There is no doubt that churches in Africa have held strong stances and disinterests in discussing or accepting gay or equal sex marriages and rights. But who could have ever imagined that one church will be so divided on the same subject?
Church members of the UK Methodist Church, UK’s fourth-largest Christian denomination, in early July, voted overwhelmingly at the British Methodist Conference (BMC) in Birmingham in favour of a policy that could lead to the church embracing same-sex unions.
A total of 247 members voted for the motion against the 48 who voted against it. The vote, however, does not automatically mean same-sex weddings are permitted, as the proposal will require a second vote at the July 2020 conference.
The UK Methodist Church has around 180,000 members but not all of its 12 million-plus members around the world are in support of such a big announcement.
In a move that shows its disassociation from the decision made by its mother church, the Methodist Church Ghana (MCG) says it is in no way, whether presently or in the future, in support of the unanimous decision by the BMC to go beyond recognition and acknowledgement, to regularize same-sex marriage, cohabitation and divorce in the church.
Most Reverend Dr Paul Boafo, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana made the statement at a press conference in Accra, stating that same-sex relationships were neither supported by biblical teachings nor can the Bible’s position be revised to support it.
He described the decision by the BMC as revisionist interpretations of the Bible that seeks to make same-sex relationships permissible, a decision which clearly goes against biblical teachings.
He further described the decision as a very sad development for Methodism worldwide given the fact that the root of the faith lies in that country.
“We belong to an evangelical faith that upholds 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.
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.
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.”
Rev. Dr. Boafo 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”.
So far in Africa, only South Africa and Cape Verde have legalized same-sex marriages with the rest of the countries on the continent either unsettled on the decision entirely or completely not interested in even having discussions on it.