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Sunday, July 21, 2024


Disaffiliation from the United Methodist Denomination

By Art Hall

I spoke before the board of the First United Methodist Church of Cape May Court House recently on the topic of Disaffiliation From the United Methodist denomination. Many churches have disaffiliated because the denomination has changed its foundational documents and no longer adheres to the supremacy of the Bible. Following is a clarified restatement of my remarks.

Two centuries ago, our Christian forebears founded this church with Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures as its cornerstone. Today, the denomination we once allied with has diverged, making fundamental changes to this foundation. The majority of our church members and attendees find these changes unacceptable, leading us to explore disaffiliation.

But what does it mean to explore disaffiliation? Do we only consider it if the cost is low, and the demands are minimal? Christ made it unequivocally clear that following Him comes with a high price — a price many have paid with their lives, willingly, because of His sacrifice for our eternal salvation.

When we talk about exploring disaffiliation, the focus often shifts to financial concerns — paying for the building or the impact on our pastor’s retirement. These are valid issues, but they are not the core question. The core question is: What does the Lord require of us to be His followers? From there, we must resolve to do what He requires, trusting Him to be with us every step of the way. He is either all-sufficient or He is not. If He is not, why are we here? He is not God.

We are not here to debate if Christ is worth the cost. Let me be clear, this is not about being pro- or anti-gay, as some argue. My prayer is that we remain a church that holds the Holy Scriptures sacred, and a church filled with everybody; we are all sinners in need of God’s Grace.

We are disaffiliating from a denomination that now views the Bible as only a guide, and not as the unalterable Word of God. But we cannot build the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ on this altered foundation. Revelation 22:19 warns that anyone who takes away from God’s Word will lose their share in the tree of life. Matthew 7:24-27 teaches us to build our foundation on the rock, practicing what we hear, lest we become foolish builders on sand. Proverbs 3:5-6 urges us not to lean on our own understanding, which is precisely what today’s culture does.

Acts 4:19 reminds us that Peter and John chose to listen to God rather than men who commanded them to act contrary to God’s will. This is what the Methodist denomination is asking of us — to act against what God the Lord, through the Holy Scriptures, tells us to do.

We have a wonderful, strong Christian body. If we follow Christ’s way, He will be faithful to draw all men unto Him, filling our walls with people seeking His truth. This won’t happen if we take an expedient course of action; we will merely become another dwindling church.

My attorney advises that we might own the building under the concept of beneficial trust, meaning those who paid for the building truly own it. Regarding our pastor’s retirement, he might retire now or be transferred to another church. Financial concerns are significant, but not the foundation of our decision. Our God is not constrained by resources; He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Let us stand firm in our faith, resolve to follow Christ wholeheartedly, and trust in His provision and guidance.

ED. NOTE: Art and Patricia Hall were years-long members of the First United Methodist Church of Cape May Court House.

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