November 8, 2019

8 United Methodist Bishops Urge Church Split

Eight United Methodist bishops today issued statement declaring United Methodism to be “broken” and calling for “multiple expressions of Methodism.”

They explained:

It is time to be honest about our current reality. The events transpiring since the adjournment of the Special Session of General Conference illustrate how deep our division is. Sadly, even greater discord, chaos and fighting loom on the horizon at the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis. The recent call and commitment by some for a moratorium of all complaints related to LGBTQ+ clergy and clergy performing same-gender weddings without a call for a moratorium on actions that violate our current Book of Discipline is yet another example of our brokenness. Even with good intentions, actions like these continue to divide. 

And:

This is why we recognize our beloved United Methodist Church no longer can continue in our current form of unity. It is time to quit undermining our mission. It is time for the entire church to come together to figure out how to be the people called Methodists in a new way – to seek a new form of unity. 

They asked:

Is God offering a hope-filled future in which there will be multiple expressions of the Methodist witness? 

And they answered: 

We believe God can use our current brokenness as a springboard to multiply our Wesleyan DNA through different expressions of Methodism that will allow our diversity of theological thought and contextual practice to flourish untethered from conflict. Indeed, God can bless multiple expressions of Methodism in ways that can have a cumulative impact far greater than we can ever have today in our fractured state. 

Signers included four retired USA bishops (Lindsey Davis, Robert Hayes, Young Jin Cho & Alfred Gwinn), three active USA bishops (Scott Jones of Houston, Mike Lowery of Central Texas & Mark Webb of Upper New York) and one non-USA bishop (Eduard Khegay of Russia).

Bishop Jones with liberal Michigan Bishop David Bard has advocated a plan calling for a three way division of United Methodism. 

The declaration from the seven bishops came as the Wesleyan Covenant Association, meeting in Tulsa, endorsed the Indianapolis Plan, dividing the church into traditionalist and progressive denominations. 


 

79 Responses to 8 United Methodist Bishops Urge Church Split

  1. Ben Horrocks says:

    This is a typo. Bishop Jones with liberal Michigan Bishop David Jones has advocated a plan calling for a three way division of United Methodism. It should read Bishop David Bard.

  2. Richard Campbell says:

    As a layperson I find it so disheartening that as a Church we are so divided over a single issue. Especially, in the USA when so much hate is being propagated by our politicians. While I am not a theologian or academic Bible scholar, my heat and my ears listening to God’s voice is telling me we discouraging our youth and young adults to stay in the faith. For 40+ years you have discerning this issue and now it has become so critical that you want a divorce. Why? Please explain why the homosexual community must be hated so much that we kill them ( Some African Laws), that we deny them equality ( some USA state and local laws) and now deny them our blessings to marry ( UMC laws). How do I teach love and say that the Church and its interpreters declare the homosexual community of believers you are are not welcome here as you are.

  3. Which way will the UMC in West Columbia ,TX. go? The Bishops have sent the last two pastors that were for the OCP, even when the majority of their congregations are Traditionalist

  4. John says:

    I would have hoped the Bishop of the South Georgia Conference would have signed on to this statement. We need a Moses to lead us out of the Wilderness in which we find ourselves

  5. Lee D. Cary says:

    Quoting from the 7 Bishops’ statement:“We believe God can use our current brokenness as a springboard to multiply our Wesleyan DNA through different expressions of Methodism that will allow our diversity of theological thought and contextual practice to flourish untethered from conflict.”

    The German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg (1928-2014) must have been about 46 years old when he was a distinguished visitor to Perkins School of Theology (SMU). Walking down the corridor outside the main classrooms of Selectman Hall, I heard another student ask what he thought of the United Methodist Church. Pannenberg answered, “Well, I don’t know much about what it stands for.”

    At the time, I thought that a bit odd. Surely a genuine, world-class theologian like Pannenberg would have discerned the unique Wesleyan DNA of one of America’s major protestant denominations.

    Had it known then what I know now, I would have suggested that the unique, core DNA Markers of the UMC were not theological constructs, but organizational characteristics. And, that connectional, apportionments, and itinerancy were among its core DNA Markers, while incarnation, resurrection and atonement were Christian theological beliefs that Methodists shared with many other Christians in several protestant denominations.

