Earlier this year Billy Abraham and I published a book together called Key United Methodist Beliefs. The book started out simply as a catechism, but soon morphed into a ten chapter account of the Christian faith from a Wesleyan perspective. Obviously, you don't write that kind of book unless the Church's central doctrinal heritage is important to you. In fact, for both of us, it is quite important, and we are concerned about the loss of this heritage over the last 45 years in the UMC.
To be clear, one can find abundant good in the UMC and the Wesleyan/Methodist movement more broadly. We have long been a socially minded people. A recent example of this is the Imagine No Malaria campaign. We have, at times, been incredibly effective evangelists. One could think of the Wesleyan movement as the longest sustained revival in history. We have produced many fine educational institutions. In fact, according to GBHEM, there are over 700 Wesleyan schools, colleges, and universities worldwide. Yet one place where we haven't done as well, particularly in the UMC, is in defining our doctrinal commitments. This is an area for continued work and improvement.
On October 26, Dr. Abraham and I will speak at United Theological Seminary on the importance of core, historic Christian beliefs within the UMC. The discussion will take as its point of departure the book that we wrote together. This event is sponsored jointly by United Theological Seminary and the Evangelical Fellowship of West Ohio. If you have any interest in discussing these matters, I hope you can make it. To learn more about the event, click here.