On Thursday evening last week, 300 United Methodist clergy and laypeople gathered outside their denomination’s regional headquarters in Garner, N.C., to protest a recent vote that bans LGBT people from marriage and ordination.
For generations, U.S. churches sent missionaries around the world, preaching the Gospel and planting churches in places such as Africa, South America, and Asia. Today, many of the millions of Christians and churches that resulted from those missionary efforts are more biblically faithful than their American forebears. This is especially true of certain denominations and certain issues.
United Methodist Church officials in Alabama have dismissed a complaint signed by more than 600 church members in July that chided Attorney General Jeff Sessions for implementing the family separation policy along the border and attempting to justify it with Scripture.
At a recent gathering of United Methodists, organizers sold purple T-shirts quoting the Methodist founder John Wesley’s instruction: “Do Not Rashly Tear Asunder.” In Methodist circles these days, citing the founder’s admonition can be understood only as a plea for an amicable solution to the denomination’s coming showdown over homosexuality.
“Our denomination is in chaos,” said the Rev. Mike Slaughter, pastor emeritus of Ginghamsburg Church, a United Methodist congregation near Dayton, Ohio. “Our bishops don’t agree with each other. I hear fear. I hear denial. We’ve come to this place where we reflect what’s going on in our national politics now. It’s a sad day.”