William H. Willimon, This We Believe: The Core of Wesleyan Faith and Practice (Nashville: Abingdon, 2010). 155 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4267-0689-9

Dr. Vic Reasoner

THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 1. Fall 2011. Volume 29.
Date Posted July 08, 2011

Here is an introduction to Wesleyan theology written at a lay level. As bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, Willimon writes that we should avoid unproductive, theological hairsplitting. While we should not be drawn into squabbles over nonessentials,

At our worst, this generous Wesleyan "think and let think" has led to our acting as if ideas about God are not that important after all and to the sad error of thinking that because thought about God is inconsequential, who cares what anybody believes as long as that belief is sincerely held? Wesley was a fierce foe of this sort of goofy theological "indifferentism." So is the Bible.

In a later chapter, Willimon rejects biblical fundamentalism, claiming that we cannot reduce the bubbling vitality of the Bible to a set of fundamentals. Yet Willimon does a fairly adequate job in articulating fundamental or essential Wesleyan emphases. His summary of theology in the Wesleyan tradition, "warm hearts and active hands," should also include "transformed minds." While he could have affirmed the essential doctrines of systematic theology with more clarity, many of them are implied.

This introduction is intended as a companion to the new Wesley Study Bible which was reviewed in the Fall 2009 Arminian Magazine.