Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Wesleyan Theological Society presented their annual Smith-Wynkoop Book Award to Volume 12: Doctrinal and Controversial Treatises I of the Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley, edited by Randy Maddox, the William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies and associate dean for faculty development at Duke Divinity School. Two other volumes in the series were also honored with a Smith-Wynkoop Book Award: Volume 13: Doctrinal and Controversial Treatises II, edited by Paul Chilcote and Kenneth Collins, and Volume 27: Letters III (1756–1765), edited by Ted Campbell.

Volume 12: Doctrinal and Controversial Treatises I is devoted to four of John Wesley’s foundational treatises on soteriology. These treatises include Wesley’s extract from the Homilies of the Church of England, which he published to convince his fellow Anglican clergy that the “evangelical” emphasis on believers experiencing a conscious assurance of God’s pardoning love was consistent with this standard of Anglican doctrine. Second is Wesley’s extract of Richard Baxter’s Aphorisms of Justification. Wesley invokes this honored moderate Puritan to challenge antinomian conceptions of the doctrine of justification by faith held by those who shared his evangelical emphasis. This is followed by Wesley’s abridgement of the Shorter Catechism issued by the Westminster Assembly in his Christian Library. He affirms broad areas of agreement with this standard statement of Reformed doctrine—while quietly removing items with which he disagreed. The fourth item is Wesley’s extended response to the Dissenter John Taylor on the doctrine of original sin. This highlights differences within the broad Arminian camp, with Wesley resisting a drift toward naively optimistic views of human nature that he discerned in Taylor.

The Smith-Wynkoop Book Awards were announced at the 51st meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society held in San Diego March 11–12. The annual awards are in honor of the outstanding scholarly contributions of historian Timothy L. Smith and theologian Mildred Bangs Wynkoop. The award recognizes a recent publication of distinction in a research area related to the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition. This is the second time a book edited by Randy Maddox has received a Smith-Wynkoop Book Award. His work was also recognized in 2010 for the book The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley, co-edited with Jason Vickers.

The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley series is part of the Wesley Works Editorial Project, sponsored by the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition (CSWT) at Duke Divinity School. Part of the mission of CSWT is to develop and provide access to outstanding research resources for students and scholars of the broad Wesleyan tradition around the globe.