The conflict in the mainline churches is ostensibly about sexuality—specifically, homosexuality. But more than sexuality is at stake. The faith itself, the Christian faith, is being invaded by false teaching. Theologically, this heresy is rarely articulated. Rather, it works by feeling, an ecstatic sense that transcends petty verbal differences. Consider these three quotations:

The Dammann case does reveal continuing differences in the United Methodist Church concerning the issue of homosexuality. The Council of Bishops is painfully aware of this disagreement. In such moments as this, we remember that our unity in Christ does not depend on unanimity of opinion. Rather, in Jesus Christ we are bound together by love that transcends our differences and calls us to stay at the table with one another.
When they finished, all of us stood up and applauded, with a lump in our throats and a tear in our eyes, as we watched them embrace one another. Convictions were not reconciled that day, but two people who held different convictions were reconciled in Christ.
How we all fit together, how our singularities are made sense of, how our divergent views and different understandings of God's intent are reconciled, passes all understanding. All that we can do is to travel on in faith and trust, knowing that all contradictions and paradoxes and seemingly irreconcilable truths—which seem both consistent and inconsistent with Scripture—are brought together in the larger and all- embracing truth of Christ, which, by Christ's own words, has yet to be fully drawn forth and known.

The first quotation is from a March 25, 2004, statement by the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church in response to the trial of a lesbian Methodist minister. ...

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The Ecstatic Heresy
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October 2004

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