Persecution & Hospitality

“When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him.’ — Luke 22:29-51, NRSV I have…

Breaking Points—A Brief History of Church Conflict

This article was adapted from a lecture prepared for a course at Wesley Seminary. Conflict has been an ever-present part of human life since the tragic fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden. Conflict continued to a devastating level when Cain murdered Abel. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, we find countless examples of conflict. One of the…

A Church Caught in the Middle

1776 marked the year of American succession from the British Empire. 1814 marked the end of the American War of 1812. This thirty-eight year period of political tension was also a foundational era for the North America Methodist work. The American and British political tensions from 1776 – 1814 might have caused a significant impact on Methodist missions…

Parallel Frontiers: The Leadership of Thomas Coke

This post is an excerpt from my master’s thesis, “Parallel Frontiers: Looking to Early Methodist Circuits in America for Insights on Church Multiplication in a Post-Modern Culture.” I was particularly intrigued by the work of Thomas Coke, as I was researching and writing about his leadership.  The leadership of Thomas Coke is probably the least recognized of…

A Citizen of Two Kingdoms

The Radical Reformation was a formative era of church history, having implications for much of the modern world. Prior to the work of the Anabaptist reformers, much of the Western World was under an alliance of the Church and State. This manifested itself in different ways throughout the multiple centuries following the Edict of Milan of…

Multiplication Through Unity

This article was originally written for a course at Wesley Seminary. It was also published in the July 2015 issue of Church Planter Magazine. One of the greatest losses of the Protestant Reformation was the splintering of Christ’s church. Starting with the Great Schism and rapidly increasing with the Protestant Reformation, churches have divided, and…

Contrary to Their Religious Persuasion

A few weeks ago, I was doing some research and became more aware of a unique part of American history. As a Pennsylvania native, I have always been intrigued by the microcosm of religious diversity that has been part of this state’s history. You might be aware that Pennsylvania was founded as a British province…

Priesthood of All Believers

Last month, Pope Francis visited a Waldensian church, where he asked forgiveness for the sins the Church had committed against the Waldensians. Most people have never heard of the Waldensians, nor their founder, Peter Waldo (French: Pierre Valdès, Latin: Petrus Valdes). While often regarded as a heretic by the Roman Catholics and a hero by…

Ransomed the Captives

Last week, the U.S. experienced the horiffic tragedy of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. It was a grevious day for for many Americans, but especially for the family, friends, and fellow parishioners of the victims. The media has been helpful in some ways and unhelpful in other ways. One…

Defending Orthodoxy

One of my favorite early Christian leaders is Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, a city in modern-day France. Tradition indicates that Irenaeus was a “spiritual grandson” of John the Evangelist. It is beleived that Irenaeus was born around 130 CE in Smyrna (modern-day Turkey) and trained under the leadership of Polycarp, bishop of Lyon, who was…

History on the Side

As you might notice, the title of my blog is Jesus at the Center. However, it occurred to me this week that I am rarely writing specifically about Jesus. I largely attribute that to a change in my interests and foci in the writing. When I began this blog, I wanted to focus primarily on…

Both–And

If you’ve been tracking with some of my recent blog posts, you will know that I have a strong interest with the intersection of church history and missiology. I am particularly intrigued by historical multiplication movements in church history. But out of all of them, the Methodist story is one of the most unique. I…