News October 2022 Perspective Online Top Story

Letter from the Dean

Faith and the Limits of Reason: A Lesson from Romans

I am a Paul guy. I realize, of course, that the apostle to the Gentiles is a challenging figure, as the New Testament itself acknowledges (2 Peter 3:16). He needs to be read in wider biblical and historical context. Though much venerated (and vilified), Paul is not Jesus ver. 2.0. Nevertheless, much in Paul’s writing is wonderful. In the nearly three decades I taught New Testament Intro, few things made me happier than to hear students say that the class had given them a new appreciation for Paul. There are riches here of which many people are unaware.

A premier example is the book of Romans. I recall reading a Gospel tract when I was a teenager titled “The Roman Road.” It quoted a series of texts from Romans that explained human need and God’s provision for salvation. This is part of a long interpretive tradition.[1] In the first eight chapters of Romans, the Protestant Reformers found the answer to their urgent question, “How shall we be saved?” Ironically, their close identification with Paul worked both to popularize and to obscure Paul’s distinctive theological contribution. In assuming common cause with Paul, they tended to project onto Paul their own struggles with disconsolate conscience and disapproving Catholicism. So Romans came to be viewed as a kind of personal salvation manual, a road-map for guilty, lost souls in search of a forgiving, gracious God. One consequence was the orphaning of the remainder of the epistle, especially chapters 9-11, whose interest in the fate of Israel was scarcely an ongoing or pivotal Christian concern.

In fact, the matter of Israel’s future was very much on Paul’s mind as he wrote to the Roman church from Corinth, just prior to his final trip to Jerusalem. Paul was keenly aware of the relative failure of the “Jewish mission” (Galatians 2:7-8). He speaks of his “sorrow and unceasing anguish” for his “kindred according to the flesh” (9:2). It is clear that Jewish unbelief in Christ is a theological and not just a personal problem for Paul. How is it that the fulfillment of God’s purposes for Israel has resulted in an overwhelmingly Gentile church?  Can God be righteous, faithful to God’s own nature and promises, and not save Israel?  (Indeed, God’s righteousness is the unifying theme of Romans. See the thesis statement in 1:16-17.) In the face of his impending journey to Jerusalem, the problem must have appeared acute. Has God failed? And is Paul’s a truly righteous gospel?

Recent biblical scholarship has been more successful at placing Romans 9-11 where it properly belongs, at the center (or, rhetorically, at the climax) of Paul’s argument. The concern of Romans is not so much to explain justification by faith in Christ as to explain how such a system upholds God’s righteousness, especially God’s righteousness toward non-Christian Israel. Thus, deprived of chapters 9-11, Romans would be gravely deficient; indeed, without reading to the section’s surprising conclusion in 11:25-36, one might wonder truly if unbelieving Israel’s present status does not expose “unrighteousness on God’s part” (9:14)

Moving from Romans 8:39 to 9:1 is like walking off a precipice; having scaled the resplendent heights of chapter 8, one drops by a single step to the shadowy depths of chapter 9. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” (v. 2). Why sorrow if nothing is able “to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:39)? Because it appears that Israel is not among the “us,” that Israel is alienated from God’s love. This is an intolerable conclusion against which Paul mobilizes two basic arguments. First, he contends that now as in the past, only a portion of Israel has been elect or faithful; therefore, one ought not to regard the present case as being exceptional either from the side of God or of Israel.

It is evident that this answer was not fully persuasive even to Paul. The word of God might not entirely have “failed” (v. 6), but Jewish Christianity remained a disconcertingly small success. Paul’s second answer locates the solution outside of present history (and therefore beyond the thwarted historical means of the Church’s Jewish mission): at the return of Christ, “all Israel”, even “disobedient” Israel, will be saved (11:25-36). In this belief, Paul finds a solution to the problem of God’s apparent unrighteousness: God, being God, must save Israel. This is a truly stunning–and for us, a most instructive–conclusion.

The shift in Paul’s argument in 11:11 is immensely important. Imagine that chapters 9-11 had ended at 11:10: “let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and keep their backs forever bent.” In that case, Paul might with good reason be regarded as a thoroughgoing Christian supersessionist.[2] “Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking” (v. 7), and so Israel has been set aside in favor of the church.

Paul asks, “Have they stumbled so as to fall?” For the first time, the possibility is raised of a future change in Israel’s status. Their present “stumbling” is not to be interpreted as a permanent “fall.” As much as Paul wanted to justify the present reality (e.g., through talk of an elect remnant), he could not accept that reality as permanently justifiable. Here at last Paul offers a strong answer to the persistent question concerning God’s faithfulness toward Israel.

