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Methodism And Politics in the Twentieth Century Hardcover – January 18, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Demonstrating the skills of both a careful researcher and a gifted writer, Mark Tooley has crafted a lively narrative that chronicles the complex political engagement of Methodism with the United States from the early twentieth century to 9/11. From one Methodist president to another, from William McKinley at the century s beginning to George W. Bush at its end, Tooley recounts a history with refreshing honesty, numerous insights, and all of this against the backdrop of the shifting theological, political and cultural strength of Methodism. This work makes a generous contribution to a field that clearly warrants increasing attention. I highly recommend this book. Kenneth J. Collins, Ph.D., Professor of Historical Theology and Wesley Studies; Director, The Wesleyan Studies Summer Seminar, Asbury Theological Seminary --Book Cover

In this ground-breaking volume, Mark Tooley traces the wide-ranging contours of American Methodism s political witness in the twentieth century. His effort makes an important contribution to historical, denominational, political and social history in the United States. This timely, well-researched narrative is not only fascinating, but critical for understanding the political and social behavior of the church today. Wendy J. Deichmann, President, United Theological Seminary --Book cover

Mark Tooley offers sensational facts without polemic as he describes the tragedy of American Methodism. His solid scholarship shows how Methodist leaders gradually became the caboose of liberalism by for example exchanging opposition to divorce for promotion of abortion. He starts the story beautifully with his description of reactions to the first truly Methodist president, William McKinley. Then, with excellent specific detail, he takes us issue by issue through Methodism s reactions to the 20th century s major political debates. Tooley s work is important to Methodists who want to understand their denomination s decline and to Christians generally who want to trace what happens when we place trendy ideologies above God s word. Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief, WORLD --Book Cover

About the Author

Mark Tooley is the president of the Institute of Religion and Democracy (IRD), an organization which reaffirms biblical, historic Christinity and its true role in democratic society. He joined IRD in 1994 to found its United Methodist committee, UMAction (all one word), which he still directs as a ministry to reclaim America's third largest denomination. Mark is also the author of Taking Back The United Methodist Church.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Bristol House Ltd; First edition (January 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885224710
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885224712
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,494,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Our Sunday discussion group uses a current event study faxed in each week. While we use scripture to focus the discussion, we bring in other resources such as the UMC Book of Discipline and Social Principals. This book has provided another perspective for our use. I'm over 60 years an active methodist and Mr Tooley has illuminated our history in a very interesting read.
The political side of this book made me so upset at the denomination that I had to put the book down every couple of days as I read.
If you like history, you'll like this book. Methodist or not.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book opens with a look at William McKinley, a very pious and dedicated Methodist. McKinley is extremely popular among Methodists and evangelicals, almost the ideal Christian president. It moves from his death to the triumph of political activism of the Methodists with the passing of women's suffrage and prohibition and the utter respect given to the leading Methodist bishops by presidents and government officials. Basically, the Methodists saw political activism as the part of the gospel and they were very successful.

However, after the 50s and 60s, the nation changed, as did Methodist theology. Liberal instead of evangelical, the Methodists increasingly raged against politicians for not being progressive enough. The last president to address the bishops a body was LBJ in 1966. Their membership and influence in decline, the century ended with another Methodist in office, George W. Bush, who couldn't have been more unpopular or at odds with the Methodist leadership's social policies.

It is an enlightening story of what happens when you make political activism an essential part of the gospel.
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