Draft:Kenneth J. Collins

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Kenneth J. Collins
Kenneth J Collins.jpg
NationalityAmerican
EducationBA, MDiv, ThM, PhD
Alma materState University of New York at Buffalo
Asbury Theological Seminary
Princeton Seminary
Drew University
OccupationProfessor
Known forWesleyan Theology
TitleProfessor of Historical Theology and Wesley Studies
Term1995-present

Kenneth J. Collins (born 1952) is an American theologian and an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. He is a professor of Historical Theology and Wesley Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary.[1] He is recognized internationally as a key leader in Wesley Studies and his ground-breaking work The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace has been translated into Portuguese, Korean and is currently being translated into Chinese. Beyond this, he is the Director of the Wesleyan Studies Summer Seminar,[2] which has an international constituency, and this seminar takes place every other year on Asbury Theological Seminary's campus. Among other honors, he received the Smith/Wynkoop Book Award, March 2016 from the Wesleyan Theological Society [3], for (co-edited with Paul W. Chilcote) The Works of John Wesley: Doctrinal and Controversial Treatises II. Vol. 13. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013.[4] A popular and engaging speaker, Collins has lectured in England, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Estonia, Costa Rica and Australia.

Education[edit]

Collins attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, receiving a B.A. in 1974. He went on to earn the M.Div degree from Asbury Theological Seminary (1979) and the Th.M. from Princeton Seminary (1980). Four years later he graduated with a Ph.D. in theological and religious studies from Drew University.

Career[edit]

After receiving his doctorate, Collins began his career in 1984 as a College Chaplain and two years later was appointed Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Methodist College (now Methodist University) in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 1995 he joined the faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary as a Professor of Historical Theology and Wesley Studies. In 2008 he received the Professor of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at this institution.[5]

Contributions to Wesleyan Theology, American Evangelical Studies, Christian Spirituality, and Ecumenical Studies[edit]

Wesleyan Theology[edit]

The publication in 2007 of The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace broke new ground in the field of Wesley studies and established Collins as one of the most reliable interpreters of the Theology of John Wesley, gaining him broad international recognition. Developing Albert Outler's key insight that John Wesley's theology was a remarkable balance of a number of sophisticated conjunctions of both faith alone (a Protestant emphasis) and holy living (A Catholic emphasis), for example, Collins creatively argued that Wesley's theology could suitably be summarized in terms of the larger axial theme of "holiness and grace" with each of these elements representing an artful and carefully drawn conjunction: that is, holiness as "holy love" and grace as both "free and cooperant." This sophisticated recognition led to more balanced readings of Wesley's theology and to the key insight that Wesley's practical theology was carefully structured as evidenced by a distinct order of salvation (ordo salutis) that itself was marked by parallelism in terms of the two foci of both justification and entire sanctification.

Maintaining that John Wesley was quintessentially a Western theologian with some eastern influences, given his Augustinian understanding of original sin in terms of total depravity, as well as his later extensive development of a trajectory of prevenient grace similar to Anglican theologians, Collins demonstrated the theologically constructive and innovative work of John Wesley as the latter took key Reformation insights, such as justification by grace through faith alone, and applied them in his own theology not simply to the forensic theme of justification, as had the magisterial Reformers, but also to the participatory themes of the new birth and entire sanctification: "exactly as we are justified by faith so are we sanctified by faith. Faith is the condition and the only condition of sanctification exactly as it is of justification." [6] This interpretive move also demonstrated that while the temporal theme of process, of growing in degrees of holiness, was indeed a part of what sanctification entailed, entire sanctification itself was best understood not in light of cooperative grace but of free grace that was instantiated in a moment.

American Evangelical Studies[edit]

The publication in 2005 of The Evangelical Moment: The Promise of an American Religion was appreciated by many American historians and theologians including the late Richard John Neuhaus, who reviewed this work favorably in First Things.[7] Building on the scholarship of both Donald Dayton[8] and George Marsden in their reading of American evangelicalism, Collins developed some of the key differences between Wesleyan and Reformed understandings of evangelical religion (in terms of Scripture for example) in a very helpful and engaging assessment.

