November 1st, 2014

There were times while serving on the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry interview team when I would have said, with frustration, that the answer to the question posed by this Circuit Rider was “No! United Methodists do not have a theology, and this particular candidate proves my point!” But those days were rare, and though one candidate was unable to articulate a solid theology, it did not mean the whole denomination was lacking. Then, the next day, during confirmation class I experienced the young person who declared, “Oh, NOW I get it! “ or the older adult in Disciple Bible Study suddenly awakened to the “Ahaa” of a theological insight on the meaning of grace. I was again reminded of what warmed my own heart and engaged my mind about our United Methodist theological perspective. The following Sunday, singing in the congregation, one of Charles Wesley’s lyrics jumped off the page: “pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.” And I was convicted. 

You will find in the pages that follow a broad, though not exhaustive, representation of perspective that provides evidence of our solid theological foundations. Each of our authors asserts that we United Methodists do have a theology, and our theology brings a unique and nuanced perspective to the rich, theological banquet of the body of Christ. Indeed, ours is a practical theology, which is missional in its approach, informs Christian living, helps us shape and serve the world around us, and provides guidance for the choices we make. 

Perhaps a robust and renewed focus on our United Methodist theology will be valuable in the midst of the current debates and controversies we are facing in the church and in culture. We are reminded that our theology is simply and most importantly how we talk about what really matters. Our theology is how we articulate, experience, and live out the love of God given to us in Jesus Christ.

Rev. Brian K. Milford
Chief Content Officer
Book Editor of The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Publishing House

About the Author

Brian Milford

Brian K. Milford is the Chief Content Officer & Book Editor of The United Methodist Church. He has served read more…
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