PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) Just days before the United Methodist Church gathers for its quadrennial global gathering, a new proposal to ban “self-avowed, practicing women” from ordination is gaining momentum.
A sizable number of delegates to the denomination’s General Conference are also seeking to defrock en masse the women ordained since the UMC first gave in to the culture of radical feminism 60 years ago.
One #Defrock4Jesus movement leader is Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Twitter-troll-in-chief Mark Tooley, who claimed proponents had secured enough votes to win. “Methodist membership has been in free fall since women’s ordination was condoned. Simple logic tells who’s to blame. We must repent and revert to the biblical understanding of women being silent in church.”
“We thought about only preventing any additional females from being ordained, but ultimately decided to pursue the most dehumanizing option,” said another advocate, Good News Movement President the Rev. Rob Renfroe. “That’s the Methodist way.”
A group of prominent local church pastors — who are also openly female — have drafted a statement opposing the loss of their jobs, but also urging unity in the broader church. “We have faithfully led our congregations, but far more important than the ability to serve God and feed our families is the unity of the denomination. We will accept God’s divine plan as revealed through this vote and, if necessary, deny our calls to ministry.”
“We are a global church, and conservative streams of Methodism are growing fastest abroad,” said Bishop Janice Riggle Huie. “I’m told female ordination rarely occurs around the world. Perhaps a less capable man should wield my bishop’s staff in Texas.”
Advocates on all sides of the issue defended their positions by quoting Methodist founder John Wesley’s famous words, “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?”
“Wesley was obviously only talking about men when he preached ‘love alike,’” Renfroe clarified.
The completely unrelated issue of ordaining openly LGBT candidates for ministry is also expected to be discussed over the next two weeks.