Abstracts of Papers Presented at this Year’s Wesleyan Studies Group at the American Academy of Religion

Posted by David McEwan | Uncategorized | Wednesday 23 November 2011 10:07 am

Members and friends of the Australasian Centre for Wesleyan Research may be interested in the following list of abstracts of papers presented at this year’s Wesleyan Studies Group at the American Academy of Religion.\r\n\r\nTheme: Eschatology in Wesleyan and Methodist Traditions\r\n\r\nHow should the spiritual descendants of John and Charles Wesley think about the Christian hope? What do Wesleyan and Methodist folk mean when they affirm the traditional language of the Apostles’ Creed that Jesus “will come to judge the quick and the dead”? What might this have to do with Wesleyan movements for social justice and social reform? The papers to be presented in this session will explore the connections between Christological affirmations, eschatological expectations, and efforts at concrete social reform in Wesleyan and Methodist theological traditions.\r\n\r\nResurrection and Reform: Christological Eschatology in the Wesleyan Tradition\r\n\r\nThe purpose of this paper is to clarify the connection between eschatology and Christology for Wesleyan/Methodist dogmatics, with special reference to its implications for social praxis. Our thesis is that a Christologically-shaped eschatology provides a theological vision to warrant and sustain Wesleyan efforts for social reform.\r\n\r\nJesus Christ in his resurrection holds together the dialectic of continuity and change that conditions both eschatological thinking and social acting. We develop this thesis by examining three theological texts from different periods in the history of Methodism: Charles Wesley’s Hymns for Our Lord’s Resurrection (1746), William Burt Pope’s A Compendium of Christian Theology (1875), and Daniel Thambyrajah Niles’ Who is this Jesus? (1968). We conclude by urging Wesleyan/Methodist theologians to pursue greater dogmatic clarity and consistency with regard to the intersection of Christology and eschatology, not as an end in itself, but in order to sustain our social praxis by explicating its operative norms.\r\n\r\nGod’s Deliverance of Animals: Future Belief and Present Challenge\r\n\r\nThis paper argues that any authentic Wesleyan and Methodist agenda of social reform must take John Wesley’s eschatological vision seriously by making a concern for non-human animals an inescapable part of its programme. As Wesley realized, eschatology is related to ethics in that once we have glimpsed the breadth of God’s redemptive purposes, we cannot see the creatures God will redeem in the same way again, whether human or other-than-human. If Wesley’s interpretation of Romans 8 is correct, the followers of Christ must reflect on what God’s future general deliverance of all creatures means for current human practices that deliver other creatures into situations of suffering. Such reflection will require those who claim to be inheritors of Wesley’s vision to be prominent among advocates for better treatment of other animals in agriculture, research, sport and beyond, and may prompt them to consider adopting Wesley’s vegetarianism.\r\n\r\nThe Creative Eschatological Tension in John Wesley’s Sermon “The General Spread of the Gospel”\r\n\r\nJohn Wesley’s 1783 sermon “The General Spread of the Gospel” presents an intriguing tension. Wesley both despaired about the state of the world and at the same time expressed a profound hope that can only be adequately characterized as eschatological; he believed that God had begun a work of renewing creation, specifically through his Methodist movement, that represented the first stirrings of a universal redemption. This tension is heightened by Wesley’s continuing and characteristic insistence upon a synergistic model of divine activity in creation; he never veered long from his conviction that the manner of God’s working was to renew and to heighten human ability (e.g., understanding, affections, liberty) rather than to annul it. A characteristically Wesleyan interpretation of eschatology must, like Wesley, maintain hope in God’s labor to redeem creation through Jesus Christ while also acknowledging that such labor neither bypasses nor cancels authentic human responsibility.\r\n\r\nThe Eschatological Significance of Work for Justice within History: A Contribution from Wesleyan Conceptions of Sanctification\r\n\r\nThis paper builds upon the eschatological insight of Jose Miguez Bonino by including a consideration of the unique contribution Wesleyan theology can make to eschatology through its understanding of sanctification. The Wesleyan conception of sanctification is fertile ground for a discussion of the eschatological significance of work for justice in history. This development of the doctrine of sanctification in relation with eschatology will also provide a fuller and social dynamic to the doctrine of sanctification itself, as this aspect of salvation would refer to social sanctification, transforming society to closer reflect the Kingdom to be consummated with Christ’s Parousia.\r\n\r\n 