    The statement from the 7 Bishops that “Even with good intentions, actions like these continue to divide” testifies less to a “diversity of theological thought” than to an organizational proclivity toward endemic human-sexuality schizophrenia.
    Rev. Dr. Lee D. Cary, (ret. UM Clergy, Doctor of Sacred Theology, G-ETS, ’79)

  6. Mike Snow says:

    ” God can bless multiple expressions of Methodism” No, God cannot bless disobedience to his word by those who sanction sexual immorality.

  7. Paul D. Knox says:

    Very sad news indeed! It would seem these folks do not believe the teachings in the Bible about marriage as sex.

    If they want to go away it’s fine with me.

  8. B. Alley says:

    The only way out of this mess is a complete split into 2 or 3 independent denominations. Just too many ill feelings. More than likely the liberal side will self destruct anyway.

  9. Ann Simon says:

    Makes be sad. We live in a small town with one UM church. We have differing views. How are we going to split?

  10. What has happened to true Weslyn thought. There is no reason why people of any thought cannot attend the Methodist Church. Judgement belongs to God, not to congretional members, bishops or pastors. Each member of these categories are to lead people to Christ and then nurture and lead them by teaching the word of God, just as it is written, not rewritten according to the so called leadership. It is not the members of the gay lifestyle that is entirely bringing this break but rather those who are listening to Christ’s enemy and ours, namely Satan. Splitting the denomination will not solve anything other than cause people to fall away from the denomination because they are being mistreated by the pulpit. They are being called unloving, prejudiced, divisive because they aren’t buckling under to the pressure coming from the pulpit. People that have attended for years, grew up in the church, were married in the church and supported the church by service as well as giving are being bad mother from the pulpit. These are good, loving Methodists who are experiencing painful and unChristlike behaviour and rhetoric from the people that they have depended on for years. We don’t need to split, we can worship together and revive Methodism by preaching and teaching the Word of God just as it is written. None of us belong in someone’s bedroom. None of us can save another but God in His mercy and Grace, through His Son Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit can and will save, as we put them first and let them do the work. We are servants unto the Lord, we are not saviors, He is judge we are not! Time to get on our knees and cry out to God to forgive us all for trying to be Him. The Bible is the Word of God and we are strongly told not to add to or take away any word. My prayer is that if we truly love God and appreciate His Son the Methodist church can revive.

  11. Melissa says:

    ‘’Even with good intentions, actions like these continue to divide” Oh my . . . So many questions.
    Are these 7 Bishops really that naive? Are they just lacking in courage? Have they been steeped in the bureaucratic murk so long that they can’t see the forest for the trees?
    Why on earth would the traditional Methodist Church surrender to the coercion of a faction that has morphed into an entirely different denomination by allowing that faction to continue to call themselves Methodists? These people are not Methodists and it is a disgrace to John Wesley to allow them to continue in the Methodist Church. ‘Multiple expressions of the Methodist witness” – a totally preposterous statement made in an effort to avoid recognizing this as a rebellion against Methodist core beliefs and dealing swiftly and decisively to excise the rebels from Methodism.
    All in all, this statement by 7 Bishops is very disappointing. Bottom line: traditionalist Methodist Bishops need to grow a backbone and stop with the weak, namby-pamby statements and positions. Instead, they must take strong, decisive positions and stick to them.

    • Michael Young says:

      Well said Melissa. Why would I want to be a Methodist if most of the public exposure is going to be pro LGBTQ+ and liberal agenda. I would then have to explain to all of my Christian friends every time we meet that most of what they are hearing is NOT Methodist but liberal propaganda.

    • Joan wesley says:

      I know that just as traditionalists are not all exactly the same, neither or progressives. However, I also have concerns when Bishops or other traditionalist leadership see the progressive contingent as necessarily being a legitimate expression of what it means to be a Methodist. For starters, progressive clergy have broken their promise to live within the polity and discipline of the UMC–just exactly how trustworthy are they? They certainly have a different view and understanding of the Bible than traditionalists. Which new wind of change are they going to blow in next?

