Trueman: The UMC Split Is Only A Symptom Of A Much Deeper Problem

It is odd, however, that this is the issue that has produced the division. Same-sex marriage has not become plausible or imperative by virtue of its own merits. It has only become plausible as a function of much wider and deeper shifts within society’s understanding of the self. The sexual revolution was always but a symptom of the selfhood revolution whereby expressive individualism came to dominate how our culture understands the purpose of life. And that means that any church where same-sex marriage is significant enough to cause divisive debate is a church where significant parties have already absorbed the spirit of the age regarding personhood, love, sex, and sexuality—whether intentionally or by cultural osmosis. And that in turn means it is a church where significant parties have already abandoned basic Christian anthropology and an orthodox understanding of biblical authority.

Carl TruemanA Strange Split In The UMC

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  1. This article had too many words on too many tangential things. These are not social movement, these are not ecclesiastical trends, these are not” interesting and challenging topics that need debate”. This is the work of Satan, doing what Satan does: kill, maim, destroy and most of all: DENY GOD’S WORD. Trueman said it in passing, but its really the only thing worth talking about: “…abandoned … an orthodox understanding of biblical authority.” That’s it. That is all there is here folks. This split is sad because it will likely create two denominations that are both drifting away from the authority of God’s word, just slightly different directions and at slight different speeds. Everything else is irrelevant. The PCA has already thrown the rope off its cleats, they are just in denial. The SBC? Yep it too. We are heading toward a fragmentation, and multiplicity of small denominations and independent presbyteries, to join with the many independent churches. I know I won’t be popular for saying it, but I am glad of the trend. It will be much easier for the sheep to find safe pastures, and for the goats…well… for the goats do whatever goats do: deny the Word of God. The specifics aren’t important.

    • You hit the nail on the head. It is all about the authority of God’s Word. Is it really God’s Word and is it really true, or is it the words of men that provides some kind of approximation?

    • Randall,

      I disagree. This change happened because of changes before it. Yes, there is outright rebellion against nature and God’s special revelation in Scripture, but the question is: how did Christians come to embrace such errors? If we don’t answer that question, we’ll do it again.

      We may not boil down every problem to wickedness etc. Life is more complex than that. History matters.

    • If I may, the properly reformed scholastic theologian distinguishes between primary and secondary causes.
      The first is God’s decree utilizing Satan; the second various human actors and their theories.

      IOW we know who is always trying to skin the cat, but he doesn’t always do it the same way.
      Therefore Christian, take heed and be not overcome or deceived by the vain philosophies of the world, which are ever new and yet the same old lie from the beginning.

  2. Great post by Trueman. Great comments and responses, as well. But most of these issues were already addressed nearly 100 years ago by Gresham Machen in his magnum opus, “Christianity and Liberalism.” If he were to catch just a glimpse of what has taken place over the decades since, he’d be rolling in his grave … maybe in high-speed rotation.

    The crux of the matter is that most of the “creep” into liberalism/leftism/modernism or whatever else one wants to call it began first at the Reformation itself and most critically in the West during the 19th Century. At a family reunion of sorts a couple of years ago I asked the wife of the groom in attendance at my brother’s re-marriage (his wife had died earlier) wedding why it took gay ordination and SSM while pastors of both the ELCA and its predecessor denominations had already abandoned the faith in favor of “modernism” (i.e., denial of the miracles, the incarnation, the person of Jesus Christ as both God and Man, acceptance of deviant forms of religious practices competitive with Christianity such as lodge membership within their congregations, etc.) for them to abandon their ELCA congregation join the newly established NALC congregation in their area. She thought for a moment or two and finally replied that those changes had come about slowly and subtly and had been accepted as fact before anyone really knew what had happened.

    So, taking Trueman’s remarks in a slightly different direction, I’d be inclined to ask people who “think” they belong to a faithful Christian congregation whether or not they are constantly weighing what is being preached or taught against what Scripture says. It takes work, which is something that most people are either not ready or maybe just plain not willing to commit their time and efforts to, but there are resources available – such as the blessings of this blog and its many great links and resources – to learn the truth.

  3. I agree with the article. It begins with seemingly insignificant matters and builds. Then by increments the spirit of the age fills the void. Why a void? Christ has been kicked out. He is outside knocking. If you want to blame the evil one you are wrong. He was invited in.

    • The evil one is inside, and using clever arguments to persuade the church that the Word of God is somehow unclear and contradictory. “Has God really said? I will tell you what I think He really said.”

  4. Outstanding commentary by Carl Trueman. I was born and raised in the UMC, confirmed at age 13, my entire family were Methodists. I thank the True and Living Lord for the scriptural study I received in Sunday School from outstanding Godly teachers and for the liturgical service that taught me the church creeds. Unfortunately, that was a different era and you’ll find few modern Methodists who have any coherent knowledge of scripture. The critical issue is the same that Paul addressed in the Galatian church, a different gospel crept in and unless addressed, the Traditionalists, who continue to share a common (heretical) theology with the LGBT Methodists, will continue on into the same abyss. May God grant Revival and Repentance.

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