The MWRC and the American Academy of Religion

In 2017, the MWRC became a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.

The MWRC at the AAR: 17-20 November 2018

The MWRC will host two sessions at AAR in Denver next month. The first session—‘Holiness and Pentecostal Movements: Intertwined Pasts, Presents, and Futures’—will be on Saturday 17 November from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM in the Capitol Room on the Terrace Level of the I.M. Pei Tower - 1 level below Lobby of the Sheraton Downtown. This session is session number P17-115 in the Online Programme Book.

The Holiness and Pentecostal movements are intertwined and competitive traditions and spiritualities. These have been harmonized in the Church of God, Cleveland, as well as the Sanctified Churches, including, for example, the Church of God in Christ. Historiographical, cultural and theological issues of these traditions have been explored. However, there is data as well as interpretative points of view that have not been examined. This session aims to open up new discussions, drawing attention to possible ways to enhance our understanding of the two movements and their relationship with one another. The project also seeks to drawn on previous historiographies, definitions, theological and spiritual traditions in a multi-disciplinary examination of the Holiness and Pentecostal traditions.

Presiding: Geordan Hammond, Manchester Wesley Research Centre; and, David Han, Pentecostal Theological Seminary

Papers:

David Bundy: “The Preachers and their Students: God's Bible School as a Seedbed of Radical Holiness and Pentecostal Leaders, 1891-1910”

 Luther Oconer: “A World Tour of Evangelism: Henry Clay Morrison and the Overseas Networks of the Radical Holiness Movement, 1909-1910”

 Chris Green: “The Cleveland School & the (Im)Possiblity of a Wesleyan-Holiness Pentecostalism”

 Respondent: Andrea Johnson, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Abstracts:

The Preachers and their Students: God's Bible School as a Seedbed of Radical Holiness and Pentecostal Leaders, 1891-1910

A small unpretentious educational institution in Cincinnati, God’s Bible School provided a generation of leaders of both the Pentecostal Movement and the Radical Holiness Movement. Among the faculty, all holiness preachers, were Martin Wells Knapp, Abbie C. Morrow, G. D. Watson, Mary Story, and Seth Cook Rees. Among the students who became Pentecostal were William Seymour (Azusa Street), R. J. Tomlinson (Church of God), Glenn Cook (Oneness), Abbie C. Morrow Brown (evangelist, writer), Lillian Hunt Trasher (Radical Holiness, then Assemblies of God). Among those who remained Radical Holiness were Charles and Lettie Cowman (OMS, Japan, Korea, China), Charles L. Slater (Pilgrim Holiness), Lula Schmelzenbach (Nazarene), J. S. Simpson (Wesleyan), C. B. Widmeyer (Pilgrim Holiness, later Nazarene), U. E. Harding (Free Methodist, later Nazarene). These two traditions have normally been seen only as competitors. Building on the work of Wood (2002), Kostlevy (2012), Thornton (2014) and Bundy (2015), this presentation argues that the commonalities were significant between the two traditions at the beginning of the 20th century; indeed, the competition was because they were so similar. The presentation examines what students were taught at God’s Bible School and what was accepted or rejected as the two movements differentiated. The presentation discusses issues of power, race, gender, social location and generational shifts, and well as the diverse the networks in which the younger leaders participated. The common theological methodologies, sources, social commitments and praxis are discussed. Despite the intellectual commonalities, the other factors led to a process of differentiation of the two traditions, ecclesiastically but also with regard to revivalism, glossolalia, and theological sources.

