Weekly briefing: Methodists homosexuality, R rating, Gospel for Asia

united methodist church
Delegates and bishops pray before a key vote on church policies about homosexuality during the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. |

We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:

United Methodists reject push to allow same-sex marriage

The United Methodist Church voted this week to reject a plan that would have opened the way for same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy. Fifty-three percent of the delegates from around the world chose to maintain the denomination’s position that homosexuality is contrary to Christian teaching. 

Conservative Christians gave credit to delegates from Africa for preserving the church’s stance on homosexual behavior. Some are now expecting a large split as a result of the vote, as many liberal Methodists have already vowed to leave.

Meanwhile, the denomination’s top court is scheduled to review the constitutionality of the “Traditional Plan” in April.

Pro-life film get R rating due to abortion scenes

To the surprise of its filmmakers, “Unplanned,” based on the true story of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, has been given an R rating by the MPAA. 

“We don’t have nudity, we don’t have sex, we don’t have language. So the only thing that [the MPAA] could give us an R for is violence so that means that they agree that abortion is a violent and disturbing act,” said actress Ashley Bratcher.

“We would like for teens to be able to go by themselves to the theater because they can go in many states … and have an abortion without parental consent, as young as 13, but they can’t go see this movie without parental consent.”

Gospel for Asia reaches $37 million settlement

Gospel for Asia reached a settlement with those who accused the ministry of fraud and financial mismanagement. After being hit with a lawsuit in 2015, the ministry announced a settlement of $37 million in donation refunds. 

GFA maintains that there was no wrongdoing, noting that there was no improper personal gain. The parties in the lawsuit agree that all donations designated for use in the field were sent to the field. But the ministry said it chose to settle in order to move forward with its mission.

Findings released from independent review of Bill Hybels, Willow Creek

After six months of review, the Independent Advisory Group concluded that allegations of sexual misconduct against former pastor Bill Hybels are “credible.” 

Among the findings, the group said that Hybels initiated relationships with the female staff members and that there was “inappropriate language, sexual innuendo and lax use of alcohol” among staff, including Hybels.

It also made a series of recommendations — including having a hotline to report misconduct and establishing standards on appropriate staff behavior — that would help Willow Creek Community Church and Willow Creek Association deal with such matters in the future.

Senate blocks Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Senate Democrats again blocked a bill meant to protect the life of babies that survive an abortion attempt.  

President Donald Trump called the vote “shocking” and pro-lifers maintain that the Democratic Party has gone extreme on abortion.

All six Democratic presidential candidates voted against the act. 

Pray for

Haitians amid violent riots 

Christian families in Pakistan who had to flee as Muslim mobs attacked their neighborhood 

New releases

brand new day 7eventh


Brand New Day by 7eventh Time Down (March 1) 

City of God by The Cashmans (March 1) 


The Love of Loves in the Song of Songs by Philip Graham Ryken (Feb. 28) 

7 Myths about Singleness by Sam Allberry (Feb. 28) 

The Prayers of Jesus: Listening to and Learning from Our Savior by Mark Jones (Feb. 28)

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