Conservative Methodists will now consider breaking away from the United Methodist denomination as a whole after a married lesbian bishop was ordained.
"In these times of great uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Covenant Association stands together as an alliance to advance vibrant, scriptural Christianity within Methodism," the Wesleyan Covenant Association writes on their website.
The group will gather in October to consider forming a brand-new denomination.
"We are a coalition of congregations, clergy, and laity from all jurisdictions that are committed to promoting ministry that combines a high view of Scripture, Wesleyan vitality, orthodox theology, and Holy Spirit empowerment. We encompass a broad range of worship styles and ministry practices. What links us together is our desire to witness to the transforming power of God to change and redeem human lives and societies. We have come together to support, network, and encourage one another as the future of The United Methodist Church comes into clearer focus," the website continues.
The formation came shortly after Karen Oliveto was ordained as a bishop. Oliveto is a married lesbian who has risen in the Methodist ranks despite her violation of the Book of Discipline.
"The Western Jurisdiction has presented the rest of The UMC with a fait accompli. If it stands, then those are now the new rules—assuming there are any rules," a source close to the situation tells Charisma News.
"If it is not to stand, then somebody is going to have to enforce the rules upon the Western Jurisdiction—by removing Bishop Oliveto, or withholding monetary support, or going to court. And if the WJ decides to break connection and leave, forming its own church? The structure is already in place to do so, only the legal battles remain to be fought over. Regardless of the particular issue Oliveto incarnates, the larger issue is whether any group can continue together unless all the members are willing to abide by the same rules," the source continued.
One of the WCA's primary goals is to uphold the biblical definition of human sexuality and marriage.
"We believe marriage and sexual intimacy are good gifts from God," the website reads. "In keeping with Christian teaching through the ages and throughout the church universal, we believe that 'marriage' is the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other."
Oliveto's consecration, along with the nomination of two other gay clergy members, has challenged the UMC as a whole to consider splitting.
The source tells Charisma News:
Right now, the Wesleyan Covenant Association is a group working within Methodism. But it will soon be the formation of another denomination. The current president of the Council of Bishops in the Methodist Church recently made a statement that infuriated evangelicals. He said the rumors of schism have to do with the election of an openly gay bishop AND the formation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. So he's trying to blame evangelicals for the problems in the UMC?
Right now the Wesleyan Covenant Association has not talked about the formation of a United Methodist church outside of the present one. But everyone knows that's what it is.
They always try to blame evangelicals for division when all we are doing is standing on the Word.
Above all, everyone asks for prayer.
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