united methodist separation

January 3, 2020

United Methodism Moves toward Separation

United Methodism moved closer to formal schism with a new proposal released today negotiated with liberal and conservative groups, including bishops. The plan would divide the nearly 13 million member global denomination into separate conservative and liberal communions.

The mediator for these negotiations was Kenneth Feinberg, the Washington, D.C. attorney best known as Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Under this plan, conferences (Methodism’s version of dioceses or presbyteries) could vote by 2021 to join the conservative denomination by a 57% vote. Local churches by 2024 could vote by majority. The conservative denomination would get $25 million from current denominational assets.

If the quadrennial General Conference approves this plan in May, when it meets in Minneapolis, the two separate denominations would start there immediately, with separate General Conferences. The liberal church of course would delete United Methodism’s current affirmation of sex only within male/female marriage.

This denominational schism would be historic and largely the first of its kind since the 1840s when Methodists and Baptists divided regionally over slavery.

It’s likely the General Conference, even if it approves this plan, will amend it.

My prediction: General Conference will approve a version of this plan. During several subsequent years of sorting, United Methodism’s current 6.7 million members in the USA will drop to about 6 million. About 2.5 million will join the conservative church, and about 3.5 million will be in the liberal church. Nearly all the 5.5 million overseas members, mostly in Africa, will join conservative church, so the conservative denomination will have about 8 million members globally.

This process will be messy and often tragic. Many local congregations will divide and die. But United Methodism is already dying in America. This division will allow evangelistic-minded Methodism to plant new congregations and grow. American Christianity and society desperately need a theologically cohesive rejuvenated Methodism.

I’m looking forward to participating in a Methodist revival!


180 Responses to United Methodism Moves toward Separation

  1. Jeanie Faught says:

    I have some very mixed thoughts about this. will be watching.

  2. Excellent! They’ve need to separate the sheep and the goats for a long time. Wasting so much time fighting the pro-abort, pro-perversion, pro-coveting, anti-Gospel, anti-Bible Leftists has distracted people from the Great Commission.

    • Dave says:

      After 20+ years of PCUSA, I can no longer stay in that apostate denomination. This call to obedience to the Word of God and true discipleship is happening world wide and the sheep and the goats are being seperated. When being “Politically Correct” is more important that being truthful, it is time to leave Sodom and Gamorah. I will be watching the UMC division and align with the conservative and obedient church. I guess that liberals do not read Revelation in any translation, but now might be a good time to start!

    • Hi Brother Mark.
      Thank you for this article that is very informative. There is a dark corner I need to show you and other American Conservatives that are following the events unfolding in our beloved Denomination. Indeed Africa is Conservative and would love to go with American Conservatives than stay with American Liberals. But two factors will make Africa remain with Liberals unless it’s concerns are taken seriously by the Conservative group. Africa will not want to be seen as moving OUT of the UMC. For as long as the Name UMC exist, that is where Africa will go. As was suggested in the Indianapolis Plan we wanted two brands of UMC to emerge out of the current UMC clearly marked UMC ( Conservative) and UMC ( Liberal).

      We know many American Conservatives don’t understand this as they don’t understand why we should fight for a name. In Africa the name is an Asset. It a brand. It defines who we are.

      Secondly, the Protocol assumed Africa is with the Liberals. Those Africans not willing will have to take a vote. That is exactly the opposite of the Indianapolis Plan where it is assumed Africa is Traditional and those who want to go Liberal have to vote. That change is significant. I foresee many African Conferences simply not given the opportunity to vote and they will remain in the Now Progressive UMC.
      Forbes

      • David Rash says:

        Why can’t the UM’s of Africa become The United Methodist Church of Africa, establishing their own denomination with support from congregations / conferences in the U.S.? Why do they need to be attached to the UM here?

  3. Dr. Gary Exman says:

    Amen. Bless you brother and let us pray much and be able to go for pure evangelism once again. I am writing a book on prayer that will have world wide distributed when completed in about 6 months.. I am praying. Bro in Christ, Gary

  4. PFSchaffner says:

    Question: is this not backwards? Why should a congregation require a 57% (odd number) vote ‘to join the conservative denomination’ — since by the passage of the Traditional Plan, they are already part of the conservative denomination? I.e., why should not the Progressives depart: it is they who feel oppressed by the existing and traditional rules.

    • Donald Sensing says:

      Exactly. I left this as a comment elsewhere:

      The way I read this, it basically tells the traditionalists to take a hike. In other words, we are told we have to leave the UMC as it is presently constituted, which is the way traditionalists voted it last February! Oh, but they will let us have $25 million over four years, and then we have no recourse to address this at all. And the UMC that remains gallops far left immediately.

      • Creed S Pogue says:

        Perfection is not an earthly option. What is your alternative?

        Continuing to “fight” won’t move anything forward for the Kingdom.

        • Dana Williams says:

          My alternative was to leave UMC after five generations of family in Methodism, and join the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), which has a Catechism, something that Methodists sorely need. Wesley wrote and commented in over 400 books, so a clear set of theological teachings needs to be distilled by the Traditionals and taught to every congregant, especially confirmation classes.
          And by the way, LCMS does not have women pastors nor bishops. Save yourselves a world of liberal, emotion-driven confusion and pain by following the Biblical formula and letting men lead the congregation (and “ain’t I a woman?” to quote Harriet Tubman. Why yes, yes, I am.

          It is wonderful to be in a congregation where decisions get made without drama, and most of the teaching is by males — all based in scripture.

          Technology changes, but the Word of God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

          • John Thomas III says:

            The “Ain’t I a Woman” speech was delivered by Sojourner Truth, not Harriet Tubman.

          • Felix Morgan says:

            I don’t know what to say❗️I was a Methodist until I became a UMC because of the merger with the EUB. I stayed in the UMC until I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church at the young age of 50. I stayed a TEC member until the whole Gene Robinson affair snd when the Female Presiding Bishop outwardly denied such things as the Virgin birth, the bodily Resurrection, etc. Because if the 39 Articles of 1662, authored by Cramner, I received the Body of Christ from her, wearing a Mitre with NO Christian symbols on it, whew! In retrospect, I could received from one of several Priests who were there and I wish I had.
            I have only recently, been received into ACNA. I am very happy there, but might consider returning to a Methodist Church like the one I grew up in, in Georgia!

          • Tracy Collins says:

            “Ain’t I a Woman” was a speech by Sojourner Truth, not Harriet Tubman. I understand how you’d get them confused. I didn’t say it was okay. I just said I understand how you don’t know one historic American woman of color from another historic American woman of color.

          • I hate to tell you this, but Lutheranism is slowly moving toward Catholicism. The Pope is trying to bring together ALL religions and denominations for a one-world or ecumenical church. I left the PCUSA in 2010. As a pastor who had worked so hard and served it so long, I could no longer serve an apostate denomination. It has lost over 500 churches. The same will probably happen to UMC. So sad.

        • Michael Murphy says:

          I would think that the majority would continue to control and set the agenda. This proposed plan effectively disenfranchises African Methodists.

          The HQ, the money, the name, all should stay with the Traditionalists, as they are the majority.

      • Brother Thom says:

        I’ve given this some consideration since its release today. I spend a good deal of time writing on this issue and have probably read everything written on it.

        Here’s my take. The name United Methodist will soon become synonymous with the LGBTQIA movement. They will be unable to separate themselves from being the “gay” church.

        That said, they will be left holding the bag for the business arm of the denomination. That includes the reality that the Ecumenical Fund that pays Bishops is already slated to be bankrupt by 2023. That time table will be accelerated by this split.

        The chances that United Methodist Church will survive financially after the split is very much in jeopardy. There is another issue the progressives haven’t fully prepared for, and that’s number of traditionalist in the US. Progressives have operated off a theory that congregations will follow their liberal and progressive Bishops. I’m aware of some congregations that have no intent of calling for a church conference on this issue, but will instead move forward with a vote of the church council.

        It is imperative that we ensure every man, woman and child fully understands what being a United Methodist means after May 2020. United Methodist after May, will need to be prepared to see same sex marriages in their churches, as well gay clergy leading their congregations. This is an entirely new paradigm.

        I would suggest that some of that 25 million coming to traditionalist, needs to go to targeted commercials and advertising that ensures the public understands what this means.

      • Nelda Howe says:

        And if there is more than one Traditional Methodist Conference formed, the $25,000,000 would have to be divided between them In addition, The Traditionals will have $13,000,000 taken out racial purposes world-wide.

