New progressive Methodist denomination formed before possible UMC schism over LGBT issues
A group of theologically progressive United Methodists and others have formed a new denomination in advance of an expected schism within the United Methodist Church over LGBT issues.
Known as the Liberation Methodist Connexion (LMX), the creation of the new group was announced Sunday during an online worship service.
“We are a grassroots denomination of former, current, and non-Methodist faith leaders working on the unfolding of the kin-dom of God,” they explain on their website.
“We intentionally invite the full participation of all who are living out their God-given identities and expressions.”
Those they welcome include all “gender expressions and sexual identity,” “religious or non-religious backgrounds,” “races and ethnicities,” “size,” and “monogamous and non-monogamous.”
“We are journeying toward a new way of being followers of Christ that refute the imbalance of powers, principalities, and privileges that has plagued Methodism: colonialism, white supremacy, economic injustices, patriarchy, sexism, clericalism, ableism, ageism, transphobia, and heteronormativity,” stated the LMX.
“We trust God’s presence and our collaborative labors will guide us toward a new, more liberative way of answering our calling and being in connexion together.”
Regarding theology, LMX said their “theology is not written in stone,” but did maintain that “God remains infinitely gracious, creative, merciful, and engaged with creation, healing and redeeming the world.”
The Rev. Althea Spencer-Miller, one of the organizers of the new group, told UM News that they felt this was the appropriate time to form LMX.
“The timeline of the Holy Spirit is driving our decision to launch the LMX at this moment, and we are following her call,” Spencer-Miller said.
Mark Tooley, a United Methodist and president of the theologically conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, predicted that LMX will not become a major force.
“LMX will live out theological pluralism to its more logical conclusions, minimizing if not altogether dismissing theological doctrine in favor of political activisms and identity politics,” wrote Tooley in a blog post on Wednesday.
“No doubt LMX will start very small and will remain a small niche movement. Most radicals will stay within United Methodism, or whatever it is ultimately called, shifting what’s left of the old denominational structures ever leftward.”
Over the past several years, the United Methodist Church has experienced increasingly polarizing debate over its biblical stance on homosexuality.
The UMC Book of Discipline says homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” and defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Many expect the UMC to schism over the issue at the 2021 General Conference, which was originally scheduled to take place this year, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.