Faithful Ministry
fond memories

Im basically opposed to retirement! What do you do to replace a person like Jim Heidinger? It will take years to fully recognize his contribution to our United Methodist Church. And when that is recognized, it may be too late to express the gratitude he deserves. I have felt a oneness with Jim in his lovers quarrel with the church. He is among a few who have been able to keep that quarrel positive and irenic. I have never questioned his love for the church, and though not acknowledged by his detractors, he has played a major role in sustaining the unity of our denomination. The divisions within the church have elicited mean-spiritedness from all corners, but never from Jim. He is a meek spirit, a Christian gentleman, a courageous and faithful follower of Christ. Few persons are his equal in perceiving the winds of culture and their impact on the church. His writings form a prophetic witness we need to continue paying attention to.

Maxie D. Dunnam
Asbury Theological Seminary

Ever since he became President and Publisher of Good News, Jim Heidinger has been a great friend to me. He gave me constant encouragement in my efforts to reform our beloved church. He helped refine some of my more unruly ideas. He disagreed with me on some of my more preposterous proposalsalways with gentleness and grace. Jim is as thankful for his salvation in Jesus Christ as anyone I know. He expresses that gratitude through his relentless work for our church, his passion for change, and even in his patience with some of his more exasperating fellow Christians (of this, I am a witness!). Thanks be to God for the gift God gave us in Jim!

Bishop Will Willimon
North Alabama Annual Conference

Dr. James V. Heidinger II has rendered sterling service to the United Methodist tradition in his many years of service with Good News. His gracious disposition, his steady hand, his readiness to listen, and his thoughtful analysis of the work of the church have been vital in securing faithfulness to the Gospel. Above all, his sensitive, spiritual nature has been a bracing tonic to those who cherish the wellsprings of Methodist doctrine and piety. He has left a splendid legacy that will bear fruit for years to come.

William J. Abraham
Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies
Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor
Perkins School of Theology
Southern Methodist University

Jim Heidinger has been at the forefront of United Methodist renewal for many years. He has also been the key figure in bringing together the leadership of the Association for Church Renewal, which is the primary ecumenical expression of church renewal movements in North America. He has edited the leading journal for United Methodists who have a heart for renewal. In all of these things he has always shown courageous leadership, deep theological understanding, and an attitude of generosity and kindness. It has been a great privilege to me over the years to work closely with Jim Heidinger. The inception of The Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church would never have happened had Jim not brought together Bishop William Cannon, Asbury President Maxie Dunnam, and myself. His footprints are everywhere in the movements to restore integrityfinancial, theological, and spiritualto our church.

Thomas C. Oden
Henry Anson Buttz Professor Emeritus of Theology
The Theological School of Drew University

Jim Heidinger has deep commitments and strong opinions. He is a man who loves the Church and bears passionate witness to the transforming and saving grace of Jesus Christ. He keeps his promises and works to build bridges across boundary lines to advance Gods Kingdom. He has been an able and reliable contributor to projects of The United Methodist Publishing House in service to the United Methodist Church, as well as a firm yet evenhanded critic when he felt called to demur.

For over twenty years Ive known Jim as a contributor and challenger, a fan and critic. Jim may alternately oppose or endorse a particular effort in accord with his understandings and convictions. Through it all he remains consistently approachable, fair, and gracious. Dr. James V. Heidinger II is a faithful student of Scripture, a man head-over-heels in love with the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition, and a disciple who prays daily with expectation and humility as he strives earnestly to obediently love and serve Jesus Christ.

Neil M. Alexander
United Methodist Publishing House

Motivated by the love of Christ, and marked by an abundance of gifts and graces, Jim Heidinger has made a generous contribution to the ongoing life of United Methodism that will undoubtedly endure. Calling the church back to the touchstone of Scripture when it was all too eager to embrace the latest fad, Jim has written with genuine prophetic power in the pages of Good News and has amply demonstrated the love of God to both friends and detractors alike. Irenic and yet truthful, gracious and yet forthright, Jim has set a high standard for what genuine leadership in the United Methodist Church should look like in the twenty-first century. It gives me great pleasure, therefore, to join with others in honoring such a man who has given Evangelicals at least part of the voice they so richly deserve within United Methodism.

Kenneth J. Collins
Professor of Wesley Studies and Historical Theology
Asbury Theological Seminary

Jim Heidingers ministry transcends the borders of United Methodism. Those of us who contend for the faith in other denominations have received Good News from Jim. He is our generous colleague and faithful friend. We have been graced by his witness in our midst.

