June 25th, 2014
08:51 AM ET

Pastor who officiated son's same-sex wedding reinstated

(CNN) - The Pennsylvania minister who was defrocked for officiating his son's same-sex wedding was reinstated Tuesday by the United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, pastor at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, had his credentials restored and is now entitled to lost salary and benefits since his defrocking in December, according to a written decision released by the church.

Church changes its marriage definition Ten years of same-sex marriage

Schaefer was waiting for a phone call to inform him of the church's verdict, when he received the happy news as an e-mail attachment.

He opened up the PDF.

"I had to scroll all the way to the bottom to find out what the verdict was, and the verdict was that I am reinstated as an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church," he told a group of people.

They broke into applause.

Schaefer was suspended for 30 days following his initial trial, with the condition that after his suspension he was to deliver a written report assuring the judiciary board that going forward he would never officiate another same-sex wedding. When Schaefer refused to do so, he was defrocked.

Schaefer told CNN then that he could not commit to a statement like that because he has two more children who are gay.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Methodist • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. joeyy1


    June 26, 2014 at 9:47 am |
  2. realbuckyball

    Where or where in the frock shop.
    First he's defrocked, then re-frocked.
    The UM church should buy him a pretty new frock.

    June 25, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
  3. fintronics

    Pastor Danny Bonaduce

    June 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  4. rosenj72


    Can we add or take away anything to the word of God?

    June 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
    • fintronics

      There is no such thing as "god".... is this a trick question?

      June 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
    • igaftr

      can anyone show that anyone actually has the "word of god"?
      So far, all we see is the works of men claiming to be from or inspired from god, but it just might be Satan's word, or most likely, entirely from men.

      June 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Well apparently so. When Timothy said "All scripture is god breathed ...." etc, there was no canon yet. So apparently one can add quite a lot. Jebus also told you (John 16:12 I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.", so I guess you should have been expecting more.

      June 25, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
  5. blessed137

    It doesnt matter if it is at a church or elsewhere. We know what God considers sinful and most christians stand by that standard. Our intolerance is not based on our own opinion of what is right or wrong. It is based on what our God considers right or wrong.

    June 25, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • blessed137

      But this pastor doesnt have to worry about that he has the go ahead to marry in that church. Was answering question based on general marriage. Think I misunderstood context of your question.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:52 am |
    • G to the T

      "We know what God considers sinful" – most believe they know, but only have a specific translation of the bible to go by. As I understand it, the Leviticus proclamations are a prime example of poor translations leading to bad beliefs.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Actually, "blessed", you only think you know what god "considers sinful". With over 30,000 denominations, a lot of people have different interpretations about what god "considers sinful".

      June 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • blessed137

        Agreed. There are many different denominations, doctrine, and individual christian opinion. The we know I was referring to are the christians that share the same doctrine as mine.

        June 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  6. Theo Phileo

    The doctrine of Sola Scriptura means that the Word of God found only in the Bible is inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative, perspi.cuous, sufficient, immutable, invincible, and final.

    When men diverge from the Word of God, anything can be approved of. But God remains steadfast in His hatred of what He calls sin. And God will judge all sin. (Romans 1-2)

    Schaefer may celebrate now, but he will answer to God as to why he gave hearty approval to those living in lifestyles of sin.

    June 25, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • observer

      Theo Phileo,

      If the Bible were inerrant, it wouldn't contain all the contradictions, errors, hypocrisy and nonsense that it does.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:36 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        It is not the Bible that is flawed, rather, it is the petty understanding that has grown up through a lackadaisical approach to a study of the Bible that many people have that is flawed. I've been studying the Bible for decades, and I have not found a single issue that cannot be reconciled through a simple reading of the text. Unfortunately, many are not even willing to do that.

        They say the Bible has errors simply because that mentality fits their worldview, and they will die for lack of understanding that comes either through a willing ignorance, or a failure to study.

        June 25, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • Doris

          Theopatra translator: "you don't know my book, so you are wrong". A stock answer for Theo.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • observer

          There's a reason why people making EXCUSES for the Bible are not called descriptions like "truth reporters" but instead are APOLOGISTS.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:51 am |
    • G to the T

      "Sola Scriptura" – Falls flat on it's face in light of the history and various versions/translations of the Bible. Now if everyone go the same theology no matter their version, I might see this as a sign of divine intervention, however this does not appear to be the case.

      When all men are experts, none will agree.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        And which translation are you reading that endorses hom/ose/xuality?

        June 25, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          The Bible doesn't endorse h0mos3xuality. It's just one of a list of bigoted discriminations.

