I would absolutely support reaching out to these “continuing Methodists”, as I suppose you could call them. The Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter (Anglicans who have come into union with Rome) is open to Methodists as well, apparently because Methodism is historically an offshoot from Anglicanism.
Several members of my extended family growing up were devout Methodists, and I was occasionally taken to their church. Methodists also believe in a rudimentary form of the Real Presence — they don’t attempt to define it, and of course they do not have apostolic succession or orders, but they affirm that Christ is present in their Eucharist, and that it is definitely more than just a symbol or a memorial.
Lutherans, like Methodists, also believe in the Real Presence. But neither believes in transubstantiation. Methodists also practice open Communion (as do some denominations of Lutherans) meaning that all present at worship are invited to partake. They also usually do Communion only once a month.
This was my first thought when I first heard about this. Between this news and the local Episcopalian bishop in my area refusing to allow gay marriage ceremonies in his churches, I’m hopeful that we’ll get an ordinariate parish here in the near future.
“Leaders of the church announced Friday they had agreed to spin off a “traditionalist Methodist” denomination, which would continue to oppose same-sex marriage and to refuse ordination to LGBT clergy, while allowing the remaining portion of the United Methodist Church to permit same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy”
It doesn’t sound like a split, it sounds like the conservatives surrendered. It seems to say gay marriage and unchaste gay pastors is moral, but not everyone is ready for it yet.
For awhile, gay marriage and pastors will be allowed, but only by way of exception or local option. Later, they will demand and get equal status. The next step is that a few congregations will be allowed to temporarily resist it but only under their roof.
Perhaps they will allow a few flying bishops to minister to the anti gay marriage holdouts since every diocese will be mandated “on board” with the program.
I don’t need to tell you what the final stage will be.
The conservatives, or evangelical Methodists, would leave. That’s about 2.5 million in the United States and nearly all the United Methodists in Africa and other parts of the world. There would be like 3 million United Methodists in the US who would get to keep the United Methodist label and current denominational assets.
It is strange, since the evangelicals won at the last General Conference and defeated the liberal plan. However, evangelicals have just wanted this all to be over for a long time. They realize it hurts the gospel mission for the UMC to be a house divided. They think it will be better for themselves in the long run for them to just divest themselves of the liberal baggage. As long as they can keep their own church property (and this deal would do that), then they probably aren’t worried about the “institution” of the UMC which they all realize is dying anyway.
What will happen is the evangelicals will leave for their new Methodist denomination, which will probably be a structure created through the Wesleyan Covenant Association (which is a conservative “caucus” or association of individual Methodists and churches within the UMC). The WCA already is drafting a proposed Book of Discipline for a new church, so the structures are already in place for this.
The plan allows individual conferences and jurisdictions (sort of like dioceses) to vote to leave for the new denomination, and it would allow local churches to also leave. While they ones that leave will have to surrender any claim to the UMC assests, they will get to keep their local church property. So, it’s a lot better situation than other conservatives have faced in other mainline denominations.
After the evangelicals leave, the liberals in the US will allow gay marriage and clergy within the US. Any Central Conferences (overseas churches) that remain in the UMC (and many/most are likely to leave for the conservative group) will get to keep their prohibitions on gay marriage and clergy in place.
You’re probably right about eventually acceptance of gay marriage and clergy would become mandatory, which is why I would assume that even those who are moderately against that would choose to get out while they can.
They aren’t “post-protestant”. They are Methodists, which has always been an evangelical, Protestant church. If anything, it’s the liberals in the UMC who are “post-protestant” and one might be so bold as to say “post-Christian”.
I always find it odd when any Christian denomination, professing belief in the authority of the scriptures, decides to “change their teaching” on such things. The scriptures are not vague when dealing with the nature of sexuality and definition of marriage.
The problem is that the UMC is run in large part by liberal Protestants. Catholics may not catch this, but liberal Protestants don’t believe in Sola Scriptura. They believe that the Bible is a book. The real rule of faith is the person of Jesus. The Bible is only one way to know Jesus and his teaching. Another is learning about the “historical Jesus”, cuz you know not everything in the Bible is correct. So, you don’t have Scripture as an infallible authority in and of itself. You have alternative sources of authority (Jesus as distinct from Scripture) that humans grasp by use of reason and experience.
There is no central interpreter, generally speaking, among most denominations that have popped up since the reformation. They have a “constitution”, but no “Supreme Court”.
Those that attempt to impose an equivalent functionary run into a similar problem their protestant ancestors posed for Catholicism - “You’ve been corrupted and we noble few are the True Believers, thus we go our separate ways and we shall carry the mantle of the kingdom of god”. Another sect pops up.
Full disclosure: I have no religious faith, there’s no dog in the fight I want to defend.
Never underestimate the power of inertia. "I don’t agree with this but …
A. I’m too old to move
B. The pendulum will swing back
C. Now that the Orcs have gotten all they wanted, they won’t make any more demands.
D. Maybe next year.
Well, the good thing about the deal is that if your congregation is conservative, you won’t have to move. They keep their church buildings. They just have to vote to switch denominations. If you are a conservative and attending a liberal or divided congregation, then that might be an issue.
For letter D, there is a time limit. After a certain amount of time, the UMC’s trust clause will go into affect again and any church that tries to leave could have its property taken. So, there will be a sense of urgency for conservative congregations to get out while they can still keep their property.
Congregations may take their property, but what about seminaries, mission boards, diocesan and central office properties and trust funds? Does all that stay with the UMC, along with the “brand”? Doesn’t UMC have some schools, colleges, publishing houses?
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