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Working Groups at 1982 Institute

On this initial appearance, the nature of the working groups was still under development. There was a mix of formal papers and less formal contributions in every group, with the predominance of one or the other varying by group. Those presentations which records indicate were formal papers are identified below. A good sense of the less formal contributions by participants in several groups can be gained from the detailed minutes that were kept of the Wesley Studies Group (see below).

The descriptions that were circulated prior to the Institute to indicate the range of topics to be considered in the Working Groups are given below as an introduction to each group.

Short reports on the themes that emerged within group discussion are included in the published proceedings of the Institute. Some reports (as indicated) were also placed in the OXFORDnotes.

1. WESLEY STUDIES

Conveners: Albert C. Outler & John Munsey Turner

A representative group of scholars in the history of ideas and of Christian thought, who understand “Wesley Studies” as a significant sub-discipline within those larger fields. The group’s chief task will be a critical review and assessment of historiographical methodology in Wesley Studies—past, present and prospective—together with an attempt at a serious consensus on the point of an adequate agenda in this field. Finally, it will seek a clearer view of Wesley’s continuing relevance for contemporary Christian thought and ecumenical theology. Of nearly equal importance will be a concern to interact in the plenary discussions about the hermeneutical relations between critical history and contemporary interpretation.

Presentations:

Baker, Frank. “An Agenda for Wesley Studies.”
Chesnut, Roberta C. “How do We Discover the Patristic Sources in the Theology of John Wesley?”
English, John C. “John Wesley and the Rights of Conscience” (published in Journal of Church and State 37 (1995): 349–63).
Keighley, D. Alan. “Some High Anglican and Non-Juring Influences on the Young John Wesley.”
Madron, Thomas W. “The Use of Computers in Historical Research.”
Smith, Timothy L. “John Wesley and the Wholeness of Scripture” (published as “John Wesley and the Wholeness of Scripture,” Interpretation 39 [1985]: 246–62).
Turner, J. Munsey. “Wesley as People’s Theologian: Second Thoughts on a Polemic” (published as “John Wesley: Theologian for the People,” Journal of United Reform Church History Society 3 [1986]: 320–28).

Other Participants:
(the substance of several less formal presentations are given in the detailed minutes of this Working Group: WSG Report)

Attwell, Arthur
Borgen, Peder
Campbell, Ted
Dayton, Donald
Dunlap, E. Dale
Haglund, Bengt
Hale, Joe
Heitzenrater, Richard
Hoffman, Manfred
Langford, Thomas A.
Leith, John
Lim, Isaac
Minor, Rudiger
Pain, James H.
Robb, Edmund W.
Suttie, Ian
Tabraham, Barrie
Vanderpool, Harold
Velasques, Procoro
Walsh, John


2. SALVATION, JUSTICE and the THEOLOGICAL TASK
(report also in OXFORDnotes1.2)

Conveners: Theodore Runyon & Nora Quiroga Boots

What are the resources within Wesleyan theology which, if lifted up and thematized, could contribute to creative theologizing and ethical theory today? Does the transformationist motif that runs through Wesley offer new ways of joining faith and works in an organic unity that does justice both to the biblical sources and to the need for committed discipleship? Is there a special affinity between the Wesleyan heritage and present-day concerns of the Third World and minorities? Can the perfectionist theme that was of prime importance in the earlier social impact of Methodism be reinterpreted post-Freud, -Marx and -Niebuhr? These and other issues will be the agenda for theologians, ethicists, and others, as they examine the Wesleyan sources anew in the light of recent developments in theology that open fresh possibilities for interpreting the Methodist tradition. Papers generated by the group will be circulated before the Institute and, in the exchange between established and younger scholars, the critical areas for further research and writing will be identified. The Institute will create lines of communication between scholars that will continue to stimulate responsible Methodist scholarship worldwide.

Presentations:

Abraham, William J. “The Concept of Inspiration in the Classical Wesleyan Tradition” (published as “Inspiration, Revelation, and Divine Action: A Study in Modern Methodist Theology,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 19 [1984]: 38–51).
Herzog, Frederick. “Towards a Critical Theory of Methodism.”
Hynson, Leon Orville. “Human Liberty as Divine Right: a Study in the Political Maturation of John Wesley” (paper read in Hynson’s absence) (published in Journal of Church and State 25 [1983]: 57–85).
Jones, Major J. “The Black Experience in the Search for Salvation, Justice and the Meaning of the Theological Task.”
Kirkpatrick, Dow. “Beyond Liberalism”
Kristiansen, Roald E. “Towards a Transformationist Theology.”
Luik, John E. “Marxist and Wesleyan Anthropology and the Prospects for a Marxist-Wesleyan Dialogue” (published in Wesleyan Theological Journal 18 [1983]: 54–66).
Roberts, J. Deotis. “Reconciliation and Social Justice.”
Runyon, Theodore. “System and Method in Wesley’s Theology.”
Sano, Roy. “A Theology of Evangelism” (published in Wesleyan Theology Today, edited by Theodore Runyon [Nashville: Kingswood Books, 1985], 240–48).
Will, James E. “Toward a Dialectically Transformationist Wesleyan Theology.”

