A University of Indianapolis professor’s new book uses recent research on the concept of emotion to take a fresh look at the work of John Wesley, the influential 18th-century thinker and founder of the Methodist movement.

Gregory S. Clapper is the author of The Renewal of the Heart is the Mission of the Church: Wesley’s Heart Religion in the Twenty-First Century, published by Cascade Books.

In his fifth book, Clapper combines an analysis of Wesley’s writings – which often refer to the “heart” and its “affections” – with historical and conceptual analysis of “emotion,” an idea that has changed dramatically in the past 200 years. He argues that Wesley’s terminology reveals a nuanced view of inner life that contemporary philosophers are only beginning to discuss. Although Wesleyan theology is sometimes dismissed as a pandering dilution of the Christian message, Clapper shows that Wesley’s vision of the “renewed heart” is a message with both intellectual integrity and life-changing power.

Other scholars have given Clapper’s book high praise. William Abraham of United Methodist-related Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas says the book “deserves to be read throughout the length and breadth of the Church.”

Douglas Hardy of Nazarene Theological Seminary calls the book “a thoughtful and accessible account of Wesley’s theology that addresses the central challenge of the church in our day as in his: the re-ordering of our loves.”

Clapper is a professor of religion and philosophy at the United Methodist-related University of Indianapolis as well as an ordained United Methodist minister, member of the Indiana Conference and a colonel in the National Guard, serving as liaison between the U.S. military’s Africa Command and the 800 chaplains of the U.S. Army and Air National Guard.

More information on The Renewal of the Heart is the Mission of the Church is available from the publisher at http://wipfandstock.com.


… the book ‘deserves to be read throughout the length and breadth of the Church.’

– William Abraham