“Have You Faith in Christ?: A Bishop’s Insight into The Historic Questions Asked of Those Seeking Admission into Full Connection in The United Methodist Church” By Bishop Ernest S. Lyght (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2015)
Review by David James Randolph, Author “The Renewal of Preaching in the 21st Century,” Former Pastor of Christ Church Manhattan UMC and Babylon UMC in New York and former President of Olivet University, San Francisco, California
Here is a mustard seed of a book that is small in size but has a huge potential to help renew the church and its ministry. The immediate value of this book is that it is a vital and valid guide to those seeking ordination in the United Methodist ministry and those who lead, examine and approve them. But the way in which Bishop Lyght relates the historic questions of John Wesley to the contemporary situation is so rich that it speaks to those who are already ordained as a refresher course in essentials and everyone concerned with ministry in seminary and parish.
Lay people will find in it a way to better understand what their ministers are called to be and do and how they may participate more fully and constructively in the total ministry of the church. For example, the discussion of the question about the pastor visiting from house to house in this age of working households and social media is invaluable for pastor and people alike.
The answers to Wesley’s Historic Questions as approached here are not like those found in the back of some textbooks but like those found in the depths of our lives.
In this sense, dealing with crucial questions is more powerful than memorizing correct answers. We must answer the questions when they arise at the beginning of ministry but the deeper response is found a lifetime of engaging them with the intensity with which Jacob wrestled the Angel. For Wesley Question One is, “Have You Faith in Jesus Christ?” The potential to renew the ministry, church and world may be found in asking, What if this were truly Question One for ministers and laity alike today in the existential sense offered here?