Seth Udinski, FISM News
The United Methodist Church (UMC) announced on Thursday it will delay its looming General Assembly meeting yet again.
After several delays, the denomination was set to meet sometime in 2022 to determine its future in light of an impending fracture over the issues of marriage and sexuality. Reports indicate that the UMC will now not meet for its General Assembly until 2024.
The denomination, which has been highly criticized by evangelicals for an apparent alignment with many left-leaning doctrines, is claiming that “COVID-related and governmental policies/constraints” are the reason for the delay. Many are wondering, however, if this is simply another attempt by the UMC to delay an inevitable fracture.
Commission Chairperson Kim Simpson explained the move, saying,
We engaged in a fair, thorough, integrity-filled discussion of the alternatives. The visa issue is a reality that is simply outside our control as we seek to achieve a reasonable threshold of delegate presence and participation. Ultimately our decision reflects the hope that 2024 will afford greater opportunity for global travel and a higher degree of protection for the health and safety of delegates and attendees.
It should be noted that the denomination is in this position because of a divide down the middle between biblically faithful churches and churches that have bowed to the sexual revolution.
The outcome of the 2019 General Assembly, in which the denomination upheld the biblical definition of marriage by a slim majority, set the stage for a potential split. 53% of Methodists, many from a remnant off faithful churches in Africa, upheld biblical marriage while 47% voted in support of LGBTQ-friendly measures such as ordaining homosexual clergy and performing homosexual weddings.
On the same day, the Global Methodist Church, a large-scale church plant of conservative UMC refugees, revealed it will officially begin this coming May. The GMC chimed in with a statement of its own, as it likely prepares to accept more former UMC members:
It is anticipated that some theologically conservative local churches will find annual conferences willing to negotiate fair and just exit provisions, while others will, unfortunately, face obstacles placed in their paths.