Methodist Review (MR) is dedicated to scholarly works of article length in all areas and all eras of Wesleyan and Methodist studies broadly construed (including biblical, theological, ethical, philosophical, practical, historical, and social-scientific topics and methodologies). It is specifically intended for and primarily focused on an academic audience that is global in scope. MR publishes suitable and appropriate scholarly articles originating from anywhere in the world. Submission of articles by non-U.S. Methodist scholars (whether resident in the U.S. or in other parts of the world) is encouraged. However, for practical reasons, MR is limited (at least for the present) to the publication of articles in the English language. Publisher: c/o Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 1531 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322 USA.

News

The Globethics.net library contains articles of Methodist Review as of vol. 1(2009) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • A Methodist Paradigm for Interacting with New Atheists Referencing Wesleyan Interreligious Resources

    DeVan, Benjamin B (Methodist Review, 2012-12-15)
    Since Sam Harris published The End of Faith in 2004, a veritable cavalcade of New York Times bestsellers and other writings by academic and popular polemicists informally dubbed “New Atheists” has received significant attention in digital, audio-visual, and print media; as well as in academic and other forums. Despite this visibility, Methodists have been slow to interact with New Atheists and their ideas. Methodists pioneered academic and theological attention to world religions in America, but have failed to demonstrate comparable initiative with atheism. This essay argues that a Methodist approach to adherents and doctrines of non-Methodist denominations and non-Christian religions is frequently applicable to “New” and other atheists by setting forth seven principles for interaction referencing similar and supporting moves Wesleyans have historically made in interreligious encounters. Appended are book-length interactions with New Atheists arranged according to author by religion and/or denominational affiliation.
  • A Wesleyan Theology of Religions: A Re-Reading of John Wesley Through His Encounters with Peoples of Non-Christian Faiths

    Wingeier-Rayo, Philip D. (Methodist Review, 2018-02-12)
    This article argues that John Wesley’s contact with and understanding of native peoples and non-Christians can be a helpful model for a Wesleyan theology of religions today, when Christians have greater encounters with adherents of Islam and people of other faith traditions. Over the course of his lifetime Wesley grew in his appreciation of indigenous people and members of other religions from an original innocence to natural depraved man to a universal grace of hopeful eschatology for humanity. The early Wesley can be described as naïve and believing in native peoples as “noble savages.” The second stage, or middle Wesley, believed that native peoples and people of other faith traditions fall into the category of “natural man.” Finally, the mature Wesley believed in an eschatological hope for humanity. One can credit Wesley’s maturation process to at least two important factors. One important factor in his growth was the personal experiences with people of a different life experience that created cognitive dissonance for his previous worldview. The other contributing factor to his growth was Wesley’s reading of travel logs, missionary letters and other accounts of the expanding global awareness in 18th century England. Wesley’s sermon “The General Spread of the Gospel” calls for the Holy Spirit to empower Christians to cease to be stumbling blocks and to witness to Muslims and people of other faiths. This requires personal encounters, similar to those that Wesley had with his Jewish parishioners in Savannah. The article closes with an exhortation to those in the Wesleyan tradition to embrace this practice of personal encounters and continual learning, while at the same time maintaining an expectant eschatology of God’s salvific work through the Holy Spirit.
  • ‘That They All Might Be One’: John R. Mott’s Contributions to Methodism, Interreligious Dialogue, and Racial Reconciliation

    Hartley, Benjamin L. (Methodist Review, 2012-02-03)
    An extraordinary organizer and leader, Methodist layman John R. Mott (1865-1955) was influential in the establishment and growth of many different world-wide Christian organizations in the early twentieth century.  He was even asked to serve as ambassador to China by President Woodrow Wilson—a position he declined.  For his work in organizing people and resources for world peace Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.  This article focuses on Mott’s efforts at ecumenism for the sake of Christian mission by analyzing three dimensions of Mott’s work:  Mott’s Methodism, his efforts in global interreligious dialogue, and work in racial reconciliation efforts at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.  His work in relationship to these three themes is traced throughout his life in order to highlight the development of his ideas and activism as he interacted with many different ecumenical organizations and world Christian leaders.  The article illustrates the tensions and inconsistencies that emerged in Mott's thinking and ecumenical practice as he sought to emphasize unity for the sake of mission in the many different facets of his work.
  • World Growth of the United Methodist Church in Comparative Perspective: A Brief Statistical Analysis

