Spotlight on theology — A new and significant challenge to Methodists

In a time when The Methodist Church is setting itself newpriorities and establishing fresh ways of being church, a new bookwill challenge Methodists yet further by exploring Methodisttheology since 1932, and asking how it can be used in the21st century.

'Unmasking Methodist Theology', the product ofthree years work by a Task Group of the Faith and Order Committee,shows how recent Methodist theology can be a resource for thefuture, as well as showing how Methodism contributes to BritishChristianity.

Dr Clive Marsh, Co-editor and Secretary for the Faith and OrderCommittee, said: "It's a challenge to all Methodists, butespecially to presbyters, deacons and local preachers, to be moreexplicit about the theology they live by and commend toothers."

He continued on this theme: "It is intended to educate andinspire local Methodism, and will have even wider significance ifthe insights it offers and the questions it arouses also stimulatethought and action amongst preachers, group leaders of all kinds,and any who make decisions at any level on the church'sbehalf."

Dr Marsh acknowledged that 'there is a crisis about the state ofChristianity in Britain', but said: "This book can contribute tofinding answers to much larger questions: What is Christianity for?And what could Christianity offer to people in Britain today?"

Brian Beck, Co-editor and Past President of Conference, alsocommented on the book's significance: "This book is importantbecause it casts its net more widely than usual in trying todiscover the theology that has been driving Methodism since 1932.It is also important because it invites us to see ourselves asothers see us. There is plenty here for all thinking Methodists todigest as we debate 'Our Calling'."

Adding his support, Jonathan Kerry, Co-ordinating Secretary forWorship and Learning, said: "Theological thinking in BritishMethodism is wide-ranging and dynamic - and now we have theevidence!"


In their general report the Faith and Order Committee willinform Conference that: "The book is the work of twenty-fiveindividuals (four co-editors and a further twenty-onecontributors). It is intended that the book be used in manycontexts and on many levels as a stimulus for theologicalreflection throughout the Church."

  'Unmasking Methodist Theology', editedby Clive Marsh, Brian Beck, Angela Shier-Jones and Helen Wareing.Published by Continuum and available now at £12.99.

  Launch events:
- Sarum College, Salisbury, 9 June. A one day conference includingthe keynote lecture 'Why don't Methodists like theology?' - Formore information call Revd Dr Tim MacQuiban on 01722 42480.
- Liverpool Hope University College, 7-9 September. A 48 hourConference based on the book's contents. For further detailscontact UrsulaLeahy at Liverpool Hope on 0151 2913375