My Charge to the Asbury Theological Seminary Graduating Class of 2014

In 1904 William Borden graduated from high school. He was the heir to the great Borden milk fortune. For his graduation gift, his parents sent him on a trip around the world, hoping it would stimulate his global business interests. Instead, for the first time he realized how many had never heard the good news [...]

The North American Church in a Post-Christian Society

A blog is, in my view, a kind of open, public conversation. I normally use my blog to stimulate reactions, poke at and flag issues which I believe are important in the life of the church. My blog should not be taken as a kind of formal position paper, or as an academic address. This [...]

Orthodoxy vs. Heterodoxy: The Fundamental Divide in the United Methodist Church

Many of us are watching with sadness the emerging, seemingly inevitable, separation (however amicable) between the so-called progressives and the so-called conservatives in the United Methodist Church. By any read of the situation, the UMC of the 21st century stands in grave peril. It would be too simplistic to say that it is in peril [...]

Remembering the Source of Aldersgate.

May 24, 1738 is an iconic date in the history of the Methodist movement. It is on that date that Rev. John Wesley went “unwillingly” to a Moravian prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street in London and was powerfully converted. According to Wesley’s journal, it took place about a quarter till nine as he was listening [...]

Pope Francis, the Gospel and Theological Clarity

Pope Francis created quite a stir recently when he made the following statement: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!” Someone then asked the Pope if this statement applied to the atheist. The Pope responded, “Even the atheists. Everyone! And [...]

Three Gifts for the People of God

I would like to highlight three special gifts of God for Christians which I hope we can fully reclaim in our day. These are three gifts which the world does not possess but are graciously given to the people of God. 1. The Gift of Spending Time in God’s Presence. The first gift is the [...]

The Grammar of the Gospel: The Difference between the Subject and Object of Salvation

What is more fundamental to the structure of English grammar than knowing the difference between the “subject” and the “object.” When we say, for example, “John hit the ball,” it is really important to know that the sentence is about something John is doing, not something the ball is doing. The “narrative” of the sentence [...]

Must We All Clap Loudly? Thoughts on Phil Robertson, Legalized Marijuana, Obamacare and the Dignity of Dissent.

Americans love to disagree with one another. The right of dissent is crucial to our identity as a people. We all learned with horror on December 12th that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his uncle Jang Song Thaek executed. This uncle had been a long time regime loyalist and supporter of Un’s father [...]

On Saving Mr. Banks and the contextualization of the Gospel

Over the holiday break I had the opportunity to watch the film, Saving Mr. Banks. I didn’t log onto Rotten Tomatoes and look at any reviews on the simple grounds that any film starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson is well worth seeing. Tom Hanks already proved that he can save Private Ryan, so why [...]

The Annual Christmas Pageant

I remember the time when our youngest daughter Bethany first appeared in the annual children’s Christmas pageant in church.  Even though I was the pastor, I was not involved in selecting who would play the various parts.  I knew that our daughter, Bethany, was in the Christmas pageant, but I had no idea what her [...]