David Bundy, Associate Director, Manchester Wesley Research Centre; Research Professor of World Christian Studies, New York Theological Seminary

A World Tour of Evangelism: Henry Clay Morrison and the Overseas Networks of the Radical Holiness Movement, 1909-1910

In the fall of 1909, Henry Clay Morrison, future president of Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, embarked on an eleven-month “world tour of evangelism” by conducting a series of “Pentecostal meetings” in India, Myanmar, Singapore, Philippines, China, Korea, and Japan. Primarily funded by the Board of Missions of the Holiness Union, Morrison’s tour demonstrates the vitality of the Radical Holiness Movement which though its revival impulses had given rise to the Pentecostal Movement in the United States. Hence, the essay argues that the impact of Morrison’s revival work and the complementary revivalistic impulses in the countries he visited, provide not only interesting insights to the existing networks of missionaries influenced by the Radical Holiness Movements, but also to the ways these movements developed in the years following the birth of the Pentecostal Movement (1906). Given the movement’s similarity with Pentecostalism, the paper also demonstrates that reception to Morrison’s work in countries where he found great success serve as barometers to understanding why Pentecostalism would take root in these countries decades later. It establishes that the rise and growth of global Pentecostalism decades later did not emerge from a vacuum but was aided by the revival culture perpetuated by missionaries and indigenous workers influenced by the Radical Holiness Movement and other revivalist movements.

Luther Oconer, Associate Professor of United Methodist Studies and Director of the Center for Evangelical United Brethren Heritage, United Theological Seminary

The Cleveland School and the (Im)Possiblity of a Wesleyan-Holiness Pentecostalism

Steven J. Land’s Pentecostal Spirituality, published in 1993, launched what has come to be called (by Mark Cartledge and Amos Yong, among others) “the Cleveland School.” In the book, Land puts forward a radical “revisioning” of Pentecostal tradition, one that attempts to (re)imagine Pentecostalism as a fulfillment of Wesleyan spirituality and theology. Land’s vision was shared by many of his colleagues at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, of course, including Cheryl Bridges Johns, John Christopher Thomas, Rickie Moore, and (later) Kim Alexander, and Kenneth J. Archer. But scholars from other institutions took it seriously as well, and considered themselves allies, if not members, of the emerging Cleveland School. Now, twenty-five years later, it is possible step back and assess what has come of Land’s revisioning. What affect has the Cleveland School had on Wesleyan and Pentecostal scholarship? In retrospect, where has it failed to fulfill its promise? Are there rising scholars, within or without the Wesleyan and Pentecostal movements, who see Land’s revisioning project as having continuing relevance? In this paper, after having first described Land’s account of Pentecostal spirituality and theology, as well as the work of others in the Cleveland School, I will attempt to raise these questions and others like them and offer at least the beginnings of a response to them.                                                                                                     

Chris E. W. Green, Professor of Theology, Southeastern University

The second session—‘New Research on John Wesley and Methodism in 18th and 19th Century Britain’— will be on Monday 19 November from 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM in the Colorado Room (in the I.M. Pei Tower) at the Sheraton Downtown. This session is session number P19-102 in the Online Programme Book.

This session highlights the research of recent Visiting Research Fellows of the Manchester Wesley Research Centre. The first presentation will focus on John Wesley’s political thought through an analysis of his political and social tracts. Three papers focus on developments in early 19th century-Methodism. One presentation will consider the struggle for theological coherence in early 19th century-Methodism through evaluating controversy involving two doctrines central to Methodism: justification by faith and the witness of the Spirit.  Two papers examine attitudes to women in ministry in Wesleyan and Primitive Methodism by analysing Henry More’s biography of Methodist preacher Mary Fletcher and Hugh Borne’s defense of women preachers. Collectively the presentations serve as examples of the wide-range of research possibilities on Methodism that may be undertaken utilizing resources in the UK (particularly in Manchester). 

Geordan Hammond and David Bundy, Manchester Wesley Research Centre, Presiding

Papers:

Glen O’Brien, Eva Burrows College, University of Divinity, “Liberty and Loyalty: The Political World of John Wesley” (Chair: Douglas M. Strong, Seattle Pacific University)

Stanley J. Rodes, Global Education and Clergy Development, Church of the Nazarene, “A Tale of Two Sermons: The Quest for Theological Coherence in Early Nineteenth Century-English Methodism” (Chair: Josh Sweeden, Nazarene Theological Seminary)

Carol Blessing, Point Loma Nazarene University, “Disappearing Women: The Gendered Politics of Publication of Mary Fletcher’s Auto/Biography” (Chair: Gareth Lloyd, John Rylands Library)

