It’s a strange name, isn’t it, because “new” and “traditional” don’t seem to go together? John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement in 18th Century England, in his pamphlet, The Character of a Methodist, said quite simply that a Methodist is a Christian not in name only but in heart and life, renewed inwardly and outwardly by the Holy Spirit to grow more and more into the image of God. He wrote that Methodism is “plain old Bible religion”. Methodists seek wholeheartedly to live the Christian life as described in the Bible.
The “new Traditionalist Methodist denomination” is emerging because the existing United Methodist Church has decided it wants a different kind of “Christianity” that is not bound by the authority of Scripture, is not accountably connected to the global Christian community, and will not be aligned with the “communion of saints” who have gone before us as followers of Jesus through the past twenty centuries.
Pending the actions of the next United Methodist General Conference in Minneapolis (2021), the United Methodist Church will allow for the departure of laity, clergy, congregations, and annual conferences that want to continue to worship, witness, and serve in alignment with “plain old Bible religion” so that the Post-Separation United Methodist Church can pursue a vision of “progressive Christianity”. Those who do not want to pursue this vision of “progressive Christianity” are the believers who will form this new Traditionalist form of Methodism. (For more on Progressive Christianity see our “overview” section of the website for a slide presentation that provides some helpful background as well as important information about the choices before congregations and individual United Methodists in Northern Illinois Conference).