Unity is a gift of God that involves us staying at the table to find common ground in "the extreme center."
Talk of a United Methodist denominational split is not going away, only intensifying. Unless we can go beneath the issues that divide us to find our common ground, we will splinter or worse, just argue ourselves into irrelevance and oblivion.
Here, Bishop Scott Jones reminds us that "the strength of Wesleyan doctrine is its ability to articulate holistic, balanced, and practical interpretation of Scripture. It is conservative in some ways and liberal in other ways; it occupies the extremem center and is totally opposed to the dead center.
Tackling divisive issues such as homosexuality, race and gender, and authority of Scripture, Jones shows the logical contours of the conversation by locating them in larger questions of doctrine and ecclesiology. He outlines the logic of our current position and explains why it is defensible, while at the same time suggesting a logic for change.
Responders include: William J. Abraham, Lonnie D. Brooks, Mary Brooke Casad, Amy DeLong, Sudarshana Devadhar, Sally Dyck, James A Harnish, Carolyn E. Johnson, Susan J. Laurie, Bill McAlilly, Patricia L. Miller, John R. Schol, Joe M. Whittemore, Gerald “Jay” Williams, William H. Willimon, and David K. Yemba.
Scott J. Jones is Bishop of the Kansas Area of The United Methodist Church
From the Circuit Rider review: "Scott Jones, Bishop of the Kansas Area, has offered a gift to The United Methodist Church. His stated aim, as a church leader, is to contribute to the continuing conversation about how best to think about, receive, and live more fully into God’s gift of unity. Expanding upon his work in his earlier book, United Methodist Doctrine: The Extreme Center, the major contribution of his new book is in the format of the book itself. It consists of his essay (about half of the book) followed by responses and reflections from a diverse group of United Methodists expressing a range of viewpoints." (Click here to read the entire review.)