Methodist Heritage and Identity: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Methodist Heritage and Identity

1st Edition

By Brian E. Beck


188 pages

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Hardback: 9781138636194
pub: 2017-08-25
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pub: 2017-08-23
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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.


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

Table of Contents

General Introduction


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?

About the Author

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.

About the Series

Routledge Methodist Studies Series

Editorial Board: Ted A. Campbell, David N. Hempton, Priscilla Pope-Levison, Martin Wellings and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker

Methodism remains one of the largest denominations in the USA and is growing in South America, Africa and Asia (especially in Korea and China). This series spans Methodist history and theology, exploring its success as a movement historically and in its global expansion. Books in the series will look particularly at features within Methodism which attract wide interest, including: the unique position of the Wesleys; the prominent role of women and minorities in Methodism; the interaction between Methodism and politics; the ‘Methodist conscience’ and its motivation for temperance and pacifist movements; the wide range of Pentecostal, holiness and evangelical movements; and the interaction of Methodism with different cultures.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / History
RELIGION / Christianity / Methodist
RELIGION / Christian Rituals & Practice / Sacraments
RELIGION / Christian Theology / History
RELIGION / Theology
RELIGION / Christian Church / General