Actually he confessed in an after lunch conversation that he prefers Charles Wesley to John :-)He also playfully noted his Calvinism--he knew his audience better than they knew themselves. Russ Gunsalus whispered to me after his presentation, "He knows his stuff."
That is not to say, of course, that his biases are not also apparent--he's aware of them himself, dare I say. I was not surprised to find Kuyper as an exemplary model of engagement with truth for its own sake coupled with a recognition that Christians are something different from the world. :-)
The main theme of the day was how to get more Christians in all disciplines--and Wesleyans--into the broader dialog of truth. He used the field of history, and Timothy Smith (a Nazarene, no less) and Marsden, as examples of a process that has taken years and years for evangelicals to get into the dialog.
I did have a chance after lunch to tell him playfully that he and Marsden were messing up my attempts to distinguish my revivalist forebears from fundamentalism. When I brought up Machen and asked him where he would fit in the revivalists, Pentecostals, and dispensationalists scheme, he answered that he didn't think of Machen as a fundamentalist. :-)
He was curious when someone mentioned we might start a seminary and inquired of where Wesleyan ministers currently went to seminary, what sort of seminary we might start, and so forth. I gave him a few stats:
- The Wesleyan Church has never had a seminary of its own, thus the rallying cry: "Real denominations have seminaries. Either we should found one or join a real denomination."
- And since he's now at Notre Dame, I also quoted the book of Sirach: "Call no one happy until he's dead." I won't say IWU is going to have a seminary until IWU has a seminary.
- Currently most Wesleyans who go to seminary go to Asbury, which over time has (in my opinion) been a very positive influence on the denomination. But interestingly enough, Princeton next year will have the second largest number of Wesleyans going to seminary.
Nice man, great scholar... but where is the Wesleyan that will look at these things with a more careful sense of distinctions important to us?