(Charisma News / Worthy News)– A group of 80 pastors is suggesting that the nation's second-largest Protestant denomination is facing an imminent split because of an inability to resolve long-standing theological disputes about sexuality and church doctrine.
But more than lamenting the current divisions, the pastors indicated there is little reason to think reconciliation–or even peaceful coexistence — could be found. Like a couple heading to divorce court, the pastors cited "irreconcilable differences" that can't be mended.
"We can no longer talk about schism as something that might happen in the future. Schism has already taken place in our connection," said the Rev. Maxie Dunnam, a retired president of evangelical Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, who joined the statement.
The issue is especially heightened within Methodism, where holiness—the beliefs and practices toward Christian purity—is foundational in its theology. And as Methodist membership plateaus at home and grows in parts of Africa, overseas delegates have helped hold the line against growing pressure to liberalize church policy on gay clergy and same-sex marriage.