    • Carole Bergman says:

      Melissa, thank you!
      Your comments echo my thoughts.

      • Lawrence Kreh says:

        I frankly think the statement is a good one, just as I also endorse the Indianapolis Plan. A new orthodox Methodist Church will have a different and distinct name and identity. It will help no one to insist on a political victory won through bitterness, legal battles over property rights, and a repeat of 2019. Indeed, everyone would lose.
        With the Indianapolis Plan, we carry our property with us without the trust clause. We have an opportunity to shed the entire existing UMC bureaucracy,
        leave the bitterness behind, and carry out our mandate to share the transforming love of Jesus Christ with a secular world starving for the good news.

    • Ted says:

      My thoughts exactly Melissa! They should not be allowed to spread their decadence under the name of Methodism.

    • Athena says:

      Interesting that John Wesley was accused to be effeminate and a man-woman because of his impassioned preaching that Methodists praise so much.

    • Pat says:

      Thank You Melissa! You are correct!

  12. What about the newly planted churches in aafrica where to go?and what to do with out any connection to the mission center .if there is a division where to go the church in Africa like Ethiopia?

  13. John Smith says:

    Ahh, arrogance, entertaining and frustrating. Hate to break the news but there are already several expressions of Methodism and the UMC has been broken for some time and probably isn’t and may never have been its best representative.

    • Patrick98 says:

      Hi John,
      Do you know much about the Free Methodist Church? I admit I don’t, though I had a friend who was a Free Methodist Church pastor, and I was very impressed by his belief and life. Perhaps the Free Methodist Church is a better witness to Wesleyan Christianity in this country. (Though I don’t think I am qualified to make the call on that one…)

      • John Smith says:

        I know a bit about several. My first thought is not to get hung up on the “Methodist” label but look farther afield to what has come from the Wesleys. For example, the Church of the Nazarene. The World Methodist Council doesn’t really do much but do those that cling to “Methodist” even know of it?

        The question, I guess, that must first be asked: What is distinctive about the UMC, other than size, amount members, property, money, trusts (the last several years the distinctive seems to be bitterness, hate, emulation of the world)? What draws people to the UMC?

        In the US I think its the fact that people grew up in it. That is not enough.
        “I want to follow Jesus!” Great, what about the UMC is unique and compelling to fulfill that aim?
        and so on.

        Clinging to the UMC “brand” and its worldly possessions is not a good idea.

      • Terry says:

        I used to work at Free Methodist church in the late 1970’s, and was very impressed. The folks were very warm-hearted with a deep Methodist love for God and His Kingdom. Back then the denomination in North America had fewer than 100,000 members, but they had a strong membership covenant. Usually, worship attendance was considerably larger than membership. A fine group!

  14. Donald says:

    Enforcement of the current BOD standards by UMC Bishops and Boards of Ordained Ministry will always be the challenge. Clergy historically wish to avoid conflict; liming along in the current acrimony is hardly an expression of faithfulness to Christ.

  15. Linda Martin says:

    I appreciate the 7 bishops but it is not loving or Christian to tell people persisting in sin that they are just fine. The “progressive “ folks are lying to their members about what God says and requires.

  16. Marc Hill says:

    When will all the Bishops concern themselves with what our sovereign Lord says and not what man says . We have stood by and watched as teachings contrary to The Bible and The Discipline have become the Norm. We are more concerned about what people Might Say or what the Press will write about us. We must return to the principals of Our Lord Jesus. A split is coming there is no way around it. If we are called Methodist or not, we must return to following the Scripture and start anew. We must not be politically correct, we must be be correct according to what Jesus taught.

