A “few” of the reasons I left the United Methodist Church

Short version: I don’t like to eat goat food.

Look, if you are still there and are fighting for the truth then I’m fine with that.  But staying and not fighting isn’t an option.  I gave up after 15 years.  It was a tough decision, because there were some authentic believers there and we left a lot of friends.  We were very active there: Teaching Sunday School, doing mission trips, committees, three laity Sunday sermons, etc.  But enough was enough.  Here is a list of the things that drove me away, not in priority order.

  1. The long-time youth director raved about liking Joel Osteen.
  2. The youth program had too much entertainment and not enough meat.
  3. Female pastors: It was fitting that the last service we attended had a female pastor completely missing the great messages in the Acts 16 passage about the conversion of Lydia.  She didn’t say a word about “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul,” but of course she turned it into some feminist nonsense.
  4. Infant baptism / assembly line baptism & confirmation — they just didn’t take it seriously enough.
  5. Not Reformed — this wasn’t a show stopper, but my long-time drift away from Methodist soteriology* didn’t help.
  6. Communion was too casual — “If you love Jesus, you can come up.”  Uh, who in church would be on record not liking Jesus?  Why not read the applicable Bible verses about it?
  7. Too much nepotism — to pay people above-market wages they would often hire spouses.
  8. A long-term member asked if the New Testament even mentioned homosexuality and wasn’t even sure that out-of-wedlock sex was a sin.  As one person put it so well, churches like this starve the sheep and feed the goats, while good churches feed the sheep and chase away the goats.  Not that they tell the goats they can’t attend, just that real Bible-based preaching will necessarily make them uncomfortable.
  9. In a Sunday School class on homosexuality, no one asked, “What does the Bible say?” even though I offered countless resources addressing it.
  10. Another female pastor refused to offer evangelism training to a mission trip team, despite multiple requests and a requirement by the Missions Committee.
  11. When they were doing a faddish “let’s go serve the community instead of having worship!” Sunday, I suggested that they should at least pass out a one-page document to those they serve noting some basic information on the Gospel, Christianity and apologetics plus an invitation to learn more.  It was completely ignored.  They were too busy making themselves look and feel good.
  12. The U.S. leadership is anti-Bible, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, open borders, etc. and the local churches fund them.  I didn’t realize this when we first went there.  I was fairly knew to the faith and still thought that most churches were pretty similar, and we just happened to start in the most conservative, Bible-believing Sunday School class in the church.
  13. Our Senior Pastor was unable to become Bishop even in a conservative conference like Texas.  Why?  Because he agreed with the Bible and the Methodist Book of Discipline on homosexuality.  And leaders literally hated him for it.
  14. U.S. Methodists will probably split in next 10 years due to rebellion and lack of church discipline.
  15. Speaking of no church discipline, they let a known false teacher — a retired UMC pastor — teach Sunday School and other classes.  The Senior Pastor literally called him a wolf in sheep’s clothing but it was too politically incorrect to kick him out.  I really should have left right then.  I went to one of his classes and outed him for not believing in the divinity of Jesus and the rest of the class — mostly goats, obviously** — took his side!
  16. Very little discipline in adding members.  Basically, if you could fog a mirror you were in.
  17. No apparent church discipline for adulterers, etc.
  18. The contemporary service would sprinkle in riffs from rock songs and the Peanuts theme.  Why?!  And they had a few too many “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs.  Though I do give the last music leader credit for being more authentic.
  19. The Senior Pastor knew the truth about homosexual behavior being sinful and had written and spoken about it outside the church.  But he didn’t think his church was “ready” for it.  Hey, champ, aren’t you the one who is supposed to get them ready?
  20. I very gently coached an Associate Pastor to have more Bible and less of his own stories in his sermons, thinking that he just needed to grow a bit.  But he said that was by design!  I think that might have been the last straw.  This guy actually knew the truth and had sound theology, but was catering to the goats.
  21. They bring in someone who plays Santa every year.  Why would any organization bring in the competition and pretend they are on the same side?!  It is Satanic.

If you are asking, “Why didn’t you leave earlier?,” all I can say is that I’ve asked myself the same question many times.