In conventional Jewish eschatological expectation, Israel first would be restored, and then into that redeemed Israel would stream believing Gentiles (e.g., Isaiah 2:1-4; 42:1-9; 49; 55:4-5; 60:1-7; 66:18-23). Paul reveals this “mystery” (v. 25): perceived Jewish obduracy has led to a reversal of the eschatological timetable. Now is the period of Gentile inclusion: “Through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles” (v. 11). “Their stumbling means riches for the world” (v. 12). “Their rejection is the reconciliation of the world” (v. 15). “You (Gentiles) were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their [the Jews’] disobedience” (v. 30).

The period of Gentile evangelization is impermanent: “a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in” (v. 25). After the mission to the Gentiles is complete, God will complete the final drama: “So all Israel will be saved; as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins’” (vv. 26-27; quoting Isa 59:20-21; 27:9). “What will their acceptance be but life from the dead!” (v. 15).

So, when all is said and done, God’s election of “all Israel” stands (cf. “full inclusion” in v. 12), and God’s righteousness is vindicated (vv. 29-32). No details are offered concerning the constitution of “all Israel.” At very least, it is clear that this group includes many if not all who are now, from Paul’s perspective, “disobedient” (v. 30-31) “ungodly” (v. 26; a truly amazing characterization), and even “enemies of God” (v. 28). Unlike Gal 6:16, there is no possibility here that Paul is referring to the church as (“spiritual”) Israel.

It is critical to note that the “mystery” revealed in Romans 11:11-32 does not follow logically from 1:1-11:10. Stopping at 11:10, one would conclude that only a small remnant of Israel is or ever will be saved. The church’s mission to the Jews failed, and that is that. But present appearances belie ultimate realities (cf. 8:31-39). The resolution to Paul’s “sorrow and unceasing anguish” (9:2) is found at length in his trust in the ultimate triumph of God’s righteousness. The issue finally is decided, not by reason, but by faith, by trust in God’s character.

Fittingly, Paul’s disclosure of the divine plan leads him to doxology (v. 33ff.), an expression of awe at the greatness of God who uses even “disobedience” to produce “mercy” (vv. 30-31). Of course, it is not God‘s inscrutability or power alone that compels Paul’s adoration; above all, it is God’s righteousness that is proved in God’s “ways” and “judgments.” In his understanding of God’s mysterious plan for Israel, Paul has parted the veil and glimpsed “riches,” “wisdom,” and “knowledge” beyond human calculation. At the end of disputation, Paul points to God’s future, believes in God’s triumph, and worships.

Paul could not reason his way to a satisfactory answer, so, in a sense, he hands the problem back to God. If Paul could do that, then surely we can as well. We do not have to have the answer to every question. Knowing God’s character, we can trust where we cannot know.


[1]  Much of the text below is drawn directly from or paraphrases my commentary on Romans, which is part of The Oxford Bible Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 2013), ed. John Barton and John Muddiman, pp. 1083-1108. Used by permission of Oxford University Press. See

[2]  That is, one who believes that the church has fully superseded, or replaced, Israel.

News October 2022 Perspective Online

Office of Enrollment Management Update: October 2022

Great Momentum Leading into a New Academic Year

The Perkins Office of Enrollment Management is pleased that the size of the incoming Fall 2022 class represents an increase over last year! Despite denominational, national and global challenges, new students are responding to their calls to ministry and moving forward in faith.

The geographic scope of our new class is the largest we’ve seen in years. At our Dallas campus, we’ve welcomed new students from as far away as Alabama, South Dakota, New Jersey, and Kenya, as well as many Texans. The Houston-Galveston Extension program, representing 37% of our incoming students, witnessed its furthest geographic reach since transitioning into a hybrid program five years ago. New students enrolled from all over Texas as well as Missouri, Florida, Ohio and two from California! We continue to attract new students who find the accessibility of the hybrid program to be the best model for their busy lives. In August, classes returned seamlessly to Houston Methodist Hospital. We enjoy great support from the HMH community and its leaders.

Perkins also continues to attract a diverse student body in terms of ethnicity, denomination and age. For instance, 21% of our incoming students are African American, and we have new students coming to us — many of them second career — from the Baptist, Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and other Christian traditions.