    • Cedric Parsels says:

      I am not Methodist or United Methodist, but I agree that this is an odd turn of events. Put in its simplest form, the Liberals lost at General Conference 2019; it was decided that the UMC was going to remain a ‘conservative’ denomination. Now, however, the Liberals are telling the conservatives to leave the denomination!? Why should they do that? The UMC is already theirs. If anyone should be moving out it should be the Liberals. Is the conservative Methodist way of being magnanimous in victory?
      Perhaps Mr. Tooley or someone else can set me straight on this, but I suspect that the answer has to do with several liberal churches having lots of money (despite having near non-existent membership) and the liberal trustees of those funds not wanting to see the money go toward conservative causes. I also suspect that both sides don’t want to engage in protracted legal disputes about the terms that might attach to the money in question. It is not clear, however, that this would completely explain this odd situation.

      • Paul C Prose Jr says:

        I agree with what many others have said. The Traditionalists shouldn’t leave, they are in the majority and they are faithful to God’s Word. It is the Liberals who should leave.

      • John Renfrow says:

        Typical liberal move.

      • Brother Thom says:

        Make no mistake about it, the progressive movement is being led by a collar (no gay pun intended), by liberal Adam Hamilton who leads the largest and wealthiest church in the UMC. What he says goes, and he’s calling the shorts. But Adam is as bad a predictor of what this split means as he is a theologian. Progressives have severely underestimated the number of traditionalist in the US. This reality will slap them hard in the face in the coming year.

        • td says:

          Very true. Adam hamilton represents all that is wrong with the UMC: elitist clergy, clericalism, obsession with large churches, disdain for farms and small towns and their churches. They simply think that everyone that disagrees with them is not only dumb, but that they are also bigots and haters. On top of this, they lay the death spiral of the umc on congregants who refuse to follow them.

          Let’s be real here, these people would be very pleased to lose all the small churches- no matter how it happens. No old buildings to renovate, no stained glass windows to fix, no bell towers to ring, no clergy that have to live further than 5 miles from a vegan restaurant and a fair trade coffeeshop next to a marijuana shop. They see a future with only huge warehouse churches with big screen tvs and stadium seating- and only having to minister to their flocks by text message, facebook, and blogs.

          Truly, there is no trust left in this denomination.

        • Mort Hoagland says:

          Many Pastors are very simply jealous of Adam Hamilton and all of his success. They have convinced themselves that he must be doing something wrong or the he is just wants to be the leader of the Church. I do not buy that. From all I have heard or read from him he appears to me to be a pragmatic centrist that truly believes for the UMC to move forward and be successful in the contemporary world it should love and welcome all unconditionally. The under age 40 people are not interested in a Church that excludes persons uniquely created in God’s image. They are the future like it or not.

    • Tom says:

      Agreed. I don’t understand the logic behind the majority being told to pound sand.

    • CHRISTIAN says:

      The negotiations may never become public.

    • David F Miller says:

      I agree. We Traditionals are the church from the 2019 Conference.

    • Joan Wesley says:

      One thing I have realized monitoring the development of this since GC2012 is that much of denominational leadership is not going to allow the United Methodist Church to go traditional. My take on this is leadership is willing to pay the WCA $25 million to make it go away so that leadership will then be free to bring the American UMC in line with their way of thinking. As a traditionalist observer stated in the aftermath of GC2019, General Conference no longer governs much of the American United Methodist Church, especially its Bishops.

    • Kim Schwartz says:

      I agree. Conservativism and the Book of Discipline have been the driving forces behind the UMC since the beginning here in America. Why should the new liberal force ‘allow’ traditionalists to vote and take an allowance. And how did they come up with this dollar amount? I’ve been giving for more than 30 years to the UMC. As my parents did, and my grandparents before them. Shouldn’t that be a determining factor in the $$ we walk away with?

      • David says:

        Well, in 1924, the GC abolished measures taken 52 years earlier regarding amusements. Dancing, playing cards, attending the theater, movies, or the circus were considered major impediments to religious life. Members guilty of seeing the elephants too often could be expelled from the church. While the provisions in the BOD were changed, expulsion still remained a threat even for those engaging in “innocent” amusements. So, the church has changed greatly over the years.

    • Mike Pinner says:

      My grave concern is that the liberals will not only walk away with the nameof “Methodist,” but also all of the seminaries. $25 million will not begin to create a new seminary for the conservative ministerial students of the new traditionalist denomination. Even if the “UMC” gives up Asbury, the fact remains that having only one conservative seminary will impose a financial burden upon every ministerial student of the “new” orthodox denomination. Those who are leading the conservative agenda in these negotiations need to be tougher, insistent, and unyielding in their demands that the conservatives be far more compensated for the institutional losses that appear to be imminent in this split.

      • Warren says:

        I believe if you check most of the UM seminaries are very liberal now; with Asbury on of the few exceptions.

        • Jeffrey Walton says:

          Hello Warren, Asbury isn’t a UM seminary (it is “in the Wesleyan tradition” and does train UM pastors, however). United Seminary in Ohio is the official UM seminary that is not liberal.

  5. I wrote this at the end of October, on the coming schism. I see now that I did not write it strongly enough.

    “The ground beneath our feet”
    https://pastordonblog.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-ground-beneath-our-feet.html

  6. Judith E. Kassel says:

    Paul wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 Biblical Theology cannot conform…God’s Word is unchanging & sadly many do NOT even know WHAT is His Will & need to know so their minds are free from evil influences!

  7. John Smith says:

    So basically, after the UMC stood in support of orthodox Christianity at the GC 2019 this plan has the orthodox/traditionalist leaving the denomination? The UMC will now embrace the LGBTQ agenda. (I note with interest all the money being thrown at different regions.)

    So the Bishops get to keep their hierarchy and pretensions (global denomination and all that), the LGBTQ/Progressive get to take over the denomination, a lot of people get a lot of money ($25 million, over four years, “to the traditionalist Methodist denomination; GCFA would escrow $2 million to help other potential new denominations. GCFA would allocate $39 million over eight years to strengthen Asian, Black, Hispanic-Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander ministries, as well as Africa University.)

    And the orthodox have been told that to fight for anything is a waste of time. Once you have been targeted (and the new denominations will be as well) it is best to give up and run.

    • Melissa says:

      I am outraged by this! There are simply no words to express my contempt and disgust for this spineless betrayal of Methodism. I’m done. Period.

      • carrie says:

        My first reaction was shaking, anger and confusion…wondering what is going on- is anyone left who is for Truth? I’m not sure the organizations we have let be our voice: WCA, IRD, and Good News know what they are doing? Are they too close to the conflict? Perhaps they’ve been threatened? No doubt there are things involved that I, at least, do not understand. What I do understand is that my husband (ordained elder) and I have waited over 20 years; preaching and upholding Biblical standards to the best of our ability in a radical conference where we have been at the least, overlooked, and at the most, punished financially, for those beliefs. What will happen to the faithful little churches in renegade conferences? They will hear sneers and gloating, they will see the pointing of the finger and the “shame on you”- which has been heard on repeat for any who stand on the Word. It seems that this “solution” will only open the door to apostasy more widely for the many unreached church attenders in Methodist social clubs. This is not right… Stand strong for the Truth…if it means ugly words are spoken…well, we conservatives have been hearing them for a long time. If it means friendships ended; do we really care? There is a dividing line between Truth and error and it is not found in walking away from the battle. “He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat. His Truth is marching on.”

      • Brother Thom says:

        Relax for now. I don’t think we have seen the last card played yet. Don’t be too attached to the name United Methodist. Remember the UMC is relatively new, and was only formed in 1968. Methodism has been around since the 1600’s. There are over 80 million Methodist worldwide, but only 11 million United Methodist. The UMC does not own John Wesley, nor does it own Methodism. We march on.

        The reality is the name United Methodist has not been very appealing to Americans for a number of years. This mess has drug the name UMC thru the mud. I’m not sure it’s a name worth holding on to, for a church that desires to grow, make disciples of Jesus Christ and transform the world.

        The name United Methodist over the coming year will become synonymous with “gay church.” I’m not saying that’s all bad if that’s what you’re looking for. But keep in mind that the LGBTQIA community makes up less than 4% of the US population. It’s my guess that progressives have grossly underestimated the number of traditionalist in the US.

        Stand by for heavy rolls, but not from traditionalist.

        • John Smith says:

          Considering John Wesley was born in 1703 and George Whitefield in 1714 I am curious as to how Methodism has been around since the 1600’s. Now I might not put much importance to a 100 year error if you weren’t claiming historical import. And the UMC name does mean something in terms of recognition, doors, assets and the like.

  8. Bill says:

    I have a lot of questions! We won, but we’re leaving? What happens to the billions in property? Why would they get to keep the Cross and Flame and keep the name? This makes no sense to me! What the heck!? Am I missing something here?!

  9. Michael McInnis says:

    A quick reply to the many questions about about why traditionalists (who carried GC19) should leave…

    The quick answer is that, realistically, the whole structure of the UMC – the agencies and departments – are run and staffed by liberals/progressives – I would guess it is over 90%. How would traditionalists “clean house” in all these agencies beyond the local church? It will be much easier, and more efficient and mission driven, to start a fresh expression of biblical Wesleyan ministry without all the baggage from the old structure.

