(LifeSiteNews) — In the coming decade, Carl Trueman wrote recently, every single church still calling itself Christian will face a choice: Do we follow Scriptural revelation, or the Sexual Revolution? Catechism, or culture? In the world, or of the world? The cross, or the rainbow flag?
Mainline Protestantism has, for the most part, cast its lot in with the LGBT movement, with their clergy serving primarily as a convenient way for LGBT activists to accuse pastors who still hold to Christian orthodoxy of bigotry. (If those Christians can cave and still call themselves Christian, why can’t you?) These days, you can identify however you want – you can even call yourself a Christian while backing sex changes for minors and championing the destruction of the biblical sexual ethic.
Trueman’s prediction is already proving prescient – one by one, every Christian denomination is facing the choice, and most are splitting over it. Kristin Kobes du Mez, the mainstream media’s favorite Christian Reformed scholar, has become gay-affirming. Andy Stanley, the well-known evangelical pastor of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia, recently hosted a conference affirming LGBT ideology over Christian orthodoxy. For those who want a bit of religion and the Sexual Revolution at the same time, there is a growing number of options.
We saw this recently at the Church of England’s General Synod, where clergy vote to allow standalone services for gay and lesbian couples which are referred to as “blessings” after same-sex “marriage” ceremonies, the latest Anglican attempt to have it both ways. Formally, they still reject same-sex “marriage” – much to the chagrin and outright outrage of the more revolutionary clergy – but bit by bit, their theological real estate is being colonized under the rainbow flag. Indeed, Marcus Walker, rector of St. Bartholomew the Great Church, announced his support for gay “marriage” at the Anglican synod, stating – without a hint of irony – that this would mean “difficult conversations with fellow conservatives.”
Another major denomination is splitting once again before the end of this year. The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church voted on November 18 to accept the decision of 261 congregations to permanently depart the denomination over the 2019 UMC decision to hold to Christian orthodoxy on LGBT issues. At the time, the denomination had also voted to allow dissenting congregations to leave by the end of 2023 “for reasons of conscience regarding a change in the requirements and provisions of the Book of Discipline related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination of marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals.”
This has added to a growing exodus, with CNN reporting that as “of early August 2023, over 6,000 congregations of just over 30,000 in the United States have been approved for disaffiliation since 2019, according to the UMC’s website. The 261 churches now leaving the North Georgia Conference of the UMC account for a sizable percentage of its nearly 700 churches, according to the conference’s website. Their exit marked a “solemn day,” the North Georgia Conference of the UMC said in a news release.”
The UMC is the second-largest Protestant denomination in America, and their division follows major splits over LGBT issues in the American Baptist Churches USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA. Conservative denominations should recognize that the cultural pressure cooker has hardly begun to heat up, and that laity-led revolts over Christian orthodoxy will become increasingly common over the next decade, as well. We already see frequent press stories featuring interviews with congregants disgruntled that their church refuses to get with the times; these interviews and stories are an attempt to push church leaders in the “progressive” direction.
The choice before churches is clear. In the next few years, we will see those clinging to orthodoxy shrink dramatically – and there will be cultural consequences for this.