Quick Thoughts on the UMC Split

            I have been following developments in the UMC for four years. To be transparent, I have been a member of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) and plan on joining the Global Methodist Church (GMC) church once the Protocol is passed. I joined WCA three years ago when I was an ordained teaching pastor in a Vineyard church. I have since moved into the UMC (having come to faith as a teenager in the UMC) as Wesleyan theology more closely aligns with my own. It is only because of the Protocol, WCA, and the GMC that I made that move. Otherwise, I would not have moved into the UMC.

            A few areas of clarification need to be made concerning the “conservative” wing of the proposed split. First, those who consider themselves traditional or conservative want the split not because of the debate on sexual ethics. That debate is a symptom of the root problem of how persons approach scripture. Traditionalists have a very high view of scripture, while the progressive wing has more of a flexible approach. These approaches have led to many disagreements, not just over sexual ethics but over core doctrine.

            Second, the GMC is NOT YET a denomination. The denomination will come into existence May 1, 2022 since the General Conference has been postponed to 2024 for very dubious reasons. If you doubt that, then I commend to you this article by one of the members of the council that decided to postpone HERE. The WCA is NOT a denomination but is the group (formed eight years ago, way before the Protocol) that is forming the structure of the GMC. Once the GMC exists, the WCA will still act in an advisory capacity. Now there have been some churches that have gone the way of disaffiliation before GC 2024. That leads me to my third and final point.

            The WCA has strenuously encouraged churches NOT to disaffiliate before the Protocol is passed. However, the UMC leadership has shown no indication that they will bring the Protocol to a vote and some bishops have done things such as move pastors and enact policies that flagrantly go against the Book of Discipline (BOD). The BOD should be the agreed-upon standard to which bishops, superintendents, clergy, and parishioners adhere. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Because the BOD is seen as optional for many folks, the UMC, overall, has become an unmanageable mess. This state is sad and unfortunate, but it is the reality.

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