The theological concerns of Charles Wesley are expressed primarily through his repertory of over 9,000 hymns and sacred poems. They include inquiries into the meaning of the Church’s sacred rites, festivals, and seasons (e.g., Holy Communion, Baptism, Advent, Christmas, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost) and a host of other concerns, such as conversion, sanctification, perfection, holiness, grace and love. This volume prepares the reader to read Wesley’s poetry, showing the plethora of literary, theological and societal influences on his thought and writing; and brings together a collection of hymns and sacred poems that are representative of his theological perspectives. The reader is given the opportunity to become better equipped to grasp the meaning of Wesley’s profound lyrical theology and its implications for contemporary theology and life.
This revised and expanded edition includes a comprehensive scriptural index to Wesley’s poetry.
About the Author
S.T. Kimbrough Jr. is a Research Fellow of the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition of the Divinity School of Duke University and founder of The Charles Wesley Society. He is editor of its journal Proceedings of The Charles Wesley Society and author/editor of several books on Charles Wesley, including The Unpublished Poetry of Charles Wesley (3 volumes) and The Manuscript Journal of the Reverend Charles Wesley, M.A. (2 volumes).
I: Lyrical Theology
1. Lyrical Theology
2. Lyrical Theology: Theology in Hymns
3. Charles Wesley’s Lyrical Theology
4. Literary and Ecclesial Sources Used in Charles Wesley’s Poetry
5. The Wesleyan Poetical Sources Used in this Volume
II: Poetical Selections
Part 1: The Glory of the Triune God
Part 2: The Grace of Jesus Christ
Part 3: The Power of the Holy Spirit
Part 4: The Community of Faith
Part 5: A New Heaven and a New Earth
Index of Biblical References
Index of Names
Index of First Lines and Titles of Poems
Introduction to the Scriptural Index
Endorsements and Reviews
S.T. Kimbrough, Jr. has played a prominent role in the increased study of Charles Wesley as a theologian in recent years. In this book, Kimbrough distills several dimensions of his work to provide two very important resources: (1) an orientation for appreciating the lyrical mode of Charles Wesley’s theology, and (2) a thematic selection of exemplary texts that allows readers to explore the full range of Wesley’s theological concerns.
Randy L. Maddox , William Kellon Quick Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies, Duke Divinity School, North Carolina
It is often remarked, but seldom demonstrated, that Methodists learn their theology through hymns. S.T. Kimbrough, Jr., has given us the gift of a close reading of Charles Wesley as both a theologian and a practitioner of music, as what Kimbrough calls a ‘lyrical theologian’. … By giving a theological ordering to the hymns and sacred poetry, Kimbrough has greatly enhanced Methodism’s reception of its greatest hymnodist. This book will be a standard for all who study and practice Charles Wesley’s lyrical theology.
M. Douglas Meeks, Cal Turner Chancellor Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
S.T. Kimbrough, Jr., rescues the poetic eloquence and relevance of Charles Wesley for contemporary theological readers. … This book will make his lyrics immediately accessible to everyone and help deepen Methodist theological and spiritual formation for seminarians, clergy persons as well as laity.
Young-Ho Chun, Professor of Systematic Theology, Saint Paul School of Theology
By a skillful combination of literary analysis, doctrinal exposition, and historical information S.T. Kimbrough, Jr., has identified a genre of ‘lyrical theology’ that finds a prime embodiment in the sacred poetry of Charles Wesley.
Geoffrey Wainwright, Robert Earl Cushman Professor of Christian Theology, Duke Divinity School