Brian Beck has had a long and distinguished career in Methodist studies, having additionally served as President of the UK Methodist Conference and helped lead the international Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies. This book is the first time that Beck’s seminal work on Methodism has been gathered together. It includes eighteen essays from the last twenty-five years, covering many different aspects of Methodist thought and practice.
This collection is divided into two main sections. Part I covers Methodism’s heritage and its implications, while Part II discusses wider issues of Methodism’s identity. The chapters themselves examine the work of key figures, such as John Wesley and J. E. Rattenbury, as well as past and present forms of Methodist thought and practice. As such, this book is important reading for any scholar of Methodism as well as students and academics of religious studies and theology more generally.
Table of Contents
Part I: Heritage
1 John Wesley: Encounter or Embarrassment?
2 Rattenbury Revisited: The Theology of Charles Wesley’s Hymns
3 The Eucharistic Hymns: An Appreciation
4 Reflections on Methodism Post-Wesley
5 Reflections on Connexionalism
6 Connexion and Koinonia: Wesley’s Legacy and the Ecumenical Ideal
7 The "Large Minutes": Ecclesiological Implications
8 Conference Episcope: History and Theology
9 Richard Matthews: A Layman Overlooked
Part II: Identity
10 Who Are We? The Elusive Methodist Identity
11 A Methodist Theological System?
12 World Methodist Theology? The Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies
13 The Idea of a National Church
14 Unity and Conscience
15 ‘Until We All Attain...’: Eschatology and the Goal of Unity
16 The Porvoo Common Statement: A Methodist Response
17 A Reflection on Structural Change
18 What is a Divinity School For?
Brian E. Beck is a Fellow and former Principal of Wesley House in Cambridge, UK. He was the Secretary of the Methodist Conference in Britain from 1984 to 1998 and President from 1993 to 1994, and from 1969 to 2007 he shared in the leadership of the international Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies. Now retired, Brian teaches the theology and history of Methodism, and New Testament Greek. He also looks after the college archives and serves on the library committee.
Although most of the papers are concise – only a couple exceed 10 pages – they are packed with insight and wisdom. The attentive reader will find here not only apt summaries of significant topics, like the main emphases of Methodist theology, but also fresh thinking and honest reflection on the state of the Church. This latest addition to the Routledge Methodist Studies series is very welcome..."
- The Rev Dr Martin Wellings, METHODIST RECORDER