A Worldwide United Methodist Church? Soundings toward a Connectional Theological Imagination

Hendrik R. Pieterse

Abstract


This article suggests that the ascendance of Christianity as a world faith might hold vital clues for United Methodism's ongoing effort to become a "worldwide" church. It suggests that precisely this effort could serve as the catalyst for the renewal United Methodists seek and need today. However, longstanding theological and ecclesial habits--chief among these a proclivity for "center-periphery" thinking, deeply embedded in Western Christendom--thwart such renewal. The essay illustrates the center-periphery dynamic in several recent denominational renewal initiatives, including legislation for the 2012 General Conference, and then draws on the work of United Methodist historian Russell Richey to argue for a "connectional theological imagination" as an important step in cultivating ecclesial habits fit for an authentic global United Methodist connectional covenant.


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Methodist Review, ISSN: 1946-5254 (online), copyright © 2009-2017 by The Methodist Review, Inc.