Andy Miller III
Cover Image for 2023 Top Ten Stories from the Wesleyan World

2023 Top Ten Stories from the Wesleyan World

December 28, 2023

Drs. Jonathan Powers and Ryan Danker joined me to discuss the Top Ten Stories in the Wesleyan World in 2023.

Youtube -

Audio -

Apple -

Now through January 2nd, get my Contender Course and Heaven Course for half the price! Just enter the code HALF at checkout. Find out more here -

And don’t forget about my new book Contender, which is available on Amazon!

Five Steps to Deeper Teaching and Preaching - Recently, I updated this PDF document and added a 45-minute teaching video with slides, explaining this tool. It's like a mini-course. If you sign up for my list, I will send this free resource to you. Sign up here - or Five Steps to Deeper Teaching and Preaching.

Today’s episode is brought to you by these two sponsors:

Keith Waters and his team at WPO Development do an amazing job helping non-profits and churches through mission planning studies, strategic plans, feasibility studies, and capital campaigns. We are honored to have Keith and WPO on the More to the Story team. You can find out more about them at or touch base directly with Keith at


Wesley Biblical Seminary - Interested in going deeper in your faith? Check out our certificate programs, B.A., M.A.s, M.Div., and D.Min degrees. You will study with world-class faculty and the most racially diverse student body in the country.

Thanks too to Phil Laeger for my podcast music. You can find out about Phil's music at

