In Part 2 of this series, I want to introduce you to some important theological works produced by authors within the Wesleyan and related traditions. Here is where I get to allow myself some wiggle room. What I call “The Wesleyan Rooted Traditions” has by now become so vast and varied; not all authors and their theologies are actually rooted in Wesleyanism. This is actually part of how amazing this tradition has become. It ranges in form from Liberal Protestant to fundamentalist evangelical, from Pentecostal to Charismatic, and from old-time Holiness to moderate evangelical. However, to understand this interpretation and reinterpretation of Wesleyan thought, and the records it left behind; it is helpful to have some theology under your belt.
If you read between the lines of the books I am listing below, you will be able to address questions within your family history. Some sample questions linking theology with genealogy would be as follows: Why did my ancestors become Methodist when they were originally Church of Ireland? Why did my ancestors leave the Methodist Church and get involved in the Holiness movement? Why is the Salvation Army considered a Holiness denomination? My ancestors started out as Holiness, but became Pentecostals – what is the difference? If you’re writing a family history, these are important questions which will help bring your story to life!
The books below reflect some of the standard theological works which can help you trace your ancestor thinking whether for one or several generations. Be aware that once you understand the evolution of Wesleyanism in its various forms, you may need to search through the records of more than one denomination for your ancestors!
Wesleyan-Methodist: These works reflect authors from the United Methodist Church, the Methodist Church in Ireland and the Methodist Church in Britain. Ted A. Campbell, Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials (2nd ed. 2011); Richard Clutterbuck, Handing on Christ: Recovering the Gift of Christian Doctrine (2009); Walter Klaiber and Manfred Marquardt. Living Grace: An Outline of United Methodist Theology (2001); Stokes, Mack B. Stokes, Major United Methodist Beliefs (1998); Angela Shier-Jones, Word in Progress: Methodist Doing Theology (2009).
Wesleyan-Holiness: All of the following works come from Church of the Nazarene authors. The denominational press Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City is the world’s largest publisher of Holiness books. Paul Culbertson and H. Orton Wiley, Introduction to Christian Doctrine (Reprint 1946); H. Ray. Dunning, Grace, Faith, and Holiness: A Wesleyan Systematic Theology (2000); J. Kenneth Grider, A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology(2000);
Samuel M. Powell, Discovering Our Christian Faith: An Introduction to Theology (2008); H. Orton Wiley, Christian Theology (3 vols. Reprint. 1940).
Holiness-Pentecostal: To fully appreciate the variety within Pentecostalism, I am suggesting works by Pentecostal authors from churches rooted and not rooted in Wesleyanism, and one Charismatic work. French L. Arrington, Christian Doctrine (3 vols. 1994), Position: Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee); Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology (2008), Position: Foursquare Church; Stanley M. Horton, Systematic Theology (1994), Position: Assemblies of God; J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective – Three Volumes in One (1996), Position: Charismatic.
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Irish Genealogical Society International: www.irishgenealogical.org I write articles for their journal The Septs
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