Last fall I was preparing for a course I’m about to start teaching later this month. The course is “AmericanMethodism: History, Doctrine, & Polity.” It’s subject matter is pretty self-explanatory: the historical background, doctrinal foundations, and ecclesiastical organization of 19th and 20th century Methodism in the American context.
In doing that prep work, I read a sermon delivered by Albert C. Outler at the “Uniting Conference” in 1968 that brought together the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form the United Methodist Church.
The sermon is remarkably relevant for our present situation. So remarkably relevant, in fact, that I made it the subject of my current column in the United Methodist Reporter. Check it out and see what you think.
Dr. Outler’s sermon was a clarion call to the church to recognize the challenges facing it in that day and to recognize that ‘business as usual’ would simply not cut it. He called on the church to embody a life that was ‘truly catholic, truly evangelical, and truly reformed.’
When you read his sermon – which you can download here – you realize very quickly that the only thing that has changed is the year. The challenges before us are much the same, and Dr. Outler’s prescription is a pretty good one for us to pursue in the present. But will we?