January-February 2013

Civil rights and Dr. King

By Kenneth J. Collins
A year after President John F. Kennedy called out the troops to quell the riots surrounding James Meredith – the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi – the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested on April 16, 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama. Growing up in a Baptist church in which his father was a pastor, King learned early on that the Christian faith is a universal religion that transcends race, ethnicity, gender, social class, or cultural origin.

Modern day martyr

By Maidstone Mulenga
Delegates at the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church May 1 declared the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a modern-day martyr. The historic vote was in keeping with a decision at the 2008 General Conference giving the German theologian the Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer the same distinction.

Editorial: What Does Love Require?

By Rob Renfroe
Recently Dr. Timothy Tennent posted an article on seedbed.com entitled “Why the Church is So Concerned with Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexual Ordination.” As president of Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. Tennent’s article was thoughtful, insightful and reserved. In all of his writings, he has a wonderful way of making his point without belittling or condemning those with whom he disagrees.

Putting Aside Your Prison Clothes

By B.J. Funk
Want to read a book better than the latest mystery novel you have read? Then, grab your Bible and feast your eyes on the intriguing 25 chapters of Second Kings! There you will find plenty of evil, hatred, and wickedness. Throw in war, cruelty, power, the desensitizing of right and wrong, and you have the ingredients that fill most of the best sellers on our book shelves. Add a famine so deadly that mothers eat their own children, mix in idolatry, conspiracy, murder, destruction, nauseating self-love, and you are standing in the middle of the reasons for Israel’s defeat. The intriguing story goes on and on, a tug of war between those who served God with a passion and those who led the Israelites astray.

The Impact of Incarnational Ministry

By Reed Haigler Hoppe

“You know, in 1978 we stoned a missionary here. Killed him. We haven’t allowed anyone else in here since then…until you guys. You are different. It’s not your words, it’s your actions. We love you. We’re really glad that you came.” –Peruvian Woman

Evangelicals Team Up Across Denominations

By Barbara Dunlap-Berg
Evangelical United Methodist groups are teaming up with evangelical groups in other mainline Protestant denominations to share resources. Some of these evangelicals are working toward reform within their denominations. Others are in the process of splitting to form new denominations. The leaders have covenanted to engage in joint ministries and to explore cooperatively planting churches and sending missionaries, offering incubator facilities to support new church plants, providing theological education and sharing space with dislocated congregations.

Seeking the Love that Heals

By Karen Booth
Over a decade ago the Lord called me out of the local pastorate and into a ministry of sexual redemption, healing, and transformation. God invited and commissioned me to help Him equip local churches to become “cities of refuge” for the sexually confused and broken — communities where the truth about God’s will for human sexuality is taught and modeled and where those who sin and fall short are compassionately restored to righteous, holy life. I have to admit that I’ve sometimes doubted whether or not I heard God accurately. And I get discouraged when I consider the wealth of evangelical talent, treasure, and energy that has had to be devoted to defending a biblically faithful sexual ethic.

The Philosophy Of …

By Elizabeth Glass Turner
Over the past 20 years – and that covers a host of Incredible Hulk and Spiderman movies – many evangelicals have reexamined how we approach popular culture as individuals and as a church. Not that long ago, innumerable conservative ministries held prominent sway in the way we evangelicals thought of modern North American culture (think “Murphy Brown”), issuing tallies of the number of curse words used in certain sitcoms in their household newsletters.

Money Well Spent? The Future of Theological Education

By Thomas A. Lambrecht
Would you pay $149,000 for one seminary graduate? That is what The United Methodist Church did in 2011. According to statistics released in April by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the 13 official United Methodist seminaries received a total of $14,461,705 in Ministerial Education Fund money from our apportionments in 2011 and graduated 337 persons into ordained ministry. That averages out to $42,900 per ordinand.

Missional Leaders for the Church

By Timothy C. Tennent
Demographics don’t lie, you just have to be willing to listen to them. For example, if China has 90 million believers, but the vast majority of those believers are under 30 years old and the United States has 90 million evangelicals and the majority of those are over 50, then there is a demographic story which is gradually unfolding which is not “heard” when one is simply looking at raw statistics of Christian affiliation.