Parker T. Williamson
Editor Emeritus and Senior Correspondent
The Presbyterian Lay Committee

Dr. Jim Heidinger is a gifted leader and an influential voice in the confessional movement in United Methodism, a godly and a cheerful man thoroughly committed to spiritual growth and development in the Wesleyan holiness tradition. As president and publisher of Good News, he will be missed, yet we look forward to his continued involvement with the Good News organization and his sage counsel in other arenas of United Methodism. We at Asbury College miss his insights and leadership on our board of trustees where he served ably from 1979 through 2007, as our board secretary during most of those years. An alumnus of Asbury College, Dr. Heidinger also took a turn as president of our alumni board. His leadership and expertise have served us all so well throughout his career. Our grateful thanks to Jim Heidinger.

Sandra C. Gray
Asbury College

I am pleased to join the chorus of tributes to Jim Heidinger. Few people have ever loved a denomination, warts and all, like Jim has loved the United Methodist Church; and few people have ever labored harder, or longer, for a denominations renewal.

How did Jim do? His vision was not, in his career, fully realized. When, however, you compare the UM Church with the other mainline denominations who do not have strong renewal organizations or movements within their ranks, you can glimpse what the UM Church would have become by now without the reach and energy of Good News in the years of his leadership.

Through the turbulence of the last quarter century, Jim even showed us what it is like to love orthodox Christianitys enemies.

George Hunter
Distinguished Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth
Asbury Theological Seminary

Jim has been a friend and mentor for nearly 20 years. When I was fresh out of college and newly active in United Methodist affairs, especially concerned about the Board of Global Ministries, Jim was encouraging and supportive from the start. We first met face to face at a Good News convocation in 1990. Jim played some role in my joining the Good News team at the 1992 General Conference, and soon afterwards joining the Good News board. Since joining the Institute on Religion and Democracy as its United Methodist director in 1994, Jim and I have worked continuously together on United Methodist renewal, and we have now been to five General Conferences together! So many get weary in the struggle, but Jim is unfailingly steady, gracious, and indefatigable. Across nearly three decades he has become the premier leader of United Methodist renewal. The whole church and the renewal movements owe him a huge debt of gratitude. I pray Jim is not fully retired and remains actively engaged in church renewal, enjoying the fruits of his faithful labors.

Mark Tooley
Institute on Religion and Democracy

Jim Heidingers love for the United Methodist Church, the broader mainline denominations, and the entire Body of Christ is almost palpable. He uniquely combines that with an irenic spirit wedded to a backbone of iron. Those traits have served our denomination well, helping to hold her faithful to the original Wesleyan vision. Well done, good and faithful servant. Its been a joy to work with you over the last several years.

Karen Booth
Executive Director
Transforming Congregations

Jim Heidingers Christian commitment and professional competence are matched only by his unassuming humility and servant spirit. Because Jim never brags on himself, others need to do so. Jim, I extend congratulations to you for your years of service to the UM Church and your faithfulness to the biblical revelation. Your charity, insight, and wisdom combine to bless others beyond the telling. May your future years of ministry be powerful and productive. Christ has chosen and appointed you to go and bear fruitfruit that will last (John 15:16).

Kenneth Cain Kinghorn
Emeritus Professor of Church History and Historical Preaching

Asbury Theological Seminary

Were told change is good, but in Jim Heidingers retiring from Good News, count me a skeptic. Thats not a judgment on Jims successor, but rather a tribute to what Jim has meant to this remarkable publication.

Ive said Good News is the finest Methodist magazine published in the USA, that its independence of the General Church makes its accomplishments all the more extraordinarya tribute to Jim, and to all the wonderful men and women of faith who have made its history possible.

I have a special affection for Jim, one arising from his willingness to publish my articles, knowing that not many bylines from self-confessed Kennedy Democrats appear in Good News. But he knows, as do I, politics are a distant second to our shared devotion to James Arminius and John Wesley.

The United Methodist Church is in free fall, in large measure because it has identity angst. Good News, conversely, remains a vibrant magazine because it has no such identity crisis; Good News knows that no matter how much the world changes you cannot compromise fundamental beliefs.

Jim Heidinger and all responsible for Good News are owed a great debt; they know that eternal values triumph. I love Jim and Im grateful for his friendship and acceptance of me as a brother in Christ. I wish for him joyous years ahead.

