I don't get conservative Methodists in the UMC.

When I say I don't "get" them, I mean I don't understand why they think the way they do. How is it that, if you believe the Bible, and you believe its teachings on human sexuality, that you can even consider remaining in a denomination that is so full of sexual anarchy?

I'm not a Methodist...but for some reason I've had an interest in recent years in following the UMC conservative/progressive controversies, and this week I watched much of the video on YouTube of the 2019 General Conference. What I saw was a handful of reluctant traditionalists speaking meekly every so often while shrieking liberals, homosexuals, feminists, and other such characters kept trying to dominate the meeting. I don't think I'd have the patience for it, as much as I sympathize with the desire of the traditionalists to bring the denomination back to its faithful beginnings. I think the progressives here in the US seem far too entrenched in the machinery of the denomination for traditionalists to make much of a lasting impact.
 

1Thess521

Well-known member
I spend years within the UMC in various leadership positions in the local church and wider community.
The issue is the their low opinion of God's word
I attempted to change that from within.
for example, When I was the lead teacher for an adult Sunday School class.
I would often drop in phrases like "lets see what God's inerrant word tells us" or " God's infallible truth teaches us..."
 

SteveB

Well-known member
When I say I don't "get" them, I mean I don't understand why they think the way they do. How is it that, if you believe the Bible, and you believe its teachings on human sexuality, that you can even consider remaining in a denomination that is so full of sexual anarchy?

I'm not a Methodist...but for some reason I've had an interest in recent years in following the UMC conservative/progressive controversies, and this week I watched much of the video on YouTube of the 2019 General Conference. What I saw was a handful of reluctant traditionalists speaking meekly every so often while shrieking liberals, homosexuals, feminists, and other such characters kept trying to dominate the meeting. I don't think I'd have the patience for it, as much as I sympathize with the desire of the traditionalists to bring the denomination back to its faithful beginnings. I think the progressives here in the US seem far too entrenched in the machinery of the denomination for traditionalists to make much of a lasting impact.
I left the Methodist church 48-49 years ago as a tween. So, anything I have to say is for no other reason than to simply say something..... 🤔
I left the methodist church decades ago. I didn't understand it then, so there's no way I could understand it now.

Ok... I've said plenty.
 

1Thess521

Well-known member
When I say I don't "get" them, I mean I don't understand why they think the way they do. How is it that, if you believe the Bible, and you believe its teachings on human sexuality, that you can even consider remaining in a denomination that is so full of sexual anarchy?

I'm not a Methodist...but for some reason I've had an interest in recent years in following the UMC conservative/progressive controversies, and this week I watched much of the video on YouTube of the 2019 General Conference. What I saw was a handful of reluctant traditionalists speaking meekly every so often while shrieking liberals, homosexuals, feminists, and other such characters kept trying to dominate the meeting. I don't think I'd have the patience for it, as much as I sympathize with the desire of the traditionalists to bring the denomination back to its faithful beginnings. I think the progressives here in the US seem far too entrenched in the machinery of the denomination for traditionalists to make much of a lasting impact.


From 2019
One question asked respondents to choose the most authoritative source of their personal theology.
Meanwhile, the largest group of liberals, 39 percent, cited reason as most authoritative. The smallest, 6 percent, chose Holy Scripture.

 

Mike McK

Active member
When I say I don't "get" them, I mean I don't understand why they think the way they do. How is it that, if you believe the Bible, and you believe its teachings on human sexuality, that you can even consider remaining in a denomination that is so full of sexual anarchy?

I'm not a Methodist...but for some reason I've had an interest in recent years in following the UMC conservative/progressive controversies, and this week I watched much of the video on YouTube of the 2019 General Conference. What I saw was a handful of reluctant traditionalists speaking meekly every so often while shrieking liberals, homosexuals, feminists, and other such characters kept trying to dominate the meeting. I don't think I'd have the patience for it, as much as I sympathize with the desire of the traditionalists to bring the denomination back to its faithful beginnings. I think the progressives here in the US seem far too entrenched in the machinery of the denomination for traditionalists to make much of a lasting impact.
I grew up in the UMC. In fact, my grandparents founded the church I grew up in, my uncle was the sexton and I was his assistant, so I was literally there every time the doors were open, because I was the guy who opened the doors. And in our small town, our church was the center of the social universe.

I ended up getting saved in my early twenties and left the UMC when I discovered that learning more and more about Christian theology, I could no longer affirm many of the beliefs of the UMC.

