A proposal by an LGBT group would split the United Methodist Church into four separate denominations, shattering the United States’ third-largest Christian denomination.
UM Forward introduced its New Expressions Worldwide plan to address a conflict already threatening to rip the church apart.
The group’s proposal calls for the UMC to split into “four new global denominations,” and would result in the original church being dissolved.
Instead of one united church, the “new” Methodist denominations would be the Traditionalist Methodist Church, the Moderate Methodist Church, the Progressive Methodist Church and the Liberation Methodist Church.
The denominations would offer a range of options for believers, from “traditionalism and biblical inerrancy” to a hyper-progressive belief system espousing “anti-colonial, and intersectional justice that intentionally empowers PoC+Q+T [people of color + queer + trans] people.”
There is also a call hidden in the plan to address “injustices of colonialism, institutional racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and misogyny” with financial compensation.
The plan comes as the UMC struggles internally with its policies about LGBT issues.
The church’s bans on same-sex weddings and LGBT clergy have caused many progressives within the denomination to cry foul, and the growing divide between conservatives and those advocating for a liberal church is only getting worse.
According to NPR, that divide was deepened after conservatives from the United States and church delegates from Africa and Asia joined forces at a UMC convention in February to reaffirm the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
The vote is seen as an insurmountable obstacle for liberal Methodists, who would rather split the church than either leave or work to find a solution.
“Remodeling the house or replacing the roof and adding a fresh coat of paint are not going to address the detrimental cracks on the foundation,” UM Forward leader Rev. Alex da Silva Souto said, according to UM News.
Souto describes himself as a “queer pastor/activist,” and goes by they/them pronouns.
Biblical Christianity is under attack by those who explicitly reject the teachings of Scripture.
The New Expressions Worldwide plan itself makes that clear: Of the four proposed new churches, only the “Traditional” option explicitly mentions “biblical inerrancy” as being a guiding principle.
While Christians are called to share the gospel with the LGBT community, denominations need to be careful not to compromise biblical teaching with progressive dogma.
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