The exodus from the United Methodist Church is picking up steam. Last week 70 churches in Georgia left the denomination over its abandonment of scripture and God's design for marriage when the North Georgia Conference voted to allow its churches to disaffiliate from the UMC.
As Fox News explained in a Sunday story, the UMC adopted a disaffiliation agreement during a special session in 2019 that would allow churches to leave the denomination through the end of 2023 "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, or the actions or inactions of its annual conference related to these issues which follow."
However, the UMC was unable to hold its annual General Conference in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID. Dr. Ray Rooney, an ordained UMC pastor and online editor of The Stand, offered Monday on American Family Radio that had it not been for the pandemic, the split would have been a lot friendlier.
"Gotta have money to leave," Rooney emphasized. "If the other plan had gone through in 2020, churches would've left and it wouldn't have cost them a dime. Now they're still going to get some money. That's what this boils down to: this is a money power play."
The issue that's being blamed for the split is homosexuality and same-sex "marriage," but Rooney argues the real reason is much more fundamental.
"This isn't as much about human sexuality, gayness, and the rest of it, as it is about scripture," he stated. "[It's about] trying to legitimize the twisting of scripture as if to say That's not what God meant.
"This is about the clergy," he continued. "This is about trying to make it where it's okay for self-avowed, practicing homosexuals to be ordained as clergy and to practice gay marriage."
Most of the churches disaffiliating will move over to the newly formed Global Methodist Church, which Rooney says is keeping the best parts of Methodism.
"The only difference that I can tell in reading the documents of the Global Methodist Church (GMC) is there is no 'trust clause' – every church is going to own its own property," he explained. "And I assume there's going to be a retention of what the current Book of Discipline says about homosexuality" … which says (in part):
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 a follow-up question from AFN to Rooney regarding that latter comment, he references a section of the GMC's "Transitional Book of Doctrines and Disciplines," which states:
We believe that human sexuality is a gift of God that is to be affirmed as it is exercised within the legal and spiritual covenant of a loving and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman (Exodus 20:14, Matthew 19:3-9, Ephesians 5:22-33).
"I guess the implication is that if it is outside 'monogamous marriage between one man and one woman,' it is outside of the GMC's beliefs," Rooney concludes.
Editor's Note: The Stand is a division of the American Family Association, the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.