Living Grace is the most comprehensive expression of systematic theology for United Methodism to appear in the 1990's. Its authors, Bishop Walter Klaiber and Dr. Manfred Marquardt, are leading theologians of continental European United Methodism. Their work meets the long-felt need to provide partners in ecumenical dialog a clearer exposition of Methodism's theology, as founded upon biblical witness, apostolic heritage, the Protestant Reformation, and the Wesleyan Revival.
The authors concede that Methodists are often regarded more as specialists in evangelization, ecclesial organization, or social engagement, than as representatives of a cogently articulated theology. Further, United Methodists today are frequently at the forefront of facilitating interchurch cooperation in worship and social outreach. It is the authors' hope that a clearer exposition of our common understanding could offer a foundation upon which the "vital Wesleyan accent" could better direct the Christian witness we are offering in the world. Their response to the challenge has produced a thoughtful attempt to find a solid theological basis for our identity as a church that will not only accent our distinctiveness but will also assist other faith communities to articulate their profiles of faith.
In this first English edition, the work has been adapted for the American historical and social milieu. As such, it becomes a pathbreaking effort to articulate for our American constituency the global dimensions of a United Methodist theology, in which the American church is increasingly called to participate. Four emphases of the book are: Responsible Proclamation, Basics of a UMC theology; Universal Salvation; Personal Faith; and, Fullness of Christian Life and the Reality of Love.