          It does however, endorse the Golden Rule, which many Christian HYPOCRITES ignore in order to pick on gays.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Observer, as I've said numerous times before, but you don't seem to agree since you keep bringing it up, the chastisement of sin IS the Golden Rule.

          Furthermore, the Sermon on the Mount was directed TO THE APOSTLES in the presence of many witnesses (Matthew 5:1-2). So if you want to try to extrapolate the Golden Rule to sinful men it just doesn't work.

          For, why would Jesus tell sinful men to treat others in the manner that they would want to be treated? What if their desire was to be treated in a manner that would be sinful in the eyes of God? (Such as endorsing a ho.mos.exual lifestyle)

          June 25, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • G to the T

          "And which translation are you reading that endorses hom/ose/xuality?"

          Which translation are you reading the denounces it? Perhaps one that calls it an "abomination"? Have you ever considered this isn't the best translation of this concept? That is was the Jews, not necessarily god, that found this practice distasteful (VERY different from a sin/abomination) and included their distaste into their holy words?

          June 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Doris

          Theo: "What if their desire was to be treated in a manner that would be sinful in the eyes of God"

          That might seem to make some kind of sense across Christianity Theo, except for the obvious disagreement on what is "sinful in the eyes of [your] God" across the over 41,000 sects. A rational person should see the obvious subjective opinion before anything that is allegedly "divine".

          June 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
    • Doris

      What observer said, but also Romans is just chatty cathy Paul spouting off again. Another sanctimonious figure in Christianity, so I can see why you like to quote him. Of course, as Ehrman states, most NT scholars have good reason to think that Peter 2 was not authored by Peter which throws the whole stamp of approval of Paul's words as "divine scripture" into question.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:46 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Liberal theologians such as Ehrman and the Jesus Seminar have been proven wrong over and over again... Why do you keep quoting them? Do you want me to give you a reading list for theologians and hostorians who are NOT motivated by political correctness to re-write history?

        June 25, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Doris

          Theo: "Liberal theologians such as Ehrman and the Jesus Seminar have been proven wrong over and over again... "

          Oh really, Theo. Maybe you can provide evidence of that. Plus, I think this opinion goes beyond the Jesus Seminar.

          for starters, show where the following have failed...

          Raymond E Brown and Bart Ehrman (that truthfollower01 uses as a source above), among others, state that most biblical scholars have concluded Peter is not the author, and consider the epistle pseudepigraphical.[3] [4] Reasons for this include its linguistic differences from 1 Peter, its apparent use of Jude, possible allusions to 2nd-century gnosticism, encouragement in the wake of a delayed parousia, and weak external support.[5]

          3. Brown, Raymond E., Introduction to the New Testament, Anchor Bible, 1997, ISBN 0-385-24767-2. p. 767 "the pseudonymity of II Pet is more certain than that of any other NT work."
          4. Erhman, Bart (2005). Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. Harper Collins. p. 31 "Evidence comes in the final book of the New Testament to be written, 2 Peter, a book that most critical scholars believe was not actually written by Peter but by one of his followers, pseudonymously.". ISBN 978-0-06-182514-9.
          5. Grant, Robert M. A Historical Introduction To The New Testament, chap. 14.


          from Bible.org:

          "Most conservative evangelicals hold to the traditional view that Peter was the author, but historical and literary critics have almost unanimously concluded that to be impossible.

          The rejection of Peter as the writer of 2 Peter is by far the most common opinion today. In fact, the view of the pseudonymity of the epistle is almost universal.

          The history of the acceptance of 2 Peter into the New Testament canon has all the grace of a college hazing event. This epistle was examined, prayed over, considered, and debated more than any other New Testament book—including Revelation."


          Michael J. Kruger, “The Authenticity of 2 Peter, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 42.4 (1999):

          "J. N. D. Kelly in his commentary on 2 Peter confesses that 'scarcely anyone nowadays
          doubts that 2 Peter is pseudonymous.' [1] Indeed, from the very start this epistle has had a difficult journey. It was received into the New Testament canon with hesitation, considered second-class Scripture by Luther, reluctantly accepted by Calvin, rejected by Erasmus, and now is repudiated as pseudonymous by modern scholarship. Joseph B. Mayor agrees with the current consensus when he declares that 2 Peter “was not written by the author of 1 Peter, whom we have every reason to believe to have been the Apostle St. Peter himself .... We conclude, therefore, that the second Epistle is not authentic.” [2]

          "The argument against the authenticity of 2 Peter turns on three main problems: (1) problem of external attestation in the early church; (2) stylistic and literary problems with 1 Peter and Jude; and (3) historical and doctrinal problems that seem to indicate internal inconsistency and a late date. Undoubtedly, 2 Peter has a plethora of problems. Most scholars believe its path towards canonical status was littered with pitfalls and detours for good reason."

