Some congregations within the United Methodist Church are thinking about leaving the denominations over social and political issues, including homosexuality and same-sex "marriage." In fact, two in Mississippi made it official this week.
Two large UMC churches in northern Mississippi announced this week their intentions to leave the denomination. In both cases, the congregation-wide vote exceeded 96 percent – and both pastors cited their congregations' frustration with the UMC's long and bitter debate over the church's sexual ethics and teachings on marriage.
During an interview Wednesday on American Family Radio, Buddy Smith – an ordained UMC minister and senior vice president of the American Family Association – said the divide isn't new and, in fact, has been brewing for many years. He called it a crisis and spiritual warfare.
"On the face of it, it's actually political correctness just gone crazy in the church," he stated. "You'd think that the one place, the one safe haven where Christians should be able to gather and the doctrines of the church and of the scripture be upheld, is the church.
"But of all places, here we have leadership – because of political correctness [and] underneath that spiritual warfare the devil is just having his day – just going forward in total ... open rebellion to the Word of God."
In July 2016, the United Methodist Church announced that a "married lesbian" had been consecrated as a bishop. Dr. Ray Rooney, Jr. of AFA's The Stand explained the woman – Karen Oliveto – has always been "self-avowed"; and therefore, he argued, she "should never have been ordained as a minister, period."
Rooney recited from The Book of Discipline the UMC's policy on homosexuality – a policy he said is perfectly clear.
"[It says] while persons set apart by the church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of human conditions and pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world."
Rooney, also an ordained UMC minister, continued: "The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed, practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church."
Smith said he thinks a split in the United Methodist Church is inevitable.
"We know how the left works. They not only want acceptance, they want you to celebrate their sin," he offered. "So they're determined to take over the church, to run the evangelical Christians, those Bible-believing Christians, to run them out. That's the mission – and they're succeeding."
According to the United Methodist Reporter, additional UMC churches in Mississippi later this spring will be considering whether to leave the denomination as well.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.