This morning my essay, “Real Methodism” was published on Firebrand. The article describes my yearning for the rediscovery of real Methodism, not the cheap imitation we have tolerated for far too long.
Here is the beginning of the piece:
Major changes are coming to United Methodism. The denomination has been moving toward division since it was formed in 1968. Indeed, one way to read the history of the Wesleyan movement in the United States is as a history of division.
There is much to lament these days if you are United Methodist. In fact, one of the few things that seems to unite virtually all United Methodists is their common lament and mutual awareness that the denomination is not healthy. I cannot remember the last time I met a United Methodist leader who was proud of the current state of the denomination. And many people, clergy and laity, have left the denomination. It is devastating to see the negative impact the church itself has had on many people’s faith. This isn’t new. But we must never grow numb or calloused to such a devastating failure…
I hope you will check it out! Read the article here.
In addition to letting you know about this piece, I want to encourage you to check out Firebrand. I was honored to be asked to serve on the editorial board. Firebrand is connected to Spirit & Truth, a ministry that just keeps growing and producing fruit.
Firebrand launched on June 1, 2020. And has published some excellent essays over its first four months. Firebrand affirms four core values:
The authority of Scripture
The Nicene-Chalcedonian faith
The Wesleyan tradition
The cultivation of intellectual virtue
In his essay “Why Firebrand,” David F. Watson describes the founding vision for this online publication:
Firebrand is not a place for bilious screeds, sophomoric conspiracy theories, or personal attack. We want to provide something different than any of these: a venue for virtuous public conversations about matters of theology and praxis, all in relation to the historic doctrines and practices of the body of Christ, and particularly the Wesleyan tradition.
Given the goals of Firebrand, it is likely you will not agree with every article they publish. But I hope you will consistently find content that is worth engaging and wrestling with. I hope it helps you think more clearly and carefully about your faith and how to best apply it in such a time as this.
The Wesleyan tradition has been under the radar for too long in American Christianity. In many ways this has been our own fault. We have not offered coherence or conviction. Worse, we have often claimed that the alternatives were virtuous.
I hope to see Firebrand serve the kind of role that First Things or The Gospel Coalition has been at their very best.
I hope to see careful and faithful thinking from the best thought leaders in the Wesleyan world that seeks to serve and nourish the church.
And they are off to a great start!
For more of my thoughts on the future of Methodism check out:
The one key doctrine we must recover: “The Treasure God Has Entrusted to Methodism”
On the importance of getting the details of Methodism right: “Methodism Is in the Details: Moving from Breadth Back to Depth”
Five predictions for the future of Methodism: “The Future of American Methodism”
Here is the kind of pastor I hope my children have when they are adults: “The Pastor I Hope My Children Will Have”
Kevin M. Watson is a professor at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He teaches, writes, and preaches to empower community, discipleship, and stewardship of our heritage. Click here to get future posts emailed to you.