George Mitrovich
The City Club of San Diego and The Denver Forum

For the past 28 years Jim Heidinger II has been the central face and voice of reform within the United Methodist Church. His Good News movement and magazine have given thousands of orthodox believers enough hope to remain in the denomination. I suspect that without Jim Heidinger the United Methodist Church would have at least one million fewer members. Though his writings have denounced heresies with biting specificity, he has been so utterly winsome that only a genuine grouch could really dislike him. He illustrates what it means to contend for the faith without being contentious. He speaks the truth in love. His love for our Methodist heritage is unexcelled.

One of the Disciplinary tasks assigned to bishops is to guard the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the Church. While many bishops have been unable or unwilling to render this service, Jim Heidinger has demonstrated how it should be done. He really believes what The Book of Discipline declares, that the Holy Bible is the true rule and guide for faith and practice.

Jim has never labored for any other reward other than hearing his Savior say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. How blessed we are to have had him serve among us!

Bill Bouknight
Former senior minister
Christ United Methodist Church
Memphis, Tennessee

Dr. Jim Heidinger is a man for all seasons as well as a man of many talents. However, from my vantage point, Jim is the quintessential churchman. More than fifteen years ago, when Barbara and I moved to Lexington, Kentucky, we were invited by a neighbor to attend Sunday worship with them. Discovering that they were members of First United Methodist Church, we readily agreed. They then extended their invitation to include visiting their adult Sunday school class. You can imagine our surprise as we turned down the hallway only to find Jim Heidinger welcoming the class members! Needless to say, we not only transferred our membership but joined the class taught by Jim. Throughout the time we belonged to First Church, only out of town engagements kept Jim from his weekly appointment with the class. He is an outstanding and imaginative teacher, opening the Scriptures to his class members in clear and orthodox terms. He has a unique ability to clarify the difficult and to explicate the simple. Jim has a great love for the Church Universal and the United Methodist Church, but his love of the Church is demonstrated through his service to a specific church, First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. His various roles throughout the years have been undergirded by his churchmanship, giving him the strength to persevere in all seasons.

James W. Holsinger
College of Public Health
University of Kentucky

When I became the Executive Director of The Confessing Movement in January of 1997, no one was more helpful and supportive than Dr. Jim Heidinger. He readily shared information with me and provided invaluable guidance. Jims 28 years of ministry have been unparalleled, having had an enormous impact on the renewal efforts within the United Methodist Church. He brought exceptional growth to Good News and the Association for Church Renewal and tirelessly fought for doctrinal integrity within the church. Not only will he be leaving his mark on the renewal movement, but also on those with whom he worked and had personal dealings. Jim is a gentleman, a man of great integrity, and a faithful servant of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His leadership of Good News will be missed. However, I am confident his passion for the renewal of our beloved Methodist Church will not dim and Jim will continue fighting the good fight. I would like to personally say thank you for everything Jim has done and has yet to do for the heavenly kingdom.

Patricia Miller
Executive Director
The Confessing Movement

I am grateful for the courageous stand in the United Methodist Church that Jim Heidinger has taken over the years to defend the male-female requirement for acceptable sexual relations affirmed by Jesus and the whole of Scripture. I know from first-hand experience that taking such a stand can be a difficult one. It invites the ire of the liberal left wing of the church like few other issues. Sometimes even the orthodox center runs for cover when the shells from the left explode, leaving the defenders of Jesus vision of marriage vulnerable to character assassination. I salute Jims front-line service in which he has fought the good fight (1 Tim 1:18; 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7). Thank you, Jim.

Robert A. J. Gagnon
Associate Professor of New Testament
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Jim loves the Lord and the Church. He has given leadership at many levels and has always been an advocate for the orthodox tenets of our faith. I am proud to call him my friend. While working on an international stage of the UM Church he is known in Kentucky for his dedication to his local church and the Sunday school class he has taught for years arranging his travel so he could be home to be with his small group on the Sabbath.

