A group of breakaway Methodists announced the formation of the Liberation Methodist Connexion (LMX) on Sunday, November 29, further fracturing what was once the United Methodist Church, as the farthest left portion of believers take their leave.
The LMX website declares that the denomination seeks to build God’s “kin-dom”—I guess the word “Kingdom,” despite being Scriptural, must be problematically patriarchal or something—by “refut[ing] the imbalance of powers, principalities, and privileges that has plagued Methodism: colonialism, white supremacy, economic injustices, patriarchy, sexism, clericalism, ableism, ageism, transphobia, and heteronormativity.” The LMX also affirms a variety of lifestyles, including obesity, drug use, and promiscuity, as “God-given identities and expressions.”
Whether or not LMX Christians still recite the Nicene Creed, these woke buzzwords constitute their true statement of faith. The denomination’s website even states explicitly that LMX theology “is not written in stone.” In other words, the LMX will gladly adapt its beliefs to whatever ideas are termed progressive in the secular sphere at any given time. LMX leaders call themselves “collaborators,” and it is a fitting epithet, deserving of all the connotations it carried in Nazi-occupied France.
The “X” in “Connexion” is, according to one source, a throwback to the spelling used by John Wesley, who founded Methodism in the 1700s and who is probably spinning in his grave, as well as a reference to the Greek letter Chi, which is commonly used as an abbreviation for Christ (as in “X-mas.”) I also suspect that it’s another instance of the cultural left’s penchant for adding unnecessary X’s to words. Think “Latinx,” “folx,” and “womxn.”
The LMX seems to be made up exclusively of the kind of people who use such terms. Indeed, the first word of its name, “Liberation,” in an intentional reference to liberation theology, a movement founded in the 1960s by Latin American Catholics attempting to fuse Christianity and Marxism.
It is true that Christianity is more than a set of theological boxes to be checked. Christ’s teachings are radical and subversive. They demand an active commitment to aiding the marginalized, orthopraxy (right action) in addition to orthodoxy (right belief).
The problem with movements like the LMX, however admirable their compassion may be, is that they completely abandon truth. If concern for the downtrodden is everything and truth is nothing, then Lenin will serve just as well as Christ. Cut off from the moorings of Christian dogma, these liberationists are “carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Evangelism is replaced by activism, God’s Kingdom by delusions of manmade utopia, personal sin by systemic injustice, and chastity by sexual licentiousness.
This schism takes place in the context of a larger, forthcoming schism in the United Methodist Church, America’s largest Protestant denomination. The UMC voted at its March 2019 General Conference in favor of the “Traditional Plan,” upholding Christian sexual morality and rejecting same-sex marriage and LGBT+ clergy members.
Although most American United Methodists are theological liberals, the denomination also has a large presence in Africa made up mostly of theological conservatives. The African United Methodists were thus able to ally with the American traditionalist minority to secure a victory at the Conference.
Soon after, the split was announced. The Africans and the American traditionalist minority will get $25 million to kickstart a new, more theologically conservative Methodist denomination, while the American majority will keep the UMC name and be free to pursue a pro-gay agenda unrestrained by inconveniently minded Africans.
This move is ironic, because UMC’s liberal American bishops, who recently hired White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo to lecture them on white privilege, apparently have trouble listening to, or even worshipping alongside, people of color who disagree with them.
For the LMX, though, the UMC still wasn’t woke enough.
A Methodist acquaintance of mine described them as a “misguided” group who are only “[v]aguely Methodist if at all” and have “submerged” Christianity “under a flood of leftist political interests.” He seems glad to be rid of them.
Fortunately, the LMX is also a fairly small group. According to UM News, the LMX’s inaugural gathering attracted about 400 people and collaborators have so far “declined to say how many congregations or people are part of the new denomination” because “they do not want to equate worth with volume.”
This statement may be a dodge, but it is admirably consistent with their stance against fatphobia.
Grayson Quay is a freelance writer. His work has been published in The National Interest, Reason, and The American Conservative. He earned his M.A. in English literature from Georgetown University in 2019.