One Church Plan: Key Issues to Think About Before You Vote

The United Methodist Church will be meeting in General Conference on February 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri. The General Conference has been called specifically to act on the report of the Commission on a Way Forward which was authorized at the 2016 General Conference. This 32 member commission has not produced a single “solution,” but […]

Remembering Our Ordination Vows

Every Bishop and Elder in the United Methodist church has promised before God to uphold the Book of Discipline and to defend the church “against all doctrines contrary to God’s Holy Word.” Integrity demands, does it not, that those who can no longer in good conscience uphold the Discipline or defend the church against heterodox […]

Christmas Is About Hope, and Making the Impossible, Possible

We live at a time when so many of our hopes are dreams are framed by impossibilities. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians . . . impossible. Wars in Yemen and Syria ending . . . impossible. A US congress where Democrats and Republicans engage in healthy, respectful dialogue, and work collaboratively across the aisle for […]

Embracing God’s Disruptive Grace

As pastors and leaders, we often long for peaceful, calm waters with as little disruption as possible. It is disruptive to see the culture in chaos, the church in crisis, and challenges at every turn. But when we look at the Bible, we regularly see how God moves in that liminal space which we call […]

What Has Happened to the People of One Book?

We are less than five months from the 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. The Conference will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, and has been especially called to “examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church.” Since our last General Conference in […]

My 2018 Opening Convocation Address: A Spirit-filled and Sanctified Community

This is my tenth convocation address to the Asbury Theological Seminary community. Each Fall, I have sought to focus on different phrases in our mission statement, or, some aspect of our history or heritage which gave rise to our mission statement. This year, we look at the phrase “sanctified, spirit-filled.” This is surely one of […]

The “Second Half” of the Gospel

At Asbury Theological Seminary, one of the ways we try to frame the Wesleyan emphasis on sanctification is to refer to it as the “second half of the gospel.” As I recall, I first heard the phrase from my colleague and friend, J. D. Walt, who serves Asbury’s Seedbed publishing and New Room network. The […]

My Charge to the Asbury Theological Seminary Graduating Class of 2018: Three Gospel Phrases

Leslie Newbigin, in his classic book, Foolishness to the Greeks, speculated as to what would it mean if seminary students like you graduated and actually conceptualized the Western world as a mission field. He speculated what it would be like if the West was no longer the Christian center, but a culture in spiritual decline. […]

Seven Reasons Why the “One Church” Plan Should Be Rejected

For several years now United Methodists have been living in expectation that in 2019 we will finally resolve our long struggle over the issue of human sexuality.  A special General Conference has been set for February, 2019 to resolve the issue.  The Commission on a Way Forward has worked diligently since 2016 to provide various […]

Fire from Heaven: The Rededication of Estes Chapel

This sermon was delivered on May 8th, 2018 at the rededication of Estes Chapel of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. — We are gathered on this sacred day to re-dedicate this space of worship known as Estes Chapel. We say re-dedicate because Estes Chapel was first dedicated 64 years ago on January 27, 1954. […]