Declining memberships. Pastoral scandals. A fear of secularism and the New Atheism. Christians are worried about the church's future. Despite such despair, Jason Vickers believes the church also sits upon the cusp of renewal. Some emerging voices promise to lead the church out of decay but focus only upon its structure, while others encourage the Spirit's work to the exclusion of all else. Minding the Good Ground organizes the multitude of voices and proposes a new way forward—rooting these renewal movements in a robust historical theology. Moving beyond quick-fix solutions, this new theological vision grounds renewal in the good and life-giving work of the Holy Spirit.
1 The Nature of the Church
2 The Mission of the Church
3 The Sacramental Life of the Church
Jason E. Vickers is Associate Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including most recently The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley, Wesley: A Guide for the Perplexed, and Invocation and Assent: The Making and Remaking of Trinitarian Theology.
Vickers’ theology of church renewal will no doubt prove inspiring and invigorating for church leaders and seminarians of many different traditions.
~Taylor Worley, Union University, Theological Book Review
…[Vickers] provides a substantial theological interpretation of church renewal that needs to be read and pondered by all concerned for the renewal of the church.
~David N. Field, Methodist e-Academy, Wesley and Methodist Studies
Minding the Good Ground is a thoroughly engaging work on the cutting-edge of debates about the church and renewal. Vickers' treatment of the nature, mission, and sacramental life of the church catches the heart of ecumenical and theological conversations today. The deceptively simple structure of the book is shaken to the core by a fundamental concern for renewal in, through, and beyond the church that is as foundational as it is challenging.
~Wolfgang Vondey, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Center for Renewal Studies, Regent University
We need balance between Spirit and structure whereas there is now a tendence to exalt the charismatic, the spontaneous, and condemn the ecclesial structures. As Vickers says, it is the Spirit that has inspired and guided the structures in the first place. I highly recommend this book.
~Ben Witherington, III, Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary
This is the best book on renewal I have read. Minding the Good Ground cuts through the pious clap trap and romantic hocus pocus and provides precisely the kind of sharp, substantial theological analysis we need. Vickers represents the work of a new generation who are coming on board to carry the torch of renewal into the future.
~William J. Abraham, Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
Vickers is one of the brightest, most helpful young theologians working in our church today. And, he is surely right—renewal is primarily God's self-assigned task, not ours. This wonderful book calls us to renewed theological accountability.
~Will Willimon, Bishop, North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church and Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School
An insightful and prayerfully crafted theological vision.
~Laceye Warner, Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies, and Royce and Jane Reynolds Teaching Fellow, Duke Divinity School