I’m pleased to announce that Tyndale’s next Wesley Studies Symposium will take place on April 30, 2019, with Marguerite Van Die giving the keynote address. Van Die is Professor Emerita of History at Queen’s University, and a noted expert on Canadian church history. Her many publications include An Evangelical Mind: Nathaniel Burwash and the Methodist Tradition in Canada, 1839-1917. This is the definitive biography of Burwash, the most important Canadian Methodist theologian and an important churchman in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Dr. Van Die’s address is entitled “Building a moral community: Methodists and Public Life in Nineteenth Century Canada.” I have a number of excellent papers lined up but am open to receiving proposals from other potential presenters. Watch for registration and other details in the coming weeks.
As usual, I had a very full and fruitful time at the annual meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society. It is a pleasure and privilege to be able to gather with fellow scholars in the Wesleyan family, and every year I come away inspired, encouraged and equipped for my own work.
This year also marked the third annual meeting of the Wesleyan Liturgical Society – a new affiliate society of WTS that I hope will grow and flourish in the years to come.
In response to a request from a member who could not be there, I made audio recordings of the keynote address and panel discussion that followed.
The WLS will meet again next March at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Watch the WTS website for further details in the weeks to come.
Borders and the Body Broken: Liminal Space at the Table, by Brannon Hancock (Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University)
Panel response: Heather Gerbsch Daugherty (Belmont University), Steven Bruns (Central Christian College of Kansas), Brent Peterson (Northwest Nazarene University).
The Wesleyan Liturgical Society will meet on March 8, in conjunction with the joint meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society and Society for Pentecostal Studies. This year’s meeting takes place at Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, TN.
I’ve really enjoyed the first two WLS meetings, and we’ve got a great program lined up for this year, with a noted focus on the Lord’s Supper. The schedule is posted below.
You can register through WTS, though note that meals must be purchased through SPS.
Wesleyan Liturgical Society
Third Annual Meeting, March 8, 2018
Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Cleveland, TN
- 1:15 Welcome, opening prayer
- 1:30 Plenary paper, Brannon Hancock, “Borders and the Body Broken: Liminal Space at the Table”
- 2:00 Plenary panel discussion on the open table
- 2:30 Break
- 3:00 parallel session 1
- Todd Stepp, “Uniting the Pair So Long Disjoined: Tearing Down the Wall Between the Form of Godliness and the Power Thereof”
- Chris Green, “The Altar and the Table: Reflections on a Pentecostal Theology of the Lord’s Supper”
- 3:40 Parallel session 2
- Larry Wood, “The New Baptismal Liturgy and a Wesleyan theology of Christian Initiation”
- Steve Bruns: “The Third Race and Closed Worship: How Destroying One Border Created Another”
- 4:20 Break
- 4:30 Business meeting
- 5:00 Evening Prayer
In just over a week Tyndale will be hosting its ninth annual Wesley Studies Symposium, featuring Dr. Ben Witherington III as the keynote speaker. It’s a great privilege to have a scholar of Witherington’s caliber and profile at Tyndale. He is a prolific author and one of those rare examples of a top-rate scholar who can also speak to a broader audience in an engaging way. You can read more about Witherington here.
Given his combination of gifts, we’ve decided to run our academic symposium back-to-back with a ministry conference, aimed at church leaders. We’ve had two previous Wesley ministry conferences at Tyndale, with Timothy Tennent in 2010, and Leonard Sweet in 2013.
For the ministry conference on April 24, Witherington has chosen to address the topic of “A Singular Scripture in a Pluralistic Culture.” He’ll be addressing the nature of scriptural authority and illustrating his arguments with reference to important issues facing the church today.
For the Wesley Studies Symposium, Witherington’s keynote topic is “The Ethics of Jesus Revisited.” We also have an excellent lineup of six other presenters for the symposium.
- Aimee Patterson, “A New Final Enemy: Reflections on Dying, Suffering and Autonomy”
- Dan Cooper, “Breakdown in Babylon: an exploration of Psalm 137 through the lens of metal culture”
- Grant Gordon, “John Newton Encounters John Wesley: The Untold Story”
- David Graham, “The Chalcedonian Logic of Wesley’s Christology”
- Gerhard Mielke, “What motivated Wesleyan Holiness Women of the 19th and early 20th century to preach?”
- Aaron Perry, “Ethics, Theology, and Leadership: A Review of the Current State of Ethical Leadership and Why Theology can Make a Contribution”
We are topping all of this off with a worship event on Sunday evening, April 23, featuring Swee Hong Lim, noted expert in global contemporary worship. Supported by local musicians, we’ll be singing the hymns of Charles Wesley to tunes both old and new.
To register or find more information about any of these events, go to ministryconference.ca
It was a privilege to spend six weeks at the Manchester Wesley Research Centre as a Visiting Research Fellow for the summer of 2016. My work focused on early Primitive Methodism.
I am interested in the development of Wesleyan ecclesiology, especially as related to issues of renewal, unity and division. The Primitive Methodists are of interest as the first major revivalistic breakaway from Wesleyan Methodism. I focused my time primarily on the unpublished and published writings of Hugh Bourne, co-founder of the Primitive Methodist Connexion. While his colleague William Clowes was the more charismatic personality and a more compelling preacher, it was Bourne who did most of the writing for the movement, particularly through his long tenure as editor of the Primitive Methodist Magazine.
