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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,095
October 6, 2021
United Methodist Church Is Splitting
By Mike McManus

The United Methodist Church is splitting into two denominations: a conservative Global Methodist Church and the Post-Separation United Methodist Church.

Many state delegations of the UMC have gone on record that they will disregard the Book of Discipline's prohibition of same-sex marriage and the ordination of practicing gay people. Some are currently ordaining practicing gay persons in some states. In Illinois, one gay pastor performs in drag. He recently preached in his drag persona "Miss Penny Cost," and prayed to Mary and refers to God as "Our Lover who art in heaven."

Traditionalists expect that when they leave the denomination to create the Global Methodist Church, every annual conference or state UMC will celebrate same sex marriage and LGBTQ ordination. In fact, there may come an immediate push to redefine marriage so that it includes more than two persons," according to Rob Renfroe, editor of Good News, a bimonthly publication of the United Methodist Church.

The split of the United Methodist Church into two denominations is expected at next year's General Conference of the denomination in August, 2022.

The key question is how many United Methodists will leave the denomination to create the Global Methodist Church. Tom Lambrecht, Vice President of the publication, Good News, thinks only 15% of current United Methodist Church members will leave, but all of Africa's churches with 5.5 million members and two-thirds of those in the Philippines will do so as well.

Many of the American leaders who will leave the UMC are retiring, and therefore will have little influence on the new denomination.

Bishop Mike Lowry, who is Bishop of the Central Texas Conference of United Methodists, based in Fort Worth, wrote an article for the current issue of Good News which notes that John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church that broke off from the Church of England after the Revolutionary War in 1784, said the "doctrine, discipline and practice of the primitive church was embodied by the Methodist movement."

Lowry feels "the North Star of purpose is driven by the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." He wrote that "I am tired of a spiritually atrophied Unitarian United Methodist which acts as if the Holy Spirit is not real."

He quotes John Wesley's famous statement, "I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power."

Asked about the Methodists who are blessing same-sex marriages, he quoted Romans, Chapter 1, vs. 18-28 which begins, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness...For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened..."

"Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another...Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts."

Romans even predicted, "Even women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion," Romans concludes.

Similarly, Bishop Lowry asserts, "We are wandering in the wilderness as a church and we know what deserts are like."

What percentage of United Methodists, who are horrified by clergy marrying same-sex couples and LGBTQ priests - will leave the denomination to create the Global Methodist Church? Bishop Lowry predicts that 20% to 30% of United Methodists will leave - half of whom will join the new Global Methodist Church, with the other half joining other conservative churches.

He hopes the separation will be "gradual, amicable and graceful."

Rob Renfroe, editor of Good News, believes that the "Post-Separation United Methodist Church" will "celebrate same-sex marriage and LGBTQ ordination."

Frankly, I find it surprising and disheartening that insiders are predicting that few will leave the United Methodist Church for the Global Methodist Church - only 10% to 15%, with a similar number joining other conservative churches.

However, Jesus Christ began with just 12 Apostles - and look at the hundreds of millions of believers who serving all over the world.
_________________________

Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.com. Hit Search for any topic.

 

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