Friday, March 01, 2013
Liberal Methodists might leave UMC over sexuality issues
So says this news post. Here is part of the article.
Since last spring’s General Conference, there has been an unprecedented mushrooming of talk of liberal exodus from the United Methodist Church. For all of the surrounding frustration, that landmark event in Tampa, Florida was an apparent turning point in the struggle for the soul of our global denomination.
Delegates affirmed the denomination’s official teaching that sex is “only” for marriage and that homosexual practice is “incompatible with Christian teaching” (¶161F of the Book of Discipline) by a significantly larger margin than the previous General Conference. For the first time, activists opposed to biblical teaching ultimately gave up on even contesting UMC policies aligning required behavior of clergy and denominational officials with this stand.
This happened despite the fact that for their General Conference efforts, such activists received massive funding from secular political sources, launched a massive, months-long project of lobbying delegates, pursued unprecedented outreach to overseas delegates, brought an army of colorfully clad volunteers, had biased allies strategically placed in key General Conference leadership positions, and even received the prominently touted partial support of celebrity, former evangelical pastors Adam Hamilton and Mike Slaughter.
Meanwhile, the “victories” celebrated by theologically unorthodox activists were almost entirely limited to widely supported evangelical reforms being defeated outside of the democratic legislative process.
Now even United Methodists who openly reject biblical teaching increasingly admit that the UMC is unlikely to change its position on sexual morality for the foreseeable future, given the UMC’s growth in more theologically orthodox regions and implosion in areas where it has pandered to secular Western culture.
Within months after the 2012 General Conference, the chief executives of both of the two main theologically revisionist caucuses within our denomination – the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) and the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) – resigned somewhat abruptly. Rev. Steve Clunn, an MFSA staffer, recalled that in Tampa, theological liberals “felt like the church was slipping away” and he had “never heard progressives talk about leaving as I heard at this General Conference.”
Such talk has continued after General Conference. In June, the New York and California-Nevada Annual Conferences, which have long been dominated by sexually liberal theological radicals, separately adopted resolutions, each of which was entitled “A Study Committee for an Inclusive Conference,” protested General Conference’s continued orthodoxy on homosexuality, and established a committee to study structural alternatives for liberal United Methodists. The California-Nevada resolution explicitly floats the creation of a new, unorthodox Methodist denomination as one possibility. True to its separatist spirit, the New York resolution mandates the inclusion of representatives of about every caucus within that conference, of which there are many, with the singular exclusion of the evangelical Wesley Fellowship.
Here is the rest of the item.