Item description for Mainline or Methodist?: Rediscovering Our Evangelistic Mission by Scott Kisker & Timothy Whitaker...
Overview As a living organism, the church can expect to evolve alongside and within resident culture. The problem, according to lifelong member and author Kisker, is 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. 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 to renewal that embodies the distinctive Wesleyan tradition of the apostolic and universal Christian faith.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Mainline or Methodist?: Rediscovering Our Evangelistic Mission?
Discover What Your Methodist Church Should Be Doing Aug 2, 2009
I lead a Covenant Group at my Methodist Church. We have studied numerous books on our founder, John Wesley. This title caught our attention and the book led to many animated conversations within the group. This is a very good book which shows us where we are in our churches and where we should be following the beliefs and practices our denomination was founded on. Great for a discussion group.John Wesley for the 21st Century
A much needed wake-up call Nov 13, 2008
Scott Kisker has given The United Methodist Church a much needed wake-up call. He reminds us in the first couple of pages of his insightful book that the denomination is 40 years old. I have heard it said by some that it seems that the church is going through something of a "mid-life" crisis not unlike those feelings of fear of inevitable death and wondering what life is all about experienced by men and women sometime after they reach that age. Kisker's book comes a just the right time.
Dr. Kisker (Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and former James C. Logan Associate Professor of Evangelism at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC) looks at The United Methodist Church with the eyes of a historian and the heart of an evangelist. He brings his deep knowledge of church history, theology, and the Wesleyan tradition to the task of examining the condition of the church that has shaped his own life. Dr. Kisker makes the case that much of the UMC's current malaise has its roots in its alignment as one of the "Mainline" denominations.
The chief problem with "Mainline" churches is that they "bless the values of the larger society, and see very little difference between cultivating good citizens and cultivating Christians." Their striving to be "respectable" and to play a role in the dominant culture "establishment" has resulted in adjusting the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it fit into cultural norms rather than challenging those norms. Kisker writes, "When we became "mainline," we stopped being Methodist in all but name." Meaning that, in the name of "respectability," we jettisoned the practices, structures, and theology that formed the heart and soul of Wesleyan Methodism.
In a well written 128 pages Dr. Kisker describes what has been lost and gives practical ideas for restoring a United Methodist: * Vision o The distinctive goal of Wesleyan Methodism is holiness of heart and life. In mission of early Methodism was "To reform the nation, especially the church; and to spread Scriptural holiness across the land." * Message o The historic Methodist message was salvation by grace through faith. We need to take sin, grace, and salvation seriously once again. * Method o Proclaim Christ in all his offices: Prophet, Priest, and King o Open-air preaching for the 21st century o Small groups for formation and growth in discipleship o A Rule of Life that leads the people toward holiness of heart and life (The General Rules) * Conversation o Practice true "holy conferencing" in the Wesleyan Spirit. Conferencing must be practiced at all levels of the church, beginning in the home.
Mainline or Methodist: Rediscovering Our Evangelistic Mission is a sobering and hope-filled call to action for the people of The United Methodist Church. Scott Kisker gives some helpful and practical recommendations for a way forward. It's clear that he believes that God will keep God's promises. But the church must cooperate and participate with God's mission for the world.
Recovering our Methodist heritage Sep 24, 2008
After taking Dr. Kisker's Evangelism course at Wesley Theological Seminary I can say without a doubt that he wrote this book, which is not a bad thing. I'm almost finished with it and I see where he is coming from. I, too, am one that thinks about how we can recover our Methodist heritage in a positive way so that we, as the church, can reach out to the unchurched and bring them into our church homes so that their spiritual lives may be enriched and so that they can grow in Jesus Christ.
My one huge complaint about this book is the lack of editing. There are way too many editing mistakes and they are quite glaring.