Visit of Professor Ken Collins to Australia January 2012

Posted by David McEwan | Uncategorized | Tuesday 15 November 2011 10:55 am

Booth College, Nazarene Theological College and The Salvation Army Training College, in conjunction with ACWR, are delighted to announce the upcoming visit of Dr Kenneth J Collins, distinguished Professor of Wesley Studies and Historical Theology at Asbury Theological Seminary, to Australia. Dr Collins will be presenting a seminar on’ The Practical Theology of John Wesley’ in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.\r\n\r\nDr Collins has lectured and taught on The Theology of John Wesley through-out the world in diverse settings from Moscow to Costa Rica and is known for his engaging, critical-thinking style. He is recognised for his exemplary teaching and is the 2008 recipient of the Professor of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Asbury Theological Seminary.\r\n\r\nHe has published a host of books and scores of articles exploring topics ranging from Wesleyan theology to Christian spirituality. His highly regarded book, The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace, is described as the most complete and correct account of John Wesley’s theology available.\r\n\r\nDr Collins’ lectures on the Practical Theology of John Wesley are not to be missed.\r\n\r\nMelbourne: Tuesday 24 January at the Uniting Church Centre for Theology and Ministry. For details or further information please contact   glenaobrien@gmail.com \r\n\r\nSydney: Saturday 21 January at Congress Hall Conference Centre. For details or further information please contact  enquiries@boothcollege.edu.au\r\n\r\nBrisbane: Friday 27 January at Nazarene Theological College. For details or further information please contact office@ntc.edu.au

News from the Manchester Wesley Research Centre

Posted by David McEwan | Uncategorized | Tuesday 15 November 2011 9:58 am

Dear Friends of the Manchester Wesley Research Centre:\r\n\r\nThe MWRC has recently welcomed Asbury University as its ninth partner institution. For an NCN News story regarding this new partnership, visit http://www.ncnnews.com/nphweb/html/ncn/article.jsp?sid=10000008&id=10010837.\r\n\r\nA number of MWRC Junior Fellows completed their doctorates at MWRC partner institutions during the 2010-11 academic year. See http://www.mwrc.ac.uk/junior-fellows-graduated/ to find out about their work.\r\n\r\nThe fourth volume of Wesley and Methodist Studies is shaping up well. Amongst other articles it will feature three essays from an American Academy of Religion session on ‘New Horizons and Frontiers: Evangelical Preachers and Preaching’. For further details join the WMS Facebook page or visit the WMS website.\r\n\r\nThe 2012 MWRC Annual Lecture will be given by Dr David Ceri Jones, Lecturer in History, Aberystwyth University. The preliminary title for the lecture is ‘The Elect Methodists: Rehabilitating Calvinistic Methodism’. The lecture will be on Monday 11th June at 5pm on the campus of Nazarene Theological College.\r\n\r\nThe date for the 2012 Postgraduate Colloquium has provisionally been set as Tuesday 12 June.\r\n\r\nMany of you will be subscribers to the online journal Methodist Review. MR now publishes quarterly newsletters, which are very useful for learning about news and upcoming events related to Wesley and Methodist Studies. The latest issue contains an important notice about the Methodist Archives Collection Catalogue at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. The link to the catalogue is: http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/searchresources/guidetospecialcollections/methodist/methodistarchivescollectioncatalogue/\r\n\r\nThe Methodist Missionary Society History Project will hold in 2012 annual conference in Manchester at Luther King House from 3-4 November. The theme will be mission and inter-church and inter-faith relationships.\r\n\r\nGeordan Hammond, Director, Manchester Wesley Research Centre, Co-editor, Wesley and Methodist Studies, ww.mwrc.ac.uk