Along with other United Methodist Church member congregations, the Christ Church Memphis is leaving amidst the homosexuality rift. The Christian Post reported that the church voted to disaffiliate with the UMC, with 941 in favor, 101 opposed, and with one abstaining. This comes as a huge loss for the UMC as it is known as the “flagship” congregation in Memphis.
The pastor of the church said that the vote to disaffiliate was caused by the continuous failure of the denomination to reconcile the beliefs of the member churches. He added that ‘disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church is the best path forward for Christ Church as we seek to proliferate the Gospel and make disciples.’
In the article, it says that the church is setting up a team of church leaders to decide the next steps of the church. As of now, it still has to answer questions such as its prospects of joining a different denomination or becoming nondenominational.
Schism in the United Methodist Church
Bishop Bill McAlilly said that the UMC is saddened anytime it learns about a church leaving the denomination. He added that as of now there are misrepresentations of the theology of the UMC as there are people who would like to create a false narrative of the denomination.
McAlilliy also said that the church is global, connectional, and committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ.
The wave of UMC churches disaffiliating comes from the issues within the denomination when it comes to the official rules of marriage and ordination of the church. Apparently, there are churches that refused to follow the rules, citing principles and views as the cause.
As such, the Global Methodist Church was created and former UMC churches are shifting to the new denomination.
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Christ Church Memphis
On the page of Christ Church Memphis, it says that it is a church that glorifies God by making, maturing, and mobilizing disciples for Jesus Christ.
As for the beliefs of the church, it says that it believes in God the Father Almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ as its Lord. Also, it believes that salvation can only come by confession and accepting Jesus Christ. However, the church says that it does not believe that it has everything figured out.
It also uses the Bible to answer moral, social, and theological issues through the lens of the Methodist heritage. It further believes that it is the true rule and guidance for faith and practice.
Paul Lawler is the current Senior Pastor of the Christ Church. He is a graduate of the Asbury Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity Degree. On his LinkedIn account, it says that before his post at Christ Church, he served as a founding pastor of a church in Huntsville, Alabama for 16 years.
He is also an experienced speaker and church planter who has been integral in various Christian movements. Over the years, he helped in the creation of over 200 churches on four different continents. For these efforts, he received the Denman Evangelism Award by the United Methodists of North Alabama.
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