Ethics & Religion
March 7, 2019
United Methodists Vote Conservative
By Mike McManus
By a narrow vote of 53% to 47%, the United Methodist Church voted to
maintain traditional moral standards that limit marriage to the union of
a man and woman - and to oppose same-sex marriage and gay clergy.
However, it is important to note that most American clergy voted for the
LGBT vision, but were outvoted by United Methodists from Africa!
Over the last 25 years, U.S. United Methodists have plunged from 11
million members to 6.8 million while African UM church membership has
soared to 5.3 million members. Each year the U.S. church loses 100,000
members while African churches grow by 100,000 - and will outnumber U.S.
churches in a decade.
However, Africans are still in a minority. How did traditional morality
win? While about two-thirds of U.S. delegates voted for allowing gay
marriage, 30% voted with African opponents, resulting in the 53%-47%
split opposing the LGBT agenda.
African seminary president Jerry Kulah electrified a breakfast meeting
at the General Conference by saying, "We are not children in need of
Western enlightenment when it comes to our sexual ethics."
Mark Tooley, a United Methodist who runs the Institute on Religion and
Democracy that fights for orthodox Christianity in many denominations,
says that "Liberals inside and outside United Methodism have responded
to the General Conference with outrage. Some liberals are now speaking
openly of quitting United Methodism and creating a new progressive
church." He notes that the General Conference "approved legislation
allowing congregations to leave the denomination with their property
(This is in sharp contrast with other liberal Protestant denominations
such as the Episcopal Church, which supports the gay agenda, and refused
to allow my congregation to leave and join the new Anglican Church of
North America. It seized the assets of the Falls Church, after which
Falls Church, Virginia is named. George Washington was once on its
One pastor leading a movement out of United Methodism is Rev. Adam
Hamilton, pastor of Church of the Resurrection, in Kansas City. It is
America's largest UM church with 22,000 members, 13,000 of whom attend
He was outraged that the General Convention "condemned the marriages of
every same-sex couple in the UMC, many raising children," which implied
that "these couples divorce and break up their family. This idea is
Hamilton noted that the new legislation will suspend any pastor who
performs a same-sex wedding without pay for a year. "On a second offense
they will be defrocked."
He asserted "U.S. churches that disagree with this path backwards will
not sit by quietly and watch as this takes effect. They will protest,
live in disobedience to the Discipline or leave."
However, of 30,000 UM churches only 800 are associated with LGBT. While
many straight pastors are sympathetic, the possibility of a major split
of the UM Church into two denominations is unlikely, according to Mark
Tooley. "Most people are prone to stay put, and the United Methodist
Church will remain orthodox."
However, Will Willamon, a retired UM Bishop on the faculty of Duke
University, argues that "The traditional plan is not enforceable. We
will show that in the Christian faith, the law kills, but the spirit
He felt the General Conference "demonstrated we cannot have 800
delegates speaking 7 languages. There is too much disagreement. We are
too complex culturally. We need to find a way to muddle through, and
continue to be enriched by one another."
Bishop Willamon also predicted that the Judicial Council of the
Methodist Church, the denomination's Supreme Court, might rule that the
vote at the General Conference "may be found to be unconstitutional."
What I find interesting is that America's missionaries - who go to all
parts of the world, preaching the Gospel and planting churches in such
continents as Africa - have had a surprising impact. "Today, many of the
millions of Christians and churches that resulted from those missionary
efforts are more biblically based than their American forebears," as
John Stonestreet put it for the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
"These daughter-churches overseas" are concerned that their "mother
churches are advancing sexual heresy - especially LGBT theology. And it
would be accurate to say the churches they helped to plan, praise God,
The result is that the United Methodist Church chose to uphold marriage
as being between one man and one woman.
That's a reason to cheer!
Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and
a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to
Search for any topic.
2019: Column 1961: Gun Control Laws Needed
Eight Reasons To Marry
Ten Myths of Marriage
The Ministry of Marriage 911
The Worst Valentine:
Pornography: A Public Health Hazard
Sextortion Kills Teens
Cohabitation: A Risky Business
same sex marriage,
abortion and infanticide,