Joel Houston, PhD (Manchester)
‘A Decade of Difference: Predestination and Early Methodist Identity in the “Free Grace” Controversy, 1739-1749.’
Joel completed his doctoral research in early 2017 under the supervision of the Rev Dr David Rainey. Joel’s thesis conducts a comparative analysis of John Wesley and George Whitefield’s thought on the doctrine of predestination. The primary focus of this analysis is the ‘Free Grace’ controversy in the mid-eighteenth century, 1739-1749. Joel’s work contends for an elongation of the dates of the controversy, extending the conclusion of the debate from 1741/44 to 1749, the year Whitefield abdicated leadership of the Calvinistic Methodist Societies. This elongation incorporates the major insight of the thesis: that the dispute over predestination (and related doctrines) between Whitefield and Wesley must include an analysis of the social function of doctrine itself.
Joel is currently an instructor in Biblical and Theological Studies at Nipawin Bible College in Saskatchewan, Canada.