Transcript Andy All right. Hello, friends, and welcome to the more to the story podcast. I'm so glad that you have come along for this live edition, which is happening on my Facebook page, and we're thankful for the opportunity to share it with you. This is kind of the end of the year. Wrap up of the podcast. I have a couple of top ten top list that are going to come through. Also along around the same time, we'll be having an episode that comes out of the kind of like the top. Live podcast from this year, but this is something I did last year. I'm not sure it's going to work every year, but for 2023 this is gonna be the top ten stories from the Wesleyan world. Whatever the Wesleyan world is, that's another story. But we'll talk about that in a little bit. I want you to know this podcast is brought to you by Wesley Biblical Seminary where we are developing. Trusted leaders for faithful churches and my friend Bill Roberts, who's a financial planner. He's a Christian whose loves to serve people, and he really is great with helping people who are in ministry think about their retirement. I'd love for you to check out his his work at William H Roberts dot. Com and on top of that I have something Ryan and Jonathan might want it. Maybe I should send them a free one. Somebody sent these to me. They gave them to me. My own mugs. Isn't that cool? The more to the story podcast mugs there are 12 of them. If you're interested, go to and we'll see about getting you one. And also until January. Speaker What's up? Look at that. Andy Second, my two small group Sunday school studies that are available one on the afterlife called Heaven and other destinations A biblical journey beyond this world, is available there. It's five video sessions, discussion guides and interactive groups. Then there also is another study called Contender, a study of the book of Jude. Those are half. Well, until January 2nd, here's how you can get that if you just enter the code half HALF. Is that how that spelled Ryan half. Yes, yes, yes. Yes. OK, great. Great. So you can find that out there. Boy, I really put him on the spot with that one. I really pose, OK, I I am so glad to welcome it to podcast my friends, my friends who are are coming to you from various locations. I have doctor Ryan Danker from Washington, DC and the John Wesley Institute and my friend Doctor. Jonathan Powers from Asbury Theological Seminary. Gentlemen, welcome to the podcast. Jonathan Thank you. Ryan Good to be here. Andy Ryan, I'm sorry. This is the first time I've. Had you on it seems like a shame. Ryan Really this I I didn't know that we talked enough and I just kind of figured I've been on this already. Andy And obviously a return guest and I brought this guest in with Jonathan Powers because he was a part of being the number one story from last year, which was the new Payne Wesley and hymnal. That was the number one story last. But since that happened last year, Jonathan, it's not on the list this year. I'm sorry to say. Jonathan You know the new leather bound edition is out, though. Now I got 1 today. Speaker Ohh OK. Andy Ohh really got it. Can you? Show us ohh. He looks good. Jonathan Yeah, right here. Very nice. Yeah, so it's cool. Even you know. Andy With your name. Jonathan It was a gift from seed bed actually, so I I. Appreciate them doing. That for me it's a very nice gift. But yeah, those those are out now. So that'll be, you know, #11 on on the list. Yeah. Andy OK, #11, the leather bound edition. So this is just kind of fun way to think about things that are happening in the what sometimes is called the Pan Wesleyan world. Those people, those denominations who feel a theological and missional connection to the evangelical revival that John Wesley was a part of leading in the 18th century. And so several denominations find their source. There, and Ryan's a scholar of John Wesley, and Jonathan, works in liturgical studies in. Other areas and is is thinking about this and part of the reason we made the hymnal number one last year was because it was this really uniting force for these various denominations. And so not just denominations cause some of them aren't denominations. Some of them are just movements and expressions or institutions. And so we thought this might be a fun thing to do. To think about the things that are happening there. But before I get going, do you all have any comments before? We get to the top ten list. Jonathan Now, thanks again appreciate doing that. Andy All right, here we go. All right, now, #10, it's coming in strong. We did. We didn't do a lot of debate about this. This is basically my list. So if you don't like. It you can just. Blame me, but in this moment, I think this is an interesting issue. So #10. Is the doctrine of inerrancy is debated in Wesleyan evangelical circles, and this particularly came last summer when there was a David Watson wrote an article about biblical authority. It was responded to by Tom McCall at Wesley Biblical Seminary, one of the institutions that uses the word inerrancy. In our articles of faith, we had a we had we we entered into discussion. Doctor Murray, Vassar did. We had some dialogues. There's good conversations with that so. Why end? Why do you think? Why do you think this is something that just coming up and I don't, I think this is a nice friendly conversation. By the way, and I like it. Ryan Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, we're not. We're not going to launch at each other. I mean the. I mean, it's interesting because that debate took place primarily on the pages of Firebrand magazine, where I serve as one of the the lead editors. And so I I knew about the back story as much as I did about the reactions to it. You know. We're we're Methodism is in a period of realignment as I'd like to tell everybody and I think right now the. And as you know, Scripture is authoritative. What does that? Mean and so for different words. For that I mean, I have my stark opinions and you know them, but it's in fact everybody who follows me on Twitter knows I have stark opinions about everything but. Speaker Yeah, yeah, people. Ryan I think what we're trying to say actually what I think about this debate is I think we're actually saying the. Same thing we're. Just refusing to use the word saying the same words. So ultimately, I think what, what, what Wesleyan? What traditionalist wise things gonna need to figure out is how do we say that the Bible is trustworthy and will lead you to Christ like living. Because that's a Wesleyan way of approaching it. But. It was issued to watch David. Andy Some might also add not just that some might add. Is it true? So, but yeah, you're right, it doesn't even lead to transformation. Yeah. Speaker And Tom? Ryan The true, yeah. But Wesley was all about, you know, the Bible. Leads you to holiness. I mean, that was if. Andy Yeah, sure. Ryan You if you look. At his notes on the Bible, that's what he. Talked about so it I don't know. It's an interesting. A period in time where people are looking back at the at the foundations and saying what do we actually think about these things and that's just. Andy Yeah, yeah. Ryan Part of the story. Andy That's good. Yeah. I think this. It's just and I'm not trying to actually relitigate the debate. There was a great, I mean, really well articulated positions between Tom and David there and. And Murray vaster as well. So I won't like but, but I think it's interesting that fact, that's why it's #10 it's way down the list. But it is something that's happening in this in this community. Jonathan, you have anything you want to add there? Jonathan No, I mean it's the same I as Ryan said, you know, I think there's. There might be some anxiety around it from for some, I don't think that's everybody. I you know, I I think some probably do have anxiety about this because of culturally what's happening with, you know, in the church on the one hand, but looking at the scriptures, you know, we're we're wanting to say we. We respect the scriptures, we find them authoritative, we find them trustworthy. We find them true. No doubt we find them fully sufficient for salvation and holy. As we've been talking about and we do not want to compromise and other things, you know, and to say, there are