In the months leading up to the Fall 2022 semester, the Rev. Dr. Margot Perez-Greene and Dr. Stephen Bagby met with each incoming new student via Zoom to address any questions or concerns. Seminary brings with it many life changes and new challenges, and the OEM staff at Perkins is committed to walking with our students through these transitions. We commend our new students for their faith in responding to their calls to ministry during these uncertain times. It is no easy task. But Perkins is a welcoming community, and our students feel loved as soon as they walk in the door even if they have had to leave their families, quit their jobs or cope with feelings of inadequacy in pursuing theological education.

Shifting focus to the next class of students, we have been looking forward to the 2022-23 recruitment season since May 2022. Recruitment is a year-round enterprise, and we are excited to be launching into the new season by implementing many of the same initiatives and unveiling new ones.

Just like last year, OEM will be hosting several virtual event opportunities for prospective students to learn about the school, garner a sense for the Perkins ethos and to ultimately discern where God is calling students in their various ministry contexts. We have found that almost 60% of our enrolled students have attended at least one virtual event, so these events are proving vital to our connection with future church leaders.

Additionally, we’ve continued to increase our partnerships with several of the programs here at Perkins, like the Baptist House of Studies and the Black/Africana Church Studies Program. Our goal is to increase the visibility and accessibility of these programs to ensure prospective students are able to envision themselves at the school and can see a clear path for themselves in seminary.

In addition to these ongoing Inside Perkins events and individual campus visits, we are now offering a “Lunch & Lecture” and “Dinner & Lecture” series. It’s not always possible for students to step away from their responsibilities to spend a full day with us. However, we have found that many prospective students are interested in a lunch break where they can hear a lecture from one of our world-class faculty. The first “Lunch & Lecture” in September with Dr. Roy Heller was a success, and we look forward to featuring Dr. Ted Campbell at a “Dinner & Lecture” in early December.

We continue to appreciate all your support and ask for your prayers. Thank you.

Stephen Bagby, Director of Admission Operations
Caleb Palmer, Associate Director of Ministry Discernment & Communications

News October 2022 Perspective Online

Development Update: Perkins Scholars

Meet the Perkins Scholars

This fall, Perkins welcomes our sixth cohort of Perkins Scholars.  The Perkins Scholar designation is given to students who have distinguished themselves in their undergraduate studies, have demonstrated leadership abilities and are enrolled in the Master of Divinity program leading toward ordination. Outstanding M.Div. students are selected to make up each year’s cohort. Those students receive a scholarship totaling up to $21,000, over three years, in addition to other scholarship awards they may receive.

In the spring of 2016, the Perkins Executive Board took up the challenge to put this project in motion. The members of the Executive Board, an advisory board to the Dean, care deeply about Perkins School of Theology and the student body. Members of the Board pledged 10 awards, each pledge being for $21,000. Several members pledged more than one scholarship!

This fall, the sixth cohort entered the M.Div. program and has become acclimated to, and is excelling at, life at Perkins.

With the scholarships pledged for the entering class, our faithful donors have contributed more than $1.2 million of increased scholarship funds for outstanding Perkins M.Div. students.

The newest cohort of Perkins Scholars, funded by Executive Board members, was welcomed to the Perkins family this fall.  Here are the new Perkins Scholars:


Hometown: Pierre, S.D.

Undergraduate Institution: Dakota Wesleyan

Degree: B.S. in Accounting with a Minor in Christian Leadership




Hometown: Houston

Undergraduate Institution: Morehouse College

Degree: B.A. in Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Health Education




Hometown: Ebughu, Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, West Africa

Undergraduate Institution: The Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu – Nigeria

Degree: Mass Communication Department / Arts & Social Science



Hometown: Austin

Undergraduate Institution: Texas Lutheran University

Degree: B.A. in Theology with a Minor in Psychology




Hometown: St. Louis

Undergraduate Institution: University of Missouri

Degrees: B.S. and M.S. Accounting




Hometown: Toms River, N.J.

Undergraduate Institution: Stockton University

Degrees: B.S. Social Work, M.S.W.



Hometown: Baton Rouge, La.

Undergraduate Institution: Louisiana State University

Degree: Religious Studies




Hometown: Houston

Former Institution, Houston Baptist University

Degrees: Christianity and M.A. in Theological Studies




Hometown: Belton, Texas

Undergraduate Institution: Hardin-Simmons University

Degrees: B.A. Communication, M.A. Religion




Hometown: Rowlett, Texas

Undergrad Institution: The University of Texas at Austin

Degree: Communication and Leadership with a Minor in Religious Studies




Hometown Memphis, Tenn.

