A divide may be imminent for the United Methodist Church, as the denomination cannot reconcile differences over homosexuality.
Religion News Service reports 80 UMC pastors believe that the split cannot be avoided, even by agreeing to disagree on gay matters.
“We can no longer talk about schism as something that might happen in the future. Schism has already taken place in our connection,” Rev. Maxie Dunnam, former president of Asbury Theological Seminary said.
At the 2004 church assembly, Dunnam said, “I don’t want us to talk about separation.” Since then, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.
According to the current church laws, UMC pastors cannot officiate same-sex weddings, nor can gay pastors be ordained. Methodist traditionalists believe that homosexuality is forbidden, according to the Bible.
The church is the second-largest Protestant denomination, with 11.8 million members. Members’ political views range for the far left to the far right.
“The UMC is a pluralistic church with radically different points of views. It show how you can live with differences until it begins to bite into the practices of the local church,” said William Abraham, a professor of the denomination history at Southern Methodist University.
Publication date: May 28, 2014