United Methodists Embrace LGBT Ideology, Lose 1 Million Members in a Day

Many Christians lamented the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) decision to embrace LGBT ideology at their 2024 UMC General Conference last month. In effect, the church went from declaring homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching,” a belief held since the 1970s, to claiming it is suddenly compatible. But as experts have pointed out, the UMC had been debating the topic for several years. And while the decision was reportedly disheartening, it would seem the backlash it has garnered has inspired orthodox Christians.

As UMC leaned toward the inclusion of LGBT ideology, the beginning of 2023 saw roughly 4,000 congregations leave the church. But far more notable was the May 28 vote from the United Methodist Church in the Ivory Coast to also depart from the UMC denomination. As The Christian Post noted, “this conference reportedly had over 1.2 million members” in 2022 and the “departure means over one tenth of United Methodism” is now gone. CP further highlighted that “the Korean Methodist Church — which has about 1.5 million members — is also considering leaving.”

An affiliate of the Korean Methodists said in a statement, “This is not an emotional issue but a matter of unchangeable truth. Homosexuality is clearly a sin. This is an issue concerning the sanctity of life that the church must teach correctly, without compromise.” Given these developments, it would seem, as President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Dr. Albert Mohler said, “The United Methodist Church … is not so united.”

Concerning the Ivorian Methodists’ decision to split, their declaration stated:

“Considering that the new United Methodist Church is now based on sociocultural and contextual values which have consumed its doctrinal and disciplinary integrity, considering that the new United Methodist Church has preferred to sacrifice its honorability and integrity to honor the LGBT, considering that the new United Methodist Church, which distances itself from the Holy Scriptures is no longer suitable for the annual conference of the Ivory Coast. The annual conference of the United Methodist Church in the Ivory Coast gathered in its extraordinary session at the Jubilee Temple of Concody for reasons of conscience before God and before His Word, supreme authority and matters of faith in life, decides to leave the United Methodist Church denomination.”

The UMC said in a statement that they “grieve Cote d’Ivoire Conference’s decision to separate” from them, but as CP suggested, “The quickness of the Ivorian exit may inspire other United Methodist regions in Africa to act likewise.” They added, “United Methodism in Africa is overwhelmingly conservative and displeased with United Methodism’s new direction set by the recent General Conference.” Additionally, David Closson, Family Research Council’s director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, said to The Washington Stand, “In light of how quickly the United Methodist Church has deviated from biblical orthodoxy,” the UMC in the Ivory Coast choosing to leave “is incredibly encouraging.”

He continued, “I think every Christian should pay attention carefully” to the fact that the Ivorian Methodists “are saying that the primary authority is Scripture.” This is important, Closson went on to say, because “when it comes to these contested matters of gender, marriage and sexuality, God’s Word is not neutral.” Rather, “There actually is a clear teaching.” And this is especially important when considering how “the American Methodist leaders … ignore and subvert clear teaching of Scripture,” Closson added. When that happens, he urged, “It’s time to leave the denomination.”

According to Closson, the decision from the Ivorian Methodists “is a major development that will go down in church history.” He went on to explain how, “looking across mainline Protestantism in the United States, it’s important to notice a crucial development.” Ultimately, “The United Methodist denomination, really, is the last mainline denomination to fall in line with the sexual and moral revolution.” Now, it appears “most mainline Protestant denominations are shells of their former selves.”

But what is encouraging about this, Closson emphasized, “is that when a church or a denomination gives up the Bible, they no longer have anything distinctive to offer to the culture. They no longer have anything distinctive to offer to God’s people. And in one sense,” he contended, “I think it’s really encouraging to see these churches dry up.” The way Closson put it, “I would rather see mainline denomination churches that are not teaching God’s Word close up and be turned into condos than to stay open and peddle a false gospel.”

Moving forward, the American church can see how “increasingly,” Closson noted, “these African and Asian bishops are looking at these liberal denominations and saying that forcing them to change their beliefs on same-sex marriage, gender, or issues related to the family is a form of cultural imperialism” — which is something they’re not willing to tolerate.

Closson concluded, “American Christians and theologically conservative denominations should look to our African and Asian brothers and sisters who are holding the line, even when it costs them something, as a source of great strength and encouragement.”


Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

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