What Happened to American Methodism?

Learn about the impact of theological liberalism on the trajectory of one of America’s greatest churches.


United Methodist Membership Through the Decades


From the Foreward by William J. Abraham

“This book constitutes a pivotal intervention in the current debates about the nature and future of United Methodism. It should be read and pondered across the denomination. It will be seen by historians as an invaluable source for understanding what has happened over the last generation.”


Accessible: Appropriate for clergy or lay people

Orthodox: Committed to biblical Christianity as its standard

Well-researched: Detailed stories of representative figures and issues

What People Are Saying

“The Protestant liberal theological tradition captivated American Methodism for a century. Jim Heidinger’s account of that captivation … is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of Wesleyan Methodism.”

Dr. Andrew C. Thompson

“This book explores the roots of the United Methodist Church conflict and takes the reader past symptoms to root causes. You owe it to yourself, your church, and your pastor to have the whole story.”

Rev. Carolyn C. Moore

“This book is a must-read for those who wish to engage in serious conversation about a way forward for the United Methodist Church.”

Bishop Lindsey Davis, Retired

“James Heidinger has put together a comprehensive work that is both scholarly in its breadth and depth and … accessible and interesting to those who have little or no formal theological training.”

Rev. Rob Renfroe


Recent Blog Articles

“5 Factors Leading to Protestant Theological Liberalism”

The rise of theological liberalism within Methodism and Protestant America cannot be understood apart from an understanding of the socio-economic changes that took place in America during the last half of the nineteenth century.

“The Role and Importance of Doctrine for American Methodists”

Methodism at the turn of the 20th century placed little emphasis on the importance of theological inquiry. Many even claim that Methodism is non-theological, insisting that the main emphases have always been practical and evangelical. But it was not always so.

“Roe vs. Wade: The Precautionary Principle and Abortion”

This generation of Christians should know about what has been called the Precautionary Principle. In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged it could not say when human life began. However, it ruled as if life did not begin until viability.

James V. Heidinger

James Heidinger II is a retired clergy member of the East Ohio Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Joanne, are members of the First United Methodist Church of Lexington, where Dr. Heidinger has taught an adult Sunday School class for many years. He has been involved in several renewal movements and organizations related to the Methodist and Mainline church.