Hundreds of churches in Texas have voted to leave the United Methodist Church denomination (UMC) for “deviating from scripture on abortion, homosexuality, and other issues,” Life News reported on Monday.
Representatives of the Northwest Texas Annual Conference of United Methodist Churches voted on Saturday to allow 145 churches to disaffiliate from the UMC during a special session in Lubbock, Texas. The report notes that the conference represents 200 congregations, and about 75 percent are leaving, meaning “the conference likely will dissolve next year.”
Another 294 churches also voted to leave the UMC during the Central Texas Annual Conference in Houston on Saturday. In total, 546 Texas Methodist churches — 45 percent — are choosing to leave the UMC this year. Methodist churches in Arkansas and Indiana have also voted to leave the UMC this year. Many of the departing churches will likely join the Global Methodist Church, which is reportedly more conservative than UMC, the report states.
The mass exit comes after “years of infighting” stemming from the UMC’s unbiblical acceptance of same-sex marriage, abortion, and other issues, according to the report.
“Pro-life pastors and members of the UMC have grown increasingly concerned with the denomination position on abortion and other issues. Until 2016, the UMC even was affiliated with the pro-abortion group Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and some of its pastors continue to support pro-abortion causes,” the report states.
“Last year, the United Methodist Women, an organization within the denomination, issued a statement criticizing the Texas heartbeat law, which has saved thousands of unborn babies from abortion. The group vowed to “pray” for abortions to become legal again in Texas,” the report continues.
Life News notes that the UMC “does not condemn the killing of unborn babies as a sin” and instead labels abortion as a “complex” issue. In stark contrast, the Global Methodist Church states:
The sacredness of all life compels us to resist the practice of abortion except in the cases of tragic conflicts of life against life when the wellbeing of the mother and the child are at stake. We do not accept abortion as a means of birth control or gender selection, and we call upon all Christians as disciples of the Lord of Life to prayerfully consider how we can support those women facing unintended pregnancies without adequate care, counsel, or resources (Exodus 22:23-23, Psalm 139:13-16, James 1:27).
Hundreds of other churches are also reportedly planning to leave the UMC in the coming months to join the Global Methodist Church, once they receive approval from church leaders.