LL of us fail at some point to live up to what we see as our moral code. That should not be confused with disagreeements about what is indeed the moral code. So many contemporary issues trace their way back to what is the source of the moral code and who is able to tinker with it. That’s a point I tried to make in recent interviews about the United Methodist Church.
Methodism began as a movement within the Church of England, and became a denomination after the death of its founders John and Charles Wesley. The denomination quickly made its way to America in the late eighteenth century as the Methodist Episcopal Church. Eventually, the Methodist movement in America joined with the United Brethren movement forming the United Methodist Church in 1968.
The denomination has always been marked by diversity. Much of its theological diversity stems from its international diversity, with its most conservative and fastest growing contingency existing outside the United States. At the forefront of disagreements between those who identify as progressive and those who call themselves traditionalists within the United Methodist Church are the issues of same sex marriage and the ordination of those who identify with the LGBTQ movement. In recent days, an informal group of sixteen members representing both sides, has proposed a way forward.
In May the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will vote on the proposal and potentially make plans for a planned split where those who uphold biblical sexuality and marriage will have a set amount of resources to form a new denomination. As I’ve had opportunity to speak to this issue the main point I’ve tried to communicate is that Christians who uphold a biblical view of marriage see themselves, not as morally superior, but as those who are under the authority of God’s revealtion of himself.