certain fundamentals that we want to hold to that the church has held to since before the Canon was even established. You know, that has been articulated in the creeds and things like that, like virgin birth. I mean, the same things that are coming out right now. Even, you know like. Virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Christ, our bodily resurrection, things like that say like these the we we believe, the scripturally true and and promises and all that because we've seen churches that have not. Regarded those things as true or scriptural, and so so there's there might be some anxiety around it, but I think there is for a lot of people don't know it's coming out of place of, of anxiety. Though I think it's just clarity. They're just wanting to bring like Brian was saying, they just want to bring clarity. It's like just say something very clear and concise and let people know. Like, hey, we, we really do believe this you. Andy Know. Yeah, that's good and and. There's not anybody from I'd say I I would be 1. Who'd want to emphasize within the institution that I serve the the word? Inerrancy. I think there's power to it. It's one of the strongest possible terms that can be used. But I also at the same time and not saying, hey, this needs to be absolutely articulated within every denomination that thinks of itself in a traditional perspective. So just to kind of like. Lay that out that perspective out there, and if you want to see a deeper, longer conversation on this, you can go back to one of my podcasts from the sun. Where we talked about this with Steve Blakemore, Murray, Vassar, and Matt Ayers. I think that's a that's helpful conversation just to read. Oh, sorry, I lost my microphone there. Just something that that we can read and just think through it. I think leading to a place of scriptures authority and how this change can change the world and change life and lead us to holiness because it is God's true. 3rd I think is something we can all agree on. OK, that's number 10 #9. Now there's two that are gonna sound similar, but because this story came later, it's #9. We might not spend a lot of time at, but I'm gonna say this number 9, Bishop Mark Webb joins the GMC. Bishop Mark Webb, who was serving as a United Methodist Bishop in the northeast, and honestly, even though he went to Asbury Theological Seminary, I didn't know about him, so this was a little bit of surprise for me. We might pick up more on this later, but this was the 2nd Bishop. So what's the significance of this, Ryan? Ryan Yeah, I mean I I expected it because I've known mark for a long time. Or known of him. I've known him for a couple of years. I he visited me once in Washington and it was interesting. We were both in in institutions that were on progressive side of things at the point at that point. And we both connected immediately because of the language because. Even chuckles use certain language and they always have even back to the 18th century. That was. How do you know some well. Speaker Yeah, yeah. Ryan You listen to them. You can tell and I figured that very quickly, so I'm not surprised now that that conference he was in the Upper New York conference. Speaker Yeah, sure. Ryan That conference had has had a strong evangelical presence within it for centuries. Andy Yeah, yeah. Ryan And that's where the. That's where the burns over district is. Yeah, I mean. The free method has come out of that the you know the Wesleyans the the Mormons. You know, there's lots of. Friends movements that came out of there, not that I want to link all three of those, so nobody. Jump on that, yeah. Yeah, I think, I mean, he's a he's a major asset, he's a thoughtful and articulate Wesleyan. Shepherd of the Flock, a real Bishop. And I. I think it's wonderful that we have Mark Webb. Andy Yeah, you and I both have also we this, this should be point 8.5 Andy Miller and Ryan Danker moved their credentials to the GMC how about that? Ryan We're we're both in the same denomination and it's a miracle. Andy Wow, look at that. Can't imagine. But I mean I I think it's helpful for us to say like we're the the little bit that I know I've met with him a couple of times, he's come and spoke. We have, we have a large group of students at WBS who are in the GMC, GMC course of study, students, regular master students, and he came and met with them and it was just it was like like you said, this pastoral Bishop. He was able to come in and kind of ease people's fears. And so I think it's not just for his personality, but also the fact that a Bishop transferred the GMC is. Ryan An actor? Bishop. Andy Yeah. An active Bishop. Yeah. I don't know if there's anything to add there, Jonathan, but I'll let you get in if you want. Jonathan No, just I I want to affirm the importance of the episcopacy in that you. Know that you know this is needed and I I know it can be a lot of suspicion of of hierarchy and of episcopacy. But but what we see with someone. Mike Bishop Webb and and Bishop Jones will talk about later too, is that? You know, these are servants of the church. Bishops should be and and that's so clear and. And and you know that they're they're submitting to authority and that can be that can be tough. And I'm kind of I'm. I'm the Anglican, so. I'm going to talk about that. Yeah, so? Andy There you go. Bring it on. Jonathan Submitting to authority. You know it's it's actually important for us to know. You know, we submit to authority as we submit to God. It's not about, you know, just the authoritarianism. It's actually saying no. It's actually a posture that we're taking here. That's important because it helps us keep that posture before God, too. But knowing just as God is, one who who has stooped to serve. You know humanity. Andy Yes, yes. Jonathan Condescended. You know, the the bishops are are in that place as well. And. And these are ones that. Trustworthy. Good, good people that truly see their work as service to the church, not as authorities in the church. I mean, there's an authority with it, but that's not the posture that they take. They see themselves as servants of the church. And that's so key. Andy This and this is a good moment to make sure that this is done well, that the that it's thought through and that the administrative bureaucratic functions don't come to dominate this important biblical historical office so #8. Similar, since it deals with authority, though some might think the authority and I might be one of them, that authority is a little too strong sometimes, and that is that the nomination from which I come. The Salvation Army this past summer elected a new general, and I'll just tell you about this process. And Brian, you might think this sounds like something else that and another global movement. But there is all the leaders come together in one room and they don't say anything to anybody else necessarily. They get a couple of reports that come out every now and then and then. One of them emerges after some white smoke comes. No, no, no, no. There is one emerges as the new international leader who has the title and the seat from William Booth. So there is a new General General Buckingham was elected this past year. And I think the significance of it in this moment particularly and he's he's agreed to come on my podcast. I hope to interview him here in January. We've had to change the dates a few times. Is that this is a moment where clarity needs to be given, as has happened in other denominations, as is happening now in method as a whole. So. The real question is going to be what's going to happen with this general? Will he speak into the issues that are critical toward the expression of biblical fidelity, particularly as it relates to human sexuality? And and then there are other issues too that need to need to come about as well so. I look at this is is an important issue because it's a global movement with more than a million members of its churches around the world. So, and I got to make the list and you guys let me keep it on. So thank you. I don't know if you want to add anything about the Salvation Army in that, but I mean, Ryan, you've been to I HQ. So you, you know a little bit. It's kind of a. Ryan I am I know exactly where the white smoke came out. That's. Yeah, right