Although I have serious theological disagreements with the UMC, I have nothing but fond memories of my time there.

But, that having been said, I agree with you. I don't see how any Bible believing Christian could stay there.
 

Mike McK

Active member
From 2019
One question asked respondents to choose the most authoritative source of their personal theology.
Meanwhile, the largest group of liberals, 39 percent, cited reason as most authoritative. The smallest, 6 percent, chose Holy Scripture.

When we lived in New Jersey, we attended a very large, but very liberal Methodist church. Had I understood Christian theology and doctrine better at the time, the frequent speaking appearances of noted socialist and heretic, Tony Campolo (he lived in the area) would have been a tip off.

I remember carrying my Bible (I didn't know it, but I was a new Christian and I was trying to do the right thing) and the people in the church looking at me like I was an alien.
 

Beloved Daughter

Well-known member
I'm of the opinion that people who claim to be Christians but reject the Bible as the foundation of that belief, are deluded and need intervention. Unfortunately, you'll see the same in the Episcopal Church, The ELCA Lutherans and The Presbyterian church USA. The MS and WELS Lutherans are orthodox. The Presbyterian Church in America is also orthodox.

In America, we have ready access to a Bible, but there people world wide that don't.
 

Cynthia

Active member
There used to be a Presbyterian Church about 1.5 miles from our house. It caught on fire. The newspaper at that time reported a fire that was spread by the heating system which was left on.

Later on, the church reopened after repairs were made. They changed the signage to a non-denominational community church. I briefly visited. They told me the actual story. The liberal element in their church were believed to have set the church sanctuary on fire, by heaping all bibles and hymnals in the middle of the room, adding lighter fluid. The Heat and Air was turned on (it is always shut off during the week) so that it would circulate the flaming material. There had been an unsuccessful attempt to allow homosexual marriage etc, which the small church voted down. There was a legal battle which they eventually won and were allowed to retain the burned out building. Many of the same members continued to attend but it was no longer a Presbyterian church. They had a website at that time that showed the photos taken of the damage. These liberals are not God's people. They are out to destroy the church and effectively are doing so by their liberal policies, which destroys the faith.
 

Cynthia

Active member
Literally next door to the former Presbyterian Church is a Methodist Church. The one and only time I visited, which was on a Wednesday to attend Women's Bible Study, it was nothing more than preparing crafts for the Halloween weekend, and decorating the church for Halloween celebrations. I did not return. They had nice costumes and candy. But no Bible Study.
 

travelah

Active member
When I say I don't "get" them, I mean I don't understand why they think the way they do. How is it that, if you believe the Bible, and you believe its teachings on human sexuality, that you can even consider remaining in a denomination that is so full of sexual anarchy?

I'm not a Methodist...but for some reason I've had an interest in recent years in following the UMC conservative/progressive controversies, and this week I watched much of the video on YouTube of the 2019 General Conference. What I saw was a handful of reluctant traditionalists speaking meekly every so often while shrieking liberals, homosexuals, feminists, and other such characters kept trying to dominate the meeting. I don't think I'd have the patience for it, as much as I sympathize with the desire of the traditionalists to bring the denomination back to its faithful beginnings. I think the progressives here in the US seem far too entrenched in the machinery of the denomination for traditionalists to make much of a lasting impact.
A lot of conservative Methodists have stayed because of the Confession movement and other orthodox outreaches. Also keep in mind that the Methodists outside of the USA are generally not nearly as 'liberal' as the USA UMC.
 

Mike McK

Active member
Literally next door to the former Presbyterian Church is a Methodist Church. The one and only time I visited, which was on a Wednesday to attend Women's Bible Study, it was nothing more than preparing crafts for the Halloween weekend, and decorating the church for Halloween celebrations. I did not return. They had nice costumes and candy. But no Bible Study.
Last time I was in a Methodist church was about ten years ago. My family had a vacation home and my mother went to the local Methodist church when she was there. It was right after my accident and I had gone to the cabin to recuperate. It was Easter week and my mom asked me to go to church with her on Maunday Thursday.

It was awful. The preacher just kept blathering on about how Jesus was going to miss His friends and other nonsense.

She then asked me to go to the sunrise service on Easter Sunday. I did. It was even worse. Jesus and His resurrection was barely mentioned, except in a message about how Easter is a time for new beginnings and how if we had bad things in our life, we can overcome them. All I could think of was, "If I was going to get up this early, I'd have rather gone fishing."

