Monday, May 3, 2021

Recommended Reading: David N. Field on Models of Methodism and the Unity of the Church

David N. Field of the European Methodist e-Academy has published a paper online entitled "Models of Methodism and the Unity of the Church: A European Reflection on the Conflict in The United Methodist Church over LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Affirmation." In the paper, Field outlines six different understandings of church within United Methodism: as a US American denomination, as a European free church, as a connection of holiness societies, as a confessional church, as a generously orthodox church, and as a movement of liberation. While Field's main concern in outlining these six views is to explore their implications for understanding current conflicts over LGBTQ+ inclusion, along the way, he highlights the implications of these views of the church for ecumenism and other aspects of theology. Field acknowledges that his work needs to be supplemented by more attention to African and Filipino understandings of the church. Still, and despite its length (18 pages), Field's piece is well worth reading for a better understanding of the complexities of the current UMC.

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