing

In August 2018, the Center for Disease Control released 2017 data showing STD rates increasing. The report showed a radical increase in the sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The CDC says that 2.29 million new cases of these three common sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed in 2017. Gonorrhea led the way with a 19% increase in cases in that year.

The CDC suggests that the reason for the STD rates increasing is a lack of government funding on sex education. There has been no increase in federal spending in that area since 2013. We would suggest that education about the mechanics of how to avoid STDs won’t change the trend. People won’t change their behavior until they truly understand the purpose of sex and how sexual behavior functions in committed relationships.

We have pointed out before that more and more Americans say “none” when asked about their religious affiliation. That is especially true for the younger generation. Without a religious basis, how can young people understand that sex is a creation of God that binds parents together in a loving, healthy home? The answer to STD rates increasing is not more funding, but more faith.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Data from USA TODAY, August 29, 2018, page B1.