Thursday, April 24, 2008


Mark Tooley explains why, unlike most of the so-called mainline Protestant denominations, United Methodists may depart from the theologically and politically liberal trend:
Like the elites of other Mainline Protestant denominations, officials of the United Methodist Church have served as an amen corner for the secular left in America for more than 50 years. Episcopalians have imploded in schism since the 2003 election of their first openly homosexual bishop. Presbyterians and Lutherans are locked in gridlock over sex issues. And the more liberal-than-thou United Church of Christ has fully embraced the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a suitable spokesman.

United Methodism, whose quadrennial General Conference convenes April 23 to May 2 in Fort Worth, is heading in a different direction. Like the other Mainline Protestants, its U.S. membership has plummeted continuously for 44 years, falling from 11 million to 7.9 million. But unlike the other Mainline Protestants, United Methodism has become an international denomination. ....

The African United Methodists are strongly evangelical. While U.S. church elites are confused by their declining influence and give their attention to fading political causes of the left, the Africans are quietly assuming wide influence over what was once almost an entirely American institution. Thirty percent of the delegates at the General Conference will come from Africa, the Philippines or Europe. In coalition with another 30 percent of delegates who are U.S. evangelicals, mostly from the South, there is likely for the first time in modern Methodist history a conservative governing majority. Just 4 years ago, U.S. evangelicals and overseas delegates comprised less than 50 percent. [more, including much more about the implications]
Will Methodism Tilt Right?

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