Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Looking into a crystal ball?

The Episcopal Church is facing a split. This is not news to anybody, of course, since disagreements over doctrinal issues have been wreaking havoc in the Church for quite some time now. But it looks as though the split may be formalized in a matter of weeks. An article in the New York Times today reported how the bishops of breakaway dioceses are formally organizing a competing province in North America. The strange irony of this is that the formal announcement was made at an evangelical church in Wheaton, Illinois- hardly the place one expects to find a bunch of high church prelates. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Since Anglicanism is the mother church of Methodism, I'm curious what this latest development has to say about my own church's future. The United Methodist Church also has a number of theological conflicts that, while they involve a plethora of issues, tend to separate into camps based on views concerning sexual orientation. Unlike the Episcopal Church, we have not yet consecrated an openly gay bishop, and our official stance on sexual orientation in ordained ministry is more clearly defined, but the disagreements are the same.

So what does the formal split along ideological lines in the Episcopal Church mean for the United Methodist Church? Will we, too, eventually have a small but significant minority split off from the connection and form a group that considers themselves to be an ideologically pure remnant? Or will we learn from the struggles of holy mother church and recommit ourselves to ongoing dialogue?

What do you out in the blogosphere think? Discuss...

1 comment:

Craig L. Adams said...

I think the UMC will continue on a course of painful controversy and decline. There will be no major split — though some small groups may split off both on the "right" and the "left"because of their dissatisfaction.