Undergraduate Institution:  Wiley College, Marshall, TX

Degree: B.S. in Early Childhood Education

Pastor, Zion UMC, Marshall, TX & FUMC-Waskom, TX



Hometown: Mission, Texas

Previous Institutions: Dallas Theological Seminary; Texas A&M University

Degrees: Th.M. in Media Arts & Worship; BS in Chemical Engineering



Hometown: Wetumpka, Ala.

Undergraduate Institution: Huntingdon College, Montgomery, Alabama

Degree: B.S. Science and Religion, with a Minor in History


A special thanks goes out to the generous donors who have contributed to this extraordinary scholarship program!

Preparing outstanding pastors and leaders for the Church and society is one of the ongoing missions of Perkins School of Theology.  This exceptional assemblage of new Perkins Scholars joins a host of outstanding graduates from years past—women and men who have made a difference in our world.

If you or your church would like to participate in funding the Perkins Scholars program, please let me know.  I can always be reached at or 214.768.2026.

Wishing you a safe fall,

John A. Martin

News October 2022 Perspective Online

Bridwell Update: Danse Macabre

Bridwell Library and SMU’s Department of Art History welcomed the collaborative artist team of Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick to campus September 21–23 for a number of public events marking the opening of Bridwell’s autumn 2022 exhibition, “Lead Stealing the Danse Macabre: Changing Roles & Identities in the Modern Dance of Death.” Kahn and Selesnick presented on their collaborative process and the range of visionary artworks produced over the span of their career.

The Danse Macabre, also called the Dance of Death, is an artistic genre of allegory of the Late Middle Ages on the universality of death. The art typically features the dead, or a personification of death, engaging people from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child and laborer.

The art was produced as memento mori, to remind people of the fragility of their lives, and how vain were the glories of earthly life, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, and “the effect was both frivolous, and terrifying.”

The exhibition, on view at SMU’S Bridwell Library, runs through Dec. 16. Visit the online gallery here.

Read more Bridwell Library updates in The Quill and The Bridwell Quarterly.

Photos courtesy Bridwell Library.

News October 2022 Perspective Online

International Tea Time

A cup of coffee in the morning, iced tea on the porch on a hot afternoon or a glass of wine with dinner – favorite beverages like these are part of the fabric of daily life. Favorite beverages were also the medium for sharing at Tea Time with the International Students, the Sept. 13 Community Hour at Perkins (CHAP). The annual event, organized by the Office of Student Life, welcomes new and returning international students.

Five international students from Kenya, Nigeria, Brazil, Canada and South Korea, and another student, formerly of Sierra Leone, shared favorite teas and coffees from their native countries. Two dozen Perkins staff, faculty and students were at the gathering.

Eno Afon brought a Nigerian drink called Zobo, which she prepared at home especially for the Tea Time. Zobo is served cold and made of hibiscus flowers, ginger and pineapple juice.  This refreshing beverage helps keep Nigerians cool in the country’s very hot climate and has medicinal properties. To make the Zobo, Afon purchased dried hibiscus leaves – which give the drink its characteristic deep red color – and added fresh ginger and pineapple juice.  Afon noted that she would usually make the drink with more ginger, but in deference to American taste, she used just a little.

Fernando Berwig Silva, a second year M.S.M. student, explained how Brazilians make yerba mate, a caffeinated drink made from with leaves from the Ilex paraguariensis tree steeped in hot water. This is the most popular type of  mate drunk in the southern regions of Brazil. As with Argentine and Uruguayan mate, it is drunk in a mate gourd, with a bombilla and hot water. Brazilians share the drink with a communal straw; Berwig Silva brought the vessel and straw used to serve the drink.

Mykayla Turner, a second-year M.S.M. student, shared a pot of maple flavored coffee, served at Tim Hortons, a popular (and ubiquitous) chain of coffeehouses in Canada.

Eunbyul “Stella” Cho, a third-year M.Div. student, served tea and Maxim Mocha Gold, a sweet instant coffee that’s popular in Korea.

Julius Mutembei Murithi, a first-year student, described how to make Kenyan tea with tea, water, and milk.

Sylvester Chapman, originally from Sierra Leone, described a popular drink in his native land called bush tea, considered curative for a variety of digestive troubles. Sierra Leone, he said, is a small country, home to just 7 million people.

The Perkins student body includes a total of 19 international students this fall. Students hail from Hong Kong, India, Tanzania, Indonesia, Mexico and Singapore, in addition to those countries represented at Tea Time.

Over the past several years, International Students Tea Time has become a regular fall semester tradition.

