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Praying for a Sister Denomination

posted May 20, 2016, 10:47 AM by First Baptist


Last Sunday, during my pastoral prayer, I prayed for the United Methodist Church as they were preparing to meet in Portland, Oregon for their quadrennial meeting.

 

The United Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant denomination in the US (Southern Baptist is the largest). They have 7 million members in the US and another 5 million outside the US – mostly in Africa.

 

This year’s conference is marked by controversy, especially over the matter of homosexuality.

 

Background

 

According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline – the denomination’s book of law and doctrine – homosexual practice “is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

 

Indeed, that is the clear teaching of Scripture.

 

And yet, numerous Methodist pastors have been pressing for a change. In recent years, some have openly defied their denomination by performing same-sex marriages and “coming out” as practicing (non-celibate) homosexuals. In certain instances, the pastor was disciplined (they can lose their credentials), but in others, they weren’t disciplined.

 

Generally speaking, US Methodists are in favor of changing the denomination’s historic teaching on homosexuality; it’s the non-US Methodists who oppose any change.

 

As mentioned, most non-US Methodists are from Africa, and in the process of becoming a Christian, it was a big deal for them to embrace the Christian view of sexuality. In other words, that was a major consideration for them in turning to Christ. It is thus particularly offensive to them that US Methodists are so willing to jettison Biblical teaching on this subject.

 

What Happened

 

According to media reports, the denomination was heading toward a split into three groups – conservative, liberal and moderate. (For the life of me, I don’t know what “moderate” means in this context.) Anyway, they pulled back from that AND DECIDED TO TABLE THE WHOLE MATTER AND FORM A STUDY GROUP. In effect, they’re putting it off until the next quadrennial in 2020.

 

This means there will continue to be rancor among United Methodists for the next four years.

 

I predict the US contingent will use their leverage to change the denomination’s teaching. As a result, the African, as well as conservative US congregations, will form a new denomination.

 

It should be noted that those denominations that have accommodated themselves to the moral/sexual revolution are all dying.

 

Pastor Dan

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