United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ was established in 1957 as a union of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. With a current membership of approximately 1.7 million communicants located in more than 6,400 congregations in 39 conferences (state and regional organizations), the United Church of Christ is the "youngest" of the major Protestant denominations in the United States. Its roots lie in the teachings of the 16th century reformers, particularly Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli, and in Congregationalism.
The basic unit of the United Church is the local church, which is guaranteed autonomy, or freedom, in the decisions it makes. That freedom is the "freedom of the gospel," however, and every corporate body within the church, whether a local church or a conference or the General Synod, is supposed to make its decisions in the light of the gospel and out of a sense of responsibility to the whole fellowship.
The General Synod of the United Church of Christ, which meets biennially, is the representative, deliberative body composed of 675 - 725 delegates elected by the conferences. The officers of the church and the General Synod are the president, secretary, and director of finance and treasurer. The national program agencies include the "United Church Board for World Ministries", "United Church Board for Homeland Ministries", "Office for Church Life and Leadership", "Office for Church in Society", "Office of Communication", "Stewardship Council", "United Church Foundation", and "Commission for Racial Justice". The United Church of Christ is a member of the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
The Evangelical and Reformed Church was a Protestant denomination established in 1934 by the union of the German Reformed Church (Reformed Church in the United States) and the Evangelical Synod of North America. These two religious bodies shared a German-language heritage, a similar form of church organization, and evangelical enthusiasm.
The Evangelical and Reformed Church was governed according to the presbyterian system; legislative authority was vested in a general synod, which met every three years. The denomination conducted missionary work, operated hospitals, and maintained homes for the elderly, children, epileptics, and the retarded.
The church recognized the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563, Luther's Catechisms, and the Augsburg confession as standards of doctrine. Separate congregations were permitted latitude in choosing specific points of faith and worship, but certain forms and hymns were recommended by the general synod. Baptism and the Eucharist were considered the only sacraments authorized by the New Testament. In 1957 the Evangelical and Reformed Church merged with the Congregational Christian churches to form the United Church of Christ.
Churches in the UCC can sanctify same-sex unions. The resolution "In support of equal marriage rights for all", supported by an estimated 80% of the UCC's 2005 general synod delegates, made the United Church of Christ the first major Protestant so-called "Christian" deliberative body in the U.S. to make a statement of support for "equal marriage rights for all people, regardless of gender," and is hitherto the largest so-called "Christian" denominational entity in the U.S. supporting same-sex marriage. This resolution (and the sanctification of same-sex marriages), however, is not supported by some congregations. The UCC has been severely criticized for its stand on same-sex marriage. In fact, citing differences over the membership and "ministry" of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender so-called "Christians", the UCC's Puerto Rico Conference left the church in 2006.
Homosexuality is condemned throughout the Bible. Sodomy is one of the sins that cries to heaven for vengeance. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for this very sin.
Jude 1:7, "As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighboring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after strange flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire."
Leviticus 18:22, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 20:13, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
Deuteronomy 23:17, "There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel."
1 Kings 14:24, "And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel."
1 Kings 15:11-12, "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made."
The sin of homosexuality is an abomination that excludes the people guilty of it from entering Heaven.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
Scripture teaches that homosexuality is a result of idolatry.
Romans 1, "Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened... who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error... they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them."
Romans 1 clearly teaches that homosexuality is "against nature," which means that this orientation is foreign to man's nature; that is, it is NOT INSTILLED BY GOD. As a result of idolatry, God sometimes allows a demon to take people over, possess them, and change their sexual orientation, as St. Paul describes.
Men and women are given over to homosexuality for inundating themselves with sins of impurity (masturbation, sexual sins within and outside of marriage) – thereby worshipping the flesh rather than God. For this sin they can get possessed by the demon of lust, which takes them over and corrupts their entire orientation. (And they can be cured of this.) People also become homosexuals by engaging in idolatry by either harboring a perverse fascination with human beings over God – thereby worshipping the creature rather than the Creator – or by simply worshipping something that is a creature or the work of one's hands. The fact that all homosexuals are possessed by a demon is corroborated by the fact that most homosexual males can be identified by their effeminate external mannerisms. What explains this? It's obviously the demon's presence in the person making itself manifest externally – the external, unnatural mannerisms revealing the internal corruption of the soul.
Isaias 3:9 "The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! For they have rewarded evil unto themselves."
Notice that the prophet Isaias, referring to homosexuals, says that "they have rewarded evil unto themselves." This is strikingly similar to Romans 1 above, where St. Paul says that homosexuals have received "in themselves the recompense [reward] which was due to their error."
