Category Archives: Theology

Assurance: How Does it Happen?

Supposing that assurance of salvation is possible, how might it happen? The Bible and the Wesleyan theological tradition give us some ideas. First, and most importantly, is the witness of the Holy Spirit. Texts that explicitly use witness language are … Continue reading

Posted in Assurance, Discipleship, John Wesley, Theology, United Methodism | Leave a comment

Assurance of Salvation: Two Objections

The idea that Christians can have assurance of their salvation has deep roots in the theology of John Wesley. Though he struggled with his own assurance from time to time, Wesley preached and taught that it was the privilege of … Continue reading

Posted in Assurance, John Wesley, Salvation, Theology, United Methodism | 1 Comment

Individual vs. Collective

Listening to Peter Harrison’s fifth Gifford Lecture as I drove to Marshall today, I heard his description of a shift from natural philosophy to science in the early modern period. Under the old paradigm (and I use Kuhn’s term intentionally), … Continue reading

Posted in church growth, Discipleship, Leadership, Spirituality, Theology, United Methodism, Will Willimon | Leave a comment

A Baptism of Repentance

John the Baptist is described in the Gospels as preaching a “baptism of repentance.” In the descriptions of his ministry in the Gospels we see people coming to him, confessing their sins. Matthew tells us that when Jesus comes to … Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Ecclesiology, Ministry, Theology | Leave a comment

“Liberal” & “Conservative”

Our special speaker at Annual Conference this year was Adam Hamilton, pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Overland Park, Kansas. In more than three hours of teaching he shared leadership strategies and tactics that have helped him grow his … Continue reading

Posted in Texas Annual Conference, Theology, United Methodism | 2 Comments

Set Talk

I don’t remember when I first ran into Paul Hiebert’s idea of contrasting bounded sets and centered sets in our understanding of evangelism. It was either shortly before I finished seminary or shortly after, making sometime in the late 1980s. … Continue reading

Posted in Dave Schmelzer, Evangelism, Theology | 3 Comments

New Appointment Methodology

We (pastors and lay leaders from across the North District) met with Bishop Huie and a couple of cabinet members this morning in Ore City to hear about the new philosophy of appointing pastors to churches. They had intended to … Continue reading

Posted in Ministry, Texas Annual Conference, Theology, Uncategorized, United Methodism | 3 Comments

Another, older, NCLB

Charles Taylor (in A Secular Age) considers the depth of Reform in the middle ages to be much greater than the line from Wycliffe, to Huss, to Luther and beyond, connecting it to the rise of the modern preoccupation with … Continue reading

Posted in Charles Taylor, Education, Public Schools, Spirituality, Theology | 2 Comments

Joining the Big Story

One of the books I’m reading now (having a short attention span, I usually read several at a time) is Dave Schmelzer’s Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist. On p. 105 Schmelzer says, This [he’s been talking … Continue reading

Posted in Charles Taylor, Dave Schmelzer, Metanarratives, Spirituality, Theology | 8 Comments

Short term friendships

Back in my seminary days I did my supervised ministry at a nursing home in Lexington, Kentucky. In the course of a couple of years (I kept visiting there after my coursework was completed) I made many friends. Pearl was … Continue reading

Posted in Friendship, Theology | 5 Comments