    Robert, Dana L.; Scott, David W. (Methodist Review, 2011-04-21)
    This study compares the worldwide growth of The United Methodist Church to that of its “sister” denominations such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church, and the Church of the Nazarene. Among the key findings of the study is the fact that since 2000, on a country-by-country basis, United Methodism generally has been growing more slowly than its sister denominations. The authors explore the significance of their findings, and identify the need for a robust missiological research agenda to understand the reasons behind the relatively low growth rates of United Methodism worldwide. They suggest several avenues for this future research and speculate about possible sociological, structural, ecclesiological, and cultural explanations for the phenomenon.
  • Early Twentieth Century U.S. Methodist Missions Photography: The Problems of “Home”

    Drew University; Davis, Jr., Morris L. (Methodist Review, 2010-12-10)
    By the early twentieth century, photography had become a central feature of mission education produced by mission boards in North America. Mission boards in the Methodist Episcopal Church were at the forefront of the strong embrace of this relatively new and increasingly affordable and accessible visual medium. Photographs were considered science, and as such they offered compelling, and often dramatic, proof of the world’s needs and of missionary successes. This essay explores the uses of photographs in a period of great optimism about the possibilities and scope of missions, and argues that photographs can help illuminate the ways the mission enterprise shaped Christian conceptions of “home.”
  • “Rethinking Missionaries” from 1910 to Today

    Robert, Dana L. (Methodist Review, 2012-08-14)
    Rapid political and social changes during the twentieth century prompted changing understandings of what it meant to be a foreign missionary. After tracing several of the ways in which American Methodist missionaries conceived of their roles over the past hundred years, the essay queries the meaning of the apostolic call for United Methodist missionaries in the twenty-first century. The author argues that “rethinking missionaries” demands a critical imagination that simultaneously draws upon the fullness of the past while nurturing creative grassroots vitality in the present.  Representative of the church’s biblical calling to be sent into the world, the idea of missionaries should be reinvigorated even if, or perhaps especially when, they are defined outside of failing denominational structures.
  • Pioneers in American Women's Theological Education: Methodist Deaconess Training Schools

    United Methodist Women; Pope-Levison, Priscilla (Methodist Review, 2018-09-13)
    This essay demonstrates that Methodist deaconess training schools in the late nineteenth century provided theological education for laywomen through courses in Bible, church history, theology, and ethics, courses that constitute to this day the core ingredients of a theological education. Seminaries did not welcome women students at the time; nonetheless, Methodist women had access to theological education through the bishops’ course of study offered in deaconess training schools. Deaconesses studied the Bible in-depth, became conversant with ancient Jewish and Christian authors, mastered theological movements and ecclesial leaders in successive generations of church history, studied theological doctrines from creation to glorification, and became experts in Methodist history and doctrine through assiduous study of the discipline, catechism, and James Porter’s Compendium of Methodism. Due to such a rich and robust curriculum in theological subjects, this paper argues that deaconess training schools delivered a theological education for Methodist women decades before theological seminaries opened their doors to both sexes.
  • Constitutional Methodism in Crisis: Historical and Operational Perspectives on Divisions Threatening United Methodism

