The United Methodist Church, wracked by a generation of controversy over human sexuality and LGBT issues, faces a pivotal decision this year. A General Conference Session to be held in Minneapolis in just three months will likely see delegates vote to split the denomination. A plan has been proposed by which LGBT favoring Methodists will acquire full control of the denomination while Methodist members upholding the biblical position rejecting the normalizing of sexual sin will be free to leave with churches and assets and form a new Methodist denomination.
The above television news report highlights the enormous divide within the United Methodist Church (UMC). The UMC as a global denomination has voted a different view than several Methodist Universities in North America. The University Methodist Church in Austin, TX is allowing same-sex “weddings” in its chapel halls, defying the General Conference Session vote results from February 2019. In response to that vote, KXGN Austin reports that the pastor of the church has declared the church will operate “as if these new rules never existed.”
The UMC is a divided church, but parents continue to send children to be educated in universities where the church associated with the school are not only inculcating in students aberrant theology but attitudes of rebellion.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is similarly divided. Some of the loudest voices favoring cultural accommodation emanate from our Universities in North America. We seek to operate so that no entity is a power to itself, but rather our denominational entities are interdependent and do not determine their own status.
Will students in our universities strengthen the world church and its decisions, or permit themselves to be led to disregard their world church. Are Adventist students different, basing their decisions on inspired counsel? Time will tell.
How has God arranged for His church to be governed? He is the head. Authority flows from Him to His people. He distributes this authority to every member, who in turn delegate it to the various entities of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Thus, the church operates via the consent of the governed.
Rapid developments continue in the Methodist Church. In the lines which follow, the Council of Adventist pastors updates that situation because, as has been observed, schism over women’s ordination in the Adventist church is closely mirrored in the Methodist schism over LGBTQ.
Thomas Lambrecht, a UMC Pastor, describes the current situation in his denomination:
It has become strikingly evident over the past several months that a significant part of The United Methodist Church no longer gives its consent to be governed by the church, despite those vows. German and Scandinavian church leaders have declared they will investigate becoming autonomous churches rather than submit to the decisions of the St. Louis [February 2019] General Conference. Several bishops in the U.S. have announced that they will ignore what the General Conference enacted and operate their annual conferences as if the One Church Plan had passed. Up to a half-dozen practicing homosexuals have been ordained or commissioned in U.S. annual conferences in defiance of the longstanding prohibition in our Book of Discipline. Over a dozen U.S. annual conferences have passed resolutions rejecting the decisions made by the St. Louis General Conference. . . . Influential mega-church pastor, the Rev. Adam Hamilton, has stated, ‘We are going to live and be the kind of church we want to be, regardless what the denominational rules says [sic].’ (Good News Newsletter, June 28, 2019, The Consent of the Governed, by Thomas Lambrecht,
Since the UMC February 2019 Special GC Session the situation has descended into stark insubordination.
This spring, in response to the General Conference decisions, the moderate and progressive wings of the church in the U.S. and parts of Europe have decided to revolt against the government of the church and to establish a different foundation on principles amenable to the majority of church members in those parts of the church. We see this in the examples of disobedience cited above and calls to ‘resist.’ (Ibid.).
Even if the 2020 General Conference continues to affirm the traditional definition of marriage and sexual ethics, progressives have stated they will refuse to abide by the church’s policies. Based on apparent success in electing progressive and moderate delegates to the Jurisdictional Conferences, they believe they will have the votes to elect at least a dozen bishops who will refuse to enforce the church’s standards and will carry on the revolution (ibid.).
Further information on these denominationally “illegal” ordinations can be perused here:
California-Nevada has 6 new LGBTQ clergy, kathy L. Gilbert, UM News, June 25, 2019
US elections see shift in GC2020 delegates, Heather Hahn, UM News, June 27, 2019
Indeed, the pages of UMNews.org on any given occasion include numerous mentions of LGBT clergy ordained—all in rebellion against the numerous GC Session votes affirming that LGBT practice is incompatible with Christianity.
Then it is no surprise when Lambrecht points out, “Our church is now unquestionably in a constitutional crisis, where our ecclesiastical framework appears to be unable to resolve the conflict. We have two irreconcilable positions, and one faction is willfully choosing to violate the constitutionally established processes of the church.” He observes, “We have one part of the church government (some bishops and annual conferences) choosing to willfully violate church law established by another part of the church government (General Conference) operating under its constitutional authority.”
[W]e must accept the fact that a separation must occur in our church. That separation can be done amicably or it can be done contentiously. One way or another, however, it must happen. We can no longer think that unity under a single church government is possible.(Ibid.).
Seventh-day Adventists need not follow the Methodist path to separation. In the Methodist Church, an impassible chasm developed between Methodist clergy and administrative leaders trapped in their ideological bubble, and the broader church membership, a majority of whom reject the cultural descent into sexual depravity. Although the mechanisms of representative church government, with constitution and bylaws documents and administrative bodies voted into place and functioning between GC Sessions was present, division continued and became permanent in the denomination. The clergy and administrators trapped themselves in their own bubble, while the broader church membership tended to blindly trust their leaders, anticipating that in the end everything would work out. There was never an effective intervention where everyone came back onto the same page.
All of which urges the question: What steps can the Seventh-day Adventist Church take to bring our broader membership together with our clergy and administrators on the platform of Bible truth? The sharp schism in the Methodist Church warns us that there is grave danger in failure to move proactively.
Readers of OrdinationTruth.com are likely aware that, similarly to the divided situation within the Seventh-day Adventist Church over women’s ordination, the United Methodist Church is locked in schism over LGBTQ practice. Click on the link below to read the full article.http://ordinationtruth.com/poc-q-t-methodists-declare-rebellion-to-general-conference/