Rex D. Matthews

Professor in the Practice of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies
Rex D. Matthews
Phone: 404.727.6345
    • ThD, Harvard Divinity School, 1986
    • MDiv, Harvard Divinity School, 1976
    • BA, Birmingham-Southern College, 1972

    Dr. Rex D. Matthews draws upon a range of primary sources, including letters, hymns, sermons and diaries, as well as his abilities as a storyteller, to teach history and theology of Methodism at Candler, where he has taught since 1982.

    Matthews' research focuses on the life and thought of John Wesley, particularly in his 18th century theological and philosophical context, and on the historical and theological development of Methodism in both Britain and America. His book, Timetables of History for Students of Methodism (Abingdon, 2007), received the 2007 Saddlebag Selection Award from the Historical Society of The United Methodist Church, and was billed as "the best book published during the year on the history, biography, polity or theology of United Methodism." His next project, “Divorce and Remarriage in American Methodism: The Evolution of Church Positions from 1884 to 2012,” has received the Florence A. Bell Research Award from the Drew University Theological School to support his research.

    Active in the world of academic publishing, Matthews has served as senior editor of academic books for Abingdon Press (1989-1997), editorial director of Scholars Press (1997-1999) and editorial director of the Society for Biblical Literature (1997-2003). He is currently the general editor of the Kingswood Books series for scholarly works in Wesleyan and Methodist studies, which he established during his tenure with Abingdon Press, and managing editor of Methodist Review: A Journal of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, an online scholarly journal based at Emory. He served as co-chair of the Wesleyan Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion from 2008 to 2013.

    In 2010, Matthews received Candler’s “On Eagle’s Wings” Excellence in Teaching Award for faithful and dedicated service, and in 2012 he received the Emory Williams Teaching Award, the university's highest honor for teaching. He also received an Exemplary Teaching Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church in 2012.

    Selected publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication

    "John Wesley's Idea of Christian Perfection Reconsidered," in Wesleyan Theological Journal, vol. 50, no. 2 . Wesleyan Theological Society,2015

    "Online Resources for Wesleyan and Methodist Studies," in Catalyst, vol. 39, no. 4. A Foundation for Theological Education,2013

    "'The Words Get in the Way': Rethinking John Wesley's Idea of Christian Perfection," in Revista Caminhando, vol. 18, no. 2. Methodist Unversidade of São Paulo,2013

    Editor,The Renewal of United Methodism: Mission, Ministry and Connectionalism / Essays in Honor of Russell E. Richey. General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, UMC,2012

    "John Wesley" and "The Wesleyan Quadrilateral," in The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. Cambridge University Press,2011

    "Church Membership and Pastoral Authority in The United Methodist Church and Its Antecedents," in Methodist Review, vol 2. The Methodist Review, Inc.,2010

    Co-author, "What's Old is New Again: Methodist Review as Both Scholarly Tradition and Digital Pioneer," in The Academic Exchange, vol. 12, no. 2. Emory's Center for Faculty Development and Excellence,2010

    Co-author, "An Editorial Welcome to Methodist Review," in Methodist Review, vol. 1. The Methodist Review, Inc.,2009

    Timetables of History for Students of Methodism. Abingdon Press,2007

    Contributing editor,OXFORDnotes: Newsletter of the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, 1984-1989. Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies,

    Selected awards

    Florence A. Bell Scholar Award, Drew University Theological School Library, 2014.

    Fellow, Summer Wesley Seminar, Duke Divinity School, 2014.

    Luce Exchange Fellow and Visiting Professor, School of Theology, Methodist University of São Paulo, Brazil, 2013.

    Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 2012.

    Exemplary Teaching Award, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church, 2012.

    "On Eagle's Wings" Excellence in Teaching Award, Candler School of Theology, 2010.

    Saddlebag Selection Award, Historical Society of The United Methodist Church for Timetables of History for Students of Methodism, 2007.

    Fellow, Seminar Wesley Seminar, Duke Divinity School, 2004.

    Hopkins Share Honors Scholarship, Harvard Divinity School, 1975.

    Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Beta Kappa, and Pi Tau Chi, Birmingham-Southern College, 1972.

    Selected courses

    John Wesley’s Theology and Eighteenth-Century Religious Thought

    Sin and Salvation: Methodist and Wesleyan Perspectives

    History of Methodism

    Theology of Wesley and Methodism