    Does it seem unfair or unjust? Yes, I totally agree with you on that. But it’s the most effective and practical way to move forward and start something new, energized and focused.

    As Mark said in his closing sentence, I too am looking forward to being part of a 21st c. Methodist revival!

    • John Smith says:

      What is a Methodist? What would constitute a Methodist revival? Why would surrender to the world be the basis of revival? Can the new denomination even be called Methodist? Because one must vote to leave and assume all the burdens (emotional, financial, legal) of such a transition most orthodox churches will just fade away. The committed will find other churches (and denominations-possibly of a Wesleyan nature), the ones opposed will simply fade away, the unaware will wonder at what happened to the life of their church and the progressives will cheer and wonder where the money and people went.

      • Scott says:

        I agree completely with you, John Smith. This is essentially the death of traditionalist Methodism. Those of us who are traditionalists will simply be the ones having to leave the UMC. We are the ones being pushed out into the cold by the progressives. It will be much easier to just find and join another biblically orthodox church that is NOT Methodist than to plant a new one. After decades of Methodism, I’m ready to leave Methodism altogether. I’ve cut back severely on my contributions and attendance in the last year, and with this new year, will be looking for a different church APART from Methodism.

        • td says:

          Yes, your description of the future envisioned by this plan is correct. It is the death of methodist traditionalism.

          The truth is that there is no reasonable way to split that will protect and preserve the broad presence of methodism across our nation. If the umc adopts liberalism as its default, then it will whither and die quickly outside of major metropolitan areas. The idea that rural and small town umc congregations will survive with a large enough congregation after a divisive vote is living in a fantasy world.

          I used to support a managed splitting, but i no longer do. Enabling a portion of our church to go off and follow their personal consciences instead of christian teaching is not justifiable. This plan is not better than just changing the rules to secular “christianity” as in the one church plan and letting individual members leave. It will only protect traditional christians in some areas of the south and a few, isolated congregations in the rest of the country.

        • Brother Thom says:

          Methodism is not dead, and in fact it never resided solely in the United Methodist Church. There are over 80 million Methodist worldwide, but only 11 million United Methodist. The UMC was formed in 1968, but Methodism goes back to the 1600’s.

          This split has zero to do with Methodism and everything to do with liberal progressives pushing the ideology of less than 4% of the national population on the 96% of United Methodist.

          Methodism will march on as it has for hundreds of years. I predict United Methodist after May 2020’s general conference will become known as the “gay church,” and will fail financially based on simple math.

          So let not your heart be troubled, scripture is on our side.

          • David says:

            Your scripture was morally wrong on slavery, genocide, and trial by ordeal, though I doubt people can bring themselves to admit this.

        • Mark says:

          Alternative for traditionalist….Free Methodist Church

        • Mike says:

          Find a Church of Christ or Christian Church. They follow the bible without the need to create a complicated hierarchal leadership structure that will just be taken over by liberals. The Conservative Methodist Church that is about to be created will just be infected by liberal clergy eventually. Even the Southern Baptist who have avoided liberal take over for years by having largely antonymous congregations are having their national leadership positions taken over by liberals. Join a Church of Christ or Christian Church and avoid all that.

        • Emma says:

          After 28 yrs as a member of UMC,I left. Found a Bible believing church and so much happier. I don’t have to be embarrassed to invite people to church.

    • Sarah89 says:

      In 1973, the President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod fired the Seminary President. He and many other liberal professors left the Seminary.
      UMC, retain your universities and seminaries!
      See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seminex

    • Barb says:

      I think your comments are correct. Let (“traditionalists”) leave the liberal hierarchy behind with all their top heavy structure and move forward (with our property and liabilities and $25 million) to form a leaner organization with assets devoted to preaching the Good News and Christ crucified to win souls for the kingdom.

    • Mark Flynn says:

      Michael has said it well. It does seem strange that after winning the battle in St. Louis those with a traditional view of scripture and scriptural authority would be the ones to “leave.” However, many of the “assets” of the UMC would prove to be liabilities to us. I am hoping that this plan is the answer for us and that we will soon have a Methodist connection which truly believes in the authority of the bible and in bringing people to Jesus.

    • E. A. says:

      Just a special request: can the Evangelical/Traditionalist denomination at least get the General Commission on Archives and History? We have been the people holding on to millenia of Christian tradition. Shouldn’t we be the ones to keep the archives?

  10. pouncer says:

    If at least one of our local church affirms tradition and The Discipline and the general idea of abiding by a Conference majority vote decision even if one disagrees, then I might start attending again …

    I see no point in remaining even tangentially associated with a congregation of sore losers, push overs, and Modernist bigots.

  11. Tom says:

    This is being portrayed as a decision by a “diverse group” – however, it appears that only two of the 16 people involved are openly traditionalist, with a couple more who might lean that way.

    Seems like another example of the minority leftist branch trying to tell the majority of traditionalists what to do.

    Much like the OCP, my prediction is that the leadership will assume this plan is a done deal, only to be disappointed when the votes don’t go their way.

  12. John10 says:

    I’m trying to understand what the positives are for the orthodox group. The positives seem to be: 1) they get to keep their property if the local church votes to leave. 2) They get to keep some of the organizational structure if the full conference votes to leave. 3) The $25 million of support. If they do get to keep the property, that’s a better deal than the orthodox Presbyterians got. In any case, getting free to focus on the gospel is much better then the unending fights (which is about as productive as the rabbit punching the tar-baby). It will be interesting to see how membership in the radical group changes in the coming years.

  13. Joe M says:

    I agree with John Smith. The traditionalists *won* at conference, and the upshot is they will be invited to succeed from the denomination, with $25 million (less than will go to minority ministry overtures) but without getting to keep the name, or even the plum Capitol Hill property? Strange victory.

    IOW, they are accepting some funding and a pension structure but otherwise starting from scratch. In a religious culture where denominationalism is dying and the name “Methodist” will be formally appropriated by liberals touting their “welcoming” orientation.

    All this suggests the struggles for ecclesiastical power are moot, and that the liberals won the day long ago. Victory–for the orthodox–is an impossibility by any visible earthly standard . The faithful leaders here silently signal that only viable strategy is to cut losses and start afresh. It’s a eulogy for the institution of the UMC. Kind of sad, even if the existing structure has been full of dead bones for decades.

    What a world, where you can’t stand to listen to the President or the Pope, and the label of Methodist gets formally hijacked by LBGT pom pom waivers.

    Meanwhile I will pray for the trads. But like the Anglicans, I think all this points to a very rocky road.

  14. Rev. Jeff Spaulding says:

    I haven’t served faithfully for 47 years as a pastor so that I could be exiled from the only denomination I’ve known and loved. I’m not sure whether the results of the Feb 2019 General Conference were simply discarded by liberal Bishops who pretended they never happened or what. That was supposed to end all this once and for all. Those Bishops who’ve disobeyed the new laws should be charged and lose their orders, as should disobedient clergy.

    Now we have a re-do decided by someone ( who, by the way?) that has a really bad smell to it. I’m disgusted and disappointed.

    • Joan Wesley says:

      One thing I realized headed into GC2019 is that not one Bishop ever said that regardless of what was decided at GC2019, the discussion was over and it was time for everybody to move on.

  15. Jose Guatemala says:

    Well I guess it’s a marginally better deal than the Presbyterians got. The majorities necessary to leave are the worst part. I’d suspect the annual conferences (or whatever) will be very hesitant to leave, forcing the individual churches to go one at a time (thus making it even harder for the conferences to leave). And if I’m reading that correctly, individual churches can’t leave until 2024. The traditionalists need to get that changed ASAP. Otherwise, the liberal elites that represent the traditional congregations will have them treading water for several years as the memberships decline.

    • Michael McInnis says:

      You’ve misunderstood the timeline for churches leaving: they can vote to leave when it is clear to them that they do not want to follow which church their Annual Conference joins; so this will be sometime in 2021, as the AC’s have to vote (if they want to leave the soon-to-be progressive UMC by then). Then, local churches have UNTIL 2024 to vote to leave. This information is available several places online; please don’t spread incorrect information.

  16. Roger says:

    This Protocol that has been drawn up and agreed to by many, is not a legitimate document except for consideration purposes. Proper Legislation documents have not been completed to meet the criteria for consideration at the GC2020 yet to meet Constitutional requirements. Even if all these elements were met now, Delegates still have the option to vote it down. In my opinion, a long drawn out separation is not beneficial to either party, much less the ministry of the Church. The cleaner the break and time to do it, is better for all concerned.

  17. Joseph says:

    I am completely mystified as to why the traditionalists would accept this deal when they won the last vote.

    If there is to be a schism, it should be a fair split. Neither side should inherit the “United Methodist Church” name, and every individual congregation should decide by a simple majority vote of the laity whether to join the “Traditional Methodist Church” or the “Progressive Methodist Church” and any money or other assets beyond those owned by the individual congregations should be split in proportion to how many members elected to join each new denomination.

