Kevin Watson Talks Methodism

Kevin Watson Talks Methodism Past & Present

on May 21, 2020

Kevin Watson is a rising star in Methodist theology, and he’s firmly committed to orthodox doctrine. He teaches Methodist Studies at United Methodist Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. His new book is Old or New School Methodism?: The Fragmentation of a Theological Tradition. It contrasts Bishop Matthew Simpson, friend of Abe Lincoln, who saw Methodism as partner to American democracy, with B. T. Roberts, founder of Free Methodism, who was committed to Methodist distinctives like sanctification.

Many imagine that United Methodism’s current divisions trace to early 20th century debates between modernists and conservatives. But Watson suggests the divisions may date to earlier struggles between what Roberts called “new Methodism” and “old Methodism.”

In my chat with him, Watson discusses this history and applies it to today’s United Methodism, which faces likely schism at next year’s postponed General Conference.

You’ll enjoy Watson’s insights.

  1. Comment by Michael McInnis on May 22, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Love these interviews, Mark! And this one has been one of the best (along with the one with Billy Abraham, of course!).

    I was in the Free Methodist Church for a season (including during my time as a student at Asbury Seminary), but I learned some things about B.T. Roberts and the origins of the Free Methodist Church that I did not know – thank you, Kevin!

    I’m looking forward to reading your new book – HOWEVER – currently, it’s listed on Amazon for over $88! While I understand this may be an “academic book” ( and therefore prone to a higher price), that’s a bit steep! I’ll be waiting until the price comes down, or I can find a source for it at a more reasonable price (for my pastor’s book allowance budget)! If you know of any sources for it at a lower price, please let us know here.

    Again, great interview; look forward to more in the future.

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