  17. james says:

    Rarely–if ever–does the council of bishops pay any heed to what those members of the umc who sit in the pews Sunday and Sunday and continue to fill the coffers with tithes and offerings. Rank and file members of the umc are uneducated and lack learning in what the Holy Writ says to those who follow Father/Son/Holy Ghost would be the thought process and belief by MOST of those who serve in coveted leadership positions in the umc.
    In “my” mind, the most successful occupants of pulpits, today, are those who are second career individuals who have lived on the other side and have warmed pews and listened to the liberal rhetoric that so many umc pulpit fillers have showered their congregations with.
    It is past time–way passed–for a complete split in the umc so that one of the denominations that is created in that split may become The Methodist Church that espouses BIBLICAL Christianity and a servant’s heart that will yell forth the Salvation Message of Jesus the Christ Who was Born, Lived, Bled, Died on the tree so that the vilest of sinners–like “me”–ve a path of reconciliation back to the FATHER–only if “I” BELEVE that and am washed in the Blood of the Lamb………….

    • Amen and very well stated. The unsaved, unrepentant, and unborn again will not be in Hell a whole day before they regret their choice of where to spend eternity.

    • David says:

      “Biblical Christianity” embraces slavery. Do you think that is moral?

      • Palamas says:

        That’s not true, and so hackneyed that it is amazing that anyone still uses it. But if it’s the only arrow in your quiver, I guess that all you’ve got.

        PS–do not respond by telling me that it does, and quoting some verses out of context. You’re wasting your time if you do.

        • JR says:

          I won’t quote the verses, but it absolutely does permit slavery (embracing it might be too strong a term).

          It vilifies divorce, excepting in cases of adultery.

          It expects you to share your wealth with your neighbors, and lift up the poor.

          Hey, you want to go all in with BIBLICAL Christianity, I applaud you. That’s a tough cross to bear. But don’t go pretending that you can do that and keep your life the same as it is today.

      • Absolutely.  You cannot get around it.  The Bible very clearly teaches that we are all slaves of one master or another.  To think that we can be our own master is a delusion.
         
        “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Rom. 6.16)  Either we are a slave to sin (Jn. 8.34, Rom. 6.17,19, I Cor. 7.23, Tit. 3.3), or we are a slave to God (Jn. 15.20, Rom. 1.1, 6.18, I Cor. 6.19-20, 7.22-23, Phil. 1.1, Tit. 1.1, Jas. 1.1, I Pet. 2.16, II Pet. 1.1, Jude 1); we cannot be a slave to both (Mt. 6.24, Lk. 16.13).  “When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?  The end of those things is death.  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” (Rom. 6.20-22)
         
        We are all slaves of one master or another.  The only question, then, is who is your master?

      • Lee D. Cary says:

        Say, David, your statement was virtually shared by the current Bishop of the Norther Illinois Conference in a YouTube video I stumbled upon some time ago.

        As I recall, she said something to the effect that the formation of America was based on slavery. (That was before the NYT decided to push the 1619 Project – and seems to have dropped it since.)

        So you could be a Bishop some day, David.

        • David says:

          Woodward’s “American Nations” is an interesting work that illustrates how many current political divisions can be traced to the founders of the various parts of the country. The South began with planters from Barbados arriving in Charleston, SC, intending to form an agricultural state based on slavery. While many places had slavery, the Quakers and Germans in PA were relatively quick to abolish it after the Revolution. The Dutch areas around NYC remain liberal and tolerant places to this day.

  18. Charles Cox says:

    Jesus made the comment, “Go and sin no more.” Why should we believe that God would be pleased with a “united?” Methodist Church that allowed open sin to be paraded before the world as Christian?

  19. Bill Bouknight says:

    These eight bishops state that their goal is “to seek a new form of unity.” In other words, institutional unity trumps everything, including truth. They are longing for an unholy compromise of Scriptural standards and the ways of the world. If we form partnerships with heresy, the Holy Spirit may depart from us.

    • Ken Fuller says:

      “has departed”

    • Wesley says:

      Dr. Bouknight, thank you for using the word heresy. One (of many things) that has bugged me about the orthodox response to all this is our leaders’ misunderstanding of what it means to be gracious. I do not see this as a Paul and Barnabas moment where two parties with a mere personality conflict agree to part and bless each other’s ministry as they separate. The very reason I want a split is because I think great heresy has entered the denomination. It is a growing cancer. It needs to be removed. Why would I want to bless that heresy…wherever the liberals decide to take it? Why can’t we, in good cheer and firm tone, simply say “repent and join us—or leave.” ?
      And when they leave, why can’t we simply say goodbye? We sure do bend over backward to make all this a lot harder than it needs to be.

