United Methodist Church Sees Massive Exodus of 1 Million+ Over LGBT Stance

Written by Michael Thompson.

The United Methodist Church (UMC) recently experienced a significant loss as over 1 million members decided to leave the institution. This exodus follows the church’s adoption of LGBT-inclusive policies, which many members see as contradictory to Christian teachings.

On May 28, 2024, the United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast (Eglise Méthodiste Unie Côte d’Ivoire) voted to disaffiliate from the UMC. This decision came just weeks after the UMC permitted LGBT clergy and lifted bans on same-sex unions, referring to them as “marriages,” according to Blaze News. The West African Methodists cited their departure as a matter of conscience and faith, stating that the UMC’s new stance on LGBT issues deviates from the Holy Scriptures and undermines the church’s honor and integrity.

Bishop Benjamin Boni emphasized the gravity of this shift, stating, “[The UMC] is now based on socio-cultural and contextual values which have consumed its doctrinal and disciplinary integrity.” He highlighted that the church’s decisions were driven by an attempt to honor the LGBTQ community at the expense of its traditional values.

A Trend of Disaffiliation

The mass departure from the UMC is part of a larger trend. Many former members seek refuge in non-politically influenced churches, such as the one in the Ivory Coast. This move underscores a growing discontent with the UMC’s recent ideological changes. The exodus reflects a broader dissatisfaction among Methodists who feel the church has strayed too far from its foundational beliefs.

In recent years, thousands of UMC congregations in the United States have also disaffiliated. These congregations have either joined the Global Methodist Church or chosen to remain independent. This wave of disaffiliation illustrates a significant divide within the Methodist community over issues of sexuality and marriage.

The potential departure of the Korean Methodist Church, which could take approximately 1.5 million members with it, further underscores the depth of this schism. Last month, a coalition of conservative Korean Methodists made their stance clear, stating, “Homosexuality cannot be accepted until the Lord returns. This is not an emotional issue but a matter of unchangeable truth. Homosexuality is clearly a sin. This is an issue concerning the sanctity of life that the church must teach correctly, without compromise.”

The Future of the United Methodist Church

The UMC’s decision to embrace LGBT-inclusive policies has undeniably sparked controversy and division. The institution’s shift has led to significant membership losses and the creation of new, independent Methodist communities. This situation raises important questions about the future direction of the UMC and its ability to reconcile these deep-seated differences.

The church’s leadership faces the challenge of addressing the concerns of both progressive and conservative members. Striking a balance between inclusivity and adherence to traditional teachings will be crucial in determining the UMC’s future. As more congregations consider disaffiliation, the church must navigate these turbulent waters carefully to maintain unity and purpose.

Our Take

The United Methodist Church’s embrace of LGBT-inclusive policies is a misguided attempt to align with contemporary socio-cultural values at the expense of traditional Christian teachings. This decision has not only divided the church but also led to a significant loss of membership. The departure of over 1 million members, and the potential exit of the Korean Methodist Church, highlights the growing discontent with the UMC’s direction. By prioritizing modern values over scriptural authority, the UMC has sacrificed its doctrinal integrity and alienated many of its faithful members. This situation underscores the importance of adhering to foundational beliefs and resisting the pressures of socio-political trends.

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