there in the shadow of Saint Paul's Cathedral. How? How appropriate. Andy It is. It has been there since 1882. OK, so that's mine. I'm going to go to now number 7. And Ryan, I want you to take away the Holiness Partnership and also some other and a a publishing house also has come about. Tell us about what's going on there. Ryan Oh, oh, the Wesleyan Holiness connection and all these gay press. Andy Yes, yes, yes, I'm #7. Ryan Caveat I'm on the steering committee of the Wesleyan Holiness Connection, so, but I I think the make. The the new. This year is the new leadership transition that. Place from Kevin Mannoia, who founded the group, to to Bishop John Mark Richardson, who's a coaching Bishop out of Los Angeles. And I love that guy. He sends me text messages. It's 5:00 AM here, which means I don't. Know why he's. Awake. But he's always like Ryan, we need. To do something bigger. Bigger, bigger. I'm like OK Bishop. OK, it's 5:00 AM. Let me drink some coffee first. But anyway, the the Wesley and Holiness connection is. Is is one of the largest gatherings of Wesleyan bodies anywhere. They're representatives from you, name the group, or the denomination, or and they're there. And and I represent the John Weston Institute on that committee. But most people who are there on the steering committee at least represent the nominations, like United Methodists of the Wesleyans of the Nazarenes or or they have Pentecost representation as in with John Mark Richardson and Kojak. It's really an amazing organization, but the transfer from the founder to a new leader that works well and it's going well and then leading into new things, that's a story for Methodism in 2023. Why? Because other parts of the Wesleyan movement are fragmenting where this group is coming together. And they're also coming together to kind of relaunch Aldersgate press. Which has kind of been dormant for a number of years, but I'm I'm encouraging some and and some others are leading, Barry Callen still involved in this and some other source spearheading this. We need more faithful Wesley and resources for formation and catechesis aimed at the laity so. Yeah, shout out to the WHC and Aldersley press. Andy Yeah. Now, now, is this connected all to the former National National Holiness Consortium? Was that what that was? That the predecessor? Of this group. Only this partnership is that what what? What's the name of it again? There. There used to be one that. Ryan No, I don't. Andy Had a magazine and it started out. Jonathan As a camp meeting kind of right. Andy Ohh yeah, this is it. Jonathan Like it's iterate of this one that wasn't. Ryan Well, not just, not just. No, no. Kevin Monroy founded this one and Kevin wasn't around when Kemp meetings were still blazing in the forests, you know? Yeah. The way you guys are talking about, yeah, I know. Well, I'm not clear on it, but yeah, they used to be the national Camp Meeting Association. If you really want to go way back there. Yeah. And things like the Western Theological Society even came out of that, that eventually. But there's a couple of different groups that were active right now. The largest is WHC. Andy Right. Ryan That's still with us and still doing things. Andy And we've depended upon other institutions to bring, you know, groups together in this, like seminary. So as Berry Theological Seminary, Asbury University was a key point. And I think that that was part of the genius of Henry Clay. Morrison was at the Pentecostal Herald, the magazine, the paper that he edited. Was this connecting piece and that's in part why the Asbury institutions became this almost like clearing House. Within the the broad movement, but I I think it's helpful for it not just to be connected to the Academy, that this is driven by an ecclesial leader. So I'm excited about that and I was able to be a part of the meeting on behalf of WBS that, that, that happened at new room. So we're hoping to be engaged in the future as well. Ryan Yeah, yeah. Andy All right. Number six, number six is this denominational growth. Methodist in the broad sense. Or Methodist denominational growth. Now this there certainly is a GMC that's that's come about and has been has grown this year. Because of this affiliations. But also I just want to highlight that other denominations are growing in this period. Alike the Association of Independent Methodist Congregational, Methodist, Protestant. Methodist evangelical methods. Now, I don't know too much about evangelical methods, but particularly congregational and association independent methods. My friends who are in those denominations or those, you know, the aim is an association. They are just incredibly busy. These are not very, they don't. They're not very top heavy and they might have like a part time. Secretary, who's at least that's the case of aim. Who facilitates the administrative work. But the people who are voluntary volunteer, they volunteer to lead. They end up, they're all over the country, just like talking to groups serving groups. So I think this is significant moment for these other denominations have often been sidelined to really have opportunities to be a good fit for churches that are disaffiliating. Do you guys know of other groups beyond the ones that I've mentioned? Jonathan I mean free Methodists grown of course, the Global Methodists, the you know my denomination, the ACA has grown, I mean. Andy Oh yeah. Yeah. Tell me about that. I don't know much about. I mean, I know about the CNA, but tell I haven't, I haven't heard much about there. Being groups have come to the AC. Yeah, there been a. Jonathan Few handful. It's not. There's not many. It's nowhere near the others. Like those that go those, but I could name. I probably know of five or six. I know five. At least, pastors that were ordained, UMC, that have all in the last couple of years, you know, transferred into the AC and A and a couple of them that have taken congregations with them and one another one that I guess I know four, they've done that and one that's kind of actively pursuing that. Moment. So it's not big, but but the CNA in general is experiencing growth. It's not necessarily because of that, but yeah. Ryan Yeah, there are. Yeah, I know a few other former United Methodist. We're going ACNA as well. It's an interesting phenomenon. It's not like the it's not like the 4000 clergy. You join the GMC, but it's it's a noticeable. Andy Well and and this kind of this shows too that there is a movement to like people who want more liturgical high church expression. It do you think that that's it is it forgive me. And Jonathan, if I look for love for you to jump in here say not just like a style question is there also like a theological rationale do you think for people going there? Or is it more liturgical or aesthetic? Jonathan I I mean, I think it's a mix. I think it's a number of things you know, and I mean Ryan can definitely speak to this from his own Anglican like we're, you know, he's we're both methlick fans, but. Yeah. So a few things with it. I think that there's some trusted structure that people want, you know, maybe coming out and saying like I've not been part of structures that I've trusted. And so I've heard. So I mean, I'm just going off of it's all anecdotal things that people. Told me, somebody said I've just not trusted the bishops, you know, for instance, you know that I've had, but I've. I like this structure better. And these are bishops that I I think actually believe the Bible, you know, and can say the creeds without crossing their fingers and things like that. There is a big draw saying we want to be grounded. I mean, it's still kind of a structure thing, but we want to be grounded in a liturgical tradition. In in something that does ground us in a Sacramento tradition especially, and one that has carried throughout the years. And you know, as as our own President here would say, Doctor King said, you know, not something that was made-up last Tuesday. And I'm not talking about a denomination or anything like that, just saying like a a way of worshiping. Andy Yeah, yeah. Jonathan You know, he says, like, you know, we're we're we're sitting in things that have been throughout the church and there's there's substance to it. A lot of