  20. Henning M Poulsen says:

    Why only mention the seven? Do you not recognice the rusian one? He is a key person in this central conferance!

  21. Gail Skaggs says:

    As a pastor in the former district of one of the signers, the question I have is: When were we ever called to Stop following God and to start following man? We serve man but we follow God. Methodism and all the other so called “religions” are broken because we have moved too far to the left and we have left God’s teaching and commandments in the pile of dust that was shaken off the feet of all those who were supposedly called to follow Him, and as Paul said when we follow any teaching but that of Christ, we follow the wrong thing. We; I see, are divided because we have let down the solid values once upheld by the church thru the word of God and have allowed the “well, what if we just do this this way” idea to come into play. It is called allowing the world to come in. There is a big difference in accepting people in to find change in their hearts, but it is offensive to give way for people to come in and bring the very teachings that God destroyed 2 cities over in the bible. Woe unto those who called good – evil and evil – good, and there is a big world with enough room for “other” places, to gather with out those who desire their churches to be forced into being less than the value seeking churches they are called to be. THERE IS NO PERFECT CHURCH, but we had better strive to do the best we can and just opening up the doors to something that we know is not Godly teaching is asking for condemnation as Paul also said, when I know to do good and do it not, it is counted unto me as sin! God will not change His word just because we think he should to accommodate what this society wants. You cannot meld good and evil together in this way, and make a cake that will not fall. Any and all are welcome into the house of God, but just as with ballgames, there are rules to follow, and they are God’s rules, not ours. Perhaps it is time for the wheat and the chaff to be separated and exposed to the fire of God.

  22. Dr. Timothy Cremeens says:

    I grew up in a traditional, orthodox Wesleyan Holiness denomination. The theology of John & Charles Wesley, as well as their early co-laboers, i.e., John Fletcher & Francis Asbury. After my teen-age conversion to Jesus Christ& His Gospel the first book given to me to study was the Holy Scriptures, the second was “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection”. This is the DNA of Methodism!

  23. Joan Sibbald says:

    Satan’s agenda is to transform Christianity from God’s Word: “Man must not lie down with man, nor woman with woman. It is an abomination in the eyes of God” to the worship of Self: “Let It All Hang Out!” hedonism.
    He says:
    LGBTPPFS&MPQ… I created you.
    Give me your children I’ll take them in..
    My parents, pastors, & politicians… will teach them
    there is no sin.
    That’s how I win!

  24. MWC says:

    IMHO, we don’t need different expressions of Methodism. There is only one. And we don’t need to have a Paul and Barnabas moment and bless each other’s ministry as we depart. Why would I want to bless heresy?

    We, the orthodox, with good cheer simply need to stand firm and invite the others to repent and join us—or leave. We can start with the bishops.

  25. As a former clergyman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who is now a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, there is one thing about this proposal that bothers me.

    Truth is truth. Falsehood is falsehood. Weasel words about “multiple expressions of Methodism” suggest that truth and error are equally valid and viable options. They are not.

    Those who aspire to confess the Faith once delivered to the saints need to get over the very American urge to tell those who deny the Gospel that they disagree with them and be honest- and yes, loving- enough to say instead, “You are wrong, and your error is leading people straight through the gates of hell, and you need to repent and start preaching the Gospel again.”

  26. Sandy says:

    Second Corinthians 6:14.
    KJ21. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?”

  27. William says:

    The below is the kind of convoluted, incoherent rhetoric that flows from our esteemed leaders on a regular basis in order to plant doubt and confusion across the denomination and demonstrate their elitism. What are they talking about? Only they know because it’s on a higher order that cannot be reached by ordinary Methodists.

    But, as they’re standing on the tracks staring at the approaching locomotive speeding towards them, they do seem to still posses enough of the common sense of the ordinary Methodist to agree that it’s time to step off the tracks (separation).

