United Methodism is often accused of having an incoherent theological center. By examining the history and salient features of the church, this book says that United Methodist theology is actually appropriated from its experience as a missional corporate body. This allows United Methodist to do theology in new ways and to better adapt to its multivalent contexts.
"According to Russell Richey, Methodists have 'consistently turned to history when called upon to say who they were, to state purposes, to define themselves.' Drawing upon this premise, Richey--himself both card-carrying historian and active churchman--looks anew at Methodist practices of church, ministry, conference, and connection in critical and constructive engagement with the methodology that he studies: theologizing out of and through history. In taking up this 'Methodist way' of doing constructive theological history, Richey uses the past to reflect on the present situation of The United Methodist Church and to anticipate the denomination's future direction.--Karen B. Westerfield Tucker, Boston University
"Methodists are people of ever-emergent voice – preaching, singing, testifying, praying, exhorting, arguing. Russell Richey brings historical clarity, moving the reader beyond nostalgia to prophetic self-understanding. This book is a gift for those who lead in every arena of the life of the church. This wisdom equips leaders for faithful, missional voice in a changing world."
--Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop, The United Methodist Church, Mississippi Episcopal Area
"Russ Richey has been asking perceptive questions about American Methodism for more than a generation, and many of his most creative perspectives are found in this volume. This master teacher provides the reader with a host of important historical insights that contribute to a fuller understanding of The United Methodist Church today." --Richard P. Heitzenrater, The Divinity School, Duke University