I am really happy that we came across the Acts 29 Network of churches.  Every one we have been to has been outstanding.  Ironically, they don’t have the bureaucracy and infrastructure of the Methodists, yet they are much more consistent in theology and practice.  It is probably because they are led by Christians devoutly seeking to do church God’s way rather than a bunch of Leftist politics-disguised-as-religion wolves!

—–

*The doctrine of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Interestingly, WordPress didn’t recognize it as a word!

**One of the main goats was a wicked lady who later chided me for wearing jeans to service once (I had a nice shirt on, but wore jeans because our Sunday School class was cooking gumbo after church for a fundraiser).  When she was in the wolf’s class she had no issues with people spouting heresies about Jesus not being God, the Bible having lots of errors and there being many paths to Heaven besides Jesus.  But there is apparently at least one thing she is certain about: You shouldn’t wear jeans to church!  But she was pro-abortion — especially when the unborn might be poor or unwanted — so I suppose she had her priorities in order, eh?  (I gave her a gracious way out by pointing out the gumbo situation and she immediately backtracked.  And I chuckled when a visitor sat next to me and was wearing jeans.  Hopefully my fashion faux pas made him feel more comfortable amidst the suits and Dockers).

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10 thoughts on “A “few” of the reasons I left the United Methodist Church”

  1. I’ve worn jeans to service. Felt bad about it. At least you had a reason. I was just lazy.

    I got into a debate at my blog about how we dress for service, feeling that dressing well demonstrates reverence for being in God’s house. A certain someone proclaimed a desire to make the poor folk feel better. Sounded lame to me. And then, of course, he suggested tuxedos. *sigh*

    Anyhow, far more reasons than I had for leaving the UCC, though I think I could find examples of each there.

    At least we left and found better. May God open their eyes.

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    1. Funny you mentioned that. I just decided last week to no longer wear jeans. Our new church is fantastic on so many levels but they fall into the casual trap. I won’t wear a suit and tie, but it will be more button downs and nicer slacks. I won’t make a big deal about it to anyone but I do think there is case to dress better.

      I’ve seen poor people in Kenya dress better for church than most in the U.S. do. So while I’m sympathetic to the desire to make people feel comfortable, I think that is over-thinking the topic.

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      1. I don’t have a decent suit, but I try to dress as respectfully as possible. Last week I wore dress slacks and a tie (I should have worn a shirt, too, I suppose—:D), but I would wear a suit or jacket if I had something that didn’t look like I picked it up off the street. Again, I just think it is an appropriate reflection of the reverence one has for where one is: God’s house. Just sayin’.

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    2. The bible doesn’t command how we are to dress at church so it’s personal preference. In America we are becoming more casual so it’s not surprising that our church dress is more casual. 50 years ago it would have been formal. Does that mean people were more reverent? No, that was just the culture-norm of the time. You were expected to put on your “Sunday-best”.

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      1. I would counter your position in this way: We are told early on in Scripture that God reacts to how we present ourselves to Him. Cain did not provide a sacrifice that was pleasing to God, while Abel did. Later, sacrifices offered were to be of the best available, not just any animal. Are we doing more or less by not presenting ourselves in the best possible manner. If one’s wardrobe consists only of casual clothes, there is still among them something that can be considered one’s best.

        As to 50 years ago, I would argue that indeed, they were more reverent. Suit and tie was more common in many places aside from church (note old films of people in suits at baseball games). The culture certainly did change, but out of convenience and personal comfort. The people of 50 years ago had issues with comfort as well, wouldn’t you think? But they put reverence for God (and other events) over personal comfort. I don’t see the change as a good thing, but more of a selfish one. It shows as well in how relaxed too many have become in following God’s will on a host of issues.

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  2. I’m right behind you, Neil! My husband grew up in the Methodist church and we left in August. Very sad. I really admire John Wesley.

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  3. Thank you for the post. For more on John Wesley and early Methodism, I would like to invite you to the website for the book series, The Asbury Triptych Series. The trilogy based on the life of Francis Asbury, the young protégé of John Wesley and George Whitefield, opens with the book, Black Country. The opening novel in this three-book series details the amazing movement of Wesley and Whitefield in England and Ireland as well as its life-changing effect on a Great Britain sadly in need of transformation. Black Country also details the Wesleyan movement’s effect on the future leader of Christianity in the American colonies, Francis Asbury. The website for the book series is http://www.francisasburytriptych.com. Please enjoy the numerous articles on the website. Again, thank you, for the post.

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