Out of respect for my mother, I just gritted my teeth and resisted the temptation to yell out, "Repent, you heretic scum!" But I just thought, "Man, if you can't even preach the Gospel on Easter Sunday, you have no business behind a pulpit."
 

Berserk

Member
I object to the OP on these 4 grounds:
(1) It ignores the distinction between several Methodist denominations, some very evangelical.
(2) It ignores the great UMC revival raging in African and other Third World countries that look to the western UMC churches for leadership and monetary support. These foreign churches are a major reason why the UMC always has and still officially does condemn gay ordination and gay marriage.
(3) It unfairly and viciously stereotypes all American UMC churches. All the UMC churches I pastored were solidly evangelical. The Holy Spirit hovered so mightily over one of these churches that worship was often energized by an electrifying atmosphere such that miracles happened there that rival any in the Book of Acts, something that I doubt can be said of the churches of the judgmental critics who spread venom on this thread.
(4) Most importantly, spiritual warfare is currently being waged for the soul of the UMC. Most posters in this thread would desert their UMC sheep so that they can be ravaged by wolves. By contrast, godly UMC Christians remain to serve as the salt of the earth, so that their church can remain an oasis of spiritual growth.
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
I'm very surprised reading this thread.

I attended a Methodist church for about a year that was liberal (politically), but very Bible-based. They preached the Gospel multiple times every week, and put their words into actions by feeding the poor, fighting for justice, etc.

What a lot of you guys are describing doesn't sound liberal to me. It just sounds weak. I've seen similar behavior at churches that are generally more conservative in their message, but they kind of water everything down and just say "don't sleep around, vote republican, that's all you need to do to be a Christian." That's no better than what you're describing.

Aside from a few posts about homosexuality, I see nothing in most of these posts that identify these churches as "liberal" rather than "conservative." I'm curious as to why you associate this behavior -- watering down the Gospel -- with liberalism, when there are examples of both sides doing it, and examples of both sides NOT doing it.
 
UMC has been "mainline"[1] forever which doesn't rule out a wide range of theology and praxis which overlaps with Historical Christianity. What is amazing in this discussion is that anyone would be surprised by the diversity of experience with the UMC. This diversity characterizes all mainline and evangelical denominations. Diversity of Theology and practice is a universal fact. Bernard Ramm wrote a book trying to define the Evangelical Heritage which describes the diversity in the third quarter of the 20th Century. If your confused on this issue read his book. James Dunn wrote a book about Unity and Diversity in the early church.

[1] "Mainline" as used in the Fundamentalist Modernist controversy.
 
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shnarkle

Active member
When I say I don't "get" them, I mean I don't understand why they think the way they do. How is it that, if you believe the Bible, and you believe its teachings on human sexuality, that you can even consider remaining in a denomination that is so full of sexual anarchy?

I'm not a Methodist...but for some reason I've had an interest in recent years in following the UMC conservative/progressive controversies, and this week I watched much of the video on YouTube of the 2019 General Conference. What I saw was a handful of reluctant traditionalists speaking meekly every so often while shrieking liberals, homosexuals, feminists, and other such characters kept trying to dominate the meeting. I don't think I'd have the patience for it, as much as I sympathize with the desire of the traditionalists to bring the denomination back to its faithful beginnings. I think the progressives here in the US seem far too entrenched in the machinery of the denomination for traditionalists to make much of a lasting impact.
I haven't been in a Methodist church in about 8 or 9 years now, but the last one was fairly tame by comparison to the two previous churches I attended in California. One had two services; a "traditional' service at 9 am, and a "contemporary" service at 10:30 am. The contemporary reminded me of "The Exotic Erotic Ball" which was held in San Francisco each year. I never attended that function, but there were posters, and pictures all over the place. Anyways, it was quite an eyeful, and it soon became apparent that I would be better off as a Muslim if I wanted to think about God. There were women walking into that place like they just got off work walking the streets all night.

The banner on the front of the church read "Come as you are. Leave with a blessing" I liked the idea in theory, but couldn't handle it in practice.
 
I just got a reminder sent to my inbox about this thread. Did a couple of searches on UMC and ended up looking at a long story about the Boy Scouts BSA. A friend of mine told me about the Boy Scouts story a while back. I have no personal history with BSA, I grew up reading anarchist poetry[1]. Is this relevant to question about UMC? You be the judge.

Read two articles about BSA the first and best was written by Alfred Siewers[1] published in the The Federalist.

The second article focuses on UMC's relationship with BSA with regard to liability.