people finding. I'll, I'll tell you a couple things, honestly. Never people said they found a breath of fresh air because they don't feel like they have to make worship meaningful. They they you just into it. You're not making it meaningful. It's not about the experience of worship, it's about just coming in and worshiping together and. That's it. And so it's a breath of fresh air to them. And the second has been preaching. They've said I don't like the whole thing relies on the, the whole, you know, experience, quote, UN quote of worship. The It's not about the sermon. That's one part of so much more. And they've said I've just found such a freedom in that that I want to to to be in that and so. Those are some of the things. I mean, there's a number of others, but just since you brought the worship piece of it like I. Andy No, I think it's good. That's exactly. Thank you so much for addressing that. Ryan, you want to add anything there? Ryan Well, I mean, it's just it's a historic pattern. This has been happening amongst Methodist for centuries. Speaker Yeah, yeah. Ryan I mean, they're really, these are the heirs of Charles Wesley. I mean, John never left Church of England as I like to remind everybody, but. Charles was adamant. About it. And in fact, you know, some of the people that John Wesley ordained in 1784 ended up Episcopalians and ordained at the hands of Episcopal Bishop. So that you know it, I mean the leader of American Methodism before Asbury came, Joseph Fillmore became an Episcopalian. So it's, you know, this, this is not this has been happening for a long time. Back then it was the liturgy and Apostolic succession. And I think probably for many in the 18th century, it was just staying a part of the what they considered to be the established. Andy This is really good, Ryan. Oh, sorry to interrupt. You. Finish what? Ryan Even if it wasn't. Andy You're saying there? Ryan You know, I'm just saying, you know, I well aware that the Episcopal Church was not established necessarily, but it just seemed like it. So anyway. Andy This is what's interesting is like 1784. This is the moment when Wesley ordained the various people and as a result of this, I I do think we're gonna keep coming back to this date and we're gonna keep, we're gonna think. About this more. Now for what it means to exist as a church. What does it mean to be a denomination? Why do we have denominations and also you bringing up the the change to the leadership of Francis Asbury? I think a lot of this, like the groups that I named and. Maybe some that are. Even though we have some AC and a people connected to us here at Wesley Biblical Seminary, a lot of the denominations we serve would be more on the. On the Asbury side, not Asbury Seminary College. The Francis Asbury side of the movement and maybe sometimes I don't like low church, high church. I don't love that that language. But but more revivalistic, more conversion focused. Not that that these things don't happen in other places. Just like everything Jonathan said. Aren't things that don't happen in the so-called lower church sort of environment. But I do think this is gonna. And and sometimes point #10 about inerrancy comes to be a part of these, you know, same discussion. So I. I think this is going to be a part of the continuing conversation of what happens in these days, and I'm hopeful that even things like having the Wesleyan Holiness Partnership becomes a stabilizing factor in a connecting factor, and even though I just jumped back to another point, I was talking about the growth of these. Other denominations in light of what's happening in the United Methodist Church. All right, so that was 6. So I had an errancy Bishop, Mark Webb and New Salvation Army General Holland Partnership #6 the denominational growth. #5 and this is fresh off the presses as in the last 48 hours. And Jonathan and I might say the least here in light of our jobs. But two Evangelical Wesleyan seminary presidents have resigned in the last 48 hours or transition transition to new roles. That might be a better way of saying so. I'm not the. Ryan I'll talk. Andy Star person here, but just I think in 2023 these are things that happened. So Ryan why don't you so since Jonathan and I might not want to be the ones that jump in here. Oh, go ahead. Jonathan Yeah, I'll. I'll just say real quick, I concur. Ryan Yeah, I mean, you could do a Reagan thing and just I. Don't recall. Yeah. It's always good to bring it up the Gipper anyway. No, we we, you know, this is a this is a time of transition. I think it's a. It's a hit to the rising world in a sense that these two men, who you know, all three of us, know these men very well. They're friends of ours. Let's, let's be honest, we think very highly of both of them. My my hope for them is, is that they can continue to be faithful witnesses because they've always done that, and I I have no doubt that they will. And you know, I mean, Tim's been at Asbury now for 14 years, right as President. And what a, what an amazing tenure, you know, record enrollment, record fundraising, expansion of programming on and on and on and on the centenary that he covered in 2020. 2/3/2023. Jonathan Well, end of 22 to 20. Three, yeah. Ryan Right. That's why I was confused. I'm also a Duke graduate, so I don't keep track of everything in Wilmore, the. You know that. I mean, what a record that that Tim leaves behind. And of course you know Matt, Matt actually was that what WS for? Not too long, but he's still left a great record of growth and connections and expansion and he's to be commended in such a short period of time relatively Speaking of leading. So faithfully so that those are my comments about these two guys that we think so highly of and goodness trying to replace either of them. That's gonna be interesting. Andy I'll be like Jonathan, I concur. Jonathan That's good, I concur. Speaker OK. Andy Alright, so that was #5, but I think it's I think it's significant. So #4 now that there's the order of this is a little funny, but I say #4 it was was very soon into the new year like one of the first few days of the new Year we got word. That Bishop Scott Jones transferred to the GMC Bishop Scott Jones, who's a scholar who'd been a A A Wesley scholar and, you know, function in the Academy as a pastor, but then was a Bishop for, I think, 16 years. This I put this higher on the list because it was the first. He was the first one. The transfer and the GMC wisely had a path for this to happen in their transitional book of discipline, and then as these conferences emerged all over the country and world. There was a need for a Bishop and we were so glad that they were present and we could talk about this in in a few ways. We already talked about the importance of the role of Bishop, the ecclesiological role, but also, I mean think this is a historic piece as well because this was the first one would either of you like the same thing about this? Ryan Well, I mean, I'll jump in with with Bishop Scott. I mean, it was a bit. I think it. Was a bigger splash then when Mark Webb did. It probably won because he was for first active Bishop to do it. I think we need to reiterate that that there have been what, 5 bishops 6. Andy Alright, it's true. Mike Lowry too, yeah. Ryan Well, there's and there's more than that. I can't remember all the names off top my head, so I'm going. To try, but definitely. Speaker That's yeah. Ryan Mike Lowry. My goodness. What a what? A force. Retired or not, I don't care. Mike Lowry is a force. Scott Jones wrote the book on United Methodism. Umm that I mean. And he comes from a family again, it's funny. I I know all these people. The Jones family has been a part of United Methodism for decades. And not just a part of it. I mean, Intrical faithful leaders. Craig Jones, his brother, was the Dean of the Dominion School when I was at Duke. Susan Gregg's wife was my candidacy mentor for ordination. I mean, and then, of course, Scott and Greg's dad had been the Dean of Duke Divinity School. So there's, I mean. There's a long. Relationship with the United Methodism. There. But also he wrote the book on Methodism, that everybody read on United Methodism. Everybody read called the Extreme Center and so there was almost this sense. Andy