Take it away, Winifred:
This review was sent to me by one of our reconciling laity. It is interesting to read. Note that the reviewers are part of the IRD. lcoyle@TheIRD.org and jwalton@TheIRD.org
The author of “Taking Back the United Methodist Church,” is Mark Tooley, the Institute for Religion and Democracy's United Methodist critic. This is more of the "Renewal" he pushes for. The Good News publisher commends him for "his invaluable investigative reporting."
This appears to me to be another piece of the IRD's campaign to change our UMC from a church concerned with social justice to one following a narrow set of doctrines.
The book and the review are the IRD blowing its own horn!!
Winifred provided us with the IRD's press release:
March 31, 2008
New Book Predicts Conservative Turnaround in America’s Largest Mainline Denomination
Washington, DC— In contrast to other mainline denominations like the Episcopal Church, decline and schism are NOT in the future of the United Methodist Church, according to an author who has helped lead renewal efforts within the 11 million-member denomination. Mark Tooley has seen a gradual but sustained turnaround in America’s largest Mainline Protestant church; the results of which will emerge at the denomination’s governing General Conference starting April 23 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Tooley’s new book, “Taking Back the United Methodist Church,” chronicles past battles for the soul of Methodism and efforts to restore the church to the passionate evangelistic beliefs of founder John Wesley. With the work of the Holy Spirit, the prayerful efforts of evangelical renewal groups and the church’s demographic shifts to growing churches in Africa, Tooley celebrates the return to biblically orthodox teaching and evangelistic outreach.
United Methodism has 7.9 million members in the U.S. and over 3 million outside the U.S., mostly in Africa.
The Institute on Religion & Democracy is making complementary copies available to active members of the media. Please contact media@TheIRD.org to obtain your review copy or to set up an interview with the author.
What people are saying about “Taking Back the United Methodist Church”:
“Mark Tooley has provided for us United Methodists helpful insights into many of the stories behind the stories that have made church news in recent years. His careful and thorough reporting provides for us comprehensive coverage and understanding of more than a decade of important United Methodist events that have made the news. Many of us are profoundly grateful to Mark for his invaluable investigative reporting.”
-James V. Heidinger, President and Publisher, Good News
“You don’t have to be a Methodist to be intensely interested in the integrity of faith and life in a Christian community whose influence touches us all. We are indebted to Mark Tooley for this lively account of the heirs of John Wesley who are fighting the good fight.”
-The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, Editor in Chief, First Things
“Mark Tooley asks all the right questions–about biblical authority, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the mission of the church, sexual ethics and leadership accountability. And then he simply allows denominational progressives and elites to answer in their own words. It’s must reading for anyone who wonders what’s ailing the UMC and what we can do to fix it.”
-The Rev. Karen Booth, Executive Director, Transforming Congregations
The IRD has its eye on the PC(USA) General Assembly in June. Commissioners would be interested in checking out what resolutions are IRD driven and why.