Cancellation of Wesley Events at Tyndale

Tyndale’s Wesley events planned for April are cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This includes the worship service on April 19, the Ministry Conference on April 20, and the Symposium on April 21.

Those who have already registered will receive a refund.

The Wesley Studies Symposium might be rescheduled for the fall of 2020. Watch for a further notice in the coming weeks.

I pray that the peace of Christ will be with you all. May the Holy Spirit give us wisdom and courage so that we can be faithful servants of the gospel in a difficult and disorienting time.

Thou hidden source of calm repose,
Thou all-sufficient love divine,
My help, and refuge from my foes,
Secure I am, if thou art mine,
And lo! From sin, and grief, and shame
I hide me, Jesus, in thy name.

Thy mighty name salvation is,
And keeps my happy soul above,
Comfort it brings, and power, and peace,
And joy, and everlasting love:
To me with thy dear name are given
Pardon, and holiness, and heaven.

Jesu, my all in all thou art,
My rest in toil, my ease in pain,
The med’cine of my broken heart,
In war my peace, in loss my gain,
My smile beneath the tyrant’s frown,
In shame my glory, and my crown.

In want my plentiful supply,
In weakness my almighty power,
In bonds my perfect liberty,
My light in Satan’s darkest hour,
In grief my joy unspeakable,
My life in death, my heaven in hell.

Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems (1749)

Installation Sermon: The Triumphs of His Grace

This past Tuesday I was officially installed as the Donald N. and Kathleen G. Bastian Chair of Wesley Studies at Tyndale Seminary.  I’ve been doing the work of the Wesley Chair since I arrived at Tyndale in January 2013. However, since I was a newly-minted Assistant Professor, I was hired with the understanding that I would be officially appointed to the Chair upon successful application for tenure and promotion. So this Tuesday’s ceremony was nearly six years in coming.

It was a good day to celebrate the partnership between Tyndale and the Wesleyan denominations that sponsor the Bastian Chair: the Be in Christ Church (formerly Brethren in Christ), the Church of the Nazarene, the Free Methodist Church, the Salvation Army, and the Wesleyan Church. The Bastian Chair was established in 1993, and Donald Bastian (then Bishop of the Free Methodist Church in Canada) was instrumental in drawing the partner denominations together.

Installation Sermon

The sermon audio is below, and it can be downloaded from the Tyndale website.  It was a bit of an unusual sermon – in fact, it was something of a blend of sermon and keynote address. Had the installation been held a separate occasion I would have done an inaugural lecture; since it took place during our regular community chapel service, it needed to take the form of a sermon and speak to the whole Tyndale community.

The scripture readings were Isaiah 25:1-9 and 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

As I said on Tuesday, I am truly grateful for Tyndale and for this unique role, which allows me to serve both the Canadian Wesleyan family and the broader church.

 

 

 

2019 Wesley Studies Symposium

An Evangelical MindI’m pleased to announce that Tyndale’s next Wesley Studies Symposium will take place on April 30, 2019, with Marguerite Van Die giving the keynote address. Van Die is Professor Emerita of History at Queen’s University, and a noted expert on Canadian church history. Her many publications include An Evangelical Mind: Nathaniel Burwash and the Methodist Tradition in Canada, 1839-1917This is the definitive biography of Burwash, the most important Canadian Methodist theologian and an important churchman in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Dr. Van Die’s address is entitled “Building a moral community: Methodists and Public Life in Nineteenth Century Canada.”  I have a number of excellent papers lined up but am open to receiving proposals from other potential presenters. Watch for registration and other details in the coming weeks.

Media from the Wesleyan-Pentecostal Symposium

We had a wonderful day at the Wesleyan-Pentecostal Symposium here at Tyndale on March 22. It was a pleasure to partner with Van Johnson and Master’s Pentecostal Seminary in hosting this event. Donald Dayton was his inimitable self and helped us to understand how significant it was to have a gathering of these two traditions, given our frosty relations in the past.  The other papers from scholars, pastors and graduate students provided a great deal of discussion material for the attendees.  More than one person commented to me about how engaged everyone was in the topic, discussing it over coffee breaks and lunch as well as in the sessions.

One of the benefits of moving to our new campus is that all our classrooms have very recently been outfitted with excellent audio-visual equipment. This made it very simple for us to record the presentations. The three plenary talks were recorded on video, and audio recordings of all the sessions were made as well. I’m grateful that all the presenters agreed to allow their recordings to be shared publicly after the event.

