Over the last few days, the United Methodist Church held its 2019 General Convention. Front and center was the church’s stance on sexuality, among other issues of concern to the progressives who make up a sizable portion of the UMC.
I agree with Rod; it’s stunning. The large international branch of the United Methodist Church, which is more conservative on these issues, put them over the top.
But let’s back up a bit.
What struck me more than that conclusion was the discussion and debate that preceded it. If we’re observant, much can be revealed about the mindset of “woke” progressives in the Christian church and how they intend to change it. How? Because they tell us.
Woke Progressive: African/Asian Christians Are Too Stupid to Understand
For instance, this fellow.
This tweet doubtless scores an “A+” if used as the thrust for a cultural anthropology essay at Brown. Nevertheless, beneath the “woke” veneer lies a thinly veiled well of ethnocentrism rooted in a particular worldview. It just so happens that the favored worldview is found among well-off, mostly white progressives who live in the richest country on earth. How about that?
These progressives are so humble that, from their lofty perch, they deign to condescend to the mere mortals who can’t possibly understand why the church should be of the world, not just in it.
For those of you who can’t bear the stench of hypocrisy, the tweet basically says (reworded for clarity): “Those dumb Africans and Asians don’t want to throw off 2,000 years of Christian doctrine due to how oppressed they are, poor little things, you know they were colonized? Yes! Isn’t that wretched? By the way, would you pass my kombucha, dahhhling?”
African Methodist Leader Forcefully Responds
Dr. Jerry Kulah, a leader of the Methodist Church in Africa, would have none of this. As progressive activists raged against the man, Kulah reminded Methodists what they were there for in the first place. At a breakfast on Saturday, he delivered a powerful and decidedly un-woke message.
First, he affirmed that while African Methodists were as tolerant as anyone, they also saw no reason to change the church’s teaching:
Friends, please hear me, we Africans are not afraid of our sisters and brothers who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, questioning, or queer. We love them and we hope the best for them. But we know of no compelling arguments for forsaking our church’s understanding of Scripture and the teachings of the church universal.
Then, holding nothing back, he addressed the condescension towards his churches head on:
And then please hear me when I say as graciously as I can: we Africans are not children in need of western enlightenment when it comes to the church’s sexual ethics. We do not need to hear a progressive U.S. bishop lecture us about our need to “grow up.”
He then handled the (unbelievably arrogant) suspicions that they were somehow in this for the money. Are African Christians just looking for financial support from the United States? No way:
Unfortunately, some United Methodists in the U.S. have the very faulty assumption that all Africans are concerned about is U.S. financial support. Well, I am sure, being sinners like all of you, some Africans are fixated on money.
But with all due respect, a fixation on money seems more of an American problem than an African one. We get by on far less than most Americans do; we know how to do it. I’m not so sure you do. So if anyone is so naïve or condescending as to think we would sell our birth right in Jesus Christ for American dollars, then they simply do not know us.
We are seriously joyful in following Jesus Christ and God’s holy word to us in the Bible. And in truth, we think many people in the U.S. and in parts of Europe could learn a great deal from us. The UM churches, pastors and lay people who partner with us acknowledge as much.
Please understand me when I say the vast majority of African United Methodists will never, ever trade Jesus and the truth of the Bible for money.
As Kulah went for the jugular of the progressive elitism inherent in the Methodist reformers, it’s hard not to cheer. How often has such elitism manifested itself in other ways in our political and social discussions?
But in a Christian denomination, it’s especially repugnant. The Africans clearly understand the Gospel better than most.
To be treated as second-class citizens whose job is to consent to whatever is put forward by the woke millenial Americans? It’s offensive.
Thank God for men of courage like Dr. Jerry Kulah. Courage that won the day in the United Methodist Church. Perhaps it will spread to other denominations ailing from the malaise of moral relativism.