New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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Methodists and a Questioning Faith

FOREWORD - Susan Thompson
'An Outspoken Parson' - from NZ Observer and Freelance
THE 1912 HERESY HUNT - Donald Phillipps


As John Salmon notes in the introduction to this volume, Christian faith has often been contestable. While some groups within the Christian community have viewed faith as essentially unchanging, there have always been individuals and groups who have challenged received interpretations and sought to re-shape faith for both a new time and context. The 78th Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society (New Zealand) focuses on some of the debates that have arisen within New Zealand Methodism when previously accepted matters of faith have been questioned. The Society was extremely pleased when John Salmon accepted our invitation to be the guest editor of this publication. John's retirement as the Principal of Trinity Methodist Theological College brings to an end a significant period in the college's history. New initiatives have been taken in the academic and practical training of Methodist students for ministry. In his own spiritual journey, John has been a person for whom faith involves "stepping out... without any certainty or answers, but in an attitude of open curiosity". As an educator this has led him to interrogate received theology in the light of contemporary questions and perspectives, and to seek new ways of preparing students for ministry in the twenty-first century. This has not always taken him to a comfortable place, but like the other Methodists whose stories are told within this volume, he has lived, worked and questioned out of a deep sense of commitment to the moving of God's Spirit.

Susan Thompson

Convenor, Publications Committee