Liberation Methodism

New Liberation Methodism

Mark Tooley on December 2, 2020

In anticipation of United Methodism’s formal split next year (delayed from this year by the pandemic), a new network called the Liberation Methodist Connexion (LMX) has emerged.

As reported by RNS:

Correct doctrine is less important to the new denomination than correct action, collaborators said during Sunday’s presentation. That action includes reparations, caring for the earth, and finding new ways to live together outside of systems like colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, clericalism and heteronormativity, they said.

As one LMX leader explained:

We seek not answers that lead us to correct doctrines as to why we suffer. We seek correct actions, correct praxis, where God sustains us during the unanswerable questions.


God was there in the seeds of the movement John Wesley started, she said. “We are its queer, strange fruit,” she added.

As UMNS noted, the main proposal for United Methodism’s split designates $25 million for a new conservative denomination while also providing $2 million for any additional denominations, presumably including the LMX.

So there will be at least three bodies emerging from United Methodism’s split and likely more. While The United Methodist Church will technically continue as a coalition of self-identified centrists and liberals, United Methodism, which was founded in 1968, is essentially ending next year. Its logo of cross and flame, dating to 1968, has already been declared racist and almost certainly will be abandoned. And likely the name United Methodist itself also will ultimately be deemed oppressive and discarded.

United Methodism will effectively dissolve. It was from the start an experiment in theological pluralism, officially endorsed in 1972, which could never be sustained. Although theological pluralism was officially deleted in 1988 in favor of firmer doctrinal standards, it remained the reigning company ethos for the U.S. hierarchy and bureaucracy.

LMX will live out theological pluralism to its more logical conclusions, minimizing if not altogether dismissing theological doctrine in favor of political activisms and identity politics. No doubt LMX will start very small and will remain a small niche movement. Most radicals will stay within United Methodism, or whatever it is ultimately called, shifting what’s left of the old denominational structures ever leftward.

Self-identified “centrists” will with time mostly shift leftward to the drumbeat of the radicals. But the process will be discomfiting and divisive for them, especially as many of them by default become the new “conservatives” relative to the rest of their denomination. Centrists are largely fine with abandoning historic Christian sexual morality once U.S. Evangelicals and Africans, with some Filipinos and Europeans, form the new orthodox global Methodism. But most of them still hope to retain the architecture of creedal Christianity, against which radicals in their revolutionary zeal will constantly push.

Centrists largely come from philosophically mixed congregations, many of them in the suburbs, and still including worshippers who politically lean conservative (most United Methodists vote Republican) and, if not evangelical, who still resonate with the major themes of traditional Christianity. As post-schism United Methodism (psUMC), under whatever name, increasingly adopts more explicitly radical political, cultural and theological themes, many of these non-liberals in centrist congregations may object, resist, quit or at least quietly fade away.

How will many members of centrist congregations in post-schism United Methodism react to drag queen eucharists, mandatory pronoun fluidity, or far-left political advocacy in worship and from the pulpit? For decades, much of United Methodism’s liberal activism was indulged by the church’s agencies and seminaries but largely kept out of local churches, as pastors sought to protect their congregations from divisive controversies. Those days will end fairly quickly after the schism is completed.

Centrists likely think psUMC will resemble the Episcopal Church, i.e. sexually liberal but still mostly tasteful, liturgical, genteelly declining without imploding, and making room on Sundays for quiet Republicans and other non-liberals. Instead, psUMC will likelier resemble the more explicitly left-wing United Church of Christ and, at times, the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The LMX will trail blaze for post-schism United Methodism. It will always remain ahead, but psUMC will never be very far behind. It’s almost certain there will be divisions and formal schisms in psUMC. Centrists initially will imagine that with Evangelicals and internationals gone, and some radicals having aligned with LMX, that they will occupy the great, ostensibly noble middle. But their perch in the purported middle will not survive very long.

  1. Comment by Douglas E Ehrhardt on December 2, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    The Church of Cultural Marxism.

  2. Comment by Jeffrey Allen on December 2, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Assuming the Centrist congregations have some conservative members, What will happen when they get assigned homnsexual clergy? I predict a huge loss of membership.

  3. Comment by td on December 2, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    In orher words, not a christian church; a political action committee.

  4. Comment by David Miller on December 2, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Many small congregations, like mine, will not survive this disruption. Very sad. Satan must be smiling.

  5. Comment by senecagriggs on December 3, 2020 at 6:56 am

    Very insightful article. When they Southern Bapt went thru their split in the late 80, “Cooperating Baptist” became the split off. They have basically disappeared. They probably have less churches now then they did initially.

  6. Comment by senecagriggs on December 3, 2020 at 7:39 am

    There is a national organization, ASSOCIATION OF WELCOMING AND AFFIRMING BAPTIST.