          1. J. N. D. Kelly,
          A Commentary on the Epistles of Peter and of Jude
          (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1969) 235.
          2. Joseph B. Mayor,
          The Epistles of Jude and II Peter
          (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979) cxxiv.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • joey3467

          Please provide the link to demonstrate that they are 100% wrong on this issue.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I'll tell you what. Get a Reformation Study Bible from ligonier.org, or a MacArthur Study Bible from gty.org, and they'll give you cliffnotes in the margins why the liberal theologians are wrong.

          Or you could start with J. Gresham Machen's book "Christianity and Liberalism" and it helps to lay the groundwork for why modern liberal theologians and atheists think the way they do about the Bible. Then read F.F. Bruce's book on the New Testament Doc.uments, followed by Eusebius' book "Ecclesiastical History."

          In short, the Jesus Seminar folks (and Ehrman) have become disenchanted with their faith, and now, motivated by political correctness, seek to re-write history.

          June 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Doris

          That's just a song and a dance, Theo. In case you haven't noticed, this line of the thread has already become more specific. If you would like to quote something, do so and please provide author and date, because I may very well also ask what has generally been learned since certain writings.

          June 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • G to the T

          "I may very well also ask what has generally been learned since certain writings."

          Indeed – if his literary references are as out-dated as his archeological ones, we may have the key to his beliefs...

          June 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • Doris

          Ah yes – "ligonier.org" – the reformed theology website of Calvanist R.C. Sproul, known for his advocacy of the Thomistic (classical) approaches to Christian apologetics. He has an extensive education in theology and teaches theology.

          Are you ready yet to show HOW Ehrman has been proven wrong, Theo.

          (Ehrman is an American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who focuses on textual criticism of the NT. He holds a PhD [magna c.um laude] from Princeton Theological Seminary.

          Ehrman has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He was the recipient of the 2009 J. W. Pope "Spirit of Inquiry" Teaching Award, the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching.

          Ehrman currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Docu.ments (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs. Ehrman formerly served as President of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature, chair of the New Testament textual criticism section of the Society.)

          June 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • Doris

          Sorry – this was supposed to be a question:

          Are you ready yet to show HOW Ehrman has been proven wrong, Theo?

          June 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Doris, don't take the lazy way out by simply getting me to quote something. READ the books. Theology takes study, and I can't do it for you.

          Here's an exerpt from the MacArthur study Bible which is just one source I could cite:

          "...The question about differences in Greek style between the 2 letters has been satisfactorily answered. Peter wrote that he used an amanuensis, Silvanus in 1 Peter (1 Peter 5:12). In 2 Peter, Peter either used a different amanuensis or wrote the letter by himself. The differences in vocabulary between the two letters can be explained by the difference in themes. First Peter was written to help suffering Christians. Second Peter was written to expose false teachers. On the other hand, there are remarkable similarities in the vocabulary of the two books... The difference in themes also explain certain emphases, such as why one letter teaches that the second coming is near, and one deals with its delay..."

          And it goes on for several more paragraphs. You really should read it.

          June 25, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • fintronics

          "Theology takes study..." = mythology takes study.

          June 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Amanuensis" – Right....

          So when did Peter learn Greek and Greek rhetorical devices? Otherwise it's not a simple as a scribe copying what he said. Many of the passages don't make sense unless written in the Greek. Also – there is almost NO evidence that this process was widely used, except by Biblical scholars trying to account for these differences. Regardless, it still does not answer how/when (an illiterate fisherman from a back-water in palestine) Peter learned to read/write/compose in Greek...

          June 25, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • rosenj72


      Can we add or take away anything to the word of God?

      June 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • G to the T

        It would be much more difficult today, but from all I've studied, editing happened quite a lot over the course of the creation/collation of the bible. So in that sense, yes – It's already happened.

        And if you are referring to the passage in Revelations, bare in mind that it was a common device of the time to admonish readers/copyists to not change any of the content (as this happened quite frequently in copying manuscripts back then) and was intended for the content of Revelations, not the Bible in general.

        June 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • rosenj72

          My point was only that Chri.stianity has changed much from the He.b.rew scriptures over the centuries. There is a bib.lical commandment not to eat from ani.mals that do not have split hooves and chew their cud (such as swine). The He.b.rew Bible explicitly states that eating from the carc.a.s.s of these animals is an abom.ination to God, the same language used to prohibit Hom.ose.xuality. It is illogical and hyp.ocri.tical for a Christian in one breath to renounce Ho.mo.se.xuality as being a sin and then sit down for a big ham dinner on Easter. I can assure you that "Rabbi Jesus" would vomit out the swine and would not have encouraged his Jewish followers to eat it either. Chr.isti.anity picks and chooses which Biblical verses to follow and which to keep based on their own personal desires and understanding.