Bourne and the other Primitive Methodists were very keen to clear themselves of the charge of schism. In doing this they stressed both their continuity with early Methodism and the novelty of their movement as a body of newly-evangelized people. In my ongoing work on this subject I am looking at the arguments Bourne used to defend against the charge of schism, and the theology of the church that underlies those arguments.
I am also considering the interesting mix of influences that can be seen in Bourne’s theology. As was the case with many later nineteenth-century Wesleyan revivalists, Bourne was strongly influenced by John Fletcher. But he was also shaped by his contacts with the Quaker Methodists of Warrington, the “Magic Methodists” of Delamere Forest and other Independent Methodists and revivalists such as Lorenzo Dow. His spirituality had a strong pneumatocentric focus, leading to a very participatory and egalitarian view of church and ministry. Bourne is a fascinating and complicated person, who certainly had his faults. Yet he was also ahead of his time on questions of lay representation and women in ministry.
Some of Hugh Bourne’s writings are only available at the John Rylands Library, and those that are available elsewhere are still quite rare and difficult to find. I was very grateful for the opportunity to spend several weeks at the Rylands through the MWRC Visiting Fellow program, as it gave me access to numerous sources that I would not have been able to find at home in Toronto. I also appreciated the many connections I was able to make with other scholars from the UK, as well as those visiting from North America. At the MWRC and Nazarene Theological College I found a welcoming community and ideal base for doing research on the Wesleyan tradition. All in all it was a wonderful experience – I hope I’ll be able to go back and do further research in Manchester in the future.
We had a wonderful day at the Wesleyan-Pentecostal Symposium here at Tyndale on March 22. It was a pleasure to partner with Van Johnson and Master’s Pentecostal Seminary in hosting this event. Donald Dayton was his inimitable self and helped us to understand how significant it was to have a gathering of these two traditions, given our frosty relations in the past. The other papers from scholars, pastors and graduate students provided a great deal of discussion material for the attendees. More than one person commented to me about how engaged everyone was in the topic, discussing it over coffee breaks and lunch as well as in the sessions.
One of the benefits of moving to our new campus is that all our classrooms have very recently been outfitted with excellent audio-visual equipment. This made it very simple for us to record the presentations. The three plenary talks were recorded on video, and audio recordings of all the sessions were made as well. I’m grateful that all the presenters agreed to allow their recordings to be shared publicly after the event.
So, please take a moment to visit the symposium media page and make use of this excellent content. I’ve embedded my own talk on Burns, Horner, and Burwash below.
As I announced in the fall, I’m glad to be joining forces with my Pentecostal colleague Van Johnson to host a Wesleyan-Pentecostal symposium on experience and theology this coming Tuesday. When we sat down more than a year ago and began to discuss this possibility, Donald Dayton was at the top of our list of potential presenters, and we were delighted that he said yes. Dayton’s work in teasing out the theological connections between the Wesleyan-Holiness and Pentecostal traditions has been groundbreaking, and has blazed a trail for a whole body of Pentecostal scholarship. He is also one of the most respected voices in Wesleyan scholarship, having received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wesleyan Theological Society in 2010.
There is still time to sign up for the symposium, but if you can’t make it, we will be livestreaming Datyon’s lecture at 10:15 am EDT this Tuesday.
The full schedule is posted on the event page, and I’ve also listed the papers below. As usual, we’ve got a nice mix of scholars, graduate students, and scholar-practitioners.
My own paper will focus on the role of experience in the theology of three figures in Canadian Wesleyan history: Nelson Burns, founder of the Canada Holiness Association, Ralph Horner, founder of the Holiness Movement Church and the Standard Church of America, and Nathanael Burwash, Chancellor of Victoria College at the University of Toronto and a leading mainline Methodist theologian.
I’m looking forward to a great day of discussion. I hope you can consider participating, either in person or via livestream. The video of the lecture will also be posted as a recording after the event, along with audio of other presentations.
Papers to be presented at the Wesleyan-Pentecostal Symposium, March 22:
- Bradley Truman Noel, “Experiential Verification: The Pentecostal Advantage in Hermeneutics?”
- John Vlainic, “How a Theology of Experience Shows Up in Pastoral Care.”
- James E. Read, “‘Whatever it is which reason or experience shows’: Experience in a Wesleyan approach to ethics”
- Stephen J. Bedard, “Experience as Christian Apologetics.”
- Justin Schwartz, “Objectivity is the Fruit of Subjectivity: Experience as a Fundamental Category for Theology in the work of Bernard Lonergan”
- Janelle Zeeb, “Comparing Arminianism and Open Theism on Theodicy: An Example of How Experience Affects our Preferences for Theological Systems”
- Peter D. Neumann, “Pentecostal Mediated Immediacy: Overcoming Experience of God as Ecumenical Barrier”
- James E. Pedlar, “Experience and Theology: Lessons from some Canadian Examples.”