    Lawrence, William B.; AsKew, Sally Curtis (Methodist Review, 2018-05-28)
    In the fifty years since The United Methodist Church became a denomination, the body has experienced well-documented declines in the United States, expansions in much of Africa, and deepening divisions over human sexuality. Those divisions have impacted moral, legal, theological, ethical, pastoral, and vocational matters in the life of the church. They threaten to undermine and overwhelm the constitutional system that the church has used for more than two centuries to order its operations and maintain accountability.John Wesley had devised and led the Methodist connexion. After the end of the colonial era in America, he relinquished any pretense of control over his connexion in the newly independent nation. American Methodists governed themselves around two centers of authority—conferences, and an episcopacy. Yet expansions into distant frontiers and suspicions about imbalances of power led them to explore other structures with standards for church doctrine and organs of church government.The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church made a momentous decision in 1808 to adopt an approach to polity that established a connectional system on a constitutional basis. The concept of a church polity constructed on a Constitution is neither self-evident nor necessary.In two major sections, this article examines constitutional Methodism in historical and operational perspectives. It looks at the constitutional crisis looming in United Methodism over church laws regarding homosexuality and the denominational efforts to address them. Those efforts may be unconstitutional.
  • A Kairos Moment for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa? Engaging Nationalism and State Theology in the Democratic South Africa

    Forster, Dion A. (Methodist Review, 2019-01-21)
    This article considers whether South Africa’s largest mainline Christian denomination, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, is in danger of embodying or propagating a contemporary form of “state theology.” The notion of state theology in the South African context gained prominence through the publication of the Kairos Document(1985)—which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015. “State theology” is deemed inappropriate and harmful to the identity and work of both the Christian church and the nation state. It is a form of national ideology that subjugates Christian identity and witness to the political ideals of the nation state. Is this still a threat today? This article offers some insights into the complex relationship between the state and the church in contemporary South Africa by comparing it to Christianity under the apartheid regime. It problematises the current relationship between the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) and the governing African National Congress (ANC) by citing some concerning examples of complicit behaviour between powerful individuals in these two bodies, in the run up to the most recent national elections. The MCSA’s polity and doctrine on church and state relationships are considered before some critique and warning is offered in the light of the 1985 Kairos Document.
  • Subsidiarity and a Conciliar Future

    Wood, Charles M. (Methodist Review, 2018-10-22)
    Conciliarity is a feature (or mark) of the church that has not received its proper share of attention from Methodists, despite its apparent links with such Wesleyan themes as “conference” and “connection.” An important aspect of a conciliar understanding of the church is a principle that has come to be known as subsidiarity. Subsidiarity denotes a relationship between a larger community or political entity and the smaller communities and individuals it includes, in which the larger community does not assume the tasks and responsibilities that rightly belong to the smaller communities and individuals that constitute it, but rather provides them assistance when needed, and coordinates their efforts in achieving together those proper ends that they cannot achieve—or cannot as readily achieve—on their own. In this article, I aim to provide a brief exposition of conciliarity and subsidiarity as ecclesiological concepts, to consider the vital role a principle of subsidiarity has to play in any adequate embodiment of a conciliar vision, and to explore some factors that either hinder or foster the realization of that vision.
  • The Methodist Review Newsletter (October 2018)

    Matthews, Rex D. (Methodist Review, 2018-10-16)
    The Methodist Review Newsletter is a free quarterly electronic newsletter intended for all those who are interested in the world of Wesleyan and Methodist scholarship. The newsletter is a supplemental service of Methodist Review, and will be available free of charge four times a year (January, April, July, and October) to all subscribers to the journal.
  • The Methodist Review Newsletter (April 2018)

    Matthews, Rex D. (Methodist Review, 2018-04-29)
    The Methodist Review Newsletter is a free quarterly electronic newsletter intended for all those who are interested in the world of Wesleyan and Methodist scholarship. The newsletter is a supplemental service of Methodist Review, and will be available free of charge four times a year (January, April, July, and October) to all subscribers to the journal.
  • The Methodist Review Newsletter (July 2018)

    Matthews, Rex D. (Methodist Review, 2018-07-21)
    The Methodist Review Newsletter is a free quarterly electronic newsletter intended for all those who are interested in the world of Wesleyan and Methodist scholarship. The newsletter is a supplemental service of Methodist Review, and will be available free of charge four times a year (January, April, July, and October) to all subscribers to the journal.
  • The Methodist Review Newsletter (January 2019)

