The United Methodist Church (UMC), which is the third-largest Christian denomination in the United States, faces the possibility of schism after conservative Methodists are taking measures to break off over the issue of homosexuality.
The would-be division from the conservative group known as the Global Methodist Church (GMC) consists of a 17-member Transitional Leadership Council, which is a group of theologically conservative Methodists, according to The Christian Post.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA), which is a conservative United Methodist advocacy group, announced the GMC on March 1 but explained the group is still waiting for the UMC to formally approve a separation policy.
“Theologically conservative United Methodists have made no secret of their efforts to form a new church,” the WCA said in a press release. “In late 2018, the Wesleyan Covenant Association created a Next Steps Working Group to begin drafting its own ‘Book of Doctrines and Discipline’ outlining essential theological confessions and governing structures for a new church’s consideration. It did so in light of the special called 2019 General Conference, where delegates once again addressed issues that have deeply divided the UM Church for decades. The special conference was called to hopefully resolve differences, but many believed it could just as easily reveal the necessity of separation.”
As The Christian Post reported:
Keith Boyette, president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and spokesman for the Global Methodist Church, told The Christian Post that UMC leadership has shown “an unwillingness to uphold its teachings.”
“In the United States, particularly, some bishops, clergy, and churches are operating in open defiance to the teachings of the United Methodist Church,” Boyette said.
“The Church has become ungovernable as a consequence, such unchecked defiance has destroyed the integrity of the Church.”
Boyette said that “this defiance” has “only increased in recent years,” noting that “those who advocate for change in the official teachings and who are in defiance have made it very clear that they will not leave the Church voluntarily.”
“With the defiance and disobedience in the leadership of the Church, they can’t be forced to leave,” he continued. “In light of this, theologically conservative leaders have decided to launch a new denomination that will be true to its doctrine and teachings and end this endless conflict within the United Methodist Church.”
“The primary mission of the Global Methodist Church will be to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly,” said Rev. Keith Boyette, who is chairman of the Transitional Leadership Council. “Over the past year the council members, and hundreds of people who have informed their work, have faithfully and thoughtfully arrived at this point. They are happy to share with others a wealth of information about a church they believe will be steeped in the life giving confessions of the Christian faith.”
The Methodists trace their roots to 18th-century English evangelist John Wesley, whose followers broke off from the Church of England following his death.