The second major work of Collins in this field, Power, Politics and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism argued convincingly that the common faith of American evangelical Christians should transcend their political differences (although it often doesn't), whether from the left or the right, and thereby form a basis of ongoing unity and witness to the world.

Christian Spirituality[edit]

In the year 2000 Collins published Exploring Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Reader which is still used as a textbook around the world even today. This volume not only explores a very helpful definition of just what constitutes Christian spirituality (giving definitional precision) but it also has a broad ecumenical flavor and brings forth engaging examples of spirituality from the Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox traditions to name but a few.

Sour Care: Deliverance and Renewal through the Christian Life, originally published in 1995 (and reissued in 2014), made a generous contribution to the field of Christian spirituality. This work displayed in an artful and balanced way the liberating power of the gospel in overcoming human sin, especially in the form of "the kingdom of self," through a rich acquaintance with Christian resources, the Bible and numerous Christian spiritual classics among them.

Ecumenical Studies[edit]

In the year 2017 in order to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, Collins with his co-author Jerry Walls published Roman but Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years after the Reformation, a celebrated book to mark this momentous occasion and to foster an important and much needed dialog with Roman Catholicism about things that genuinely matter. Noting the many shared beliefs and practices among both Protestants and Roman Catholics, Collins and Walls called for nothing less than intercommunion in terms of these two vital Christian traditions.[9]

Published Works[edit]

Wesleyan Theology[edit]

1989. Wesley on Salvation: A Study in the Standard Sermons. Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury Press of Zondervan Publishing House.

1993. A Faithful Witness: John Wesley's Homiletical Theology. Wilmore, Kentucky: Wesley Heritage Press.

1997. The Scripture Way of Salvation: The Heart of John Wesley's Theology. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

1999. A Real Christian: The Life of John Wesley. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

2001. (Co-editor with John H. Tyson) Conversion in the Wesleyan Tradition. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

2003. John Wesley: A Theological Journey. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

2007. The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

2013. (Co-editor with Paul Wesley Chilcote) The Works of John Wesley: Doctrinal and Controversial Treatises II. Vol. 13. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

2013. (Co-editor with Jason Vickers) The Sermons of John Wesley: A Collection for the Christian Journey. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

2019. A Wesley Bibliography. Wilmore, Kentucky: First Fruits Press.

Forthcoming: 2020 (Co-editor with Rob Wall) Wesley One Volume Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

American Evangelical Studies[edit]

2005. The Evangelical Moment: The Promise of an American Religion. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic.

2012. Power, Politics and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism: From the Scopes Trial to the Obama Administration. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Christian Spirituality[edit]

2000. Exploring Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Reader. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.

2014. Soul Care: Deliverance and Renewal through the Christian Life. Wilmore, Kentucky: First Fruits Press.

Ecumenical Studies[edit]

2017. (Co-author with Jerry L. Walls) Roman but Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years after the Reformation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kenneth J Collins faculty webpage on the Asbury Theological Seminary website: https://asburyseminary.edu/person/dr-kenneth-j-collins/(accessed July 3, 2019).
  2. ^ Wesleyan Studies on the Asbury Theological Seminary website: https://asburyseminary.edu/academics/wesleyan-studies/(accessed July 3, 2019).
  3. ^ Wesleyan Theological Society website: http://wtsweb.org/#/home (accessed July 3, 2019).
  4. ^ The Wesley Works Editorial Project: https://wesley-works.org/(accessed July 3, 2019).
  5. ^ Kenneth J Collins faculty webpage on the Asbury Theological Seminary website: https://asburyseminary.edu/person/dr-kenneth-j-collins/(accessed July 3, 2019).
  6. ^ Albert C. Outler, ed., The Works of John Wesley: Sermons, 4 vols., vol. 2 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1985), p. 163.
  7. ^ Review of The Evangelical Moment by Richard John Neuhaus on the First Things website: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/08/the-evangelical-moment (accessed July 3, 2019).
  8. ^ Baker Publishing Author Page - Donald Dayton website: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/authors/donald-w-dayton/1561 (July 4, 2019).
  9. ^ Review of Roman But Not Catholic by Mats Wahlberg on the First Things website: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/03/ecumenical-incorrectness (accessed July 4, 2019).