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HomeQuick PostsThe Implosion of the Methodist Church

The Implosion of the Methodist Church

When the church tries to conform to society.

American Methodist

Between 2019 and 2023 more than “7,000* congregations across the country have received approval to leave the Methodist Church. That’s about a quarter of all Methodist churches in the US” (details here). This departure is primarily due to controversy over the subject of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Where are these churches moving to? Some have affiliated with the Global Methodist Church (details) which holds to a traditional position by rejecting LGBTQ ministers and same-sex marriages. Many others who have disaffiliated have gone independent. 

*Other articles suggest the number is closer to 8,000 congregations that have left the denomination.  

Great Britain Methodist

In 2024 the Methodist Church of Great Britain published an “Inclusive Language Guide” offering advice to church leaders on using gender-neutral terms such as “parent”, “partner”, “carer”, “folks”, “teammates”, “friends”, and “colleagues” rather than marginalized terms such as “husband” and “wife”. Franklin Graham brought this to the general public’s attention in an article on CBN (details). A link to the actual text of the document has subsequently been erased from The Methodist Church’s official website. He offered the point that the “word ‘wife’ is used in some 360 verses in 38 books of the Bible.”

Divisions within the Methodist Denomination

The issue of same-sex marriages and LGBTQ acceptance has obviously become an increasingly divisive issue in our culture, as the rights of the marginalized have understandably come under increasing scrutiny. Acceptance of those whose lifestyles we may disagree with is just the first step in what God refers to when stating one of the greatest commandments to, “love our neighbor as ourselves” (Luke 10:27). Churches and their members need to welcome all of humanity with open arms (Titus 1:8). There is recognition that we are all hypocrites as we so easily ignore our failings while being so willing to attack others for their behavior (Matt. 7:3-5). However, love and acceptance of the sinner does not mean acceptance of the sin. 

Divisiveness Within the Broader Church

Every denomination, every church, pastor, and congregant must make a decision. Is the Bible to be trusted to be the Word of God or is it the word of man? If the former, then God’s commands should take a superior position in determining right and wrong. If the latter, man has the freedom to make that decision. Regardless, each of us will be held accountable for our choices. 

The church, in an attempt to remain financially viable and relevant in a changing society, will always be tempted to acquiesce to the will of the people. Church is not a church if there is no one in the pews. 

A church is a group of like-minded coming together to fellowship. The question each denomination, church, and member must make is, are we there to worship each other or to worship the Creator of the universe who left us a training manual for life, the Bible? 

1 John 2:15 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

POSTSCRIPT: My point, though not clearly articulated, was that often churches that try to comply with society out of fear of “no one in the pews” actually lose more ground (i.e. the UMC) then those who hold fast to Biblical truths.

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AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org 

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