A Monday afternoon tweet by Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, received sharply negative responses from several United Methodist tweeters.
At 4:19 p.m. Eastern Time, Mohler tweeted: “Join me in praying that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will hold firm for biblical standards of sexuality.”
Mohler apparently was referring to the sexual standards detailed in the United Methodist Book of Discipline in paragraphs 161F and 304.3. Petitions that would alter those paragraphs will be debated and voted on later this week.
The Discipline language upholds human sexuality as “God’s good gift” but teaches that not all forms of sexual expression are within the boundaries of holy and appropriate Christian conduct.
“Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only within the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage,” paragraph 161F states.
Paragraph 304.3 requires clergy members of the UMC “to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world,” further noting that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as [clergy] candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”
A few UM tweeters thanked Mohler for his comment about praying for the upcoming vote on sexual standards, but most responses directed to him (via the @albertmohler designation) were decidedly negative and in some cases even derisive:
Although a Southern Baptist, Albert Mohler served two Methodist churches while pursuing his seminary education. He has been president of Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., since 1993.
Mohler is the author of Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Multnomah, 2008), Desire & Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance (Multnomah, 2008), and He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World (Moody, 2008).