    • Sherlyn Lindley says:

      Exactly! I posted this exact message in layman’s words to a friend this morning. The only problem I see in this plan for the traditionalists is replacing the liberal leadership. The progressives can keep them and see how they function with their new budget. We are wasting valuable time continuing the debate. The fields are white unto harvest. We need to be working to spread the truth of the Holy Word, not conforming to the world.

    • Holly Trueblood says:

      +This is such a simple answer, and makes so much sense. It should not be the authority of either side to retain solely to themselves the name Methodist — united or disunited.

  18. dan jarrell says:

    I can already hear the shuttering of thousands of rural umc congregations in the midwest if this plan passes with the default being for non traditional methodism and the leaving option being cultural evangelicalism. Truly, those who founded these churches in the 1800’s are not being honored.

  19. William R. Porter says:

    I wonder where the $25 million came from. Now the argument will be should it be $35 million or more to make us traditionalists go away. It’s all about the money at this point.

  20. mountaingirl says:

    I admittedly am not the brightest star in the sky, but I read this Protocol from beginning to end, and as a staunch Biblical conservative (I hate the term “traditionalist” since the average person sees it as meaning “old-fashioned”), I somehow saw the Protocol as being good for “Traditionalists”. It sounded to me like it provides for the various flavors of liberals to pull out of the UMC with their property & assets (a fair thing), and leave the remaining (Traditionalist) UMC intact, as is, with a sum of $25M — which is waaaay more than any of the pulling-out new denominations receive. I read the comments from all of you, and I apparently missed something huge. Would some kind soul who truly understands the whole thing please briefly explain the general gist of why this is terribly unfair to the Biblical conservatives? Ever since the Traditionalist plan prevailed, it still seemed to be apparent that a split or divide was inevitable, but it might be the Biblical conservatives who would be forced to pull up stakes and leave, due to the burgeoning of the mostly-progressive younger generation, who would quickly become GC delegates (due to our errant desire to incorporate them by placing them in leadership roles they may not yet be spiritually ready to responsibly handle), and become the new majority at GC, reversing the current, prevailing Traditionalist plan. If this new Protocol prevails, the proposed outcome looked pretty fair to all — please help me understand what I missed, as I usually mostly agree with y’all. Thanks to whoever tackles it for me. I’d surely appreciate it, as I really want to understand this.

    • John Smith says:

      Its not the liberals who pull out. They become the UMC and the conservatives/orthodox./traditional form a new denomination(s).

    • td says:

      You forget that this upcoming gc is the last gc where US delagates will still form the majority. Of course, if they pass this plan, they guarantee that the US delagates will always hold the majority because it envisions thst most of the rest of the world umc will leave.

  21. Claude says:

    We all knew a split was coming, but I wanted the traditionalists to oversee the departure of the liberals, in part because we would treat them much better than they would treat us. I thought the passage of the Traditional Plan would accomplish that, but the WCA gave up the idea of leading the UMC with their Indianapolis plan.

    The announcement today isn’t a big surprise but it is a disappointment. I worry that by the time it’s all sorted out, we will be staring at a big pile of rubble.

  22. David says:

    The WCA has been pushing for a new denomination for years and recently came out with their own BOD-like document. Now the conservatives are all shocked there will be in a new denomination.

  23. td says:

    It should be noted that if the majority at gc is traditional, the most most likely amending of this plan will be to switch the defaults to traditionalism. The crafters of this plan seem pretty convinced that they have the majority. Do they?

    • Richard says:

      td, you may have something because, 1) it still has to pass the judicial review and 2) the OCP crowd is still in shock at the 2019 GC vote.

      • JR says:

        You are correct on the first point, but the votes for GC2020 across America show the error of your second.

        The WCA thought that winning in 2019 would end the issue – instead it pushed the moderates and progressives together, and they mobilized. And, in America, they outnumber the rest.

        Overseas has been the question. And when the Africans and Filipinos came out and said they weren’t going to follow the WCA in crushing the opposition, the writing was on the wall.

  24. senecagriggs says:

    “It will be much easier, and more efficient and mission driven, to start a fresh expression of biblical Wesleyan ministry without all the baggage from the old structure.”

    I think we have to trust God’s hand here. The Traditionalist will be leaving the baggage behind. A fresh start with few battles over the remaining scraps of the old UMC.

    The traditionalist will be just fine. You’ll see.

    • Sean says:

      You may be correct, but it is quite unseemly that the general conference votes one way, then a group of bishops once again overturn is the will of the global church and separates in favor of the 3LGBT community.

      And people keep forgetting that sexual sin is not the only area of discord here. There are ministers today in the church who are openly defiant many others scriptural orthodoxies including that Jesus is the only way to the kingdom of God. This is just one of many examples. And people keep forgetting that sexual sin is not the only area of discord here. There are ministers today in the church who are openly defiant many others scriptural orthodoxies including that Jesus is the only way to the kingdom of God. This is just one of many examples. I do believe in a separation, but I do not like these terms. I think the liberals think they have one here, but in the end a liberal Methodist church will die the same way the Presbyterians have died . I do believe in a separation, but I do not like these terms. I think the liberals think they have one here, but in the end a liberal Methodist Church die the same way the Presbyterians have died.

      I hate it for some of the older pastors who are going to rely on pensions that we’re not going to be actually really sound under this new structure. There is no way a new Methodist church embracing heresy will financially survive. The whole thing is sad not just for the church but for the people mislead by believing that there are ways to holiness other than what God lays out in Scripture. That is the biggest Sadness of and I hate it for all involved.

    • John Smith says:

      Perhaps the traditionalist will have a chance if the new denomination drops the concept of Bishops.

    • Barb says:

      I believe you are correct.

  25. Benjamin says:

    For me its really very simple, there is no biblical way to complete accept religious gay marriage, transgenders, the non-binary movement, late term baby murder and the rest. Call this what it is, its a small contigent of leftists that have politicized the church. There is no middle ground if you throw out the bible, to conform with the modern secular neo-communist views, which are being spouted off in many of these UMC.

    I was for civil gay marriage, but was worried that some would try and force churches to also provide religious marriages. The leftists have pushed this on Christians, but they have held back on pushing this with Muslims. There is a big difference between having gay church members, and having actively gay church leaders. So if many view the bible as basically bigoted, then what is the church founded on? Basically whatever new political movement and secular belief that comes along. I’ve gone to many churches over the years, the UMC that would throw out the bible will implode very quickly. Mark my words, gay marriage approved by the church won’t be the end of this, transgenders will be next, intersectionality, and promoting abortion and the new communistic ideologies will be next. Some of this stuff is already being put out there in some of the churches already. This split just reflects the culture war going on and the leftists attempts to claim anyone that believes in the bible is some form of bigot. Lot’s of churchgoers want to virtue signal as well apparently, although I don’t think the LGBQT+ leftists are going to have much success if they try this at Mosques.

    • William says:

      They have bullied their way to this place with UMC Christians and other denominations because they have gotten away with it. Long range, of course, they will have to face the music, something that seems to escape them. They certainly do expose themselves as cowards in that they are not pushing their agenda on Muslims. In fact, they are even afraid to mention their agenda or question Muslims from afar.

  26. Michael McInnis says:

    Many who are commenting here seem to be forgetting that, in recent history, every other mainline denomination that has given in to the popular culture on sexual ethics is now in a deep dive decline.

    A recent article predicted that by 2050 the Evangelical Lutheran Church (which is no longer evangelical at all!) will not even exist. And it is larger than the Episcopal and PCUSA churches; their decline will even be quicker.

    The United Methodist Church is also experiencing the same decline in worship, membership, baptisms, church growth, etc. We are a dying denomination. Why? Because since its formation in 1968, the UMC has moved further and further from biblical, orthodox Christian understanding (and also further from true Wesleyan theology and practice).

    Early on (in 1972 or 1976?) our Book of Discipline promoted theological pluralism, which left us with no distinct core doctrines to preach or by which to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Later (in 1988), that pluralism was (fortunately) voted out of the BOD by General Conference, but (unfortunately) the damage was done–too many of our leaders: Bishops, pastors, seminaries and their professors, agency heads–were totally invested in pluralism/liberal theology.

    Therefore biblical, orthodox (“traditionalist”) United Methodist churches and members are better off leaving this empty husk, this sinking ship, behind, and starting a fresh new expression of Wesleyan Christianity.

    Personally, I also think the United Methodist name/brand has been so damaged and is so perceived (in the USA at least) as a liberal, mainline/oldline/sideline denomination, that we are better off without it.

    A “Methodist revival” as Mark Tooley stated above, will be a revival that engages persons and leads them to a holistic faith in Christ which includes the doctrine of sanctification and a balanced expression of both personal faith in Christ and social holiness as we care for the physical, emotional, social and financial needs of those around us.

