By Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism.
Since the small Western Jurisdiction of United Methodism elected an openly lesbian bishop in defiance of church law, there’s been renewed conversation about schism. Some predict it with regret while some hope it would end decades of controversy between conservatives and liberals. Typically schism talk does not focus on the likely impact of a denominational division on the local church.
That impact almost certainly would not be pretty.
United Methodism’s over 40 year debate on Christian sexual teaching has afflicted every General Conference (meeting every four years), some local annual conference meetings, some church agency board meetings, seminaries, and in recent years is a favorite topic for Internet discourse. Typically it is not openly addressed in local churches.
Most United Methodists likely are largely unaware there’s a denominational debate on sex. Most pastors do not discuss it lest there be unwanted controversy. If there ever is a formal schism, many church members will be very surprised and not pleased about the need for choosing sides in their local church.