So, please take a moment to visit the symposium media page and make use of this excellent content.  I’ve embedded my own talk on Burns, Horner, and Burwash below.

 

Tyndale Wesley Studies News – September 2015

 

We are gearing up for another academic year at Tyndale, this time (finally) on our beautiful new campus.  It has been a bit of a chaotic summer, with all the disruption that comes along with a move, and I’m now looking forward to seeing this place filled with students in the next few days.

I’ve just sent out my most recent Wesley Studies newsletter, highlighting next year’s joint Wesleyan-Pentecostal Symposium on the role of experience in theology (March 22, 2016).  I’m really pleased to be bringing Donald Dayton to Toronto as our keynote, and I think we’ll have a great day of conversation about a topic that concerns both traditions.

There’s lots more in the newsletter about recent book releases (including the latest in the Tyndale Wesley series from Chris Payk and my own book, which I will blog about soon) and upcoming events and conferences in Toronto.  Take a look, and subscribe if you are interested.

bayview-chapel

 

Sermon Audio: A New Song and the New Creation (Psalm 96)

Last week I had the pleasure of spending five days with twelve fine seminary students, discussing “Creation and New Creation.”  You can find out about the course by reading the course syllabus here.  My goal for the week was lay some deep theological roots for engaging in the practice of creation stewardship. So our course included a range of topics: the Triune Creator, creation ex nihilo, the goodness of creation, general revelation, the image of God, sin, salvation, eschatology, and mission…an ambitious agenda to be sure!  But we were looking at each of these topics in relation to the question of humanity’s role as stewards of creation.  I hope it was successful in setting out creation stewardship as an issue that is deeply connected to core Christian doctrines – not at all a peripheral matter.

At Tyndale we often have summer school instructors preach during our weekly worship gathering, and so I had my first chance to preach in our new chapel on Bayview Avenue. It is an amazing worship space, as you can see from the image below.  My sermon was based on Psalm 96, keeping the themes of my course in mind, and also Tyndale’s transition to our new campus, which is still underway. Listen to the sermon below, or download the file here.

Tyndale Chapel by JDB Sound Photography via flickr

Wesley Studies News from Tyndale

Firefox_Screenshot_2014-12-17T20-17-25.932ZIn September I started a newsletter as a way to share information about events and resources of interest to the Canadian Wesleyan community.  Over the past seven years, the Tyndale Wesley Symposium has fostered a network of people interested in Wesleyan history and theology, and I hope this will be one more way of helping to connect that community. The second edition has now been sent out, and includes information on our 2015 Wesley Symposium, featuring Kevin Mannoia.  I’ll have more to say about the Symposium in a future post.

Go here to read the newsletter, and click the “subscribe” link in the top left corner if you want to sign up for future newsletters. The September edition can be accessed here.

Sermon: How Can I Keep from Singing? Psalm 126 [audio]

I was glad to have a chance to preach at Tyndale’s community chapel a couple of months ago, on Psalm 126.  The sermon is part of a series of “Journey” chapels – a series designed to help our community navigate through a year of transition to our new Bayview campus.  We’ve been looking at one of the Psalms of ascent for each of these chapel services.

I used this wonderful Robert Lowry hymn (written 1860) as a window into the message of the Psalm:

Robert Lowry via wikimediaMy life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heav’n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His—
How can I keep from singing?

Here is the audio, or you can download it from this site.

[audio https://ia600703.us.archive.org/30/items/20131119-sermon-my-life-flows-on/2013-11-19_Community_Chapel_James_Pedlar.mp3]

Sixth Annual Wesley Studies Symposium at Tyndale Seminary

Registration is now open for Tyndale’s annual Wesley Studies Symposium, taking place on March 25 at Tyndale’s new Bayview Campus.

haykin_lg_sqThis year, in honour of the 300th anniversary of George Whitefield’s birth, we’ll be welcoming Dr. Michael Haykin as our keynote speaker.  I am very pleased that this distinguished Baptist historian has agreed to come and make a presentation to our symposium. His talk is titled, ““The Revived Puritan”: The Life and Piety of George Whitefield.”

Here is a bit more from our event page:

2014 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth George Whitefield, friend, partner-in-ministry, and sometimes theological enemy of John Wesley. Because the lives of these two men are so intricately intertwined with one another, we are going to feature a paper on Whitefield as our keynote address at the Wesley Symposium.