This is a fascinating topic on multiple levels.

[1] Autobiography, Lawrence Ferlinghetti —Jam Session, Ralph Gleason, 1958.

[2] The Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy Is Not Just Financial. It’s Moral

Although it may be near declaring bankruptcy, Scouting’s problems go beyond the financial, deep into the problems with America’s civil culture today

Dr. Alfred Kentigern Siewers is associate professor of English at Bucknell University and was the 2018-2019 William E. Simon visiting fellow in religion and public life at the James Madison Program, Princeton University. He is also an ordained subdeacon and warden at St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco Russian Orthodox Mission Church in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He teaches and writes on Christian literature and ideas of nature, and on literary resistance to totalitarianism.

Postsript:
I have no history with UMC. Attended a Free Methodist private liberal arts college Seattle Pacific in the late '60s. Didn't hang out with any sort of Methodists ever. Studied J. Calvin, J. Edwards and E. Brunner in graduate school. No Methodists.
 
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Timket

New Member
I grew up Methodist but realized at 13 or 14 that I couldn't assent, because:

1) Lack of consistency: Women pastors were considered "incompatible with Christian teaching" at one time, but then they were allowed. The same thing is currently debated with homosexuality. I don't want to be in a church that keeps changing their stances, because it implies they don't know what's right or wrong, which means it's not worth attending.

But I kept going to my UMC church because I didn't know of a better alternative (I just said I was a "Christian" and took whatever good I could from services).

I converted to Orthodox at 22.
 

shnarkle

Active member
I grew up Methodist but realized at 13 or 14 that I couldn't assent, because:

1) Lack of consistency: Women pastors were considered "incompatible with Christian teaching" at one time, but then they were allowed.

This is a troubling issue because the reasons why women were not pastors varies from one denomination to another. Paul points out that Eve was completely deceived whereas Adam wasn't. This necessarily means that Adam knew what he was doing when he sinned. He sinned intentionally whereas Eve sinned through ignorance. This theme of the ignorance of women is most likely one of the more obvious reasons. You can't have ignorant women pastoring. The problem is two fold: 1. To intentionally be led astray and allow others to be deceived isn't exactly a characteristic one would look for in a pastor.

2. Women today are better educated than men. There are way more women going to college, and scoring significantly higher than their male counterparts.
The same thing is currently debated with homosexuality.

This is also a troubling issue, but for completely different reasons. Being born with homosexual tendencies is no different than being a born sinner, and we're all born sinners. However, a heterosexual can engage in acts of fornication, adultery, etc. with relative impunity so there's no reason to scrutinize the homosexual any more than we would the heterosexual.

Secondly, the issue of gay marriage is a misnomer that the church has adopted, and must accept because it has lost the original purpose of marriage. When a pastor says, "Marriage is between a man and a woman", they don't really get to the core reason why that's the case, and that reason is to sanction pregnancies. This was the original reason for the institution of marriage for the Church as well as the State.

When the church tosses that original purpose out the window, they can't very well prevent others from entering into an institution that has become an oxymoron.
I don't want to be in a church that keeps changing their stances, because it implies they don't know what's right or wrong, which means it's not worth attending.

This is a good point, and there are numerous examples of ALL denominations doing exactly that, yours included. We take those laws that we can keep, and find those denominations that emphasize observance of them while simultaneously ignoring those we don't want to keep which the church condones. As G.K. Chesterton pointed out, I want to belong to a church that is right where I'm wrong"
 

Timket

New Member
This is a good point, and there are numerous examples of ALL denominations doing exactly that, yours included. We take those laws that we can keep, and find those denominations that emphasize observance of them while simultaneously ignoring those we don't want to keep which the church condones. As G.K. Chesterton pointed out, I want to belong to a church that is right where I'm wrong"

Ah, where has the Eastern Orthodox church changed a moral stance - saying at one point that something is wrong, but then saying it's right, or vice versa?
 

shnarkle

Active member
Ah, where has the Eastern Orthodox church changed a moral stance - saying at one point that something is wrong, but then saying it's right, or vice versa?
Does the Eastern Orthodox church allow for the consumption of swine, or shellfish? How about usury? Does the Eastern Orthodox church observe a seventh day Sabbath? How about allowing for remarriage after divorce? How does the Eastern Orthodox church differ from the rest of mainstream Christianity with regards to these moral commandments? Unless your claims reject Christ as the federal head of the church, I don't see how they haven't changed them all.
 
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