United Methodist Church to Split

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Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Praise God for this division. I pray that the liberal remainder will fade away into oblivion, irrelevance, and God's judgment—or find, by his grace, repentance—for their blasphemies.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Praise God for this division. I pray that the liberal remainder will fade away into oblivion, irrelevance, and God's judgment—or find, by his grace, repentance—for their blasphemies.
They will be sustained by female clergy and endowments for quite some time.
 

RJ Spencer

Puritan Board Freshman
The vote to support the book of disciplines ban on homosexuality in 2019 was completely supported by the African UMC. Now a bunch of, mostly American, UMC members have decided to give the UMC over to the liberals. Why should the "conservative" group be the ones to start a new denomination? Sad that the Africans would vote to save the UMC from the clutches of the liberals, only for the Americans to turn around and give the denomination over to them! The Africans will still get the final word, they outnumber the Americans now and this plan will have to be approved at the general conference. Even the so-called "conservative branch" of the UMC is liberal, they still consider the pro-homosexual side to be brothers in the faith. They are trying to call this their Paul and Barnabas moment, but they're apparently ignorant of the fact that a practicing homosexual is not a Christian.
I have been following this story close, because I used to be in the UMC.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Better to split now while the Christians still have some leverage than to wait until too late and have the litigation and expense which marked the ECUSA and PCUSA splits.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
Amen brotherRJ. They had made great strides at their most recent conclave, thanks to orthodox African bishops. So now they are willing to quietly go away in the interests of Christian charity. If the proposal to postpone local church voting until 2024 passes then they’ve lost what ever ground they gained because 4 years is long enough for the current leadership to make a concerted effort to consolidate their hold. The larger problem is that Liberalism runs deep throughout the denomination. The orthodox among them generally left years ago. They will still be liberal after the separation. Even so,we ought to pray.
 

wcf_linux

Puritan Board Freshman
Now a bunch of, mostly American, UMC members have decided to give the UMC over to the liberals. Why should the "conservative" group be the ones to start a new denomination?

The best I can think of in defense of that is that the denominational agencies are American- and liberal-dominated. If they could opt the liberals into the new denomination and send the General Board with them, that would be better. ;) If the conservatives* kept the UMC with its current agencies they would immediately have a lot of messy cleanup to do to stop them from advocating for the modernists.

It would be good to either see a lower vote margin, or more ideally each unit having to affirmatively opt in to one or the other branch. This route still stands a good chance of pressing consciences by threatening properties, paychecks, and pensions because of the delays and vote thresholds.

* Of course, many of those conservatives would still sadly be of the "no innovations more recent than 19__ allowed" variety...
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
The orthodox among them generally left years ago.

And a lot more of them may leave with the amount of time it will take for this to play out. Having regular denominational meetings only every 4 years is ridiculous in this day and age.

Most of the ones who stay are probably of the type who have been in their congregations or the denomination for a lifetime and can't fathom doing anything else regardless of what the preacher says or believes. If they can't leave with their property, a great many of them will not leave if it means leaving behind a historic church building.
 

smalltown_puritan

Puritan Board Freshman
One wonders how 'conservative' the 'conservative' Methodists are, though, knowing there is a great tolerance for biblical criticism, egalitarianism, etc. within the denomination and their divinity schools.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
One wonders how 'conservative' the 'conservative' Methodists are, though, knowing there is a great tolerance for biblical criticism, egalitarianism, etc. within the denomination and their divinity schools.

True enough. But I've found that some in that kind of situation will begin investigating their whole position anew and coming around to a more solid footing. That seems to have been the case with some who were formerly in the PCUSA who are now in the EPC, for example.

But to be sure, rejecting the ordination of women, for example, isn't going to be on the table for the "traditionalist" denomination. But John Wesley himself allowed for women preachers under certain circumstances, although not for female clergy. So that leaning goes back to the beginning of the movement. Some of the holiness denominations that broke away from the Methodists in the 19th Century, and which are generally much more conservative, have been ordaining women since the 19th Century.
 

smalltown_puritan

Puritan Board Freshman
True enough. But I've found that some in that kind of situation will begin investigating their whole position anew and coming around to a more solid footing. That seems to have been the case with some who were formerly in the PCUSA who are now in the EPC, for example.

An excellent and encouraging thought - may the Lord make it so!
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
One wonders how 'conservative' the 'conservative' Methodists are, though, knowing there is a great tolerance for biblical criticism, egalitarianism, etc. within the denomination and their divinity schools.

Very true. It’s seems that conservative simply means drawing a line at accepting homosexual clergy. I have a friend who is an EPC pastor. I once told him that Baptists viewed the EPC as the PCUSA without gays. He didn’t seem thrilled by that description.
 

smalltown_puritan

Puritan Board Freshman
Very true. It’s seems that conservative simply means drawing a line at accepting homosexual clergy. I have a friend who is an EPC pastor. I once told him that Baptists viewed the EPC as the PCUSA without gays. He didn’t seem thrilled by that description.

It is in many ways the treating of a symptom (e.g. homosexual clergy) without addressing the cause (deficient view of God's Word). Doubtless the 'symptoms' need to be treated, but other ailments will always manifest if the root cause remains.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Very true. It’s seems that conservative simply means drawing a line at accepting homosexual clergy. I have a friend who is an EPC pastor. I once told him that Baptists viewed the EPC as the PCUSA without gays. He didn’t seem thrilled by that description.

In my experience, the EPC tends to be more orthodox than that and more orthodox than the average Baptist church. But it is my understanding that the presbyteries in this area are among the most conservative and that even before the influx of former PCUSA churches there were EPC churches that were much more broadly evangelical than Reformed.