Right, right. Ryan Amongst some people, and I'm being really careful because I don't want to step on 3rd rails here cause I I I love everybody the. There was a sense in which the if the guy who wrote the extreme center is leaving, then something is going on here. And so if extreme center itself is leaving then then what does that mean? I think that that shook some people. Andy Yeah, that's a good word. I think. I think highlighting that book and what this means about what, what the center is and what's happening in method is United Methodism now is it's not in the center then those who are on who are were in the center now find themselves on the far right. Ryan I'll put it down. Andy Of that movement, if they if this is a. Problem of using directional terms. But it is significant, Jonathan you want. To add anything. Jonathan Yeah, I mean. Just a different approach or a different side. Of all this? Is and they definitely need our prayers, not just because of what they're doing. I mean, definitely, you know, always, you know, bishops need our prayers, but. Andy Yes, yes. Jonathan They know our prayers. They're carrying a lot right now. Yeah, them are carrying a lot and are just in high demand. They're they're doing a lot of problem solving. They're having to help. Set direction you know, I mean I I I agree with Ryan. It was a brilliant move on the GMC's part of Transitional Leadership Council's part to have a pathway already ready. So like we already know how we're doing this and that was that was good. There's so many things. They're still just trying to manage and figure out especially for this convening. Coming up so you know need our prayers for that, but also just in the sense they're having to travel a lot into a lot of meetings, a lot of ordinations, a lot. You know, there's just a whole lot that is on the shoulders of very few people at the moment. And I know they're very ready to have more help. And so just pray for endurance. For them. Andy And thank you for saying that, Jonathan, actually and I know like in your dad's serving as. The President Pro Tem for the Kentucky area, I forget the name that. Jonathan That conference mid South Mid-south conference. Andy It's OK. Got it. Yeah. And so you you might know some of that through him. And as we've been working with a variety of leaders, we're just aware of these and. And then everywhere we go to kind of let people know that we're able to serve them and help them in their theological education. Those bishops are there and they are in the spotlight. And that's a that's a heavy light. Jonathan Yeah, it is. It is, yeah. Andy All right, so we have that as #4 Bishop, Scott Jones, Joe joins the GMC #3. I have a former Nazarene on the call, so this would be good. But the Nazarene church stepped up to the plate and they are trying to avoid the challenges of the United Methodist Church and the Nazarenes have pulled the credentials from some high profile. At least one high profile pastor over issues related to human sexuality, so I think this is a significant moment for that denomination. And you know, on my podcast I that I had some conversations. With Conservative and Liberal perspectives on both sides of the Nazarene conversation, and the I Methodist and Salvation Army, and when that happened, these events hadn't happened. So I think this is an important moment of accountability, and this is. What this is in? Part why we have. Denominational systems is that it is it is a means of presenting A unified vision of who we are and if it's going to exist, there needs to be accountability. Cause if there's not accountability, we end up having more schisms. So I think I think that's a significant. Now do you guys agree? I put this toward the top of list the number 3. And I'll highlight to some of our my colleagues here at Wesley Biblical Seminary put together a book responding to another book of why the Nazarene Church is right on human sexuality. So there was significant attention given to this, and I just want to applaud my friends in the Nazarene church who are working hard to kind of hold the ground here. Ryan Yeah. And I I was going to give Matt Freedom a shout out, but you just. Did it so. It's the Church of the Nazarene, is, I think, facing these issues. More honestly than than the mainline did so for so many years, we just wanted to pretend like it was OK for everyone to have all kinds of opinions, even if they were contrary to the actual canons of the church that everyone supposedly agreed to, and and what that did that what that did to both conservatives. Andy Yeah, yeah. Ryan And liberals, is that it introduced a lack of integrity into the institution that wasn't necessary. Yes. And so and and of course, you know, people ask me what do I help for progressive Methodist? I I said I hope they can be as people of integrity because I know the deep. Down that they are. And and that's my hope for them. But anyway the. I know we're not focusing on progressives, but. With the Nazarene? What's interesting is this is not the first time they've done this with with credentials. This is the first time that social media has reacted so swiftly and caused such a stir. I could go off and name a number of people who've quietly been, you know, dismissed from their orders for holding exactly the opinions that the pastor of San Diego first held. What's interesting involved what's interesting about this particular case, though, is that it it follows the general superintendents declaring that their their ethical standards are doctrinal. Andy Yes, yes. Ryan Now, there were some who had a fit about this, but the reality is, if your ethical standards as a church aren't not criminal, then don't have them. You know, if you wanna separate doctorate and ethics so thoroughly, and of course, too many people separate doctrine and liturgy. But anyway, I won't go on that soapbox. Andy Right. Yep, Yep. Ryan Doctrine and ethics have to go together and the generals simply reminded everybody that that's just the case. I was a little disappointed by some of the social media reactions of. Nazarenes, who should? But yeah, you know, let's all walk with integrity when in whatever denominational group we find ourselves in. Following Jesus. Let's at least have basic integrity and I I commend the Nazarenes. Andy Ohh sure. Yes, good word. Yeah, I think I think it's a clear moment and that separation, that's exactly what this, that's what the new general of the Savage Army has to face. There's a in the articles of faith that every salvation assigns. There's doctrinal statement. And then there's the word, therefore, and then the ethical statements and the exact same things happening. Ryan Right. Andy Well, I I'll take the you know, the doctrines. I don't know if they really want to take all the doctrines, but nevertheless that they have those. And then also wanted to remove ourselves from the way that those are played out. So all right, so we have that was #3 coming down #2. Now this has been a part of many other pieces that we've said earlier. So it won't, it won't be a surprise, but I think the number is significant and that's this number two, this affiliations from the United Methodist Church, the number my friend. Who is a calculating all this? Mark Tooley, who works with Ryan Ryan, works at the Institute for Religion. Democracy is keeping a daily account, probably of what's happening. So what is the number today, Ryan? Ryan Oh, it's it's it's 7600 and something I get text Mark, but it's 7600 plus disaffiliated not just this year, but total in the last number of years. What's significant about that? And it's it's just a massive schism. I mean, on both, you know, and it's not just the disaffiliation that are schism E churches schism like this. Let's be clear. About that. What we have here is one out of every four United Methodist churches in the United States. Has not only decided to leave, but has overcome all the hurdles. And all the process and all the turmoil that comes along with the disaffiliation process. And it's just amazing to me. One in four. I mean, that's just massive. And I was talking to some friends here in Washington. They said, well, how big is this? And I? Said, well, there are 6000 parishes in the Episcopal Church, and there are 7600 