    ———————————————

    The recent call and commitment by some for a moratorium of all complaints related to LGBTQ+ clergy and clergy performing same-gender weddings without a call for a moratorium on actions that violate our current Book of Discipline is yet another example of our brokenness. Even with good intentions, actions like these continue to divide.

  28. Gary Bebop says:

    Reality will crash the threshold of new Methodist expressions. Funds are already drying up. We’ve been warned by those who follow the money.

    • William says:

      At their fall meeting (a waste of church funds), bishops were told:

      “United Methodist bishops received a sobering message during their autumn meeting. Without any changes, the fund that supports their work will run out of money in five years.”

  29. Jed Hester says:

    Thanks for the update Mark. It’s still pretty unbelievable that there would be any bishops clinging to the mirage that the UMC can be kept in the can. The can has split wide open.

    • Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary (ret. UM clergy) says:

      Jed, keep in mind that among the last persons wishing to see a corporation become insolvent are the senior executives (when there are no golden parachutes) and the mid-level managers. If it’s a software business, experienced engineers will land somewhere else.

      Individual, entrepreneurial UM clergy, with a passion to be pastors, under 50, with extensive biblical knowledge and effective preaching skills, and excellent organizational and interpersonal skills, will find a place somewhere – even if they have to rent a store front and start from scratch. But they will not be in the majority.

      Older bishops (62 and above) will take SS early, move to Lake Junaluska and debrief/debate the train wreck with others. Younger bishops will offer themselves for leadership positions in Methodist related colleges, or whatever organizational hierarchy evolves in any new denominations. (If those new “denominations” are inclined to replicate the episcopacy, they may even enjoy success for 5-8 years.)

      As an example: The HVAC company that used to service our house units suddenly went bankrupt last Spring. Their service reps. – of varying competency – were cast to the wind. The competent techs landed somewhere else. The rest…who knows…maybe entered the fast food service industry?

      The cold fact is this. UMC clergy will not be guaranteed employment – regardless of their position in the pecking order – going forward. The party’s about over.

  30. Barbara Lukert says:

    How many United Methodists have made an effort to understand what homosexuality really is?
    Do they know that the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the brain controls sexual orientation and whether a baby develops attraction to the same sex or the opposite sex depends primarily on the concentration of testosterone the nucleus is exposed to in the uterus.
    Why are we not paying attention to what scientists are discovering about creation?
    Why do we not see these discoveries as God’s revelation to help us understand God’s creation? Do we think God doesn’t reveal anything to us anymore? Do we doubt that God knows what God is doing?

    Will our next step be to deny ordination to all single people? Will we develop a scale of sexual attraction for the opposite sex and if that attraction isn’t strong enough they will be out? Where in the spectrum of sexuality will we draw the line?

    John Wesley was not anti-science. In fact, he urged us to aim to understand as much of the world of science as we can. The resistance of the UMC to make a serious effort to understand homosexuality is disgraceful and gives the impression that we refuse to make the effort to understand God’s creation. How disrespectful to a God!

  31. Ron says:

    It is time for a split. Then each member can join whichever Methodist faith that speaks to them.

  32. Gary Bebop says:

    Jubilation has already broken out among Traditionalists about GC2020, anticipating liberation from the iron collar of Progressive orthodoxy. These sideline celebrations should be tempered with sober reflection on the limits of predictability. Who knows what delegates actually will do?

    • Lee D. Cary says:

      You’re right, Gary. No one knows what the 2020 delegates might do. But there are two aspects of this ordeal for which the future is relatively clear today:

      1. It the Traditionalist prevail again, the effort to install a One Church type plan will continue, unabated. Because – and this is a point many professional clergy among the Traditionalists don’t get – Progressives never give up. They pause, regroup, and attack again. Intrepid.

      2. The laity will continue to abandon what they perceive as a leaderless, sinking ship. Disgusted.

      • Joan Wesley says:

        There is also the reality that General Conference no longer governs many in the UMC but there will be one more anyway. Even if GC2020 decides something, there is absolutely no guarantee that it will be carried out. If people in position of leadership and influence had truly been carrying out the will of General Conference re sexuality, the church would not be in the mess it is in. We are no longer a cohesive denomination, we are a loose association of annual conferences doing their own thing because nobody is on the same page about anything; but leadership is stuck on the concept of “connection” when there is absolutely nothing to connect us. I grew up in the Methodist/United Methodist Church reciting the Apostle’s Creed. Imagine my surprise when a recent General Conference basically said The United Methodist Church is not a church with a creed!