“It’s a way of introducing our international students to the rest of the community while giving them a chance to share about their cultures and traditions,” said Tracy Anne Allred, Assistant Dean of Student Life. “The tea is the medium for sharing about their lives, their cultures and their families. We want them to know how their presence truly enriches the entire Perkins community.”

News October 2022 Perspective Online

Inaugural William J. Abraham Memorial Lecture Set for Oct. 17

The inaugural William J. Abraham Memorial Lecture will take place at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 17 at Perkins Chapel, with Dr. Frederick Aquino delivering the lecture and a reception following in the Blue Room in Bridwell Library. Bridwell Library (SMU Libraries) and Perkins School of Theology established the annual Memorial Lecture to bring a scholar to the SMU campus each year to engage in a topic of the scholar’s choosing related to Abraham’s work.

Dr. Abraham, 73, died suddenly in October 2021. He was the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies at Perkins from 1995 until his retirement in May 2021. He joined the Perkins faculty on Sept. 1, 1985, as the McCreless Associate Professor of Evangelism and the Philosophy of Religion under the leadership of then-Dean James Kirby and Provost Hans Hillerbrand. After retirement, he became Professor Emeritus of Wesley Studies.

Aquino’s lecture is titled “William J. Abraham and John Henry Newman on Faith and Reason.”

Dr. Aquino is Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the Graduate School of Theology, Abilene Christian University (ACU), and the director of the philosophy minor at ACU. Aquino earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies (with an emphasis in systematic theology) from Southern Methodist University in 2000.

Perkins Perspective interviewed Dr. Aquino in advance of his Oct. 17 lecture; here are some excerpts.

Let’s start by talking about how you knew Billy Abraham, and what you admired about him. 

I first met Billy in 1994 when I started my Ph.D. program in systematic theology at SMU. I took a class with him, and we hit it off really well. That led to having him as my advisor, and ultimately, that became a lifetime connection. We stayed in touch, worked on scholarly projects together, and co-taught a seminar at ACU.

I was immediately struck by how attentive he was to my particular questions, thoughts and areas of dissonance, where things didn’t make sense to me. From the very beginning of our relationship, he was deeply invested in my formation as a scholar, teacher and Christian.

Billy humanized learning. He was patient yet tenacious, opened-minded yet courageous, critical yet constructive. He demanded of his students, as well of himself, the capacity to form arguments, map out questions and pursue greater levels of understanding. One of his greatest qualities was the capacity to take seriously other points of view, including those that radically differed from his own.

John Henry Newman once said of his intellectual mentor, Richard Whately, that he, “emphatically, opened my mind, and taught me to think and to use my reason.” Billy did the exact same for me. He led me to think more critically and more openly. He gave me the space to develop my own thinking while pushing me to extend my thinking in fresh and helpful ways.

How did your association with Billy inform your own work and career?

I have highlighted and extended his work while carving out my own scholarly contributions. Billy and I co-edited The Oxford Handbook of the Epistemology of Theology, which featured leading philosophers and theologians. As a result of this project, I have been invited to lecture and write on various aspects of Billy’s philosophical and theological thought. Yet, my research projects are not limited to Billy’s thought. Some examples include my work on Newman’s epistemology, Maximus the Confessor, the philosophical interpretation of biblical texts, deification, spiritual perception and religious experience.

For those who don’t know, who was John Henry Newman? 

Newman (1801-1890) was an English theologian and scholar who spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second as a Roman Catholic. He was one of the more notable leaders of the Oxford Movement, a group of Anglicans who sought to recover the  Church of England’s apostolic basis and Catholic  character. He also wrote on topics like the development of doctrine, the rationality of religious belief, the idea of a university, justification, and conscience. He was canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church in 2019.

I think Billy’s interest in Newman was deeply shaped by his advisor, Basil Mitchell, who was an Oxford professor of philosophy and religion. If you go through Billy’s writings, you can see philosophical traces of Newman’s thought. In this lecture, I hope to show how the ideas of Billy Abraham, a Northern Irish United Methodist, and John Henry Newman, a Victorian Anglican/Roman Catholic, intersect on faith and reason.

Have you ever considered what Billy might say about having you deliver the lecture named after him?  

Years ago, someone was planning to have a lecture at SMU about Billy and his scholarship. The organizers asked him, “Who’s the one person that would give us a good lecture on you, but also offer a critical evaluation of your thought?” And Billy said, “Fred Aquino.”

