Billy Abraham

Billy Abraham on Next Methodism

on May 5, 2020

Irish Methodist William Abraham of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas is one of global Methodism’s most prominent thinkers. For decades he’s also been, while teaching at one of United Methodism’s official seminaries, a tireless and courageous voice for Christian orthodoxy with Wesleyan distinctives.

In my video interview, Abraham is, as usual, provocative and contrarian, even disagreeing with me (!!), as we discuss United Methodism’s impending schism and the emergence of a new global Methodist Church.

You will enjoy our exchange!

  1. Comment by Warren Lathem on May 6, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks, Mark. I have appreciated Dr. Abraham since first hearing him when the Confessing Movement was formed. You asked about the New Methodism in the US adopting evangelicalism without Wesleyanism, or something close to that near the end of the interview. I have been teaching Wesleyan theology and doctrine for years to folks in Latin America, all of whom are evangelical, but not Wesleyan. However, when they learn about Wesleyan theology and doctrine they generally say, “Yes! That is what I believe. I didn’t know I was Methodist!” And while they may stay in the AOG or Baptist or other denomination, they minister as Wesleyans. However, we teach a very orthodox version of our theology and doctrine. If we will do that again in the US, there will be a similar response.

  2. Comment by Rev Barkuma Habu Andrew on May 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    This is a very very interesting discussion which have opened my eyes to new as pertain to the move for a new united Methodist Church. I pray that the good Lord will help us to actualize our dream for the new Church. I know it is not going to be so easy but I still trust God for it’s actualization. But what has become a big question to me always is why are we moving out while the people that stand against the discipline of the Church would be allow to continue with the UMC? I feel since they refused and disrespect the discipline of the church they are the ones that are supposed to leave but not us. But with this discussion have a clear picture of what is happening. Our founder didn’t found it easy and do we too should not expect it to be easy.

  3. Comment by td on May 6, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    This was an interesting interview. And i tend to agree with what was discussed.

    I appreciate the conversation at the end where one main thing was mentioned – how our leadership will forcefully work to allow only a very few local churches to leave. This i think is correct.

    I like the idea that what would unify this new group is our historic creed and orthodoxy. However, i do not think this is what will really define the group. At least in the beginning, what will probably define this group is its cultural evangelicalism- in worship style and language. And this will not attract the many methodists who believe in the historic faith, but wish to keep a more historic liturgy and worship style. Like it or not, this new church will probably not be very diverse in worship style. And like it or not, our rituals and customs are probably more defining for people than beliefs.

    It will be very difficult to convince methodists who don’t view themselves culturally as evangelicals to align with the new group. And because of this, their viewpoints on worship, ritual, and language will be even less represented than it is now.

  4. Comment by Raul Dominguez on May 7, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Billy is the Bernabé Rendón(Mex), for the Americans. I hope both my meet together to talk about more possible solutions. This is My humble perception.

  5. Comment by John Rentz on May 8, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    I appreciate Dr Abraham’s appeal to the members of the new Methodist expression to be patient with those many local churches who will choose initially to remain in the UMC. Here in New Zealand, the schism within the Methodist Church led to three successive waves spanning a number of years (maybe six years?). Unfortunately, all three movements were totally independent of one another. In my view, though God is blessing these different movements, the new movements would have benefited significantly from the strength found in unity — all three are united by an evangelical theology. But to my knowledge, there has been no attempt at any merger. My hope is that the new movement in American Methodism will keep an open door policy, making it clear that churches will be accepted WHENEVER they are ready to make that transition. I do recognise, however, that the Protocol will impose some limits on the timeframe for retaining property, as is necessary.

  6. Comment by NEAL Neuenburg on May 8, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you for the interview, it will be hard for traditional churches in California to make the transition. We have lots of diversity of theology in our churches.

  7. Comment by William on May 11, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    To Which Methodist Denomination Do You Wish To Belong?
    Please Check ✔️ One

    ——— A Progressive Denomination

    1. Believe in a new understanding of marriage to include same-sex marriage derived from new progressive perspective, contextual, and evolving Biblical interpretations —- accompanied by same-sex marriage ceremonies inside the church sanctuaries conducted by the church clergy.

    2. LGBTQ identified persons welcomed into full-inclusion with their committed sexual relationships affirmed, thus freeing them from the call of repentance for the forgiveness of previously considered sins —- a revised understanding of love and grace derived from new progressive perspective , contextual, and evolving Biblical interpretations — while having an undefined position regarding the sexual practices and lifestyles of the heterosexual community outside those of a man and a woman in marriage.

    3. Full inclusion of LGBTQ candidates seeking licensing and ordination into the ministry who are in committed LGBTQ sexual relationships while having an undefined position for heterosexual candidates engaged in committed sexual relationships outside those of heterosexual marriage.

    ———- A Traditional Denomination

    1. Believe in God’s created order for marriage as only that between a man and a woman as Jesus described and emphasized when he said — “haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate”.

    2. LGBTQ identified persons and heterosexual identified persons welcomed equally into full-inclusion (Wesleyan Prevenient Grace) in order to partake of repentance preached in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sins, including the sins of sexual immorality, and be recipients of salvation (Wesleyan Justifying Grace), thus becoming anew or born again in Jesus in order to pursue, with the help of the Holy Spirit, holiness (Wesleyan Sanctifying Grace) — the historic, universal, and Wesleyan Christian understanding of the Good News Gospel.

    3. Believe in the traditional, historic, universal, and Wesleyan Biblical standards of sexual behavior for candidates seeking licensing and ordination into the ministry as those practicing fidelity in heterosexual marriage and celibacy in singleness.

  8. Comment by Dr. Jan Davis on May 14, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for bringing us Dr. Billy Abraham, Mark Tooley! What an engaging, insightful, energizing intellectual conversation on the future of the global methodist denomination. Dr. Abraham always brings a wise inspiring perspective. We need to remember his advice as we move forward. I am very blessed to be one of his students from Perkins (both Masters and Doctoral level work), he has always been my favorite professor! God bless him and God bless the future of Orthodox Wesleyans. I appreciate your good work.

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