The United Church of Christ, along with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations created several sexual education classes designed for many different age groups. Called Our Whole Lives, or OWL, these courses aim to provide scientific and unbiased information regarding sexuality, birth control and condoms, and physical biology.
God, the Catholic Church, the natural law and Christian morality condemns sexual education and contraception. Pope Pius XI points out that it's not ignorance of such things which lead to sins in this regard, but rather exposure to such enticements.
Pope Pius XI, Divini illius magistri, Dec. 31, 1931: "But much more pernicious are those opinions and teachings regarding the following of nature absolutely as a guide. These enter upon a certain phase of human education which is full of difficulties, namely, that which has to do with moral integrity and chastity. For here and there a great many foolishly and dangerously hold and advance the method of education, which is disgustingly called 'sexual,' since they foolishly feel that they can, by merely natural means, after discarding every religious and pious aid, warn youth against sensuality and excess, by initiating and instructing all of them, without distinction of sex, even publicly, in hazardous doctrines; and what is worse, by exposing them prematurely to the occasions, in order that their minds having become accustomed, as they say, may grow hardened to the dangers of puberty.
"But in this such persons gravely err, because they do not take into account the inborn weakness of human nature, and that law planted within our members, which, to use the words of the Apostle Paul, 'fights against the law of my mind' (Rom. 7:23); and besides, they rashly deny what we have learned from daily experience, that young people certainly more than others fall into disgraceful acts, not so much because of an imperfect knowledge of the intellect as because of a will exposed to enticements and unsupported by divine assistance."
All forms of contraception, including Natural Family Planning (also known as the rhythm method or NFP Pope) is condemned. Pius XI, in his encyclical Casti Connubii, condemns all forms of contraception as immoral, as an "offense against the law of God and of nature, and as a grave (mortal) sin."
Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii: "And now, Venerable Brethren, We shall explain in detail the evils opposed to each of the benefits of matrimony. First consideration is due the offspring, which many have the audacity to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony and which they say is to be carefully avoided by married people not through virtuous continence (which Christian law permits in matrimony when both parties consent) but by frustrating the marriage act. …No reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose, sin against nature, and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious … any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is DELIBERATELY frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God."
A key word is "deliberate" attempt to prevent conception. Pope Pius XI teaches all forms of deliberately frustrating the martial marital act by depriving it of its natural power and purpose (conception) is a "sin against nature" (the natural law) and is "intrinsically vicious" (intrinsically evil).
The natural law is written on the heart of all men, so that all men know that certain things are against God's law and that certain things are in accordance with the natural law of charity, etc.
The natural law is the law that every person knows by instinct from birth. It is planted by the Creator in our heart, and everyone – even pagans who have never heard about God or the true religion – receive this gift from God. Examples of sins that break the natural law and that are easy to recognize are: murder, rape, theft, pedophilia, slander, lying, and so on. The conscience always convicts a person who does these things and thus there can never be an excuse for people who commit such sins.
As the Haydock Bible and Commentary correctly explains about Romans 2:14-16,
"these men are a law to themselves, and have it written in their hearts, as to the existence of a God, and their reason tells them, that many sins are unlawful: they may also do some actions that are morally good, as by giving alms to relieve the poor, honoring their parents, etc. not that these actions, morally good, will suffice for their justification of themselves, or make them deserve a supernatural reward in the kingdom of heaven; but God, out of His infinite mercy, will give them some supernatural graces which if they continue to cooperate with they will get more graces and eventually be exposed to the Catholic Faith, which they must have to be saved."
If a baptized person who believes in the Trinity and the Incarnation holds that man does not have free will (which some Protestants teach), this person would become a heretic because he is rejecting a truth which all know to be true from the natural law, namely, that man has a free will. Thus, he is denying a truth all know about man from the natural law and he is a heretic.
Another example would be if the baptized person who believes in the Trinity and Incarnation refuses to believe that God is a rewarder and a punisher. This person is a heretic because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions (see Heb. 11:6).
A large majority of Protestants today believe in the doctrines of "faith alone" and "eternal security." These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith alone. This person who believes in faith alone or eternal security is a heretic because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone does not justify a man only, but our deeds also.
Other common heresies against the natural law is to deny the existence of God or to hold that abortion, birth control or natural family planning (also called NFP) is acceptable, or to hold that the consuming of mind altering drugs is acceptable. To hold any of these positions would make one a heretic because he is rejecting a truth which all know to be true from the natural law, namely, 1) that God exists, 2) that abortion is murder, 3) that contraception or NFP deliberately frustrates the natural power to generate life, 4) and that consuming mind altering drugs, such as smoking marijuana, is a mortal sin just like getting drunk is.