ERIC Number: ED311745
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Sep-1
Reference Count: N/A
A Critical Analysis of the Ministry Studies Since 1944. Occasional Papers No. 76.
Heitzenrater, Richard P.
A critical analysis of the quadrennial ministry studies within Methodism over the years is presented. The 1944 and 1948 ministry studies were sociological and demographic. A 1952 study was the first try by the Methodist Church to work on definitions and theological understanding of the ministry. In 1960, there was a study of ministry and a subsequent report to the General Conference plus an important publication of papers from a consultation of Methodist theological faculties. In 1964, a study of the ministry in the light of historic Christianity (to clarify church doctrine in relation to ministry) reported that the concept of an ordained laity was indefensible yet recognized the Methodist Church had an ordained laity. It was not accepted by the General Conference. A 1968 report to the General Conference tied together the concepts of ministry, the sacraments, and ordination. It was adopted by the legislative committee. A 1976 report marked a shift in the church's view of ministry, highlighting the concepts of general and representative ministry. By 1980, the reports moved more away from traditional conceptualizations of ministry, ordination, and even sacraments, with a radical proposal for a new order of diaconal minister. A committee reporting to the 1988 General Conference studied the meaning of ordination, the relationship of ordination to the sacraments, the meaning of itinerancy, the nature of conference membership, and the possibility of a permanent diaconate. Currently the committee plans to present a tentative report and ask for continued study. Several guidelines for helping deal with basic issues are presented. (SM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Nashville, TN.