Mainline or Methodist? by Scott Kisker
Where do we go from here?
The dynamic history and identity of the United Methodist Church is lost among the pluralistic landscape in America today.
As a living organism, the church can expect to evolve with the culture that surrounds it. The problem, according to lifelong member and author Scott Kisker, is that the United Methodist Church seems to have lost its missional foundation as it climbed to mainline American Protestant church status.
Trying to be both mainline and Methodist is a deadly combination. In fact, it’s a leading cause for the denomination’s spiritual and numerical decline, Kisker asserts.
“Real Methodism declined because we replaced those peculiarities that made us Methodist with a bland, acceptable, almost civil religion, barely distinguishable from other traditions,” writes Kisker. “Like the Israelites under the judges, we wanted to be like other nations. We no longer wanted to be an odd, somewhat disreputable people. And we have begun to reap the consequences.”
So…where do we go from here?
In his passionate yet critical review, Kisker says we must reclaim the rich roots of salvation, disciple-making, and witness that made the tradition so strong. In Mainline or Methodist? he reveals what’s not working and unveils a vision for renewal that embodies the distinctive Wesleyan tradition of the apostolic and universal Christian faith.