In my last post, one of the things I harped on was the spread of misleading and false information about the UMC being conducted by people connected with the Global Methodist Church/Wesleyan Covenant Association. Below is a prime example of what I’m talking about:
This is petty and ridiculous. While I do not know exactly who created this tissue of lies (I’m trying to find out – and I fully intend to find out), I do speculate it was someone connected with WCA and/or GMC. The fact that GMC is doing absolutely nothing to refute or to discourage this kind of mudslinging is pretty telling. But let’s talk about a few of these points they allege about a “post-separation” UMC:
- No, the UMC will not become pluralistic. As I have already stated in my previous writing (see link above), the Articles of Religion affirm faith in Jesus Christ as the sole means of salvation. Because of the Restrictive Rules, these can not be amended. It’s not happening. Period. But let’s say it did happen: I would be one of the first out the door.
- There’s no guarantee that annual conference boundaries will change, but at some point perhaps they will. There’s no way to know for sure at this time if, or how, that will happened (that will ultimately be up to General Conference/Jurisdictional Conferences).
- As for international membership, I speculate that a lot of the African central conferences are going to opt to remain in the UMC for various reasons. As has already been demonstrated in places such as Nigeria, the GMC has very limited support within some of the conferences on the African continent.
- The Trust Clause claim is also false. Let me be very clear: Annual conferences DO NOT own or control the banking accounts of congregations. They never have and never will. Period. This is patently false and intentionally misleading to cause fear. The only time the Trust Clause even is a factor is in the event a congregation chooses to close or disaffiliate, otherwise it has no bearing on the day-to-day operations of a congergation.
- Whether or not LGBTQ clergy will be allowed to be ordained or licensed for ministry, or whether or not LGBTQ marriage rites/weddings will be allowed will be up to the General Conference. Frankly, given the trend of conservative representation from the central conferences only expected to increase (with the prediction being over 50% by 2024), I find it hard to believe that our stance is honestly likely to change.
- The UMC’s position on abortion can be best summed up as being against abortion except in rare circumstances but that abortion should be legal and rare. For more, see our social principals. You will note that it’s very pro-life and not what many people seem to believe it is. One thing you will see very plainly is that the UMC DOES NOT endorse abortion as a means of birth control. Never have, and I doubt ever will.
- The primary church focus is “social justice?” Really? (eye roll emoji goes here).
I’m sick and tired of having to explain these falsehoods to both parishioners and others who, when they find out that I’m a pastor in the UMC, they make all sorts of assumptions and repeat the junk that floats around online. Frankly, me and my colleagues should not have to invest so much time and energy into dispelling these falsehoods.
Once again, I call on the Transitional Leadership Board within the Global Methodist Church to do everything they can to stop this kind of fear mongering and misinformation being distribubuted by people clearly affiliated with their denomination. If they choose not to, they are complicit and I will only assume they endorse these tactics.