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Letters to the Editor

Stop narrowly interpreting Bible re: homosexuality


The Rev. Warren Ashmore is to be commended for his recent guest editorial, in which he shared very personal and insightful theological reasons for asking all United Methodists to support changes in church policy and doctrine. I join him in seeking these changes so we affirm the worth and dignity of all human beings and welcome them unconditionally as members of our church and as ministers.

As a retired UMC pastor, I am old enough to recall the painful days of our denominationís history as we struggled to overcome narrow and misguided interpretations of the Bible used to support racial segregation and womenís inequality. The same narrow and misguided interpretations of the Bible are now being used by some in regard to human sexuality. Selected Scriptures that seemingly uphold a particular point of view is never to be accepted when used to deny the overarching teaching of the Bible that God creates all humans with worth and dignity. A humanís race, gender and sexual orientation are not to be used to devalue them in any way. It is too bad racial segregation was ever supported by Christians based on certain Scriptures.

It is too bad the gifts and graces of women in the life of the church as laypersons and clergy were denied based on the interpretation of certain Scriptures that taught male domination over females.

We must not allow the same incorrect use of Scriptures to continue regarding human sexuality. I grew up as racially prejudiced as any human could be. It was the teachings of the UMC that made it clear that, as a Christian and future minister, those views had to change. Who among us wants to use selected biblical passages to bring back to life a racially divided church?

In the early years of my life, I found myself simply accepting those biblically based teachings that said women were to be treated as second-class members of the church and should never be ministers. The UMC helped me see those views had to change! Who among us wants to use selected biblical passages to bring back to life a church that denies the gifts and graces of women as laity and as pastors?

It is past time for the use of a limited number of passages of Scriptures, interpreted very narrowly when applied to human sexuality, to be used inappropriately to dictate the policy and doctrine of the UMC.

Dr, Michael L. Vandiver, retired
Anderson District


Publication: South Carolina United Methodist Advocate; Date: February 2016; Pages: 4 and 5


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