An orthodox United Methodist says the denomination is heading toward a split over homosexuality but predicts conservatives will outnumber liberals and win the day.
The split is not unexpected after liberals in the UMC --- despite pressuring and threatening their fellow Methodists --- narrowly lost a vote in February that maintained a biblical stance on sexuality and marriage.
“My forecast is that there will, in the end, be at least three Methodist denominations,” predicts Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
Delegates at the General Conference voted 438-384 to support the “Traditional Plan” over the liberal-backed “One Church Plan,” which would have permitted open homosexual and lesbian clergy in a denomination where many churches are openly embracing that sinful lifestyle despite clear biblical teachings and the UMC's own historic stance.
In a February story, Tooley told OneNewsNow that Methodists from outside the United States, in particular seminary leader Dr. Jerry Kulah from Liberia, faced off with liberal UMC leaders and likely helped swing the vote toward the Traditional Plan.
“Friends, please hear me, we Africans are not afraid of our sisters and brothers who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, questioning, or queer. We love them and we hope the best for them,” Dr. Kulah told his fellow Methodists. “But we know of no compelling arguments for forsaking our church’s understanding of Scripture and the teachings of the church universal.”
Kulah also stated in that same speech that the LGBT-friendly forces had been threatening to withhold funds from conservative holdouts, and he responded to that threat by pointing out he has withstood poverty, civil war and the Ebola virus in his home country.
“Please understand me," he said, "when I say the vast majority of African United Methodists will never, ever trade Jesus and the truth of the Bible for money."
According to Tooley, those same bullying LGBT advocates --- “liberal radicals,” he calls them --- who lost in February are now threatening to leave the denomination. So a split is coming, he says.
“It will happen. I am firmly convinced,” he predicts.
The next governing convention is coming in the spring of 2020 and there are efforts under way to negotiate an inevitable division before then.
Tooley says the denomination is split in thirds, with American evangelicals cooperating with their like-minded overseas brethren to form a majority.
The “radical liberals” make up a small portion and supposed centrists make up another group.
Some are predicting that the last two groups will band together and kick conservatives out but Tooley says together they still don't make a majority and have significant differences between them. So he predicts a “global church” that remains orthodox and then two other liberal denominations.