  33. David says:

    I attended the oldest Methodist church in NJ in the 1950s-60s until I moved to a different area. I can honestly say that I never heard any mention of John Wesley, annual conferences, or general conferences in all those years. I recall a district superintendent who would often show up for pledge Sunday to goad us into greater giving. The local bishop only appeared once and that was for the reconsecration of the church after it had been partially damaged by arson. He was too busy to come by on a Sunday and the service inconveniently held on a Wednesday night. The church eventually lost its members as downtown Trenton became more dangerous. The building is used today by a small revived congregation under a different name. My take away from this is that the denomination never seemed very important and was a sort of distant thing. While there are obvious concerns over pensions and other church-wide matters, might it be better simply to allow each congregation to align themselves, or not, with like minded ones? Splitting on the basis of jurisdictions or even annual conferences can leave some congregations in the wrong pew.

    • Lee D. Cary says:

      David, you’re looking at this all wrong – that is, from the laity point of view.

      This is all fundamentally about a minority among the ordained clergy, focusing on those who demand the right to conduct same-sex marriage services (and have done so for decades) and the ordination of self-avowed L, G, B, T, and/or Q clergy.

      The principles in this debate are not all that concerned about who’s in the pew.

      • Joan Wesley says:

        As a lifelong member I can state unequivocally that the United Methodist hierarchy have reached the point where they do not lose any sleep about who is in the pew as long as somebody is in the pew. My personal experience has been that all that is required from people in the pews is their contribution to the head count, their money, and their support of the designated ministries of the church. If people are alienated by some action, it does not matter, especially if new people show up to replace those that disappear. It is all about the numbers with and without dollar signs.

  34. Dean Hanssen says:

    We’ve seen it all too often, separate does not mean equal. If we are all under the same Methodist umbrella it will only be a matter of time before law suits start coming in that states that if this Methodist church allows gay weddings then why doesn’t this one? Make the separation lines clear and under their own power or we will be forced to change it all anyway.

  35. Cara T. says:

    True Methodism adheres to the Book Of Discipline and the Bible. Anything outside of that – described above as “multiple expressions” – is NOT Methodism. Methodism cannot be split into three because, doing so, makes each branch hypocritical. Moreover, the majority of Methodists internationally are traditional, a fact being ignored by the Bishops, who have hijacked our beloved church. As a lifelong Methodist, I and many other will leave if there is a three way split, a witness to nothing more than hypocrisy. And, no, I am not legalist. I am a simple Christian who loves her denomination and is distraught and mortified to witness the destruction of it by those who are disobedient and rebellious to God’s Word and to those Bishops who do the same.

  36. John Evans says:

    If these issues of anti-scriptural teaching is such an overriding concern, it appears to me that a new John Wesley rather than a new Moses needs to arise Moses followed God’s plan, God’s words, and God’s will . No one in “leadership ” in the UMC is doing that today. Instead they are substituting man’s will into a “new” theology. These quasi leaders, quasi christians someho believe they have been ordained to rewrite scripture. If their message is so according to God’s will then they should have no difficulty starting a denomination which espouses their version of scripture. What they want is the organization and facilities that true followers have put together throughout the centuries of Methodism, a result of John Wesley’s devotion to God. As Joshua said, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV) What has changed? Nothing!

    • Cara T. says:

      SO many faithful Methodists – generations of them! – feel betrayed by the bishops. Who is more important: The shepherd or the sheep!?

      Furthermore, the rule that bishops serve for a lifetime needs to be changed!

  37. Dave says:

    I am thankful that I left the UMC in 2003 once my pastor came out of the closet. My wife at the time called me a arrogant SOB, at hate monger and she hoped that I went to hell!!!! A lovely woman! We divorced in 2012. My father dedicated his life as a UMC pastor. Because of that I was torn when I left the church in 2003. So, at this moment, split! Please split but the IMC in Minnesota is nothing more than a social club who has no accountability to anyone.