We had such a great relationship. We could level with each other and disagree, but that never jeopardized our friendship. I think if he were somehow magically sitting in the room during the lecture, he might have a big old smirk on his face, an expression of pride. Knowing him, I think he would be excited, proud and curious to hear what I have to say.

News October 2022 Perspective Online

Chair Installation Honors Ted A. Campbell and Rebekah Miles

In a special ceremony last month, Perkins School of Theology formally installed two endowed chairs: Dr. Rebekah Miles as the Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology and Ethics and Dr. Ted A. Campbell as the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies.  Both appointments began on June 1, 2021, but the formal installation of the two chairs took place on September 26 in Perkins Chapel.

Maddox Intro

The event began with an introduction from Randy Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor Emeritus of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Duke Divinity School. Maddox offered a brief introduction on Outler and Susanna Wesley, and their connections to Perkins’ Wesleyan heritage. Maddox served as co-author of Wesley and the Quadrilateral, along with Miles, Campbell, Scott Jones and Stephen Gunter, and is general editor of the Wesley Works Editorial Project, which Perkins has been participated in since its inception in 1960.

Maddox described Campbell and Miles as both fitting holders for their respective chairs, given their contributions to scholarship and their passion for Wesley studies.

“These installations build upon the leading role that SMU has played over the last seven decades in the formation of Wesleyan/ Methodist studies as a scholarly field,” he said. “And they highlight efforts over the last decade (endorsed and extended by Dean Craig Hill) that have led to Bridwell Library holding the largest collection of Wesley manuscript items outside of England, and to the graduate program at SMU currently comprising the strongest cohort of faculty at any research university for guiding doctoral studies in Wesleyan / Methodist history, theology, and ethics.”

As part of the installation, Campbell and Miles each delivered a lecture.

A Day in the Life of John Wesley

Campbell’s lecture, “A Day in the Life of John Wesley,” challenged common perceptions about  Wesley by examining a pivotal day in his life, Monday, April 2, 1739.

“Wesley has been depicted a man of action, traveling throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, preaching, debating, defending himself from attack by mobs, advocating for the poor, empowering women to preach and calling for the abolition of the slave trade,” he said.  “But there was another side of John Wesley, hidden from public view, that reveals a much more quiet and introspective side.”

Campbell drew on Wesley’s letters, private diary and published Journal to chronicle the hours of April 2, the first day that Wesley “invaded” the parish of another clergyman and preached without authorization. While it was an eventful day, more than half of Wesley’s waking hours were spent in solitude, time in which he meditated, sang, prayer, penned letters and wrote in his journal – a pattern which, Campbell said, was typical for most of the days of Wesley’s life.

“He seemed to find his energy from study and reading and writing and prayer and quiet, alone or in very small company,” he said.

Campbell noted that minutes from the early Methodist conferences advised lay preachers to “steadily spend all the morning in study, or at least five hours every four and twenty.”

As Wesley’s diaries show, Wesley did this every day until his death.

“The cultivation of study, reflection, reading and writing that we try to inculcate at Perkins is not merely preparation for Christian ministry,” he said. “Hopefully it is instilling a character of consistent study, conversation, reflection, reading and writing that will guide a Christian leader to their last days, as those habits did for John Wesley.”

Campbell, Professor of Church History, was appointed Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies. The late Rev. Dr. William J. Abraham held the chair from 1995 until his retirement in 2021. The chair was established in 1982 in honor of Albert Cook Outler (1908 – 1989), a longtime faculty member at Perkins as well as a distinguished Methodist theologian and philosopher. Outler made crucial contributions to the scholarship of John Wesley including a critical selection of John Wesley’s work published in the Library of Protestant Thought which led to his leadership in the Wesley Works editorial project, now The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley. Funding for the chair was provided by the Texas Annual Conference. The chair is designated to promoting the study of John Wesley, as well as his brother Charles Wesley and other leading Methodist thinkers.

Holy Dying, Covid and Other Problems

Miles delivered a lecture entitled “Holy Dying, Covid and Other Problems.”

“I’ve been thinking about how the pandemic will shape our culture over time,” she said. “COVID-19 has changed our relationship to death. Death has become so much more present to so many of us in recent years. It offers an opportunity to think about holy dying, and holy living in preparation for our dying.”

Miles noted that the plague decimated a large portion of the population in Europe in the middle of 14th century. There were not enough doctors and nurses; many caregivers died themselves. There were too few grave diggers, and not enough graves. There were not enough priests to deliver Last Rites. Death came suddenly, robbing people of the chance to prepare spiritually for their deaths.

