Liberation Methodist Connexion
Collaborators present information about the Liberation Methodist Connexion denomination following its first worship service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, on Zoom. Video screengrab

Progressive United Methodists Announce New Denomination: Liberation Methodist Connexion

By Emily Miller

A group of progressive United Methodists announced Sunday they are forming a new Methodist denomination, the Liberation Methodist Connexion, or LMX.

For half a century, the United Methodist Church has debated the full inclusion of its LGBTQ members. It pushed any discussion of sexuality from its quadrennial General Conference meeting in 2016 to a special session in 2019, where delegates voted against allowing the church to ordain LGBTQ clergy or perform same-sex marriages.

A new plan has been proposed since then to split the denomination according to beliefs on LGBTQ ordination and same-sex marriage. The split was to be decided upon at the 2020 General Conference, but due to COVID-19 shutdowns, the conference was cancelled and the decision postponed until next fall at the earliest. United Methodists would’ve met this week to consider a split. What are they doing instead?

Some United Methodists eager for change have simply grown tired of waiting.

“The timeline of the Holy Spirit is driving our decision to launch LMX at this moment, and we are responding to that call,” the Rev. Althea Spencer-Miller said during a presentation Sunday evening following the denomination’s first online worship service.

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Rev. Althea Spencer-Miller
Rev. Althea Spencer-Miller

The LMX seeks to embrace the “full participation of all who are living out their God-given identities and expressions,” according to the site. That includes people of all gender expressions and sexual identities, races and ethnicities, mental and physical abilities, sizes and ages.

Its theology “is not written in stone,” the website said, but it builds on Methodist theology with various expressions of Liberation theologies, which were first developed by Latin American Roman Catholics in the 1950s and 1960s.

Correct doctrine is less important to the new denomination than correct action, collaborators said during Sunday’s presentation. That action includes reparations, caring for the earth, and finding new ways to live together outside of systems like colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, clericalism and heteronormativity, they said.

“We seek not answers that lead us to correct doctrines as to why we suffer. We seek correct actions, correct praxis, where God sustains us during the unanswerable questions,” Spencer-Miller said.

More conservative Methodists, however, believe the new denomination veers from both orthodoxy (correct doctrine) and orthopraxy (correct actions). 

Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy—a conservative Christian thinktank, which promotes its views among mainline Protestant churches—predicts the United Methodist Church will divide over these issues.

“As the United Methodist Church effectively dissolves, there are likely to be various shatterings,” Tooley told The Roys Report in a statement Wednesday.  “At the very least, there will be a traditional global church, a liberal USA church, and a radical USA church, with perhaps several others. This Liberation Methodist Connexion will be the radical branch, or perhaps one of several radical branches.  It will be hard long to cohere a denomination around Identity Politics and without core theology. . . . The United Methodist Church was created in 1968 mostly based on theological pluralism, which was an experiment that failed.”

However, leaders of the new denomination said those who join them aren’t expected to leave their denominations. In fact, collaborators said Sunday that United Methodist members are encouraged to continue to partner with the United Methodist Church’s ethnic caucuses.

“There are no doctrinal litmus tests in the movement. We are moving beyond the supremacy of a single belief system,” said the Rev. Janet G. McKeithen, a member of the Connexion working group.

It’s about following Jesus to the margins, added the Rev. Alex da Silva Souto, one of the leaders of  UM-Forward  and a General Conference delegate from the New York Conference.

Da Silva Souto said in May that a coalition of groups already describing themselves as Liberationists had been discussing the possibility of forming a new denomination. That discussion grew out of events — the UM-Forward summit in May 2019 in Minneapolis, an Advent gathering outside of Denver, a Lenten gathering this spring in Dallas — following a special session of the United Methodist General Conference in 2019.

The Traditional Plan favored by theologically conservative United Methodists, approved at that special session, was set to take effect earlier this year, strengthening language in the denomination’s Book of Discipline barring LGBTQ clergy from being ordained and same-sex couples from marrying in the United Methodist Church.

But United Methodist bishops and advocacy group leaders from across theological divides agreed to a moratorium on its enforcement in January after negotiating a proposal to split the denomination, called, “A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation.” The proposal, negotiated by 16 United Methodists, would commit $25 million to create a new conservative “traditionalist” Methodist denomination. The “post-separation United Methodist Church” would then have the opportunity to rescind the Traditional Plan and pass affirming language.

Delegates would have voted on that proposal at the United Methodist General Conference scheduled in May. At the time, Da Silva Souto called its postponement, due to the pandemic, a “curveball.”

But, said Da Silva Souto, “we’re not waiting for the protocol to answer the call that we feel, which is love and liberation right now.”

The LMX is planning to host its next worship service on New Year’s Eve and encouraged those interested in joining to sign up for its email newsletter on its website.

Emily McFarland MillerEmily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

 

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17 thoughts on “Progressive United Methodists Announce New Denomination: Liberation Methodist Connexion”

  1. This why I left the Methodist church two years ago. Climbed right back down the ladder and got out. It’s not the Holy Spirit pushing them, it’s their own agenda. The anger they showed at the conferences was awful. Good riddance.

