I was asked a question I could not specifically answer during Bible study this morning.  Do Methodists have a leader they consder to be an "apologist?"  I presume they meant a contemporary, as opposed to Wesley, Asbury, etc. I suggested Leonard Sweet and/or Adam Hamilton.  Would appreciate your input.  Blessings, R.C Merten

That's a very interesting question, to say the least. I've never thought of any vocal proponent of Methodism as being an apologist.  Indeed, it's not a term that is in general use among United Methodists these days ... Not like it is among conservatives, evangelicals, and Calvinists.  However, thinking about what an apologist typically does, I would say that both Adam Hamilton and Leonard Sweet would qualify, as would Bishop William Willimon and Professors Thomas Oden and William Abraham.

In general, I suppose Methodists tend to be more interested in living the faith than in providing a strong defense of it.  Not that we don't believe in defending the faith, mind you, only that our best defense of the faith tends to be exemplified through living it ... Expressing it in deeds as well as in words.  In that sense, all Methodists would qualify as apologists.  Indeed, though I be only a lowly pastor, some would probably call me an apologist ... a Methodist who defends the faith through word and deed.

Please write again if you have any further questions.


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Rev. Gregory S. Neal


I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.


I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

I have my own website:   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at and in bookstores.

I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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