After enduring more than a century of theological liberalism, the United Methodist Church denomination is making slow progress toward biblical beliefs that have been left behind.
“The denomination is increasingly moving in a more biblical and traditional direction on marriage and homosexuality and other matters,” reports John Lomperis, who watches the UMC for the Institute for Religion and Democracy.
Despite those promising signs, Lomperis says, a “vocal, radical minority” within the UMC are taking steps to break away from the denomination.
That minority includes UMC churches in New York and the Pacific Northwest, and they are currently grabbing the headlines and attention lately, he says.
Church membership has dropped four percent at both, he also noted.
Those figures suggest, he says, that membership and worship attendance are declining where secular liberalism is espoused.
Lomperis and IRD, meanwhile, are also reporting on the left-wing Illinois Conference that has commissioned a deacon who identifies as the “first openly non-binary trans person.”
That conference, too, is decling due to its left-wing activism, Lomperis writes.
Lomperis tells OneNewsNow that unity is not sustainable with this type of radical minority.
“The denomination’s official doctrine is good and biblical,” he says, “but there is this vocal rebellious minority that is unwilling to listen to Jesus Christ, unwilling to listen to listen to scripture, unwilling to listen to the church or any authority higher than themselves.”
The denomination’s ongoing fight over homosexuality probably won’t be settled until a special General Conference convenes in St. Louis in February 2019, he says.