  2. Amen. All this selfishness must cease! Either we really want to know and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or we want to know and serve a god of our liking, a god who “fits” our culture or our own ideologies. If we truly are the Body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the HE must be our Master! We must submit to His teachings, His beliefs, His practices and His lifestyle. There cannot be two Masters!

    The God who was, and is, and is to come is the Great I AM. His manual for Christian living is replete of instructions, principles, guidelines, commandments, etc. as to how, what, when, where, who and why He desires those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to look, act, view and represent Him on Earth. To follow any other teaching(s) is an affront to El Elyon, the Most High God.

    Please, Church of Jesus Church, if we really want the world to be won to Jesus Christ, let’s start by loving and obeying our Master. It’s not about us, it’s all about HIM! We are NOT our own! We have been bought with a price – THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS!

    1. Man has been trying to be god and control his destiny since Adam and Eve. We have never learned from our sinfulness that God is God and He will have no other before Him. Good riddance to these people. They have already caused so much destruction in the American church and is a cancer that must be taken out.

  3. So sad. A Church denomination that I was affiliated with when I first accepted the Bible as the word of God now blatantly refusing to accept the bible as the word of God. Prediction: LMX will be forgotten in about a year.

    1. Sadly, I think you will be wrong in that prediction. More and more people are fulfilling scripture of be blinded and heartharded to the Truth of God’s Word. We all fall short and sin everyday. But we stand with the help of Jesus Christ and turn from that sin and are forgiven. Sadly, these people see nothing wrong.with their sin. This is only going to get worse before Jesus comes to rapture His Church.

  4. The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Scary, very scary.

  5. So sad they don’t realize they are just giving in to their own evil desires. And explain it away as the “Leading of the Holy Spirit”

  6. I wonder what text any so-called sermon might be based on in this most recent departure from orthodoxy, as it surely can’t be the God-breathed and inerrant Scriptures.

  7. Almost 10 years ago, left the PCUSA, renouncing my ordination. The most freeing and conscience clearing thing I’ve ever done, vocationally. God bless the truly faithful in the UMC.

  8. Sad, you have to have a solid foundation built on Jesus Christ or you have anything and everything going on and that is what is happening. What is worth dying for as our brothers and sisters throughout the world do daily. There is nothing new under the sun.

  9. Cultural Marxism is expressive individualism. Self creating rather than recognizing God created them. Choosing their identity rather than accepting their God created identity. They are their own gods, and the very idea of bowing, repenting, or obeying a holy God is an abomination to them. Their ‘right action’ before right doctrine will reflect the current culture, not the scriptures. They are children of the world, consumed by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life. . 2 Tim. 3/ ‘while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. ‘

  10. It is all what is being said above and Romans 1 set into action. And the tower of Babel. And PS 82.
    They “know” what they know about the Father and His Word is not good enough for them, though by His Word they were all made. Of them God may say,

    6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;
    7 nevertheless, like men you shall die,and fall like any prince.”[a]

    The Word of God is not “good enough” for them so they have religion by these doctrines of men–

    “Methodist theology with various expressions of Liberation theologies”

    “Identity Politics”…

    “Correct doctrine is less important to the new denomination than correct action, collaborators said during Sunday’s presentation. That action includes reparations, caring for the earth, and finding new ways to live together outside of systems like colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, clericalism and heteronormativity, they said.”

    “There are no doctrinal litmus tests in the movement. We are moving beyond the supremacy of a single belief system…” Rev. Janet G. McKeithen

    [W]e’re not waiting for the protocol to answer the call that we feel, which is love and liberation right now.”
    –Rev. Alex da Silva Souto

    It’s a scary thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
    He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, He is Holy, and is Love.
    What will they say then? Pray that those in this denomination who are His Children would repent and turn to the Living God, not the idols of their own making. Amen.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,7 in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
    –Romans 1:19-24 (ESV)

    4 They said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let’s make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth.”
    –Genesis 11:4 (WEB)

    “God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
    2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah

    5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

    6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;
    7 nevertheless, like men you shall die,and fall like any prince.”[a]

    8 Arise, O God, judge the earth;
    for you shall inherit all the nations!
    –Psalm 82

  11. There is no way to determine what is “right action” without right doctrine. This new denomination is a subjective, feelings based, idol-glorifying mess.

    We are not given the freedom to slap a “Jesus” sticker on any ideology we want to and think He approves. My heart breaks over this.

  12. It’s all about money.. Tax free untraced money.. Money for an anti christ agenda.. Can’t wait to see the direction the money flows. I expect the $$$ makes it back to the street in support of the left.

  13. rj not in chicago

    A few points…..

    Sadly the UMC is going the way of the US Episcopals from say 20 years ago – the church split and was even condemned by of all anglican groups the Anglican Church of Africa and the anglican conference in the UK in I think it was 08 or 12 – can’t remember.

    A house divided against itself will not stand – the divisiveness of the ‘inclusory’ group is an utter lie – they are the most divisive with an ‘in your face’ heresy that purports to love. I am of a mind now to simply say……please for the sake of God leave me alone with your politics and social justice.

    I cannot help but think of Solshenytzen (sp?) who said that we must go forth and stand up so as to not ‘live a lie’. I wonder how much longer our great Lord will tolerate having his nose tweaked all the while the sheep are led to slaughter.

    I am deeply saddened that the UMC has lost its way.

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