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Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
In my experience, the EPC tends to be more orthodox than that and more orthodox than the average Baptist church. But it is my understanding that the presbyteries in this area are among the most conservative and that even before the influx of former PCUSA churches there were EPC churches that were much more broadly evangelical than Reformed.


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For the record, I don’t think that is an accurate description of the EPC, at least not for every church and pastor in the denomination. I was mostly just messing with him.
 

ArminianOnceWas

Puritan Board Freshman
1. While it is likely the UMC will split, it is not certain, this is a proposal with legs, but must be voted on at General Conference which will undoubtedly result in a modified version of this initial proposal.

2. The conservative special interest group called the Wesleyan Covenant Association preferred that the "traditionalists" depart the UMC, this is at least in part because it gives the WCA more authority/influence over a new denomination.

3. The reason why the traditionalists seem agreeable to departing rather than booting out the liberals is at least two-fold.

A. Most of the organizations within the UMC are social gospel in nature and promote a more liberal agenda and are run by liberals, and so for the traditionalists to remain in power in the UMC would mean having to assume responsibility for these organizations.

B. This decision to allow the liberals to maintain control of the UMC is mostly based on the US church which is 2/3 liberal by delegation and clergy. Thus for the US, the transition is smoother to let the traditionalists depart.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
The only conservative 'Methodist' I've ever met is a former Nazarene pastor. I inquired about his former denomination and its history, which is interesting. He's good man, and I believe him to be a brother. I've also heard him speak against Reformed doctrine.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
Like many I was reading commentary on the happenings of the UMC and I stumbled upon this paragraph in a post at Gentle Reformation titled "Learning from the Methodists" that gave me a good chuckle (bold is mine).

One Pharisaical, proud, pejorative, pioneer Presbyterian proverb sheds light on how leading denominations prioritized formal education in general in that day: “A Methodist is just a Baptist who can read.” Methodists developed educational models for the whole community, but they prioritized breadth over depth. Their models had to be able to adapt quickly enough to meet the needs of a growing population. They viewed the education of pastors in a similar light. Presbyterians failed to grow because their men were back East in seminaries for three years and could not get to the field, and the Baptists did not emphasize education and organization. But the Methodists combined organizational flexibility with adequate academic rigor, at least from their perspective, to equip pastoral leaders to organize the whole state with churches.
The entire article is good and worth a read...
 

RJ Spencer

Puritan Board Freshman
The only conservative 'Methodist' I've ever met is a former Nazarene pastor. I inquired about his former denomination and its history, which is interesting. He's good man, and I believe him to be a brother. I've also heard him speak against Reformed doctrine.

Does he still hold to the Nazarene doctrine of entire sanctification? If he does, I'd be careful "believing him to be a brother". If a pastor doesn't understand sin, how can he understand true salvation?
 

Grumman Tomcat

Puritan Board Freshman
As I understand it part of the reason for the splitting is to try and save the denomination from losing members. The UMC is losing members and shrinking as a denomination. I believe it is the squishy stance on sin that is killing the denomination.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I thought this was balanced.

https://world.wng.org/2020/01/machen_s_miracles_methodists_morality


"Methodists now stand at a crossroads not so different from the one Machen straddled. While the church in Machen’s generation rejected Biblical miracles—repudiating the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, and the bodily resurrection—the present generation is rejecting Biblical morality, repudiating Biblical sexual ethics, redefining marriage, and categorizing sin as not sin.

In 1923, at the height of the controversy over theological liberalism, Machen published Christianity and Liberalism, which offered a theological justification for a separate, Bible-believing denomination a decade before it became necessary to form one. Addressing those who called for unity at all costs, Machen argued, “It is often said that the divided condition of Christendom is an evil, and so it is. But the evil consists in the existence of the errors which cause the divisions and not at all in the recognition of those errors when once they exist.”

In enumerating those errors, Machen defined theological liberalism not as the product of an alternate interpretation of the Bible, but as a repudiation of the Bible. He saw it not as a different Christian view but as a competing religion: “The chief modern rival of Christianity is ‘liberalism.’ An examination of the teachings of liberalism in comparison with those of Christianity will show that at every point the two movements are in direct opposition.”
 
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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
The larger problem is that Liberalism runs deep throughout the denomination. The orthodox among them generally left years ago. They will still be liberal after the separation. Even so,we ought to pray.

So, they'll end up with two denominations: liberal, and more liberal.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
As I understand it part of the reason for the splitting is to try and save the denomination from losing members. The UMC is losing members and shrinking as a denomination. I believe it is the squishy stance on sin that is killing the denomination.
It is the sin issue for sure but I’ve been following this for several years through the IRD (Juicy Ecumenism). The liberalism so well described by Machen is predominate in their seminaries. The more orthodox are lay-pastors, who haven’t been infected by their seminaries. These are often bi-vocational men who are called later in life. They are generally much more faithful to biblical truth. They shepherd the many small rural UMC churches.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
One wonders how 'conservative' the 'conservative' Methodists are, though, knowing there is a great tolerance for biblical criticism, egalitarianism, etc. within the denomination and their divinity schools.
It depends on the individual church. Many of the traditional churches do not agree with the UMC overall but are "stuck" due to the Trust Clause.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
It depends on the individual church. Many of the traditional churches do not agree with the UMC overall but are "stuck" due to the Trust Clause.
Isn’t there a window in which congregations can retain their property without penalty? The same for pensions?
My concern is the African church. Are they willing to leave the UMC and affiliate with a new denomination? I haven’t read anything about this. Also, will the new denomination still ordain women? Sadly, I suspect it will.
 
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