    John Wesley so understood (and lived) the Christian faith (which began the powerful Methodist movement of his lifetime and beyond); may we do so again in the years ahead.

  27. pdburney2 says:

    Many of us who are part of the traditionalist Methodist Church will not be willing to start new churches, letting the liberals destroy the Methodist church of John Wesley. Many of us will simply find new churches in another denomination. Money will dry up and the traditional Methodist church will be history. Praying those traditional delegates will vote no on this proposal and let the liberals find their own way. God help us!

  28. Gary Bebop says:

    Every one of us who is a member of an annual conference knows what political reality is in play here: progressives control administration in many conferences, even those with a traditional majority in local churches. A deal has been struck which saves many vulnerable churches from being seized (“harvested”) next summer, a process already in motion in progressive-tilted conferences. The divide in Methodism runs straight through the local church. Traditionalists should use the interim to quietly gather allies for the inevitable congregational vote. The fight moves to the local church.

  29. L. Leslie says:

    My heart hurts, it is breaking for the Lord.
    To see His people being driven from their places of worship. Thankful our home is in Him and He will shepherd us to where He wants us. We must pray for those who are so lost and deceived that they will not be lost forever. : (

  30. William says:

    Dear Traditionalists,

    The Wesleyan Covenant Association essentially already has in place a new denomination. Majority traditional Annual Conferences and/or local congregations have a home in waiting. Just think, a place for people to migrate who agree and want to move into a faithful future in peace!! However, the liberals should not be allowed to keep the name if this is an equal and amiable separation. Both denominations should be required to come up with their own name, thus ending the name – The United Methodist Church. Liberals certainly are welcome to the old structure with its expensive, bloated bureaucracy, but the old name must be retired as was done in 1968 with the merger of equals.

    • John Smith says:

      Forgive the cynicism but it seems to me the WCA jumped wholeheartedly into this with the thought that the traditionalist, upon being forced out, would drop into WCA’s lap by default.

      • John Smith says:

        In addition the WCA has shown that its preferred tactic when faced with an assault on orthodoxy is to run away. If the WCA is successful it will be targeted by the LGBTQ+ groups. Then what? They form another group and leave again?

    • Joan Wesley says:

      Unfortunately, the WCA does not have a consistent presence across the denomination. What is unknown is how many traditionalist individuals will have no choice but to abandon Methodism all together. Which I find frustrating since it has only been in the last few years that I have come to understand what true Methodism is really about and am intrigued with the concept. The American Christian landscape would benefit greatly from a true Wesleyan revival.

    • Gary Smith says:

      I wouldn’t call it a “merger of equals”. My Mom’s family was EUB and she used to complain that she felt very little of the EUB was reflected in the UMC.

      • Charlotte says:

        I was brought up in the EUB and when I was 16 we merged. You are correct. The EUB was very conservative. I miss my OLD church. (EUB)

    • carrie says:

      The orthodox Methodist church should get the name; only long enough to:
      1. Gently wash it’s corpse from the bruises and gashes of heresy

      2. Dress it in Truth

      3. Quietly inter it with respect for the brief span of life and hope the Almighty once gave through it’s members
      And…
      4. Mark it’s grave with both prophetic hope and warning.

      Or, at least, we should be the ones to just dig a hole, throw it in and label it “Ichabod!” “Do Not Come Near!”.

  31. Jim Egbert says:

    I am not a Methodist, but I used to be a Presbyterian until PC-USA decided to chase off the conservatives. When we left our Presbyterian church, we visited about a dozen churches before selecting a non-denominational mega-church. That was 7 1/2 years ago. We are very happy.

  32. Byrom says:

    I have mixed feelings about all of this, but am waiting to see what happens at the GC in May – not that far off. I have no crystal ball, but suspect that some sort of split will occur, and the can will not again be kicked down the road. At this point, I don’t know what my local UMC congregation or annual conference will do. No one seems to want to talk about this issue. I have an ECO Presbyterian church close to my UMC campus, and may check them out some time. I would prefer to stay in a “Weslayan” church, being a “traditionalist/orthodox” Methodist, but……

  33. JWP says:

    I would say that the traditionalists won at the GC2019 because world-wide we are in the majority. At that time the leftists in the US wanted to also have a semi-split so the US church could address all those LBGTLSMFT issues separately from the Asian and African churches. They were denied that split so now they are trying another way. For now I would like our stance to be that the traditional way should stand and those that wish to ditch the Book of Discipline and the Gospel should leave. The traditionalists have a much better claim to world wide acceptance.

  34. Michael says:

    Yes, let us pray for revival in the Methodist Church of the same magnitude as the First Great Awakening when the Spirit of God moved powerfully throughout both America and Europe. The following book describes this great historic season of awakening and offers hope for this present day.

    https://smile.amazon.com/When-God-Walked-Among-Nations/dp/1532682670/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1578107085&sr=1-1

  35. Tim says:

    Can someone who knows tell me what will happen to clergy in this split? Will centrist/progressive clergy be forced to leave traditional churches/conferences, or will clandestine progressives remain to continue to undermine the church?

  36. Dan W says:

    Mark, thanks for another excellent article.
    I predict we’ll be seeing a few Golden Parachutes in the near future. My prayers are with the hard-working pastors who spent most of their lives caring for UM congregations. The good news we celebrate every Christmas is “Fear Not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10b KJV) even Methodists…

  37. Harry C. says:

    My wife and I have found a wonderful new church home. In anticipation of this split in the UMC, we left the denomination and are in the process of becoming members of an Anglican Church that is affiliated with the Anglican Church in North American. As conservatives, we love it.

  38. Paul W. says:

    Having seen the document, I’m in disbelief. The plan appears to be a full abandonment of all traditionalist congregations and members that are not already aligned with the WCA. Even the WCA gets nothing except their property and a pittance ($25M over 4 years) while relinquishing all the 100’s of millions of dollars in denominational assets and the UMC brand over to the unfaithful apostates. I hate to be harsh, but, from where I sit, this appears to be essentially indistinguishable from a full surrender.

    • Barb says:

      Paul…the upside is we (“traditionalists”) get to shed all the financial and liberal baggage and start with a leaner, (apportionments to begin with will be much less of a burden, I believe) organization. I wonder if all pastors in the conservative churches that split off might get a raise? Just saying.

    • td says:

      I agree. But maybe this plan is simpler for the wca. They want to be done fighting, they want to start with mainly large churches, they don’t want to be saddled with unbelieving clergy and agencies, and they certainly don’t want to be in care of all the small rural and small town churches.

      The ugliness of this plan is that it reveals that both sides involved with this plan:
      1. Want a smaller church composed of much larger congregations.
      2. Want to market their church to growing suburban areas.
      3. Are primarily concerned about money.

      This plan seems like a winner for both sides. But make no mistake- it abandons traditional believers in all areas except where an annual conference actually leaves AND it abandons both liberal and traditional believers in small churches that will not be able to pay the bills after their local church debates this issue and 1/2 their members leave.

      Truly the losers in this plan (and all others that i have seen) are small churches because they simply will not survive the battle that is being forced upon them. It truly is the final demise of the neighborhood and community church.

      • JR says:

        I agree with you – I think the rural churches, those with less than 50 attendees, are probably going to be left behind in all of this. Those tend to be more conservative, yet at the same time aren’t going to really carry their own weight.

        They are part of conservative ACs in general.
        They aren’t going to vote to stay – they are more likely to not vote, and go with their AC.
        Therefore, they will end up in the lap of the WCA, who isn’t really going to want them. They will, however, be somewhat valuable for their holdings – I’d suggest that a ‘red tide’ occurs within 2-3 years of the split, where those rural churches are combined and the remnants sold off.

        • td says:

          I don’t entirely agree about where these small rural and town churches are located. I am in the midwest where every town of 300+ people has a umc. This area is almost exclusively governed by liberal annual conferences controlled by large congregations in larger cities.

          While these small churches are mostly traditional in nature, they are above all else neighborhood and community churches where different personal beliefs among members is the norm. People go to church there because it is in the town in which they live, where their kids go to school, where their grandparents got married, etc. They don’t see themselves as baptists, catholics, or evangelicals. In this way, their natures are close to catholic parishes.

          These churches, by and large, will not survive a battle on this issue. They aren’t used to making theological decisions and aren’t comfortable having religious debates. Their focus has always been community building.

          But they DO, by and large, want the church to teach traditional christianity. For them, this issue should not be booted down to them and the middle ground is to not change the rules/sexual sins and for our leaders to follow the rules. Their dilemma is that the clergy they receive are not trusted because the clergypersons continue to foist their liberal personal opinions (both theological and political) on to the church they supposedly are “serving”.

          I don’t think the leaders of our church understand any of this. And if they do, they are gladly involved in their demise.

          My ac is with adam hamilton’s ac. And in this ac, he calls the shots. Everything the ac does is based on models for a huge congregation. And while he is loathed by most of the ac church goers, the bishops and insiders are beholden to him.