  38. Charles Klink says:

    How iscthisxany different in process/procedures from what happened in 1868 after the Civil War re: the division within Methodist-North vs. Methodist-South and the 100-year split?! And eventually we emerged stronger after the struggle…history is repeating itself and, in the long run, our faith outreach will become stronger after we stop focusing on our structure and return to our focus on scripture. Christ is greater than our system…and is to be the focus instead of our current focus on social relationships as our reason-to-exist!

    • Cara T. says:

      Charles, the difference is the 1868 split had nothing to do with validating homosexuality/gay marriage and gay bishops. Our Methodist leaders are not reflecting the will of the constituents anymore, who are majorily traditional. That is HUGE. And we are stuck with them (and where do I go to protest and who wants to join me?) Matthew 6:24 = You cannot serve two masters because you will hate one and despise the other, etc. I and many others cannot serve three inherently hypocritical, man-made positions of accommodation in order to satisfy modern culture, lessen law suits as my regional bishop suggested (!) as if that is a good reason over obedience to the Lord!), etc. The same goes for the new Presbyterian system…what a shame. Scripture is clear on homosexuality over and over in Genesis, Leviticus, Romans, etc. Any other position is mamby pamby and righteously wrong. Either Methodism follows the Bible and The Book Of Discipline or it doesn’t. There is no in between. I’m heartbroken over this.

  39. William says:

    The North Georgia Conference bishop opened her recent podcast with:

    ”I’ve just come back from leave, a renewal leave that I really needed. I recommend it to everyone.”

    So, coming out of the gate by showing her disconnect with her clergy (they can take this sort of paid fringe?) and her congregations, she went into a mostly vague and rambling commentary on the UMC connectional system and her sadness at its endangerment —- an endangerment that she apparently doesn’t get in that it’s of her and her fellow bishops own making! Never addressing the “elephant in the room”, and her position on it (sexual ethics, marriage, and ordination standards), she attempts that typical bishop high ground stance by speaking from that place of authority (bishop’s office) that the pew dwellers are supposed to view in awe, accept, trust, and submit to without question. (NOTE: many of these bishops must actually BELIEVE their own self fulfilling rhetoric and view themselves as at least next to people of the Bible like the Apostle Paul — Scary!)

    However, looking behind the curtain — this bishop is aligned with Adam Hamilton and the mainstream/centrists/progressive coalition. That speaks the truth of where she stands and cancels out any words to the contrary she offers up.

  40. James Radford says:

    Don’t leave. Don’t concede defeat by the Liberal Progressive agenda. Don’t give the resources and the real estate away, and to the very ones who should not have control. Stay and fight the changes while speaking the truth in love. We have the Truth of the gospel–who is Jesus Himself–on our side. Do you really believe that our problems will be solved and our remaining personal doctrinal differences will be resolved if the WCA is formed? One more split, one more schism. It ain’t right.

  41. Robert Green says:

    I think we all know to where ” the road to good intentions lead”.

  42. Terry says:

    Where has our Grand Depositum gone? Do we honestly think it will receive anything more than just the slightest mention in any new Methodist movement?
    Will our evangelical Methodist churches continue to be more like Southern Baptist or charismatic churches than Methodist? Where has our Grand Depositum gone?

  43. Stacey says:

    Are we following Jesus Christ or John Wesley? It seems to me, although I’m now part of the disenfranchised Methodist, that we have lost our “basic construct” to quote a phrase.
    To solely and forever follow the teachings of a mortal man verses to gain the ongoing enlightenment of Gods word seems to me to be the issue.
    The Methodist currently can not give the appropriate rights to women and children.
    Given the attitude of many statement above it seems to me the Methodist church has become mired in the worship of a mortal and human system of beliefs not a inclusive and open, loving belief system.
    Divide 6 ways if Sunday- it will not fix our broken system. Only a true an living cleansing of our hearts, will fix our brokenness. Let’s re-read Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, and the Niebuhr boys again.

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