Clarification from Rev Dr Yap Kim Hao

Friday, July 20, 2007

This is further clarification in response to the letter: "Rev Dr Yap doesn't speak for Methodist Church" by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon. (ST Forum July 19)
I agree with his comment that I "do not speak for MCS (Methodist Church in Singapore.)" Within our Methodist tradition, neither former bishops like me nor serving bishops like him speak for the Methodist Church.
The news report by Jeremy Au Yong (ST, July 16) is completely correct in quoting my remarks: "Contrary to the majority of the Christian views...I personally would call for it (Penal Code Section 377A) to be repealed on the basis that this is God's purpose..."
On this occasion and on others I have consistently stated that I do not represent the official views of the Church. As always I will make the same kind of preamble that my comments are purely personal and strictly private. I disclaim any other impressions given or received.
In the Methodist tradition , there is only one official view and that which is approved by the General Conference of the Methodist Church. The General Conference here is composed of forty-two elected members, half of which are laypersons and the other half clergy people and presided by the Bishop who does not have a vote. The Conference meets once every four years to legislate changes including election of a bishop to serve for the next four year period.
On the issue of homosexuality, the United Methodist Church in the United States which is the mother church meets in its own General Conference. The vote taken by about 1,000 elected delegates in 2004 was around 60% against and close to 40% for matters favouring homosexuality.
Official views are that of the voting majority and there is always room for the minority view. Everyone has the freedom to have his or her own private and personal view. They have the liberty to agree or disagree with the interpretation of the Bible and the teaching of the Church which are subject to review and change every four years by the General Conference.