  39. Mark says:

    Well I guess the vote last year was completely worthless. It would be nice to have leaders willing to fight. The worldly wise never seem to lack a backbone. It’s the one and only thing I wish we could learn from them.

  40. Sarah89 says:

    This is another tragedy of the Left’s Long March Through the Institutions. When challenged, it’s bare knuckles for the Left. I will pray for UMC, that the coalition of conservatives in the US and the World will prevail in Minneapolis.
    If not, don’t be surprised if the steeple falls again: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-tornado-the-lutherans-and-homosexuality

    • David says:

      If weather events are divine judgment, the whole US South seems cursed compared to other parts of the country. This is a silly correlation.

  41. Robert says:

    Compare this to the Presbyterians. After the Post-Christian changes including making the Trinity and the divinity of Christ optional (and affirming other non Christian faiths especially muslims), affirming gays as church leaders, supporting partial birth abortion and the entire left wing political agenda including the destruction of Israel; Orthodox churches that wanted to leave were taken to court by the larger church. Usually, churches that left had to pay large amounts in order to keep their buildings, and that after an overwhelming super majority voted to leave.
    Orthodox Methodists have done much better. Sure, it would be better to keep the name and a proportionate share of the capital, for the progressives to “leave” rather than the Orthodox, etc., but it’s so much better than the endless struggle that usurped the energy needed for a spiritual live and the work of the Church, like the Great Commission.

  42. Paul Shepherd says:

    Liberals/progressives do not have it in their DNA to leave/begin/start/reproduce. Throughout history, in every sector of society, it is traditionalists/conservatives who initiate/begin/ give birth/ reproduce movements. As movements burgeon, they inevitably become institutions that bloat into bureaucracies. Liberals serve the institutions and act as opportunistic parasites to destroy them from within…all the while maintaining their moral superiority and bleeding the institutions dry with their overblown salaries. They will not and cannot leave. Their only known tactic is “resistance” and destruction of anything remotely traditional. Liberalism is insidious and deadly. It does not bring nor breed life.

    Traditionalists in the UMC do not wish to fight any longer for an institution and principles they no longer recognize. Liberals cannot stand conservatives and will do anything they can to expel them from the systems they (liberals) dominate. Traditionalists exemplify faith and trust in the God of the Ages to lead, guide and provide for their movements—if, indeed, they are following God’s Kingdom path.

    Recent history has shown (through the Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian splits) that the expelled Traditionalist/conservative new movements will thrive and grow, while the liberal-led institutions will struggle and survive on endowments for a period.

    The gross failure of the current denominational structure to produce reproducing disciples is evident. The unfortunate pew warmers who will be forced to vote are nowhere near prepared for that type of significant decision. Most parishioners are spiritually immature and are likely prone to make an emotional decision to “stay with their friends and their building.” Very few UMC members have been discipled to spiritual maturity and reproduction. Few have ever “made a disciple.” Most have swallowed the liberal drivel that has been promulgated by the seminaries: Just love God, acknowledge Jesus as your personal savior (get your ticket to heaven punched) and, above all, BE NICE to everyone—that is the ultimate “Christian virtue.” Whatever you do, do NOT judge anyone or anything, don’t dare refer to homosexuality as sin (even though the Scriptural witness speaks univocally about the matter) and be nice to everybody.

    The UMC is now reaping what has been sown through seminary education and psychologically based positivistic preaching for the past 50 years.

    It is sad and unfortunate, but is necessary.

  43. Gary Smith says:

    Why are the traditionalists the ones leaving? From a biblical standpoint the progressives are the ones that are the outliers, it should be incumbent upon them to leave, not us. There are other denominations with beliefs more to their liking.

  44. JWP says:

    After sleeping on this story I see this plan as an attempt by the leftist hierarchy in the UMC to preserve their jobs. If the liberal churches left the UMC to the traditionalists, as logic would dictate given UMC world demographics and the GC2019 result, then who would support that bloated bureaucracy and those cushy jobs? Since we traditionalists have gained the concession to keep property and dollars let’s not give up know. Push back again in GC2020 and trust in the Lord. We can always leave later but I don’t want to give up just yet.

  45. Dave Hussung says:

    Our family joined a local “traditional, conservative” United Methodist congregation in 1986. We joined because of the local church’s pastors, congregants and theology presented from the pulpit, with no understanding of the denominational structure or the underlying issues with which the denomination was dealing. Despite often wondering “what have we done?”, we’ve remained faithful to our local church, feeling that it was God’s plan and calling that we do so. And, it is our intention to remain committed to our local church as long as our local church remains committed to historic orthodox Christianity. If that means departing from United Methodism by congregational vote, so be it. Our allegiance is to our local church, not the denomination. I’m tired of apologizing for and trying to explain the positions and machinations of our denominational hierarchy.

  46. Scott says:

    What the WCA does not get is that the vast number of traditionalists in the UMC are not willing to start up a new church but will simply go to other churches. The WCA should be fighting to preserve the UMC is a traditionalist church instead. I fear the WCA is simply focused on itself and getting $25M for what will in actuality be a very small, new denomination. I hope a majority of delegates at GC turn this proposal around and make remaining traditionalist the default.

    • Michael McInnis says:

      Scott, you say that, “the vast number of traditionalists in the UMC are not willing to start up a new church but will simply go to other churches.”

      But you can’t possibly know that for sure…you’re simply projecting your personal fear or the seemingly current lethargy about what’s happening in the church – but the lethargy is really prudent church leaders and members waiting for GC 2020 before they do anything – because they can’t make any intelligent or relevant decisions until we see what is voted on.

      I am hearing this from many folks – but the reality, I believe, will be quite different when General Conference speaks and (I assume) created a pathway to either stay or leave with properties and assets. Most local churches have some strong and wise leaders who will address this; after all, many of them do it every day in their business and other dealings. Don’t sell local churches and church members short.

    • td says:

      It’s sad to admit, but i think the wca fully gets that most traditional believers will just leave for another church. By endorsing this plan, the wca shows their priority as being large culturally-evangelical churches who are already afiliated with them. $25 million amounts to no money at all.

  47. Rev. William G. Owen says:

    No one should be allowed to keep the name United Methodist! It will influence many to follow the name of the denomination they are used to, even if they do not agree with the theology. We traditionalists should revert to the name Methodist Episcopal Church. God bless your work in these difficult times. Rev. William G. Owen UMC Pastor retired.

  48. Brad Pope says:

    Makes sense that the Traditional UMC position was outgunned. There were 5 representatives each from “Traditional”, “Centrist” and “Progressive”. The Centrists were basically UMCNext supporters which are Progressive. It was like two wolves in a sheep voting on what’s for dinner. It is painfully dishonest to watch UMC next members couch themselves as “centrists“ knowing that will sound good to most Methodist laity yet they are absolutely without a doubt progressive. They should have whatever position they choose to have but they should absolutely stop being dishonest about it, that it shameful.

  49. William says:

    Scott,
    The transition to a new WCA denomination would be seamless and end up much, much better for local congregations in so many ways (too numerous to list here)— starting with lowered apportionments, replacing inflated apportionments extorted from local congregations for far too long, that have been going to support this corrupt, bloated, liberal, unaccountable, alien bureaucracy. Let the liberals have it, pay for it, and turn it into a sexual perversion cult. That in itself would be a big burden lifted, not to mention some of the other evil causes some of it has been used to pay for. A WCA denomination is the best answer for traditional Wesleyan Methodists all others out there seeking a true Biblical Wesleyan Methodist Church.

    • Richard says:

      William, I think much of what you are saying is reasonable. But, I have also wondered if the path for traditionalist might be much easier if we followed the example of Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church in Katy, Texas. You may recall that the congregation voted on Dec. 15th to enter the Free Methodist Church denomination (by a margin of 96%). An already established denomination that reports to be conservative in nature. With all the UMC property on the market, seems local congregations could find a home by just changing the sign. Of course, I don’t understand how involved this would be for local congregations, but then how involved would it be for the WCA to start them? Just a thought.

      • William says:

        Thanks. Or, if the WCA has a longer range plan of mergers with other traditional Wesleyan-Methodist denominations. After all, there are 80 million Methodists world wide. My guess, the large majority of these are orthodox/traditional
        .

    • Scott says:

      Scott, William is correct. A carpenter was shown a house that was full of termites, mold, and rotted lumber from water damage. He was asked the best way to proceed. His answer “with a match. It will be cheaper, easier, and the end product will be much better. What I am hearing is a lot of ego, sentimentality, and financial consideration. What we need to be concerned with is what best advances the cause of Christ. The UMC name is polluted and it is hide bound with bureaucracy and rules of a different age. The reason nondenominational churches have prospered is because they are not saddled with the past and can more easily adapt. The real winner will be the one who loses the umc name and agencies and their assets. By the way, great name!

