November-December 2009

The marks of Christ and his Church

By Jason E. Vickers The United Methodist (EUB) Confession of Faith identifies four marks of the church: oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. These four marks are not original with the Confession of Faith. They derive directly from the Nicene Creed (325 AD), and therefore they originate in the theological reflections of the early church fathers. […]

Actualizing the Holy Spirit

By Shane Raynor I have a deep conviction that the answer to many of our struggles in the Christian faith lies in our understanding of the Holy Spirit. The walls we often hit (and who hasn’t hit a spiritual wall at some point?) would fall if we took full advantage of the very gift God […]

You can’t argue with a changed life

By Liza Kittle If I had a nickel for every time Steve Dodson, my friend and former pastor, said those words, I would probably have at least a thousand dollars. It was truly one of his mantras and has become one of my own as well. I was reminded of this truth at a women’s […]

What we speak and what they hear

By Duffy Robbins There’s a brilliant French TV commercial from the French film industry promoting the notion that people need to see a movie in the theater to fully understand the movie. To really get the point of the spot, you have to understand that the documentary film, March of the Penguins, released here in […]

Church and Society webzine: Sex outside of marriage can be “moral, ethical”

By Joseph Slife A sex-education column in a recent issue of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society’s web-based publication, Faith in Action, argues that persons can have “a moral, ethical sexual relationship” outside of the covenant of marriage—a position that stands in clear opposition to both historic Christian teaching and the language […]

Examining your glasses

By Frank Decker We were nearing the conclusion of a training session in which I was teaching about the Kingdom of God when the hand of a South American pastor shot up. “So, does someone have to be a Protestant to be saved?” he asked. His question was obviously born from uneasiness that had been […]

The punk rock Orthodox priest

By Steve Beard The symbolism was profoundly countercultural. When Sergei Rybko lumbered onto the stage in between rock bands at a dingy nightclub in Moscow, his appearance was sure to provoke a whiplashed double-take. Draped in a flowing black cassock and adorned with a massive gold cross, 49-year-old Rybko sports a shiny bald head and […]

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor Oddly uncharacteristic I was recently in a Sunday school class (not Methodist) where the notion of predestination was presented as absolute biblical fact. As someone who is passionate about overseas missions, I obviously don’t cotton too well to the idea that our salvation was decided even before our birth. So, I was […]

Book Review of Wesley: A Guide for the Perplexed

By Andrew D. Kinsey “What makes John Wesley so perplexing?” That opening question sets the stage for Jason Vickers’ stimulating new book, Wesley: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum). Associate Professor of Theology and Wesley Studies at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Vickers points to three perplexities. First, despite Wesley’s insistence to preach “plain truth […]

Dancing in the furnace

By B.J. Funk When my children were younger, I received a few of those “Everything is perfect in our world” Christmas letters from well-meaning friends. I was happy for them. It’s just that their good news made me even more conscious that I had the opposite. My boys and I were struggling to get from […]