A Mighty Little Luther

By Steve Beard An astounding 34,000 mini Martin Luther action figures were sold out within the first 72 hours of availability. The smiling Reformer toy made by Playmobil was created as a kitchy keepsake for German tourist boards and Bavarian Lutherans to mark the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017. “I’m used […]

Editorial: Doing the Hard Things

It’s hard to do hard things. And people don’t like doing things that are hard. So often they do nothing or turn to something easy that only makes matters worse. What has Congress done to address our national debt that is now over $18 trillion and growing by more than a billion dollars a day? […]

The Sting of Easter

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” (I Corinthians 15: 54-55). Surrounded by beautiful people festooned in pastel finery, that […]

The God Who Interrupts My Plans

By B.J. Funk – Being a planner has its disadvantages. When a plan doesn’t go as I hoped, I sometimes struggle. Just this morning, I awoke and thought, “Need to map out my day.” That’s when Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s quote came to mind. “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” That […]

Disappearing General Conference Delegates

By Walter Fenton – As the majority of United Methodist annual conferences in the U.S. prepare this spring to elect delegates to the 2016 General Conference (GC), many are discovering they will have fewer delegates to elect. At its Fall 2013 meeting the church’s General Commission on General Conference (GCGC) voted to make a 12.5 […]

Remembering Lyle

By Scott N. Field – When I attended seminary I took classes in Biblical Languages, Biblical Studies, Church History, Historical Theology, Systematic Theology, Preaching, Counseling, Clinical Pastoral Education, Doctrine and Polity, and, as something of an afterthought, a course on Church Administration (affectionately known as “Paper Pushing 101”). My mind was filled with Big Ideas. […]

The Character of a Loving God

By Jerry Walls – John Wesley and John Calvin both believed in divine sovereignty, predestination, and election. They did, however, understand these great biblical doctrines in very different ways. Here is an argument I have developed to bring the heart of the difference into focus. I call it the “Calvinist Conundrum.” It is a simple […]

Looking Forward, Looking Back

By Donald Haynes – Jorge Santyana wrote in the 1930s, “If we do not know history, we are condemned to repeat it.” History is not a boring recitation of dates and personalities; history is revelatory of events and ideas that were wrong and have proved costly. Church history is no exception. Methodism was already the […]

Singing Our Doctrine

By Les Longden – The hymns of Charles Wesley enable us to see more clearly the Trinitarian foundations of early Methodist doctrine and teaching. Charles, no less than his brother John, read deeply in the theological literature of his day. Yet Charles always found a way to transpose academic argument into the language of praise […]

Book Review: A Change of Heart

By Jason Vickers – Over the last 60 years or so, few United Methodist theologians have been as influential as Thomas C. Oden. His pioneering work in pastoral theology, pastoral care and counseling, patristic exegesis, Wesley studies, and systematic theology have a profound influence on at least two generations of scholars and clergy. Even today, […]