  50. Michael says:

    Having read through the draft of the WCA’s “discipline” I cant help but observe that it seems to jettison the itinerancy model of appointment for something more akin to a Presbyterian model. Which to my mind would move it away from historic Methodism.

  51. Greg M says:

    Will the traditional Methodists look to the Anglican Church in North America as a model to structure a leaner “new” church? I hope that is the path versus many of these traditional churches simply becoming non-denominational.

  52. Gene says:

    The bottom line here is that, as usual, 2% of the population who are homosexual, are dictating the terms of a whole new cult for themselves. And as usual, we bow down to them!

  53. EdenSprings says:

    Dearest Father, your Remnant remains strong in the world. We long for pastors, ministers and bishops who preach Your living Word. We no longer wish to hear false teachers who would lead your sheep astray, or be asked to to endure all manner of abominations practiced within your Holy Church.
    We pray that you would hear our pleas and come to our aid, sweeping all that is unclean from Your sacred places of worship and driving out all those who purposely spread lies among Your flock with the intent to deceive us.
    We humble ourselves before You and plead for righteousness to be restored in order that Your name may again be exalted within your house, and that your beloved people no longer have to submit to being dishonored in your house.
    We ask this in the name of your Son, Christ Jesus. Amen.

  54. Gary Bebop says:

    Traditionalists (represented by WCA) must put the best face on this Protocol. But the caveat is local reality. What is that reality? The UMC is a lame duck. Many of our churches are drifting downward by all the critical metrics: attendance, finances, membership, mission, families with children, and youthfulness itself. Many are now single-cell or served on a circuit. This is not a sustainable business model. These congregations are one dispute away from closing. Many others are facades of once vigorous selves. The loyal “moderates” fear change. They are guarding the end-of-life boundary and will vote with the property when the time comes.

    • William says:

      A good traditionalist denomination selling point?

      In addition to reclaiming and proclaiming the Wesleyan heritage of Methodist evangelism, we will significantly lower your apportionment payments in a streamlined, non-top heavy, and much less administratively expensive church, thus leaving you with your funds to do local missions and outreach —- while designating at least 75% of the apportionments going to the general church to missions.

    • Michael McInnis says:

      Gary, you are correct that there are many small churches that can’t afford a pastor and are struggling to have a vital ministry. This reality needs much prayer and support from a new denominational leadership. One possible way to serve these churches (that we are already exploring locally) is to use modern technology to serve them as satellite locations, bringing in a message from a larger church, while also helping them revamp their ministries to become relevant in their local context. This is already bearing fruit in some places, and may become a common paradigm for the future.

      Others have been concerned about finding enough quality clergy to serve churches in the future (since so many U.S. clergy are liberal). In my experience, there are good pastors from other denominations who would be a good theological and missional fit for a new “WCA” style denomination. I’ve already seen this kind of cross pollination with pastors from the Evangelical Covenant Church (which I was part of for 3 years when I left the UMC for a time). God will provide for this need – men and women of God will want to serve in a new, energetic, vision driven denomination that wants to revitalize existing churches and plant new ones.

      • Richard says:

        Michael, I have some of the same thoughts. I believe I have read where some churches already do this, as you are alluding to. Now, since 12/3 one of them close to us has issued a statement that they will be able to align with like-minded churches next year. So what you are saying is within that realm

    • John Smith says:

      Why are the traditionalist supposed to be represented by a group (WCA) whose main purpose is splitting the UMC? Does this not explain the outcome? Was anybody at this “mediation” (aka surrender) fighting to keep the UMC orthodox?

      • William says:

        With all due respect, John — the Wesleyan Covenant Association was birthed by the progressive movement, a necessary REACTION to their strength and power in the American church. I do not want to admit their power of the progressives, even acknowledge them, but that does not make them go away. They have vowed to stay, destroying the UMC if necessary. The Renewal and Reform Coalition, of which the WCA is the most recent member, wants to solve this schism in their lifetimes. And, they are the ONLY voice standing for traditionalists. For me — God bless them. So, the fastest way to that end is separation – before the entire UMC, at least in America, is gone. It must be noted that short of an amiable separation — the WCA has vowed to fight on by enhancing the Traditional Plan and staying in the fight as far into the future as it goes. So, end this schism now or fight on? — that’s the question.

  55. Father K says:

    Is it possible that the Methodist/Anglican schism might come to an end with orthodox Methodists being in fellowship with the Anglican Church in North America?

  56. Benjamin says:

    This recent vote is not only a strike against bible based belief, but also against our African and Asian brothers and sisters. This leftist cult and their virtue signalers that want to feel self righteous with the world, rather than God’s word have completely denied the voices of the true diversity of millions of Methodists internationally. The leftists that continue to work toward their secular faux church, weren’t too happy to have millions of Africans and Asians vote to support the bible. It’s beyond condescending to proclaim that those that try to adhere to the bible are basically bigots. This is not a doctrinal issue, they want anything considered sinful to be wiped away, and this includes their demeaning millions of worshipers from other countries. The US leftists in the UMC by this recent push are just trying to completely destroy the only true growth in the UMC in Africa and Asia. This is not only an attempt to disregard last years vote, but to flex their power and demean those that don’t hold secular views along the path of anything goes.
    The term traditional is a loaded word to begin with, giving the enemy of the bible control of the language is a mistake. Let’s be clear, traditional is just a replacement for those that continue to “cling to the bible”. You see other churches that have nearly half their members no longer believing the bible is inspired by God. I’m not wed to Methodist, its merely the closest church to us that we felt OK with going to. It’s sad to see Christians so easily give in to the anti-bible factions and those that’s real purpose is to have a church that really is just a virtue signaling hub for political activism, rather than spreading God’s word.

  57. John Smith says:

    The more I consider this the more I must admit it was a nicely staged counterstroke and coup by the progressives.

    Maintaining the fiction there was a difference between “centrists” and progressives, ensuring WCA represented the traditionalists and the timing. Perfect.

    Just as the traditionalists are gearing up to battle at the AC for delegates who would defend GC19 at GC 2020 the rug is pulled out. What is there to battle for now? The groups that were fighting at GC19 have announced their surrender. The best course would seem to be a massive revolt around a campaign of “Vote No to Surrender!” but who would lead it?

    Also, once the WCA (if its as big a block as it claims to be) completes it hightailing to the hills what will be the effect on the balance in many ACs? Could not many conservative ACs become progressive?

    As I said, well played indeed.

  58. Nancy says:

    I am concerned about how the votes will be tabulated. 57% of the those who cast a vote or 57% of the members on roll or 57% of the those who have attended at least once in the last year? Most churches, unfortunately, have many people on the roll who are no longer involved in the life of the church.

  59. diaphone64 says:

    There needs to be a heckuva lot more than $25M paid to conservatives to leave

  60. truimph of hope over expereince? says:

    There are three things discouraging about this proposal.

    1. Who has all the pain in this? It is the traditional churches and conferences who will have to take tough votes, lose members, and get labeled. OTOH, annual conferences and churches who have been in the minority on this issue have to do nothing. There is no pain for them, no hard choices, no reason to do anything to confront the issue. In the short term they win and have no pain.

    2. It’s going to be very interesting to see the coming debate on this proposal on the floor of the General Conference. I for one am not very trusting in the commitments made by the non-traditional side of the proposal, especially when the amendments start from all the pressure groups the left have on the floor. There are many other things that could change to punish the traditionalists who are destroying the church, and will be portrayed in the secular and religious media as the ones destroying a major force in the American church.

    3. Who are the parties in this agreement that are trustworthy? It’s the traditionalists. After all the things said and done by the political and social left, especially after the 2019 debacle, how can traditionalists trust that the other side in this deal will hold up their end of the bargain? At least one bishop involved in these discussions has made it quite clear who they think the villains and victims are. If they have such anger at one side and sympathy for the other side will they really support the deal, or only offer tepid support that vanishes when the heat is on during General Conference.

  61. David says:

    If there are to be any changes, it has to be this year. The Third World branches of the church have already voiced opposition to any sort of division. At the 2024 GC, they will be able to out vote the American church, at which point nothing will change. I suspect both sides of the argument in the US are aware of this and are pushing for a resolution this year.

  62. Gary Bebop says:

    Mark Tooley has launched an important talk thread here. The ripostes are enlightening, a mashup of reassurance and disquiet, inanity and pixilation. It’s the froth that may unnerve and confuse the purposes and aims of the Protocol signers. How do you reign in a tempest? Every United Methodist now looks to his self-interest, his local church, his family, his counselors, his Bible. Controlling the narrative will be difficult because every new manifesto, bishop’s letter, pastor’s blog, news headline and op-ed will be generative. There will be teleconferences and other communiques attempting to indoctrinate and quash the spread of misunderstandings and misinformation and outright false witness. But can the energy and riot of a Viral Age be contained? Unlikely. And so we can expect a protean morphing of all that is before us. This is “fruit basket upset.”

