Dr. Rex D. Matthews taught history and theology of Methodism at Candler from 1982 to 2018, drawing upon a range of primary sources, including letters, hymns, sermons and diaries, as well as his abilities as a storyteller.
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 and again in 2016, 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.
Co-author, “What’s Old is New Again: Methodist Review as Both Scholarly Tradition and Digital Pioneer.” The Academic Exchange, vol. 12, no. 2, Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, April 01, 2010