United Methodist churches that just left. Everybody's like, oh, because everybody knows everybody drives by an Episcopal Church all the time, you know? Andy Sure. That's a good, good comparison. Ryan And yet this is 1600. More so I, Jonathan, I don't know how many parishes are in the ACC and A is it 1600? Jonathan Yeah, about that. So you combined the, I think if you combined the Episcopal and the AC and. A you would. Have the number of people that the the number of churches that have left. The you know. Ryan Wow, it's amazing. It's absolutely amazing. And now in prayer, by the way, I think we do need to continue to pray for the Methodist bishops that they might because they're all in shock. I mean, the the whole institution is in shock. Because what happens when you lose a quarter of yourself? So that's something else to add to the prayer. List, isn't it? Yeah. Andy Jonathan, do you think schisms is the right word to use? Jonathan For what's going on? Andy For what's happened? What, what's happening with these affiliations? Jonathan Yeah. I mean, yeah, definitely. I mean, you just see that you, you you see it in so many places right now because of, I mean there there's there's a a rendering a part, right, you know, I mean. That's what it that's what. It's. That's schism that's happening in that. And and you know, especially if you go back to. Read Wesley's sermon on schism. You know, you start to see a lot of them. It's like, OK, no, he's naming a number of things here that have to be mindful of. So yeah. So yeah, and and and I. Mean everything Brian saying. Is so significant, you know the. The the the prayer part of that, you know the the the bishops and the Methodist Church are are in shock and number of pastors are in shock or just confused. They don't know where to go. I like where to go with their churches. You know what to do. I don't mean necessarily go denominationally, but, like, just where to go forward with their church. And there's just. Andy Yeah, yeah. Jonathan You know I'm not. I'm not in all of that, but I know enough people that are connected to it that just there's there's enough backbiting going on on both sides that I just. Yeah, a lot of people are just really abused and really hurt on both sides and. Ryan It's fine. Andy Yeah, yeah, that's true. I'll say give a little positive word about some of it is that I this fall for me I if you'd have talked to me in August, I would have never imagined what this fall would have looked like for my schedule. I've ended up being in. I don't know if quite a dozen, but close to it, churches, churches that have disaffiliated across Mississippi, some who the the. Ryan That's that's. Different number. Andy Church won their vote. They won the percentage that they needed 67%, but then actually the ones that have been the most encouraging have had been churches that have lost the vote. UM. I went to West Point Ms. there is such a place, by the way. I went to West Point, Ms. Starkville, Ms. just here in in in Ridgeland, Ms. and those are three that come to mind immediately that lost their vote and immediately new congregations formed. The next week and I I I walked into these situations ready, you know, because they they just need a preacher. They need somebody who can come and preach. So here Wesley, Bill, summary and we we're we're going out and taking these I become a circuit rider. I've done sometimes three in a on a Sunday and so like as I've been in these environs. Jonathan Right, right. Andy Comments. I'm ready for them to be just a turtle. Shells like you know. Just but what I found actually are vibrant communities like people who are just like they're able to express things that they haven't been able to express there. There's a there's a a joy, there's excitement. Then there's also some. Quite a lot of questions, no doubt in some uncertainty for sure. But I do think this is an exciting moment for wesleyanism. For Methodism as a whole. And so yes, there's hurt. Yes, there are. There's some sin happening on both sides, but at the same time, this many of these churches have disaffiliated. Speaker Right. Andy Are are really in beautiful places. Jonathan Well, can I say something to you? Really quick that I've talked. To so many people who have attended these convening conferences for the annual conferences, not the. And they have just talked about how wonderful the worship has been. You know, for for the GMC in particular that and even some of the methods just to say, like, there's been a sense of, like, we can just we're we're we're kind of past this now like we can just move on, you know and there's since we're just coming together and we're just worshipping and we're. Focused on God and in and most of the ones I'm hearing from the GMC, they said there's just a sense of the spirit moving and encouraging and a peace about it that they had never experienced in their whole ministry. And and and it's just been significant, like so many people have said that. And so, you know, I think there's something to that, you know. Ryan And and I've actually, I've heard. That you, you. You. Hinted at it, but I've heard that from United Methodist too. Some who came back from manual conference Lake Junaluska spoke of the same thing. It's nice to be together when we're not at. Speaker OK. Ryan Each other's throats. Andy Yeah, yeah, yeah. Speaker You know. Ryan To actually, you know, annual conference, you know, you're saying they hit the him and are we yet alive but but for longest time there was a question mark there. There's not a question mark in the original text it's you know we see each other's face and we're going we're equipping. We're moving forward for the work ahead. That's what that ends about and I think. Hey, if that's if that's what happens after the end of what I often call the Methodist realignment for everybody then. Andy Yeah, yeah, that's great. Well, I think that's a good number too. But number one was certainly something that hit everybody's social media and was something that was we couldn't have it. We couldn't have predicted that this would happen. But we thank God it did. And I'll let Jonathan go first on this. But #1 the number one story in the Wesleyan world is the work of the spirit in the Asbury. Awakening, and sadly, I didn't get to the holy city myself, but we have somebody who is there. So Jonathan, tell us, why is this the number one story? Jonathan Oh, goodness yeah. I mean it it. Yeah. A surprising unexpected work of of God. Right. Like it just it for Jonathan Edwards, the great Calvinists. But. But yeah, I mean there there was something. Just so, so amazing about like, so, so genuine about it. You know that like when this happened. It's not new to Asbury. You know, there's there's been these outpourings, revivals, the different things like this that have happened in the history of of Asbury and and just knowing the leadership, you know, the, the, the President there, the Provost over there pretty well too. Andy Yeah, I think you do, yeah. Jonathan And I. Ryan Who's that again, Jonathan? Jonathan Her name is Kerry, my mom, but. So I I'll I'll just. Give a little bit of. Narrative here, like personal narrative, because that's typically help. Andy Yeah, love it. Speaker You talk about. Jonathan These things I was teaching a class. My office is right here and there's a classroom, like, right next to my office right over here. And I was over there teaching a class when all this happened. I was my. My phone started blowing up with texts. People saying something's going on in Hughes. Motorum, hey, just like you'd want to know, you might wanna come over to Hughes. And this is when it was like 100 people. You know, over there. This wasn't like the world coming in. There was just like 100 students and faculty and staff that were over there, you know. And said, but something really significant is happening, and so I'm I'm I'm teaching and there was a a student who had graduated from Asbury, that was in that class. And so we were on a break and I just said, look, something's going on here, I might say I was like, do you want to just go over like, do you wanna just go so like after, like, we just went over and just, you know, it's just. Walked in and there's just a piece and a gentleness to it and