William J. Abraham Named Inaugural Director of the Newly Established Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary
WACO, Texas (June 24, 2020) — Following extended conversations with and consultation of seminary faculty, alumni and friends, Dean Todd D. Still, Ph.D., announced today, with strong support from university administration, the formation of a Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary. In conjunction, he announced that Dr. William J. Abraham, a theologian, philosopher, author and minister, will serve as the founding director of this strategic initiative.
In this role, Abraham will ensure that students attending Truett from Wesleyan traditions are nurtured and networked for the ministries into which they are being called. 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 the recruiting, training and placing of students and in supporting and educating ministers who are already engaged in gospel service.
“From its inception in 1994, Baylor’s Truett Seminary — an orthodox, evangelical school in the historic Baptist tradition embedded into a major research university — has been blessed to train ministerial students primarily, though not exclusively, from baptistic congregations,” said Still, The Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran Delancey Dean and The William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures. “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. 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.”
A gifted teacher, sought-after lecturer, prolific author and ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, Abraham holds degrees from The Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland (BA); Asbury Theological Seminary (M.Div.); and Oxford University, Regent’s Park College (D.Phil.), and has taught at Seattle Pacific University, Harvard Divinity School and Southern Methodist University.
“We are on the cusp of a new day for the future of the Wesleyan network of families across the world,” Abraham said regarding the creation of The Wesley House of Studies at Truett Seminary and his appointment to serve as its founding director. “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.
“Baylor University is a world-class institution, and the creation of a Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary is a landmark development,” he said. “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.”
Enthusiastic support from within Baptist life and beyond
This announcement is being met with a groundswell of enthusiastic support both within and beyond Baptist life, including the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT), with whom Baylor University is officially affiliated, The Central Texas Conference (CTC) of the United Methodist Church and The Wesleyan Church.
“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, D.Min., BA ’79, executive director of the BGCT. “These students will be able to join other ministers-in-training in learning from a quality faculty within a biblical, evangelical and orthodox worldview.”
“I am overjoyed with Dr. William Abraham’s selection as the leader of a new Wesley House of Studies at Truett Theological Seminary,” said Bishop Mike Lowry, D.Min., Resident Bishop of the CTC. “This world-renowned theologian brings a deep Wesleyan commitment to an already outstanding seminary. Together, this new venture in theological education and training for discipling ministry is a significant advancement of our shared ministry under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”
“My heart leaps with the thought of ‘The Wesley House of Studies’ as a part of Truett Seminary,” said Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador and General Superintendent Emerita of The Wesleyan Church. “May this new addition bring transformation for people, communities and the world through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Abraham will begin his work as director of The Wesley House of Studies at Baylor’s Truett Seminary on Aug. 1, 2020. For additional information about the announcement or to make a financial contribution to support this new initiative, please contact Dean Still at Todd_Still@baylor.edu.
Additional Endorsements from Representative Christian Leaders Regarding the Founding of The Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary
“I am thrilled about the opening of the Wesley House of Studies at Truett Seminary, to be led by the outstanding Dr. William J. Abraham. 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.” — Dr. Levi W. Price Jr., Retired, Former Baylor Regent and Truett Seminary Faculty Member
“One of the genuine discoveries of the Baptist General Association of Virginia through its V3, Fresh Expressions and Missio Alliance ministries has been the support and collaboration of Wesleyan leaders and pastors. 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. I believe God is bringing his children together in North America for such as 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.” — Dr. John Upton, Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia and Former President of the Baptist World Alliance
“I celebrate and am encouraged by the announcement that the George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University is launching a Wesley House of Studies that will provide focused education for Methodists and other Wesleyans. Truett is signaling their commitment to providing quality preparation of students for lifelong ministry in the Methodist tradition by securing Dr. William J. Abraham as the founding director for the house. Dr. Abraham is a preeminent Wesley scholar. His commitment to The Wesley House of Studies underscores that students will be challenged to develop all of their gifts for fruitful lifetime ministry.” — Rev. Keith Boyette, President, Wesleyan Covenant Association
“I’m happy to receive the news that Baylor University’s Truett Seminary is establishing a Wesley House of Studies, committed to form and equip students to serve churches and other institutions in the Wesleyan Tradition. I am doubly excited that Billy Abraham will direct the house. A significant Wesleyan intellectual and spiritual presence in this outstanding university, under the leadership of Dr Abraham, will be a huge resource and blessing for our Methodist Movement.” — Rev. Maxie Dunnam, President Emeritus of Asbury Theological Seminary
“I am deeply appreciative to Truett Theological Seminary for their willingness to vision with leaders from Wesleyan traditions, for realizing the need for exceptional Wesleyan scholarship and for pursuing the creation of a ‘Wesley House’ on their campus. I am ecstatic that Dr. William Abraham has been selected as the director of this endeavor. Dr. Abraham is a world-renowned theologian whose teachings have been and continue to be formative in my own personal journey in ministry. I am excited for what the future of a Wesley House of Studies at Baylor’s Truett Seminary will mean to students and current pastors wanting to grow deeper in their understanding of a Christian witness from a Wesleyan perspective.” — Dr. Leah S. Hidde-Gregory, Central District Superintendent, Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church
“I am thrilled that Truett Seminary has formed The Wesley House of Studies, offering a thoroughly orthodox seminary experience for Wesleyan Christians. It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of securing Dr. Billy Abraham to be the House’s first Director. His record as one of the most significant theological minds in Methodism for the last many decades guarantees the program will provide the highest-caliber training for orthodox Wesleyan pastors that churches of every size will be blessed to have as their future graduates. Those of us who believe God is doing a new thing with the people called Methodist see in the creation of Truett’s Wesley Study House God’s gracious providence and faithful hand.” — Rev. Rob Renfroe Jr., Loft Lead Pastor and Pastor of Discipleship, The Woodlands United Methodist Church
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT GEORGE W. TRUETT THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary is an orthodox, evangelical school in the historic Baptist tradition that equips God-called people for gospel ministry in and alongside Christ’s Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, Truett Seminary provides theological education leading to the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Theological Studies, Doctor of Ministry and Ph.D. in Preaching. The MACM and MTS degrees also can be completed at the seminary’s Houston campus. In addition, Truett Seminary offers joint degrees: M.Div./M.S.W. and M.T.S./M.S.W. with the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, M.Div./M.B.A. with the Hankamer School of Business, M.Div./J.D. with Baylor Law School, M.Div./M.M. with the School of Music and M.Div./M.S.Ed. or M.Div./M.A. with the School of Education. Visit baylor.edu/truett to learn more.