The Methodist Church Ghana (MCG) last Friday, disassociated itself from the unanimous decision by the British Methodist Conference (BMC) to go beyond recognition and acknowledgement, to regularising same-sex, cohabitation and divorce in the church.
It said, same-sex relationships were neither supported by biblical teaching nor can the Bible’s position be revised to support it, hence the MCG, rejects any revisionist interpretations of the Bible that seeks to make same-sex relationships permissible, a decision which clearly goes against biblical teachings.
The MCG said the church remains committed to its biblical tenets, and has not amended her position on marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman, neither does it permit cohabitation by unmarried couples nor encourage divorce by Christians.
The Most Reverend Dr Paul Boafo, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana, who made this known at a press conference in Accra, said the decision of the British Conference was a very sad development for Methodism worldwide given the fact that the root of the faith laid in that country.
The press conference, he said, was to clarify some emerging issues suggesting that the MCG was bound by the unanimous decision of the British Conference which was held in Birmingham from June 29 to July 4, 2019.
He said being an autonomous Conference since 1961, with its own leadership, the MCG was not bound by the BMC’s decision, but was saddened by such a conclusion, saying “there are good reasons for our feelings,” because it amounted to the reversal of long-standing Christian, not just Methodist beliefs, on marriage and sexuality and the normalisation of moral behaviour that the Christian Church has historically rejected as contradictory to God’s Word.
Rev Boafo said the church was particularly concerned with the trending report on Adom TV that seeks to create the impression that the MCG was bound by the decision made by the BMC, and was saddened that the TV reporter choose to file his report from of a Methodist chapel to draw home a certain effect without first seeking clarification from any of the Methodist authorities.
He ask the public to disregard all allusions to the fact that this has to do with the wider Methodist family, that the decision does not affect the MCG doctrinal position on sexuality or any other issue for that matter.
The seriousness of BMC’s decision, he said, was clearer when considered against the backdrop that as Methodists or Wesleyans, “we belong to an evangelical faith that uphold the integrity of the Bible and the pursuit of life of holiness,” and has even upheld the position that male and female sex outside of marriage and same sex relationships or any other alternate sexual lifestyles such as gay and lesbian options were all inconsistent with biblical ethics and morality, he said.
He said the church believes that “marriage is ordained by God,” and as her liturgy on weddings declares, “it is not to be thought of lightly or selfishly, but in the fear and love of God,” he said.
The Presiding Bishop said the church has asked its ministers, lay preachers, evangelists and other agents to ensure that this institution was preserved within the context of God’s Word, making sexuality a sacred act for the expression of love within long-term covenanted relationships with responsibilities and privileges defined both by law and by faith.
He said the MCG has maintained a working relationship with the British Conference as the “Mother Church” that gave birth to the MCG, and it was for this reason that its leadership and that of the British, participated in each other’s conferences and activities, and shared that heritage with the Methodist churches in other parts of West Africa, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, the Republic of Benin and several others.
He said “we are aware of our Wesleyan heritage and what it entails, and as an autonomous conference, we resolve to defend tenaciously the biblical faith that was once delivered unto the saints,” especially as it affected all areas of human life in their relationship with God in Christ.
Rev Boafo assured all members of the MCG community and by extension all other members of the Body of Christ, that the Methodist Church Ghana remains unashamedly, a Church that believes in the authority of the Bible and stands by the Wesleyan teaching on Scriptural Holiness.
He said it is never impossible for God to use Africans or any remnant believers in the United Kingdom to turn things around to his glory, saying “we do not hate homosexuals, but we do not believe that it is possible to opt for that lifestyle and be Christian according to the teachings of the Bible”.
He said the leadership of the MCG would communicate its position on the issue to the British Conference Office at a later date, and continue to engage with them on matters affecting their members and personnel who worship under the jurisdiction of the British Conference.