James Pedlar, Tyndale University College & Seminary, “A Sign of the ‘Latter Day Glory’: Hugh Bourne on Women Preachers” (Chair: Kimberly Ervin Alexander, Regent University School of Divinity)

Abstracts:

Glen O’Brien, Eva Burrows College, University of Divinity, “Liberty and Loyalty: The Political World of John Wesley”

This paper employs a global history approach to John Wesley’s political and social tracts. It stresses the personal element in Wesley’s political thought, arguing that it is around the twin themes of ‘liberty and loyalty’ that Wesley’s thought revolved. While social order was highly prized by Wesley ‘order’ itself is an abstract term, where loyalty is deeply personal, whether expressed in affection for the king, love for the people, or aversion to any kind of public protest against the crown. The organic constitutionalism of Wesley was founded on an understanding of the contractual arrangement between king and people embedded in ‘the ancient constitution’ which came under threat in the eighteenth century by radical elements. Wesley shared with George III a view of the monarchy as a kind of sacred responsibility imposed by a just Providence. For him the monarchy was more than an ideal or an institution (though it was both of those). He considered the king as a person, a Christian monarch, and a loving father to the nation. The importance of loyalty to such a person seemed self-evident to Wesley and his political tracts are profoundly social and personal in delineating the obligation of trust that is to exist between the king, the parliament, and the people.

Stanley J. Rodes, Global Education and Clergy Development, Church of the Nazarene, “A Tale of Two Sermons: The Quest for Theological Coherence in Early Nineteenth Century English Methodism”

This presentation explores developments surrounding an early 19th century controversy involving two doctrines central to Methodism: justification by faith and the witness of the Spirit. Contesting the prevailing Methodist articulation of these doctrines, Joseph Cooke—a young travelling preacher stationed in Rochdale on the Manchester circuit—preached, then published, two sermons expressing his views on each doctrine. These actions led to him being the first Methodist minister expelled by the General Conference over a doctrinal matter and to him becoming the progenitor of the Methodist Unitarian Movement. Cooke’s challenge also launched Edward Hare, the primary respondent to Cooke and his replacement in Rochdale, on his career as one of Methodism’s “ablest controversialists” during the period. The engagement of these two rank and file Methodist preachers is explored with respect to the light it sheds on the struggle for theological coherence in early 19th century-English Methodism.

Carol Blessing, Point Loma Nazarene University, “Disappearing Women: The Gendered Politics of Publication of Mary Fletcher’s Auto/Biography”

This paper covers the representation of Methodist preacher Mary Fletcher in her biography published by the Rev. Henry Moore. His omissions and commentary served to neutralize some of her more radical ideas and feminism, and can be discovered by reading her manuscript journals, as well as the manuscript correspondence between Mary Tooth, the keeper of Mary Fletcher’s papers, and Henry Moore. Most notably, Mary Fletcher's apologia for women’s preaching is represented by a small excerpt in Moore’s published biography, while archival material from the Methodist Archives at the John Rylands Library reveals the lengthy, detailed, and contextualized treatise which Mary Fletcher and Mary Tooth wanted communicated, exemplifying the gendered politics of representing women in early Methodism.

James Pedlar, Tyndale University College & Seminary, “A Sign of the ‘Latter Day Glory’: Hugh Bourne on Women Preachers”

The Wesleyan Methodist Connexion curtailed the preaching ministry of women early in the nineteenth century, but women continued to serve as local and itinerant preachers in the revivalistic strands of English Methodism. Hugh Bourne (1772-1852), the co-founder and chief literary figure of early Primitive Methodism, supported and defended the preaching ministry of women. This paper examines Bourne’s defense of women preachers in the context of his theological commitments and the ongoing Methodist debates about the ministry of women. Along with Wesleyan Methodist sources, Bourne was influenced by his contact with the Quaker Methodists, American revivalist Lorenzo Dow, and fellow English revivalist William O’Bryan. Bourne’s position on this matter provides a helpful window into his Spirit-driven, experiential, participatory theology, which contrasts with the clericalizing trajectory of Wesleyan Methodism.