Other Participants:

Ames, Loal C.
Ammons, Edsel
Araya Guillén, Victorio
Bassett, Paul
Dunning, H. Ray
Everatt, Julia Viktorska
Gibbins, Olive R.
Gúzman, Aníbal
Ireblad, Tord
Meeks, M. Douglas Jr.
Muttiah, Kingsley
Reily, Duncan Alexander
Shopshire, James
Sosa, Raul
Tamez, Elsa
Thistlethwaite, Susan
Vincent, John J.
Weyer, Michel
Wilson, Kenneth B.
Wiltsher, Christopher D.


3. ECCLESIOLOGY and SACRAMENTS in an ECUMENICAL CONTEXT
(extended report in OXFORDnotes1.1)

Conveners: Geoffrey Wainwright & Mercy Amba Oduyoye

The first need is to describe, clarify and correct our self- understanding, and the understanding other Christians have of Methodists, as an ecclesial reality. This requires attention to the eighteenth century (the rise of the societies, the separation from the Church of England, the arrival in North America), to the nineteenth century (reactive and constructive developments in both Britain and North America; our share in the modern missionary movement), and to the twentieth century (our participation in the ecumenical movement; unions between Methodist bodies: our entry, or non-entry, into local and national plans of union with other churches; our conversations with other “world confessional families”). The historical material needs theological evaluation; but the question of criteria for such evaluation is one into which both historical and systematic factors enter.
Secondly, we are summoned by the results of bilateral and multilateral conversations so far achieved to respond to such statements as those of the WCC Faith and Order on “Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry”. How far can we recognize in such texts an adequate confession of the Christian faith as we have received it and hold it? What consequences would acceptance of such statements have for our relations with other communities? With what results has Methodism taken part in the modern liturgical movement?
Thirdly, and bringing those two sets of questions together, what vision do we have of the place of Methodism in the attempt on the part of all Christians to realize the Church’s vocation to “unity”? What positive contributions do we carry into an ecumenical future? Where do we need correction and enhancement? What structures will be necessary to facilitate and eventually to embody the unity of the Christian Church?

Presentations:

Brockwell, Charles W. Jr. “Schisms and Their Healing in American Methodism.”
Clutterbuck, Richard N. “British Methodism as ‘Sending Churches.’”
George, A. Raymond. “Methodist Participation in the Modern Liturgical Movement and in Sacramental Renewal.”
Gibbins, Ronald C. “The Rise of the Methodist Societies.”
Hall, Thor. “Call to Ministry, Ordination and Conference Membership with Special Reference to Those who serve Appointments Beyond the Local Church” (published as Occasional Paper by United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry [Nashville], 1983].
Kyst, Erik. “Methodism in the Midst of Folk-Churches.”
McCreary, David. “Methodist Theology and Practice concerning Church Order.”
Oduyoye, Mercy Amba. “Impressions from West Africa.”
Rand, Cuthbert. “What do Catholics think of Methodists as a Church?”
Richey, Russell E. “Ecclesial Sensibilities in 19th-century American Methodism” (published in Quarterly Review 4 [1984]: 31–42).
Smith, W. Thomas. “The Settlement of North America.”
Starkey, Lycurgus Jr. “Ecclesiology of Major Holiness and Pentecostal Churches who see themselves in the Wesleyan Tradition.”
Tanner, Mary. “Anglican/Methodist Relations in England during the Period 1950–82: a Personal Reflection.”
Wallwork, Norman. “Methodist Interaction with Other Churches, with Special Reference to the Grindelwald Conferences and the Lambeth Appeal.”
Waterfield, Nigel. “The Separation from the Church of England.”

