From Publishers Weekly
Methodist bishop and noted preacher Willimon (Pastor
, and, with Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens
), opens his lucid and thought-provoking overview of Methodist beliefs with the counterintuitive claim that Jesus actually wasn't principally concerned about beliefs. He wanted people to follow him, not necessarily assent to a set of "cool intellectual propositions" about him. Still, Methodists do have doctrines, which Willimon feels are worthy, God-given guideposts to following Jesus. Willimon first tackles the Trinity, underscoring that "a decisive change in the human heart can and does occur under the prompting of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit." He then moves on to Methodist beliefs about Jesus, salvation, grace and good works. Especially important is his chapter on the church, where, reprising themes that pervade his earlier writing, Willimon argues that although Americans desire to go the spiritual life alone, Methodism teaches that people become most fully conformed to Christ when they are part of the larger ecclesial body. Methodist church life, says Willimon, is a tad schizophrenic, appreciating order while also seeking "radical renewal." Written with Willimon's characteristic dry wit, this highly readable book brings to life doctrines that in other hands would seem dry and dusty. Willimon has produced the most insightful introduction to Methodism available today. (May)
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About the Author
William H. Willimon
is the Presiding Bishop of the Birmingham Area of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. Recognized as one of the most effective preachers in the English-speaking world, he is the author of several books, including United Methodist Beliefs: A Brief Introduction
and The Early Preaching of Karl Barth
, both published by WJK.