A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Wesleyan Theological Society meeting that was going to take place in Nashville, Tenn. I attended the WTS meeting earlier this month. And as usual, I did not go away disappointed.
The thing you’ve got to know about the WTS is that it is not your typical academic guild. It does attract the top level Wesleyan scholars working in the academy today. And it includes a large number of graduate students as well doing doctoral-level work in Wesley Studies. But the WTS meeting always has a good number of pastors as well, some of whom attend for the intellectual enrichment and some of whom come to present papers themselves. It also attracts seminary students as well who have been captivated by the Wesleyan tradition and want to learn more.
This feature of the WTS makes it seem like a more grounded academic society than some I’ve attended. For many, the topics that are discussed and the conversations that are had have more to do than with pure intellectual interest; they are about the Christian faith in the most profound way. Intending to spend the final time slot on the final day of the meeting hearing an interesting paper presentation, I found myself in deep conversation with two colleagues about the character of our ministries and our spiritual lives. We prayed for one another and encouraged one another in the work that we are doing right now. It was a real means of grace, and I don’t know that I would have experienced it at any other guild meeting.
I mention all of this because I think the Wesleyan Theological Society would be worthwhile for many pastors and seminary students who may not even know about its existence. You can find out more about the WTS at its website (including how to join). And if you are interested in attending the 2013 WTS meeting in Seattle, WA, check out the Call for Papers which has just been issued. The theme for the conference is “Holiness,” a topic with deep roots in Wesleyan theology.