My recent departure from the UMC came about after months of prayerful consideration of where God was leading us as a family and, more particularly, me as a ministerial student preparing for licensure/ordination as a preacher. I arrived at a couple of conclusions toward the end of 2013 and summarized them back then in my journal—the beginning of that entry is as follows:
Denominational concerns have not subsided, but continue to persist and grow. To describe a couple:
1.) Homosexuality is tolerated, equivocated, and even endorsed by too many within the district, conference, and the highest levels of the episcopacy. Even seeing that leaders in NA have authored language that would weaken the UM position stated in the Discipline regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality …
Having some friends who have also departed the UMC, yet many others who remain, the announcement of the dismissal of the Ogletree case today (2014-Mar-10) is both sickening and saddening. (http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/new-york-conference-court-dismisses-ogletree-case) The libertine, permissive, and dismissive inclination of the UMC has led to “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. Open to whatever, wherever, whenever, however—just don’t violate the integrity of the unity.” It’s hard to believe that an official UMC split isn’t imminently forthcoming.
Even having departed the UMC these few months ago, I feel strangely tied to this. This is a deep spiritual divide. The enemy knows all too well that the Church in America is fraught with a pervasive spiritual anemia. Entertainment, good works, and moralistic (relatively speaking, of course) behavior are religion enough for the masses. Oh, the abyss we’re headed for when “evil is called good and good evil” not just in the world itself (that’s to be expected), but from within the Body!
I don’t want to merely bemoan the morass of this situation. The state of the church in America is truly mournful. There is such a desperate need for repentance and holiness. We cannot truly love God or our neighbor if we’re so preoccupied with religiosity, serving inoffensively, etc. that we walk him/her right down the “primrose path” to Hell believing that sin need not be acknowledged, confessed, and repented of nor abhorred and abandoned.
Kyrie eleison. Kriste eleison.