Albert C. Outler
American Methodist theologian and philosopher
Albert Cook Outler is generally considered to be one of the most important John Wesley scholars in the history of the Church as well as the first real United Methodist theologian. He was also a key figure in the 20th century ecumenical movement.
Outler was born and raised in Georgia and was an ordained Methodist Elder who served as pastor in several appointments. He received his Ph.D. degree from Yale University, teaching at both Yale and Duke University before beginning a long tenure at Southern Methodist University in Texas. He served on the Faith & Order board of the World Council of Churches and was an official observer at the Second Vatican Council.
Outler is widely credited with being the first to recognize John Wesley's method for theologizing, via what Outler referred to as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Church Tradition, Reason, and Personal Experience. This understanding of Wesleyan theology is prevalent throughout Methodism, particularly in The United Methodist Church. Using this model, Outler was a key figure in organizing the theological statement put forth by The United Methodist Church after its formation in 1968.
Throughout his career, Outler edited and published Wesley's works, and at the time of his death he was chief editor for what has been called the definitive modern edition. As he encouraged Methodists to return to Wesley, he is often called "the Father of Neo-Wesleyanism". His book on John Wesley is considered perhaps the finest one volume introduction to Wesley.
Works by Albert C. Outler
In The Confessions, Saint Augustine addressed himself eloquently and passionately to the enduring spiritual questions that have stirred the minds and hearts of thoughtful men since time began. Written A.D. 397, The Confessions are a history of the young Augustine's fierce struggle to overcome his profligate ways and achieve a life of spiritual grace.
Written after 420 C.E. to a man named Laurence, this wonderful book by St. Augustine is a short treatise on the proper mode of worshipping God. Following 1 Corinthians 13, St. Augustine describes true worship of God through faith, hope, and love. In thirty-three small chapters, St. Augustine's description of true worship covers all the major ideas of the Christian religion, providing new and interesting insights on each idea. Given that it was written less than a decade before he died, St. Augustine's Handbook contains some of his most mature reflections on Christian doctrines. Both those looking to understand the proper mode of worshipping God and those just interested in a brief encapsulation of St. Augustine's mature thought should look no further than Handbook of Faith, Hope, and Love. It is beneficial for personal and theological study.
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