Dr. Michael Haykin is a leading Baptist historian, who has published on a wide variety of topics, from the Church Fathers to Jonathan Edwards. He studied at the University of Toronto, where he earned a BA at Victoria College, and an MRel and ThD in church history from Wycliffe College. In addition to his position at Southern Seminary he is Director of the Andrew Fuller Centre for Baptist Studies, and an Adjunct Professor at the Toronto Baptist Seminary, where he previously served as President. His many books include Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival (Evangelical Press, 2005); The God who draws near: An introduction to biblical spirituality (Evangelical Press, 2007); and Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway, 2011).

bayview-campus-frontOther speakers for this year’s event include Dr. Claire MacMillan (National Director, Church of the Nazarene, Canada) Rev. Leonard Chester (Archivist of the Brethren in Christ Church, Canada), Rev. Dan Sheffield (Director of Global and Intercultural Ministries, Free Methodist Church in Canada), Rev. Michael Tapper (PhD Candidate, St. Paul University), Rebecca Nicol (PhD Candidate, McMaster Divinity College), and Rev. Dale Harris (Pastor, The Freeway Free Methodist Church, Oshawa).  You can find more information about the paper topics here.  We will also have a book panel on Lift Up a Standard: The Life and Legacy of Ralph Horner, including presentations from myself and Dr. James Robertson, and responses from authors Rev. Laurence Croswell and Mark Croswell.

Visit this page to find more information and to register.

Highlights from Len Sweet’s talks at the Wesley Ministry Conference

Len Sweet speaking at TyndaleThis year’s Wesley Ministry Conference at Tyndale was a great success.   Over 180 people from various Wesleyan denominations gathered to hear Leonard Sweet speak, and to take in a workshop on discipleship from Matt Eckert and Luc and Rosetta Del Monte.  It was a very engaging and thought-provoking day.

When Howard Snyder heard that Len Sweet was coming to the conference, he commented that Sweet could give you enough ideas in five minutes to keep you thinking for five days.  It’s been a week since the conference, and I think Howard was right.

While I wouldn’t attempt to give a total summary of all Len Sweet said last Monday, here are three of the big themes from his talks that have stuck with me:

1. Leadership as a function vs leadership as an identity.  He began in the morning by addressing this topic, and lamented that in the past few years, the church has turned “leadership” into an identity, when it should really only be conceived as a function which people exercise at various times.  Our identity, rather, is as followers, not leaders; we are disciples first and foremost, but at times some of us have to provide a leadership function.  He asked the pointed question, “How many followership conferences have you been to in the past five years?”  Churches have spent a lot of time and energy trying to take on ideas and practices from the business world, often without reflecting theologically on how these ideas square with Christian discipleship.  This is something I’ve been concerned about for some time (I wrote about it three years ago), so I was glad to hear him address it on Monday (if you are interested in this issue check out his book I Am A Follower).

Sweet I am a Follower2. Mission stories vs mission statements.  Connected with the above point, Sweet addressed the issue of “mission statements,” one of the business practices that the church has taken up in recent decades.  He suggested that the church already has a mission statement – the great commission – but that we make up our own mission statements because we don’t like the one we’ve been given!   More importantly, Sweet was reflecting on how contemporary culture doesn’t connect well with truths communicated via “statements.”  This is familiar territory for students of post-modern culture – the idea that in contemporary Western culture, truth is most readily accepted as embodied in narrative and metaphor (or “narraphor” as Sweet stated it), rather than in propositional statements.  Sweet took this larger cultural trend and applied it to the church’s mission: it ought not to be articulated in a statement; rather, we need the story of the gospel to shape our mission in a compelling way.  He made a similar point in relation to preaching, saying that “points” don’t communicate to a “Google culture,” though they connected well in the “Gutenberg culture.”

3. Dirty hands and a clean heart.  Sweet then exemplified the ideas he’d been sharing by offering a “narraphor of holiness.”  Beginning with the incarnation as the revelation of God’s holiness, he focused in particular on foot-washing as an example of God “getting his hands dirty” in the world. Against our tendencies to view holiness as a kind of purity that remains separate from the world, Sweet stressed that true Christian holiness is normed by the story of God’s self-giving in the incarnation.  Thus, dirty hands are the evidence of a clean heart.

I’m really glad we had a chance to host Len Sweet here at Tyndale – he definitely gave us lots to think about.  You can read another report on the day on the Tyndale website.

Mainz altar painting via wikimedia commons