Other Participants:

Bence, Clarence L.
Cain, Richard W.
Campbell, Dennis
Cannon, William R.
Capper, Phillip
Hildred, Linda
Horton, Keith
Logan, James C.
Moede, Gerald
Pickard, Donald A.
Tedcastle, R. Gerald
Topolewski, John L.
Treese, Donald


4. EVANGELISM in the WESLEYAN TRADITIONS
(report also in OXFORDnotes1.1)

Conveners: David Lowes Watson & S. Wesley Ariarajah

Within the framework of the church in mission, is there a discernible function for evangelism as a distinctive feature of ministry? The group will address this question in the context of the Methodist traditions, beginning with the eighteenth century and continuing through the nineteenth century to the present. The method will be to examine patterns of Methodist outreach with a focus on the articulation and presentation of the Christian message, the impact of such activity on church, society and culture, and its implications for contemporary witness and proclamation. The theological referent for these investigations will be the catholicity of Wesley’s concept of grace, prevenient, justifying and sanctifying. The theological question will be the honing of the essentials of the gospel as the evangelistic cutting-edge of missional service to the world.

Presentations:

Bonilla-Acosta, Plutarco. “The Content of the Gospel as Found in Wesley’s Sermons Viewed from a Latin American Perspective.”
Crandall, Ronald K. “The Centrality of Christian Experience in the Methodist Heritage.”
Hunter, George G. III. “Wesley’s Approach to Evangelism and Church Growth” (published as “John Wesley as Church Growth Strategist,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 21 [1986]: 24–43).
Nthamburi, Zablon. “Crisis in Mission: Contextualization and Enculturation of the Gospel.”
Skjørshammer, Stein. “The Wesleyan Class System in Parish Development Today.”
Snyder, Howard A. “The Evangelistic Relevance of ecclesiola Structures in Early Methodism” (incorporated into Signs of the Spirit: How God Reshapes the Church [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989]).
Thomas, Norman E. “Personal Piety and Social Witness: a Case Study in Zimbabwe.”
Thompson, K. H. “John Wesley’s Mission and Irish Roman Catholics.”
Tuttle, Robert G. Jr. “Prevenient Grace: The Divine Initiative in the Drama of Rescue.”
Walker, Alan. “Wesleyan Evangelism Today.”
Watson, David Lowes. “Christ Our Righteousness: Grace and Accountability in Wesley’s Message” (published in Perkins School of Theology Journal 37 [1984]: 34–47).

Other Participants:

Clymer, Wayne K.
D’Oliveira, Rosangela Soares
Jones, Richard G.
Josgrilberg, Rui de Souza
Miller, Lois
Mohr, Helmut
Mulrain, George
Pannell, William
Shyllon, Leslie
Windisch, Harry


5. WESLEYAN SPIRITUALITY and FAITH DEVELOPMENT

Convener: James Fowler

Contemporary interest in psychological theories of adult development (Erikson, Levinson), and in the focus on faith development (Fowler), have begun to generate new perspectives from which to engage Wesley’s teachings on the ordo salutis, his doctrine of sanctification in particular, and the explicit and implicit features of a Wesleyan approach to the envisioning and nurture of spiritual growth. Kept in the context of Wesley’s passion for personal and social righteousness, a dialogue between Wesley’s thought and praxis and various adult developmental theories should prove mutually corrective and enriching. Attention will be given to some of the antecedent theological influences on Wesley’s spirituality, as well as to the post-founder evolution of the pattern and praxis of spiritual formation in world Methodism. The dialogue will include perspectives from sociology, liberation theology, and critical social theory.

Presentations:

Albin, Tom R. “Spiritual Formation in Early Methodism: The Wesleys and their Followers” (an excerpt published as “An Empirical Study of Early Methodist Spirituality” in Wesleyan Theology Today, edited by Theodore Runyon [Nashville: Kingswood Books, 1985], 275–90).
Joy, Donald M. “Moral Development: Evangelical Perspectives” (published in Religious Education 75 [1980]: 142–51).
Joy, Donald M. “Human Development and Christian Holiness” (published in Asbury Seminarian 31.2 [April 1976]).
Matthews, Rex D. “Reason, Faith and Experience in the Thought of John Wesley” (published as “‘With the Eyes of Faith’: Spiritual Experience and the Knowledge of God in the Theology of John Wesley,” in Wesleyan Theology Today, edited by Theodore Runyon [Nashville: Kingswood Books, 1985], 406–15).

Other Participants:

Archer, Colin B
Ault, James
Balcomb, Raymond E.
Baxendale, Janet A.
Beck, Brian E
Boothe, Hyacinth
Boots, Wilson T.
Borgen, Ole E.
Chilcote, Paul Wesley
Foster, Andrew
Foster, Durwood
Gossett, Earl
Gribben, Robert W.
Joy, Donald
Klaiber, Walter
Lilburne, Geoffrey R.
Moore, Mary Elizabeth.
Schmidt, Jean Miller
Smith, Robert R.
Staples, Rob L.
Thompson, R. Duane
Wakefield, Gordon S.
Wladar, Antonia
Wilson, Kenneth A.