“Out of this came the Ars Moriendi, or The Art of Dying,” Miles said. “This was a tradition that talked about how you die, the prayers you prayed, that became more popular over time.

Medical advances have since changed the way that people die. As death moved into medical facilities and into funeral homes, people had less connection with death and dead bodies. Dying seemed less imminent. Miles cited Michael Banner, who writes that modern medicine has extended life but also extended “the long dwindling” at the end of life.

“COVID accelerated these changes, by further medicalizing death and dying, and in many cases, further distancing families and communities both from the dying process and the dying persons themselves,” she said. Miles recalled haunting images in news reports of patients dying alone in hospital rooms, without religious rites, without family physically present.

Miles concluded her lecture thought-provoking questions:

“What does it mean to grow in hope over one’s life? How does one train in the virtue of hope in one’s life? As we prepare for death, what is the ground of our hope?  With the decline of religious communities, people no longer have those training grounds in hope that allow them to prepare. How are we going to respond to Generation Z, that doesn’t see hope in the future? How can we provide narratives so that their deaths can be transformed as well?”

Miles, Professor of Ethics and Practical Theology, was appointed Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology and Ethics, a chair vacated by Dr. Evelyn Parker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who retired in 2021, and who was named inaugural holder of the chair in 2015. The chair was established in 2014 by a $2.5 million gift made by an anonymous donor through the Texas Methodist Foundation. It honors Susanna Wesley, frequently referred to as “the mother of Methodism.” Her sons, John and Charles Wesley, led a revival within the 18th century Anglican Church that sparked the emergence of global Methodism generally and the Methodist Episcopal Church in the American colonies. Historians point to the “practical divinity” embraced by Susanna and her sons John and Charles after her.

The ceremony concluded with the two chairholders each receiving an engraved desk chair as part of the ceremony. The program concluded with a reception in the Blue Room of Bridwell Library.

Miles and Campbell’s lectures may be viewed in a recording of the gathering on YouTube. (Note: Due to technical problems, only portions of Maddox’s talk are audible.)

News October 2022 Perspective Online

Staff News: October 2022

Andy Keck Promotion

Andrew Keck has assumed a new role as Chief of Staff effective September 1.

“Andy has done exemplary work and, over time, has taken on more and more responsibilities, most well beyond his original job description and title,” said Dean Craig C. Hill. “This title recognizes the work and role that Andy is already fulfilling and further positions him to serve in a critical role, providing continuity during this time of transition in the Dean’s office. The appointment is made in consultation with and the approval of Bishop McKee, who will serve as Dean ad interim beginning in January.”

In announcing the promotion, Hill noted that the position has counterparts at other academic units within SMU (e.g., Dedman Law) and beyond. Keck will execute or oversee schoolwide work that has no clear departmental owner, such as managing accreditation relationships, institutional research, and contracts.

Keck came to Perkins four years ago to serve as Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Special Assistant to the Dean.  Previously, he was director of library services at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. He holds a master of theological studies degree from Boston University’s School of Theology and a master of library science degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Before becoming director of Luther Seminary’s library in 2012, he worked for 13 years in the library at Duke University Divinity School.

Baptist House Director

The Rev. Annette Owen has been named full-time Coordinator of the Baptist House of Studies at Perkins School of Theology.  As an ordained American Baptist minister, Owen has served in a variety of ministerial contexts and looks forward to supporting students, building relationships with ministry partners, and working to further the mission of Perkins and the Baptist House. She first came to Dallas in 2011 to serve as a Lilly Pastoral Resident at Wilshire Baptist Church. She then completed a year of CPE residency at Methodist Dallas and worked as a hospice chaplain while also co-pastoring a small church in Oak Cliff. In 2017 she returned to the Chicago area to serve as the pastor of Community Baptist Church. During that time, she took part in the Baptist Joint Committee Fellows Program and completed the Foundations of Christian Leadership program through Duke University. Having earned a Master of Divinity at the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Religion at Denison University in Ohio, Owen has always enjoyed being part of a learning community.

New Chef

Community lunches in the refectory have resumed, with the arrival of Perkins’ new Community Life Chef, David Crow. The Office of Student Life welcomed Crow in early September. He has more than 40 years of experience in the food service industry including 19 years as the Executive Chef of the Zodiac Restaurant at Neiman Marcus’s flagship store in downtown Dallas. Previously, he worked in several other venues including Barclays (Chef de Cuisine), Dani Catering (Sous Chef), Atlantic Café Too (Sous Chef), Laurel’s – Sheraton (Saucier), Sheraton Park Center (Pastry Cook), and Bistro Bagatelle (Sous Chef).  David earned an Associate’s Degree in Food Service at El Centro College in the Texas Chef’s Association Apprenticeship program after earning the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Business Administration from Westminster College in Fulton, MO.

