“Who will be saved?” is almost always a question about them, and rarely about us. Thinking itself wrapped securely in the everlasting arms, the church has spent much of its history speculating on whether God will allow anyone else to join the party.
But if we truly believe that salvation is God’s business, and God’s alone, then perhaps we should stop asking, “Who will be saved?” and ask instead, “How is God calling me to participate in the redemption of the world?” Rejecting the idea that God chooses some and not others, drawing on his Wesleyan heritage, and deepening his longstanding theological conversation with Karl Barth, Willimon reflects as a pastor and a theologian on God's intention that all would someday return from the far country into the loving embrace of the One who created them.
Feeling most at home behind a pulpit, Will Willimon’s deepest calling is to be a preacher and truth-teller of Jesus Christ. He is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke University Divinity School and retired Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church, after serving for 20 years as faculty member and Dean of the Chapel at Duke University. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Will Willimon has published many books, including his preaching subscription service on MinistryMatters.com, Pulpit Resource, and Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, both published by Abingdon Press.
Emphasizing biblical teaching to receive Others for who they are and their differences as gifts and mysteries bearing the grace of God, Willimon also offers a strong critique of the privileged who all too often rush to speak of reconciliation and evade the injustice of huge inequalities faced by foreigners and strangers - as well as the antagonism the stranger experiences. He identifies concrete, everyday ways persons are formed in welcoming others without annihilating their differences.
Rooted in the New Testament understanding of Gentile outsiders grafted into the covenant community, Willimon invites readers to an on-the-ground faith that remembers the God who comes to us again and again through so-called outsiders, strangers, immigrants, and those without status. Beyond welcome, Christians must become “other” to the world, shaking off the dominant culture’s identity and privilege through practices of listening, humility, and understanding.
“I love Will Willimon, and I love this book. Will writes with prophetic sarcasm, a touch of humor, plenty of self-effacement, and a pastor’s heart. And his words will make you laugh, cringe, cry, confess, and repent. This is a very timely book. I urge you, prospective reader, as you read this blurb on the back cover: buy and read it! You’ll be grateful you did.” —Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS; author of Half Truths
“This gutsy, biblically rich, theologically searing book by Willimon gigs everybody’s sacred cow. Not only is the one whom Christ loves Other but God is Other. The ground beneath us shakes the walls that divide us. If you are holed-up happy with people who look like you, don’t read this thing. It will screw up your world.” —Tex Sample, Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society, Saint Paul School of Theology, Leawood, KS
“Timely and prophetic, Willimon’s call to love the Other will quickly take hold of your soul, changing your preaching and your life. This book is not just a reminder of our Christian calling to welcome the Other but a call to conversion, a new way of seeing the neighbor and a new way of being in the world God desperately loves.” —Karoline M. Lewis, Marbury E. Anderson Chair of Biblical Preaching, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
“Bishop Willimon’s new book should come with a warning: Do not read unless you are ready to be changed and want to change the world!” —O. Wesley Allen Jr., Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
Now with a New Introduction!
Ordered chronologically and with an index of scriptural references, this collection will be a source of inspiration and education for decades to come.
For John Wesley, the Bible is the joyfully consistent testimony of God’s never-ending grace and ever-seeking love. Likewise, studying the Bible is more than merely knowing what Scripture says; it is also about living every day as a child of God.
Beginning with the Core Terms found in The Wesley Study Bible, author Bishop William H. Willimon systematically lays out key Wesleyan tenets of faith so that you will have a fresh way to hear God’s voice, share in God’s grace, and become more like Jesus Christ.
Let this book be your trusted companion to the NRSV version of The Wesley Study Bible as you grow to love God with a warmed heart and serve God with active hands.
William H. Willimon is Presiding Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama Area, and Visiting Research Professor, Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.
M. Kathryn Armistead, Ph.D., is an editor at Abingdon Press and a deacon in The United Methodist Church.