Check out the reviews from UMcom.org (United Methodist Communications' website) of two books worth reading, "Blest Be The Tie That Binds," from Richard Wilke and "Living Grace" by Bishop Walter Klaiber and Dr. Manfred Marquardt.
“Blest be the tie that binds . . .”
Whether or not the words of this hymn are familiar to you, the notion behind them—and this book—is one of connectedness and community.
Twenty years after his best-selling And Are We Yet Alive? Richard Wilke observes that at the same time the formal, organized church has faced monumental change, spiritual inquiry has been sweeping the country. He has found in the words of another hymn powerful antidotes for the isolation and loneliness that are so prevalent in our contemporary society.
Wilke explores where the church has become disconnected and how it can connect once again:
In a spiritually confused and hungry world, how to connect with the Lord, how to connect with a revitalized church.
In a mobile, fragmented, and isolated population, how to connect with a community of faithful friends.
In a cynical, suspicious society, how to find a spot to stand, a place to trust.
In denominations populated by increasingly isolated congregations, how to communicate.
In a world of deadly disease, famine, and poverty, how to link arms as Christians to work together in caring ministries.
Grounding his discussion in biblical background and Wesleyan roots, Wilke attempts to rouse the church to follow the command of Jesus to “Go . . . and make disciples.” The issue, he says, is not merely religion; it is salvation. The task is no less than drawing people of all ages, nationalities, backgrounds, and philosophical persuasions to the One who said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” And the method is to connect—with one another in the church, with children and youth, with the unchurched, with the Savior.
“Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love.”
Connecting with God, the Church, and the World
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 04/2008
Retail Price: $15.99
Online Price: $10.07
(37% discount from Cokesbury)
Author: Richard B. Wilke
Living Grace is the most comprehensive expression of systematic theology for United Methodism to appear in the 1990's. Its authors, Bishop Walter Klaiber and Dr. Manfred Marquardt, are leading theologians of continental European United Methodism. Their work meets the long-felt need to provide partners in ecumenical dialog a clearer exposition of Methodism's theology, as founded upon biblical witness, apostolic heritage, the Protestant Reformation, and the Wesleyan Revival.
The authors concede that Methodists are often regarded more as specialists in evangelization, ecclesial organization, or social engagement, than as representatives of a cogently articulated theology. Further, United Methodists today are frequently at the forefront of facilitating interchurch cooperation in worship and social outreach. It is the authors' hope that a clearer exposition of our common understanding could offer a foundation upon which the "vital Wesleyan accent" could better direct the Christian witness we are offering in the world. Their response to the challenge has produced a thoughtful attempt to find a solid theological basis for our identity as a church that will not only accent our distinctiveness but will also assist other faith communities to articulate their profiles of faith.
In this first English edition, the work has been adapted for the American historical and social milieu. As such, it becomes a pathbreaking effort to articulate for our American constituency the global dimensions of a United Methodist theology, in which the American church is increasingly called to participate. Four emphases of the book are: Responsible Proclamation, Basics of a UMC theology; Universal Salvation; Personal Faith; and, Fullness of Christian Life and the Reality of Love.
An Outline of United Methodist Theology
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 01/2002
Retail Price: $37.00
Author: Manfred Marquardt