          June 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • G to the T

          "R" – well said. I apologize for the confusion.

          June 25, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Except Timothy said "All scripture is god breathed", and when he said that, there was no canon. Oops. Jesus also told you in John 16:12
      "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.", so I guess you think you know better than Jebus I see.

      June 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
  7. Doris

    Or in a member church of UMC, but that is much more fundamentally literal. Reading the history of the UMC made me go reach for a sudafed.

    (wikipedia – UMC):

    "Founded in 1968 by the union of the Methodist Church (USA) and the Evangelical United Brethren Church."

    (wikipedia – EUBC):

    "The Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB) was an American Protestant church formed in 1946, by the merger of the Evangelical Church (formerly the Evangelical Association) and the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (not to be confused with the still current Church of the United Brethren in Christ (Old Const.itution)). The United Brethren and the Evangelical Association had considered merging off and on since the early 19th century because of their common emphasis on holiness and evangelism and their common German heritage.

    The Evangelical United Brethren subsequently merged with the The Methodist Church, (which itself had been formed in 1939, from the re-unification from a mid-19th-century split of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church South) in 1968, to form the new larger United Methodist Church."

    June 25, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • tallulah131

      Marty: Let's...uh talk a little bit about the history of the group.
      I understand Nigel you and David originally started the band
      wuh...back in...when was it...back in 1964?
      David: Well before that we were in different groups, I was in a
      group called The Creatures and w-which was a skiffle group.
      Nigel: I was in Lovely Lads.
      David: Yeah.
      Nigel: And then we looked at each other and says well we might as well
      join up you know and uh....
      David: So we became The Originals.
      Nigel: Right.
      David: And we had to change our name actually....
      Nigel: Well there was, there was another group in the east end called The
      Originals and we had to rename ourselves.
      David: The New Originals.
      Nigel: The New Originals and then, uh, they became....
      David: The Regulars, they changed their name back to The Regulars and
      we thought well, we could go back to The Originals but
      what's the point?
      Nigel: We became The Thamesmen at that point.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
      • fintronics

        ....."but it goes to eleven!!"

        June 25, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Sorry. The "Church of the United Brethren in Christ (not to be confused with the still current Church of the United Brethren in Christ " just brought that scene to mind.

        June 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
  8. noahsdadtopher

    "The United Methodist Church says it welcomes members regardless of se.xual orientation, but same-se.x marriages cannot be performed in Methodist churches or by ordained ministers under church policy."

    June 25, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • noahsdadtopher

      "They've thought of everything, haven't they? Covered all the bases."

      Maybe. But these days you have to. Of course, what they've done here is equivalent to a parent threatening a child they will be punished for doing something but then giving them a treat anyway.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • noahsdadtopher

      So you don't have rules in your house that will, if broken, result in a punishment?

      June 25, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • observer


      Did you set up household rules and then say that there would be no punishment until years later when they die?

      June 25, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Yes. Everyone needs rules in their homes. But not capricious rules that only apply to some.

      June 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
  9. blessed137

    Im sure all of you who are regular bloggers already know what I think.

    June 25, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  10. Reality

    He would have been better off defrocked as his religion as with all religions are bogus. He, however, probably has no other "skills" other that thu-mping the bible 24/7. How sad!

    June 25, 2014 at 10:16 am |
    • noahsdadtopher

      I'm not sure you can say he thumps his Bible much.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:03 am |
      • Reality

        "Bible th-umper (U.S.)

        -someone perceived as aggressively imposing their Christian beliefs upon others. The term derives from preachers th-umping their hands down on the Bible, or th-umping the Bible itself, to emphasize a point during a sermon. The term's target domain is broad and can often extend to anyone engaged in a public show of religion, fundamentalist or not. The term is most commonly used in English-speaking countries.[1]"

        June 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
  11. Vic

    It seems a "Natural Revelation" to me that God is "Love," just like what's revealed in Scripture. God has "Justice" grounded in "Love" & "Sanctity of Human Life."

    June 25, 2014 at 9:33 am |
  12. realbuckyball

    So then. He was defrocked and refrocked. Lots of business for dressmakers I guess.

    June 25, 2014 at 9:09 am |
    • Athy

      They're called "frockers." Sometimes they specialize in making frocks for pregnant women. Then they call themselves "mother frockers."

      June 25, 2014 at 10:01 am |
      • tallulah131

        Dang it! I was gonna make a similar joke. Frock you!

        June 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
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