    They have a list of members churches for each state. In the State of Florida, 20 million people, there is a campus ministry and there is a single church. Being “welcoming and affirming” doesn’t appear to be a growth strategy.

  7. Comment by William on December 3, 2020 at 9:25 am

    At least these people are honest with what they’re launching. There do not appear to be any hidden agendas or subterfuge. On the other end of our schism, the “new” emerging traditional denomination is honest with no hidden agendas and devoid of subterfuge.

    But what’s with this continued and ongoing CENTRIST talk? What is a centrist in this schism? A centrist can have and espouse diametrically opposite beliefs simultaneously? The post schism UMC will attempt to be seen as “centrist”? How many hidden agendas will it have? How much subterfuge and convolution will it take to describe this new psUMC? How will it avoid to almost immediately going back into conflict mode as competing forces attempt to define it?

    The ONLY hope for an orthodox Wesleyan Methodist — Bible believing Christian will be in the emerging traditional Methodist denomination. Why not go ahead and OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE the launch of this denomination as well to take place immediately after the 2021 General Conference?

  8. Comment by Physically Ill on December 3, 2020 at 10:24 am

    I don’t know whether to grieve with sackcloth and ashes or puke up everything I’ve eaten in the last month. This stuff makes the heresy the early church dealt with seem tame. Paul and John were pretty harsh with people they considered heretics or ones taking others from the truth. Should we do the same, or just silently let them lead people astray, or worse?

    Shouldn’t someone at least ask them to leave the church before the schism? It is the only honest thing they could do after announcing they want to form a cult. What is salvation for them? What is their view of eternity? What do they believe happened on Easter? Does it matter?

    May God forgive them.

  9. Comment by Palamas on December 3, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    God was there in the seeds of the movement John Wesley started, she said. “We are its queer, strange fruit,” she added.

    Truer words were never spoken. These folks sound like the need a different acronym. LCX really doesn’t work. LCC–for “Leftists Considering Christ”– sounds better.

  10. Comment by Jim on December 4, 2020 at 9:39 am

    They are liberated all right. Liberated from the Gospel and the scriptures.

  11. Comment by Charles Walkup Jr on December 4, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Obedience to God’s word and trust in Jesus (not ourselves) for salvation is the only means. Jesus IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life. LGBT are designations of sexual abnormalities, they are NOT identities. To claim to be God’s child and LGBT (or any other identity) demonstrates a schizophrenic personality, a divided/diabolical mind. It is on Satan’s path rather than being one with our Creator.

  12. Comment by Paul Rudolph on December 4, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    I have already stopped attending and supporting the Methodist church of which I was a member. There really is no point to attend or support a church which as essentially become a pretend church. The Bible means nothing to these people. Why bother to be a church at all? Talking with these people is not possible and so very sad. The music isn’t that good either!

  13. Comment by Walter L Taylor on December 4, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    As a former PCUSA pastor, who left the denomination with my congregation for a more conservative Presbyterian denomination, I can relate a story that may say something about the “centrist” UMC folks. Before we left, I had lunch with another PCUSA pastor, who styled himself a “centrist” (he was an institutional liberal, as I see things). He said that he did not want folks like me to leave, because if we did, folks like him would become the new “conservatives” in the PCUSA. Admittedly, it was a bit difficult for me to feel too badly for him.

  14. Comment by Walt Pryor on December 5, 2020 at 1:55 am

    Let’s be honest. Since right after the death of Jesus there have been hundreds of false heretical groups calling themselves Christian and claiming Christ. This is only different in one way and that is the Media, and the World Media is encouraging this fracturing of Christianity.
    Satan benefits from these groups, not God. The World is against God and so are these liberal groups who embrace the world views.
    We must tell the truth while we strengthen our relationship to Jesus Christ through obedience and love.

  15. Comment by Stan Jefferson on December 5, 2020 at 9:03 am

    I can’t say I haven’t seen this coming. The strange part is (and I know others will agree), is to actually see it happening, but not be able to convey to those on this destructive path what is happening. Problem is, they are totally blind to it, and they have converted their church from Christianity to paganism.
    Like shouting “Iceberg dead ahead” the warning is heard and ignored.

  16. Comment by Joan Sibbald on December 5, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    “Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.” Romans 16: 17-18

  17. Comment by Star Tripper on December 6, 2020 at 9:18 am

    If there is a so-called centrist psUMC then that would be the repository for the bureaucratic superstructure of the current denomination. So, the LGBTAIP+ group would go with LMX and be the new Unitarians, the conservatives would go off and pull together a doctrinal based denomination, and the center would consist of people who want to pretend it was all just a bad dream and everything is fine now… their “church” slowly dies off.

  18. Comment by L Thomas on December 8, 2020 at 8:33 am

    “Good bye and good riddance” is the nicest thing I can think of.

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