everything. Just very genuine. A lot of prayer saw a lot of people praying with each other at that time. When we went over there wasn't like, I know a lot of what got posted on social media was a lot of the music and some of the speaking. And so like that, that's not what was happening. It was just prayer, you know, praying together and just sitting still and. Being in the presence of God and for me there are a few things. And I've written about this. You know, I've I've published on a couple of places now, but for me, what? One of the things that that I was saying is like, I think what these outpourings do with these revivals do is kind of shake us and stir us in, awaken us to what God is always doing. It's just in, in, in a kind of. Speed up kind of way, right? And kind of a magnified kind of. Way and it's like, why were so many people wanting to come to Hughes? Because there was a sense God is here, you know, God is here. It's like, well, the Israelites were going to the temple for the same reasons, you know? Yeah, we go to worship every Sunday for some reason for the same reason. We just forget, you know, and a lot of things distract us. But it's like, this is what worships always supposed to be. Every time we come, we just like we've we have a habit of messing that up, you know? But this is like stirring us to remember that, you know, and to be aware of it. So there's so much of that. But there's so much healing and reconciliation and, you know, with God with one another, all, you know, all kinds of things. And so. So that first day it was just really simple, really gentle and it and it kept that same spirit about it the whole time. But more and more people kept hearing about it. More and more people kept coming to it, you know. And so it's really, really fascinating. And then you see, what does it mean in the age of social media, you know, because again, it's not that these haven't happened before. But now that social media is here, it's getting projected and and publicized more than before. And so that just made it very interesting and very strange in some ways, even though they really fought against that there, saying, like, we really don't want, we want you to be here and be president, not trying to broadcast this. Where? So you know some of those things, one of the things just really quickly, some people said, you know, why does this keep happening at Asbury? Like, do they know how to manipulate people? Yeah. Conjure it, manipulate people, do all this. My friend Teddy ray. Actually, I think had one of the best. Thoughts on this reflections on this? He was looking at it and he said, you know, when I think about this, I think of Psalm 130 and Psalm 130 has this line that says more than Watchmen wait for the morning more than Watchmen. Wait for the morning says people that. Are looking for God. He says those are people that posture themselves in a place to look for. God in God's movement. And they keep. That posture, you know, he says. And he said, I've been in Asbury. I've been part of Asbury. And the thing I know about the people there is they continually put themselves in a posture to see God and to. See God moving. He said so. So some 130 might actually tell us, why does this keep happening at Asbury? Speaker Right. Andy Oh oh, I hadn't heard that. That is great. Great. Oh, I love that image too. It makes me like I feel like we should just stop right there. Let's have that posture, folks. That's that's the word for 2023. Ryan. But I will let you. Get in as a. Ryan Oh well I I could. Just say I concur, but the. No, it was. It was fun to watch him from a distance. And in fact, I I did. I ended up writing about it for the living church because this campalans kept coming to me and saying, what in the world is going on? And I so they needed somebody who could speak Episcopalian. So they called me and they said, write us an article for the living church about this. And and it was published and it helped the Episcopalians and the Anglicans. Understand more clearly, you know, cause revivals like this don't break out at high mass at, you know, Anglo Catholic parishes regularly they do, they have different kind of experiences than this, but it was. Amazing to watch and and and I you know, I love what Teddy said. That's so true. When you're in communities who expect God to be there. UM. It changes our vision, it changes our view and you know, people always ask well, why was Wesley so successful? Well, in his own words, he watched for the showers of grace. Ran after them. And that's where we need to be. Andy You're beautiful. Let's watch for those showers of grace. What a good picture. Thank you, Brian. Well, guys, thanks for coming along for this one. Encourage people. If you see this on YouTube, would you subscribe? Would you share this? There's a lot of hopeful words for what God is doing kind of as CS Lewis says, as land is on the move. And so I think reflecting on these stories. Yeah, there's a few that are a little. A little tough to hear, but at the same time there's a lot of hope in this. Again, encourage people if you're interested in some of the things I talked about the front of this podcast, Andy, that's Andy Miller, Check out like some resources that could help you as small group materials and that kind of thing is going into 2024. Jonathan Ryan, do you want to give me advertisements? Or anything is coming out. Ryan Well, I I can tell you all that the the faith once delivered to Wesley and witness to Christian Orthodoxy is going. To be. Published January 2024 by seed beds, so the great work of the next Methodism summit and at the same time. As both of you. Know the next Methodism Summit Holiness's meeting next month to write a document on holiness. Of heart and life. I think that's going to be one of the stories of 2024. Andy Oh, he's predicting he's making a prediction. Actually, it was the story last year, the the first Wesley Summit. Yeah, so. Ryan I'm making it. Yeah, well, this time we have 80 scholars from an even broader array of denominational communities, and. And so the John West Institute is excited to welcome these people to historic Alexandria, VA once again. Andy There it is. And Jonathan, you've had a book come out this year, right that you? Jonathan I did, yeah, a Wesleyan theology of baptism. So dives into a lot of different topics around baptism, theologically and and kind of practically, you know, pastorally, I should probably say both, both theologically pastorally not those are separated, but. And a lot of great scholars that contributed very thankful for their work and that's through cascade. You can find it on on Amazon through Cascades website. But it's new life and the risen Christ is the name of it new life and the risen Christ. Ryan actually came. Up with that title. I don't know if you. Remember that we were talking. Ryan I don't remember. Wow. Jonathan Yeah. No one day. And that's because I said something and you said like, what about this? I was. Like oh I. Like that. Better so new life in the was in Christ and then, but a Wesleyan theology of baptism is the subtitle. Andy It's great. I know one of our, you know, great adjuncts here at WBS. Steven Bruns worked on that, and I could have made this a story interesting enough. I don't know. I don't know if I've told you guys this, but. Andy Miller, the 3rd and his children were baptized in 2023 that could have been a yeah, so I moved into GMC and so and we felt like it was just the right time. We actually it might not fit. Maybe there there could be we we ended up because of the kind of some of the social dynamics we ended up. Been with the WBS faculty, and in this this community that kind of was a part of my coming. To here and so anyhow, I hope here's what I hope this is like my grown up Christmas List Christmas list of for for this year that a 2024 story will be the Salvation Army reinstitutes the sacraments. How about that? That would be good. Yeah. So we'll see. Well, thank you all for coming along. Speaker That's right. Andy Thanks of course to Jonathan and Ryan. Thanks for checking out this podcast. We appreciate you all appreciate you guys. You too, guys, and anybody who's listening this podcast. Thanks for joining us today.

Copyright ©2024 Andrew S. Miller III