    Matthews, Rex D. (Methodist Review, 2019-01-21)
    The Methodist Review Newsletter is a free quarterly electronic newsletter intended for all those who are interested in the world of Wesleyan and Methodist scholarship. The newsletter is a supplemental service of Methodist Review, and will be available free of charge four times a year (January, April, July, and October) to all subscribers to the journal.
  • The Methodist Review Newsletter (July 2019)

    Matthews, Rex D. (Methodist Review, 2019-07-15)
    The Methodist Review Newsletter is a free quarterly electronic newsletter intended for all those who are interested in the world of Wesleyan and Methodist scholarship. The newsletter is a supplemental service of Methodist Review, and will be available free of charge four times a year (January, April, July, and October) to all subscribers to the journal.
  • The Methodist Review Newsletter (April 2019)

    Matthews, Rex D. (Methodist Review, 2019-04-23)
    The Methodist Review Newsletter is a free quarterly electronic newsletter intended for all those who are interested in the world of Wesleyan and Methodist scholarship. The newsletter is a supplemental service of Methodist Review, and will be available free of charge four times a year (January, April, July, and October) to all subscribers to the journal.
  • Toward an Ecosystem of Unity: Ecumenism and Ecclesiology in the Postmodern Era, A United Methodist Appraisal

    Tau, Kyle R (Methodist Review, 2017-12-04)
    This essay explores the current conditions for church unity derived from the political and organizational culture of modernity and questions whether a new definition and form of unity is needed as modernity itself undergoes a major transformation.  It asks whether the centralizing legal and bureaucratic structures that now animate conversations around church unity ought to be retought in light of postmodern trends.  It proposes a more multi-textured form of unity as koinonia or communion made up of an overlapping network of relationships characterized by the mutual recognition of members, ministries, and sacraments.  Drawing upon the metaphor of a web or ecosystem this essay affirms the ecumenical shift to pursuing bilateral full communion agreements over large multilateral attempts at merger, and proposes that intra-Methodist unity be conceptualized as a communion of distinct connectional structures.
  • The Methodist Review Newsletter (January 2018)

    Matthews, Rex D. (Methodist Review, 2018-01-24)
    The Methodist Review Newsletter is a free quarterly electronic newsletter intended for all those who are interested in the world of Wesleyan and Methodist scholarship. The newsletter is a supplemental service of Methodist Review, and will be available free of charge four times a year (January, April, July, and October) to all subscribers to the journal.
  • The Methodist Review Newsletter (July 2014)

    Matthews, Rex D. (Methodist Review, 2014-07-22)
    The Methodist Review Newsletter is a free quarterly electronic newsletter intended for all those who are interested in the world of Wesleyan and Methodist scholarship. The newsletter is a supplemental service of Methodist Review, and will be available free of charge four times a year (January, April, July, and October) to all subscribers to the journal.
  • Reflections on the Methodist Historical Pie: Re-engaging the Puzzle of American Methodism

    none; Evans, Christopher H. (Methodist Review, 2015-06-10)
      In 1994, Nathan Hatch challenged historians to conduct more research on American Methodism, engaging what Hatch called “the Puzzle of American Methodism.” This article reviews significant developments in American Methodist historical scholarship since 1994, culminating in two recent publications: The Methodist Experience in America by Russell Richey, Kenneth Rowe, and Jean Miller Schmidt, and The Cambridge Companion to American Methodism edited by Jason Vickers.  These two works underscore the creative historical scholarship on American Methodism that has been written over the past twenty years; they also provide an opportunity to reassess the current state of American Methodist scholarship-- what the author refers to as the “Methodist Historical Pie.” This essay explores possible themes that might characterize future historical writing on American Methodism and addresses questions of how the study of American Methodist history can be formative for ministry in The United Methodist Church.

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