Over 100 FL Churches Leave Denomination
Hundreds of Methodist churches are leaving their denomination over faulty teaching and theological liberalism.
From The Daily Wire. More than 100 Florida churches have joined a lawsuit against a regional body of the United Methodist Church (UMC), seeking fair terms for leaving the denomination over LGBTQ issues….
The Florida churches are represented by the National Center for Life & Liberty.
“The reason the lawsuit was filed was that the 106 churches believed that the Florida Annual Conference is not being equitable in creating a split that they’re able to successfully minister in the communities for the Gospel,” the group’s CFO Jonathan Bailie told the Christian Post.
“The churches are frustrated with the annual conference’s violations of the Book of Discipline and refusal to honor the Traditional Plan as outlined in the 2019 General Conference,” he added.
The issue hit a high point when Kenneth Carter, Resident Bishop of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, refused to enforce actions against an openly lesbian bishop in St. Petersburg, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.
When Florida churches sought to break away from the state’s governing body, they were told they would be forced to pay a large fine, claiming “all properties” are held in the trust of the denomination….
The churches in dispute are part of a movement of more conservative congregations within the UMC that oppose the denomination’s efforts to condone same-sex marriage ceremonies and ordain LGBTQ clergy members.
The denomination’s Book of Discipline holds that same-sex activity is “incompatible with Christian teaching” and bans participation in same-sex wedding ceremonies.
Another concern is related to where the separating churches will turn for new denominational relations. In May, 107 Florida congregations announced plans to join the newly formed Global Methodist Church (GMC) as a theologically conservative alternative to the traditional United Methodist Church….
WCA [Wesleyan Covenant Association] Florida President Jay Therrell claimed the church left them rather than the congregations leaving the denomination.
“We are not leaving The United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church has left us,” Therrell said in the statement.
“After a decades-long rise of theological liberalism, the selective enforcement of our denominational laws, and a strong surge in the promotion of partisan politics, our churches long for the day of being able to unite with like-minded Christians who focus on sharing the Good News of Jesus and help people to be transformed by His salvation,” he added.
A statement sent by email from WCA Florida chapter President Jeremy Rebman, who serves as Senior Pastor of First Methodist Church of Vero Beach, Florida, says the state’s churches in the lawsuit represent nearly 20% of Florida United Methodist churches….
The Florida Methodist congregations are not alone in their exit. In June, 70 Georgia UMC churches announced plans to leave the denomination….
In Arkansas, a group of 35 UMC churches also announced their exit from the denomination. The state includes 634 member churches….
In Tennessee, 60 churches have already reportedly left the UMC in a similar process, according to a June report by The Tennessean….
In 2019, the UMC’s Special Session of the General Conference adopted a new policy, paragraph 2553, in its Book of Discipline to allow a congregation to leave over issues related to human sexuality.
“Because of the current deep conflict within The United Methodist Church around issues of human sexuality, a local church shall have a limited right, under the provisions of this paragraph, to disaffiliate from the denomination for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as resolved and adopted by the 2019 General Conference,” the policy states….
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