More Texas churches voted to leave the United Methodist Church this month as denomination leaders abandon Christian teachings about the sanctity of human life and other issues.
According to 12 News Now, 29 churches in the Southeast Texas Methodist Conference agreed to disaffiliate Saturday during a special UMC conference, joining hundreds of others across the country. In contrast, only five churches chose to remain, the report states.
More than 200 churches in the Central and Northwest Texas UMC conferences also voted to leave Saturday, The Texas Tribune reports. Many of them plan to join the Global Methodist Church, which is more conservative.
Pro-life pastors and members of the UMC have grown increasingly concerned with the denominational positions on abortion, same-sex marriage and other issues. Until 2016, the UMC even was affiliated with the pro-abortion group Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and some of its pastors continue to support pro-abortion causes.
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Last year, the United Methodist Women, an organization within the denomination, issued a statement criticizing the Texas heartbeat law, which has saved thousands of unborn babies from abortion. The group vowed to “pray” for abortions to become legal again in Texas. Some UMC pastors also “bless” abortion facilities in special ceremonies.
Along with abortion, the Journal Gazette reports many churches are upset about a new policy that says congregations have “a limited right” to disaffiliate “for reasons of conscience” on issues like homosexuality.
Here’s more from the report:
The separation from the conference must be complete by Dec. 31, 2023. Disaffiliation requires a two-thirds vote of those attending a conference of a congregation’s membership. …
Other issues include stands on abortion, and the authority and interpretation of the Bible, [John Lomperis, a former Indiana UMC Conference lay delegate] said.
“It’s been an increasingly bitter civil war,” he added.
The United Methodist Church does not condemn the killing of unborn babies as a sin. Instead, its position statement describes abortion as a “complex” issue. It says: “Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.”
In contrast, the Global Methodist Church position on abortion states:
The sacredness of all life compels us to resist the practice of abortion except in the cases of tragic conflicts of life against life when the wellbeing of the mother and the child are at stake. We do not accept abortion as a means of birth control or gender selection, and we call upon all Christians as disciples of the Lord of Life to prayerfully consider how we can support those women facing unintended pregnancies without adequate care, counsel, or resources (Exodus 22:23-23, Psalm 139:13-16, James 1:27).