WACO—The Wesley House of Studies is being formed at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, and William J. Abraham—most recently a professor at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology—has been named its founding director.
From its beginning in 1994, Truett Seminary has trained students primarily—but not exclusively—from Baptist congregations.
“In recent years, however, Wesleyan students and churches have begun to turn increasingly to Truett as a desirable destination location for theological education. We have, in turn, warmly welcomed these Christian friends into our seminary community, which exists to train God-called people for gospel ministry in and alongside Christ’s church by the power of the Holy Spirit,” said Todd Still, Truett Seminary dean.
“The establishment of the Wesley House of Studies at Baylor’s Truett Seminary strengthens further this ongoing practice and places Truett on a trajectory to become an increasingly multidenominational school while holding steadfast and true to its doctrinal and ecclesial commitments.”
Nurture and network
In his new role as director of the Wesley House at Truett, Abraham will ensure that students attending Truett from Wesleyan traditions are nurtured and networked for the ministries into which they are being called, Still explained.
Additionally, Abraham, who will regularly teach courses at Truett pertaining to Wesleyan thought and practice, will collaborate with individuals, congregations and organizations in the Wesleyan tradition in recruiting, training and placing students and in supporting and educating ministers who already are engaged in Christian service.
Abraham—a prolific author, sought-after lecturer and ordained Methodist elder—holds an undergraduate degree from The Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland; a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary; and a doctorate from Oxford University, Regent’s Park College. He has taught at Seattle Pacific University and Harvard Divinity School, as well as SMU.
“We are on the cusp of a new day for the future of the Wesleyan network of families across the world,” he said. “In order to fulfill the promise in store for us, we urgently need fresh ways of providing the spiritual, practical and intellectual resources that are essential for the work up ahead.”
Abraham called the creation of the Wesley House of Studies at Truett Seminary “a landmark development.”
“I can think of no better place to be home to a vibrant Wesley House. I am thrilled to play my part in making it a stellar center of excellence that the Holy Spirit can use for reform, renewal and awakening on a global scale,” he said.
Supported by Baptist leaders
Truett decided to launch the Wesley House of Studies after extended conversations and consultation with seminary faculty, alumni and supporters.
“I’m so pleased that students outside of our Baptist tradition, particularly students from churches within the Wesleyan tradition, will have increased opportunity to pursue ministry preparation at Truett Seminary through the formation of The Wesley House of Studies,” said David Hardage, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. “These students will be able to join other ministers-in-training in learning from a quality faculty within a biblical, evangelical and orthodox worldview.”
Levi W. Price, longtime Texas Baptist pastor and former faculty member at Truett Seminary, voiced his support for the Wesley House of Studies and for the selection of Abraham as its director.
“Through the years, Truett has had many students of the Wesleyan Tradition who are effectively pastoring churches today. This will provide this constituency with a biblically-based seminary opportunity and will significantly broaden the influence and impact of Truett Seminary,” said Price, a former Baylor University regent.
John Upton, executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, noted how Virginia Baptists have benefited from the support and collaboration of Wesleyan leaders in several of its ministries.
“Though we may differ on some doctrinal and ecclesial matters, we have found like-hearted partners when it comes to evangelism, missions, church planting and reaching North America with the gospel,” said Upton, former president of the Baptist World Alliance.
“I believe God is bringing his children together in North America for such a time as this, because so many are lost and searching for hope, purpose and authenticity. Nothing communicates the message of the gospel more powerfully than when God’s family models that by working together for his cause. I’m grateful Truett Seminary is the place where the family of God—Baptists and others—can be equipped to transform his church for the mission of today.”