  63. Terry says:

    The United Methodist Church already IS the traditional church as of February 2019. This whole protocol stuff is nothing but another proposal to be accepted, rejected, or changed by voting at the General Conference. It is not already in effect.
    What about the African United Methodists? I remember reading several months ago that it is very important for them to retain the “United Methodist” name as it carries a lot of weight in conducting matters related to their various civil government entities. I wonder how many Africans want to part of the progressive UMC if this protocol passes.
    I hope that, whatever the outcome of the GC voting is, the evangelical UM church will become much deeper theologically. We’re rather shallow now. Our doctrines exist for a very important reason.

    • William says:

      Yes, I read the same — the Africans want to retain the United Methodist Church name and were opposed to separation. Yet, it was an African bishop that initiated this procedure that has resulted in this Protocol Plan. Does this mean the Africans will remain in a liberal post-separation United Methodist Church in order to have the name, a church that would be a diametric opposite of their stated beliefs, convictions, Biblical understanding, and theology? This whole thing seems to be spinning out of control and into total chaos! How in the world will these 842 delegates ever dig through all this, make any sense of it, and cast informed votes on anything. Is this thing headed to a complete impasse at General Conference? If so, the Traditional Plan passed in 2019 remains the law of the church as of January 1, 2020.

  64. Jonathan Q Zadok says:

    In the modern “Art of War,” the strategies of psychological operations work in many ways, and this is spiritual warfare at it’s finest, aka – Ephesians… Please read (between the lines); b/c NO ONE speaks for the UMC except the General Conference! Calm down, trust God, and keep your powder dry!

  65. Carol says:

    As a true centrist in the Methodist church, I must say the comments I am reading here are extremely political and don’t represent anything close to the love of Christ. You are making the progressive case very well. They represent love and all I see here is hate. Your hateful comments are palpable. I think way more prayer is in order here. You are asking people to choose between love and hate . That makes my decision easy.

    • William says:

      No — all false comments, the choice is between Satan and God.

    • td says:

      I would suggest that what you are perceiving as political and not within the love of christ are born out of a long history within this church of our leaders not being trustworthy and entirely concerned about their own personal well-being and pet projects.

      Referring to your choice: the choice is between christianity and christ or the devil and paganism. Christ is not unbridled hugs and pats and good jobs for all human actions and endeavors. The gospel is not about being nice and inoffensive. Evil and its forces are real and denying its existence only increases its power.

    • Rebecca says:

      Perhaps you are not understanding the deep grief of those who have given greatly of time, talent and treasure and who deeply love our Lord and our historic Wesleyan way of living out the life of faith. To learn that the progressive/centrists become the “default” position with only 44% agreement feels like a bit of a kick in the teeth. You glibly label it “hate” when people express pain. You might try putting the shoe on the other foot.

  66. Jim Radford says:

    I am saddened by the split. It is, obviously, a schism. There is one church, one body, the one established by Jesus Christ, and we all are a part of that, from the pre-Reformation beginnings to now and beyond. We are part of the catholic–universal–body of Christ. This split is not good. And I am totally for a creedal, historic Christianity, and not for a post-modern rationalistic re-interpretation via the best of liberal thought. The so-called “Traditionalists” are just as dogmatic in their insistence that they are the “true” church. I have heard way too much triumphalist crowing on the part of those who have been wishing and hoping (lusting) for another denomination. I believe that there is a prevalent angry/mean streak running through some–though not all–of the “Traditionalist” camp. I’m not on either side. I hate to sound arrogant and self-righteous, but I want to be–and I am–a member of the Body of Christ. I’m not putting out a shingle that reads, “Traditionalist,” “Progressive,”or “United.” The article in the December issue of Good News said, more-or-less, that after the split both groups will be able to use the word, “United,” which, in my mind, is disingenuous nonsense The article also pointed out that we will continue to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” In my view, we have weakened our credibility. And we have weakened our witness. And yet Jesus Christ is the King, the Truth, the Life, and the Way, and He will have the last word.

  67. As a traditionalist Wesleyan, I still believe Jesus is still running the show and loves his Body more than any of us. I am a 7th generation methodist pastor and will remain one until I die. I will continue to preach the Gospel and believe the Bible, turn from sin and toward the Savior. Praying for all my brothers and sisters and for the process (though it may be painful) that will follow. God is doing a new thing and we see that among youth at revivetexas.org. Come join us!

  68. jonathan says:

    This must be the Day of EPIPHANY: “Leaders from the United Methodist Church have announced a tentative plan to split the church over differences on whether or not Methodists should be Christian or some sort of social group with a vague deist motif that makes up morality based on whatever it feels like” via BabylonBee!

  69. John Smith says:

    Since the denomination and the money are going to be redirected to a false gospel, a false teaching I’ll be designating or redirecting my tithe in such a way as none can go beyond my local church. It is really the only way I can have any, however small, impact on the decision. The electrons expended here, while on some level are cathartic, do nothing. Could the orthodox, who have been marginalized in this process, make a statement with some impact if we all did this? The time is short and the monies withheld now are but a drop in the bucket compared to what was previously given to the UMC and will now be repurposed for the use of the progressive agenda. But it is something.

    • William says:

      The episcopal fund, for example, is approaching insolvency. Other funds are likely not far behind. Will the number of bishops, for example, be reduced, their salaries/benefits cut or apportionments increased? What about funding the rest of this bloated, expensive bureaucracy? My guess, they’ll try an extort more monies out of the local churches. So, that brings into question this concern over assets with this Protocol Plan. On the surface, it perhaps looks like traditionalists are being short changed. But, long range is that the case? Of course, only time will tell. My guess, the WCA does not want this bureaucracy which is already a major, inhibiting financial burden that cannot be sustained under the present UMC trajectory. If the liberals think their new Post Separation United Methodist Church can continue to fund this monster, go for it. My guess, they’ll go into a period of asset liquidation that will rapidly be depleted just to pay the bills while a new WCA denomination will be free of this institutional preserving burden. Yes, as far as for current tithing— there are numerous ways to get around contributing to apportionments of which I am with you.

  70. Fr. Timothy Cremeens says:

    Having grown up in a denomination of the Wesleyan Holiness tradition that separated from mainline Methodism over a century ago, I have watched the UMC descend into apostasy and depart from the Scriptural & orthodox Christian spiritual and Theological roots planted by John & Charles Wesley, John For & Francis Asbury. There is NO schism here, only a return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

  71. Gary Bebop says:

    If the comments here are clues to reality, the coming separation will save large traditional churches in urban areas for WCA but surrender small town and rural churches to the default rule. As has been frequently stated, these congregations represent community relations; they are diverse, peaceable, working cooperatively with neighbors even if they differ theologically and politically. They will not pick a fight they can avoid. Traditional leaders of these churches will feel great pressure from progressive conference hierarchs to stay put within a post-separation UMC.

    • John Smith says:

      Of course once their traditional pastors are forced out and progressive trappings are forced in, many of the people will simply fade away, and then the church will as well.

  72. Quartermaster says:

    There is no reason for the Evangelicals to leave. The leftists should leave and be allowed to take their property with them. Let them form their own apostate organization, under a new name.

  73. John Smith says:

    I was reading Rob Renfoe’s (at Good News) defense of this decision. The major point that struck me was his admission that no matter what was done at GC’19 or might be done at future GC’s it meant nothing because the Bishops would not enforce it, would actively defy the GC and that the Bishops could not be held accountable.

    That leads to an obvious question: Will the new denomination have the sense to dispense with the office of Bishop or do they think that “our People” would never be like that? Want to guess? How many new Bishops are going to be created?

  74. Dee says:

    I trust folks saw this defining headline: Methodist leaders announce plan to split the church into pro-gay and anti-gay branches”

    That’s it. Churches will be known and defined not by a relationship to God or Jesus, but to their relationship with gay (LGBTQ) people. The voices on the outside will have the final say on the Methodist faith. Looks like the spin is pro-Gay or anti-Gay.

  75. Gary Bebop says:

    Let’s stop dissembling on this topic. Anyone saying that the Protocol “splits the church into pro-gay or anti-gay branches” isn’t reading carefully enough, perhaps intentionally so. The Bible condemns bearing false witness. The Protocol allows for local churches to separate if they choose. The bar need not be higher than a simple majority. Local churches keep their assets and liabilities with no further payments required to a post-separation UMC. Let’s end the souped-up misrepresentations of fact.

  76. Dee says:

    But you have no control over the labels outsiders place on the separate entities that may emerge from a separation. Pointless to say, “Let’s put an end to misinterpretation”. I’m just reporting on what I’ve read in news reports written by some outsiders. The spin is “anti-gay” and “pro-gay” as the defining labels. Just sayin’

  77. Emma says:

    God will safely see us through this. Christ will prevail. Just trust and obey, and pray!

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