Bishop Lindsey Davis
Kentucky Annual Conference

And now, at the beginning of his retirement, let us praise a faithful, ordained ministerJames V. Heidinger II. Throughout the United Methodist Church, certain clergy are understood as statesmen of the church. Too often, men and women so described simply look out for the statistical well-being of their own congregations, conferences, and denomination. Jim Heidinger is a real statesman of the church because he keeps evangelical faith in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for the salvation of the world, located in the more catholic context of the church. In part, because of God working through Jims ministry, United Methodism experiences no small amount of reform and renewal. In addition, because Jims renewal ministry is dedicated to the renewal of the United Methodist Church, his ministry is always tied to the Church, her Word and Sacraments, her tradition and history, her doctrine and morals, her glory and failure, her faithfulness and faithlessness. Because of Jims wise theological guidance, United Methodist renewal efforts do not often wander into the Jesus-and-me fever swamps, entrepreneurial side shows, or political overreaches that plague Evangelical Protestantism in America. Jim Heidinger is a brother in Christ and a fellow laborer in Christs Church. Now, Jim, please, leave us your cell phone number, your email address, and your mailing address. You might be officially retired, but you still have much to offer Christs Church.

Paul T. Stallsworth
Lifewatch, President and Editor
St. Peters United Methodist Church
Morehead City, North Carolina

Jim Heidinger has served the United Methodist Church faithfully even when it was not popular or welcomed to deliver his insights. This is a true mark of dedication and love. While many of us have been contemplating, hes been doing. Put his work over the years together and I simply know of no one who has come even close to having the impact on the UM Church as Jim Heidinger. No matter what our insights are, we all need to seriously consider following his lead. Thanks Jim, you have fought the good fight and kept the faith. We thank God for your ministry and witness.

Joe Whittemore
United Methodist layperson
Hartwell, Georgia

For some years I knew Jim Heidinger only by his reputation as the editor of Good News, with all the acclaimpositive and negativethat comes with such a role. It was after I came to know him personally that I discovered what a Christian gentleman he is. His patience and kindness, and constant willingness to lend all his gifts and strength to the renewal of the Church come through in every conversation with him. Along with many others, I join my congratulations to him on his retirement, and offer my gratitude for his faithful service to United Methodism.

Leicester R. Longden
Associate Professor of Evangelism & Discipleship
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

I remember when I first met Jim. Alan Padget and I were in central Kentucky for a John Wesleys Fellows Christmas Conference at Shakertown, and we met with Jim at his Good News office to congratulate him on his new executive position, to talk about Catalyst (which was then funded by Good News), and to wish him well. We expressed our concern that, living as he would on the front lines, he might become overwhelmed by the difficulties of the ministry of renewal and pledged to pray for him. He responded with humility and statesmanshipa rare combination!as he spoke of his sense of call to this work. Alan and I came away from that initial meeting with the strong sense that the Church and our commitments to renewal would be well-served by this new leader of Good News. We could hardly have foreseen how significant Jims work would be, though. I found his columns sometimes surreal in their descriptions of what was happening in our connection, and often said a prayer of thanks to God for Jims awareness, insight, and perspective, as well as for the loyalty and integrity he embodied in his many years of leadership. Jim, we have come to know, is the real thing, and we are stronger, better, more faithful as a result of his ministry. Thanks, Jim!

Joel B. Green
Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies
Professor of New Testament Interpretation
Fuller Theological Seminary

When the United Methodist Church recovers its health as a faithful, evangelical Christian Church, the great leadership of our dear friend, Jim Heidinger, will be one of the major reasons.

Jims long-term, persevering leadership of Good News and the broad UM reform and renewal movement has won the respect of all of us who have worked with him. Jim has faithfully served Christ and his Church, with vision and insight. Like a wise doctor who carefully diagnoses a serious illness and prescribes the right treatment, Jim has identified and exposed the UM Churchs doctrinal amnesia and Scriptural unfaithfulness and has prescribed the needed reforms.

Jims unselfishness and absence of egotism have also won respect. Jim is a visible and effective leader, but he has done major reform work quietly and without publicity, giving the credit to God and to others.

We will greatly miss Jim as he begins his well-deserved retirement, but we trust the UM reform and renewal movement will continue to be blessed by Jims excellent analysis and writing and his strong commitment.

Dave and Jeanie Stanley
Chairman and Members of UM Action Steering Committee
Co-Chair and Directors of Methodist Laity Reform Movement (Iowa)


Join Our Mailing List!

Click here to sign up to our email lists:

•Perspective Newsletter (weekly)
• Transforming Congregations Newsletter (monthly)
• Renew Newsletter (monthly)

Make a Gift

Global Methodist Church

Is God Calling You For More?


Latest Articles: