The most recent issue of the Contact, the newspaper for the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church, mentions Craig Kennet Miller’s book 7 Myths of the United Methodist Church. I have not read the book, but find the list of myths to be interesting, especially the “myth” that the church is dying. At first glance, this book seems to be marketing itself to make the argument that the United Methodist Church is doing fine and we shouldn’t be so worried about things. However, looking a bit more carefully, the arguments of the book seem to be more subtle and it actually looks as if Miller may be attempting to strip away some of the myths that prevent United Methodism from being renewed.

If nothing else, I am interested, and will make a note to check this book out in the future. It would seem to be a vital contribution to our UM context if it helps the Church to recognize that we are not in great shape and we need to overcome some of the myths that have led to the, if nothing else, numerical decline of the denomination. However, there seems to me to be a significant group in contemporary United Methodism that stubbornly insists, in the face of all the evidence, that United Methodism is not in decline and people are worrying about nothing. In fact, I might be tempted to argue that given how far United Methodism has moved away from its heritage (Where is the method in United Methodism?) that if it is not dying, it is at least turning into something that would be unrecognizable by the early Methodists.

Have you read 7 Myths of the United Methodist Church? What was your reaction to the book? How would you characterize what Miller is trying to do in the book?