Why did the Methodist Church refuse

Methodists continue to oppose same-sex marriages

February 27, 2019

Methodists have been interested in their attitude towards homosexuality for years. In the United States, some pastors have blessed same-sex marriages. Conservative US church members and especially many members from Africa reject this on principle.

Bible with wedding rings Photo: EPD image

Frankfurt a.M./Washington (epd). The United Methodist Church, which has around twelve million members worldwide, continues to reject same-sex marriages. At their general conference, which ended on Tuesday (local time) in St. Louis, Missouri, the delegates confirmed their restrictive stance on questions of homosexuality with 438 votes to 384. According to this, practiced homosexuality is still considered incompatible with Christian teaching in the Free Church. The ordination of homosexual people to clergy and the blessing of same-sex partnerships remain prohibited.

The delegates had several drafts to vote on, announced the United Methodist Church in Germany on Wednesday in Frankfurt am Main. A reform plan, according to which the communities should decide for themselves about their position on homosexuality in the future, was rejected. The approved draft ("Traditional Plan") provides for the previous order of the church to be preserved.

The decision is subject to change

The German Evangelical Methodist Bishop Harald Rückert declared that the result was "a continuing great challenge to work on the unity of the church and to promote diversity". The decision of the general conference is subject to change; the ecclesiastical legal court will review the compatibility with the constitution of the church.

"That is why many details of a more consistent application are currently still unclear," explained Rückert. For the United Methodist Church in Germany "these decisions will only take effect after the next regular central conference meeting in November 2020".

"The Bible Says a Man Must Marry a Woman"

The Information Service of the Evangelical Methodist Church quoted conference delegate Antoine Umba Ilunga from the Congo. He was in favor of maintaining the current order because "the Bible says that a man must marry a woman". The American pastor Tom Berlin from Virginia, however, warned that many pastors in the USA would leave the church because of the "Traditional Plan". The plan is a virus that will "make the American Church very sick".

The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a free Protestant church that emerged from a Christian revival movement in England in the 18th century. Leading figures at the beginning of the movement were the brothers John and Charles Wesley. The UMC in Germany has around 51,000 church members and church members in around 500 parishes. The Methodist Church is deliberately not organized as a nation-state, but works across national borders. The UMC is part of the World Council of Methodist Churches, in which over 70 Churches of Methodist tradition are connected, to which more than 51 million people count.

Second largest Protestant church in the United States

In the United States, the Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant church after the Southern Baptist Association. Around seven million Methodist Christians live in the United States. Prominent US Methodists include ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President George W. Bush.

In the United States, the church has been losing members for years, according to church statistics. In African countries, on the other hand, it is gaining a lot. According to the information service "Religion News Service", 58 percent of the delegates in St. Louis came from the United States. As the highest church governing body of the worldwide Evangelical Methodist Church, the general conference alone can decide and resolve questions about the order of the church.

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