News October 2022 Perspective Online

Spiritual Direction Program

Q&A with Lee Jarrell, Presenter for Dec. 1-2 Spiritual Direction Workshop at Perkins

Twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have helped millions of people achieve healthier, happier lives through sobriety. The 12 Step concept can also help people as they undergo spiritual direction, according to Lee Jarrell, a spiritual director and supervisor. He’s leading a workshop on “Using the 12 Steps of Recovery in Spiritual Direction,” December 1-2 on the campus of Perkins.

Lee Jarrell lives in Katy, Texas. He has served as a pastor in nondenominational and Protestant churches in the Dallas area and in College Station, Texas. Perkins Perspective spoke with Jarrell for a preview of his program. Here are excerpts.

Perspective: Can you talk a little about the spiritual aspect of 12 Step programs?  

Jarrell: I’ll use alcoholism as an example because alcoholism is my addiction of choice which drove me into the world of 12 Step recovery programs.  After only three weeks in Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), I was told that alcoholism was not my real problem. Alcoholism was just a symptom of my real problem. The Big Book, the basic text of A.A., explains that our real problem is a kind of heart-centered problem, an inherent self-centeredness, that only has a spiritual solution.

In recent decades, we’ve learned about how substances can affect brain chemistry, and the paradigm has shifted toward labeling substance addiction as a medical condition.  How does spirituality factor into that?

Yes, in the previous few decades the medical community has explained and shown us how our brain chemistry is affected by alcoholism and many other addictions, as well.  And thankfully in our world today, the right doctors and medications can help address those chemical imbalances.  But, in my experience, addressing brain chemistry alone usually does not fix the problem.  The problem is heart-centered and requires a spiritual solution.

People associate the 12 Steps with substance abuse, but you’re casting a wider net. Can you talk about the types of situations or concerns that directees might bring to spiritual directors, in addition to substance abuse?  

The net I’m hoping to cast concerns the subject of addictions, which include different substances as well as behaviors.  In the workshop, I’ll be referencing Dr. Gerald May’s excellent book: Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. May defines an addiction as “any compulsive, obsessive, or habitual behavior that enslaves the freedom of a person’s will and desire.”  Or, to put it another way, on a spiritual level, addiction fills in the space where God’s love and grace could be flowing. As May writes, “Addiction is the most powerful psychic enemy of humanity’s desire for God.”

We tend to think of 12 Step programs as group activities, whereas spiritual direction is a one-on-one endeavor.  How do you translate that group approach to this setting?

That’s a great point. A.A., for example, offers alcoholics a community of love, acceptance and tolerance. Spiritual direction tries to provide the same things but on a one-on-one level. In this seminar, I’ll show how I have utilized the principles and healing experiences from my own 12-Step recovery program, and converted them into useful tools that I can use with my spiritual directees, when I believe it’s in their best interest

You say you’ve had remarkably reliable results using the 12 Steps as a spiritual director. Could you share an example?  

I will try to offer as many examples as I can in the seminar. One example is how I incorporate the 12 Step program’s Step One, which says: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.”

It’s very common to have spiritual directees tell me they are feeling stuck or plateaued in their walk with God. They’re trying to somehow get themselves out of that stuck place.  I’ll introduce the directee into the concept of being powerless themselves in their own spiritual growth and development.  I share that they, too, as spiritual directees, must trust in a power greater than they are, if there is to be any progress at all. As Step Two says, “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” That trust is the first step toward healing.

Details: “Using the 12 Steps of Recovery in Spiritual Direction” takes place Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Prothro Great Hall, Perkins School of Theology, SMU. This workshop will be available in-person and virtually.

Regular registration is open through October 31 at a cost of $129. Late registration is November 1 – 18 for $149. Registration fee includes lunch on Friday. Students may also opt for Continuing Education Units ($15) and a parking pass ($20.) For more information and to register, click here.

News October 2022 Perspective Online

Distinguished Alumna/us Banquet

The Distinguished Alumna/us Banquet, which will recognize the 2020, 2021 and 2022 recipients, will take place Nov. 14, 2022 from 5 to 7 p.m. in SMU’s Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom in Umphrey Lee Center, 3300 Dyer Street, Dallas, TX 75205. Cost is $55 per person or $550 for a table of 10. Purchase tickets here.