The Center for Faith & Culture—Olivet Nazarene University

About Epworth Pulpit

About Epworth Pulpit

The Epworth Pulpit is the online presence of the Center for Faith & Culture at Olivet Nazarene University. The project of the Center is to engage the intersection of faith and culture, where Christian life and ministry happen. We live in a context of growing cultural complexity. The challenge of navigating this intersection is critical for the church and the effectiveness its witness and life. This site is focused on exploring that challenge.

The name of The Epworth Pulpit is drawn from history. On June 6, 1742 John Wesley visited Epworth, England where his father had served as Rector and had been buried. Wesley presented himself to the current curate, offering to assist in the service. However, the curate was opposed to the Wesleyan "enthusiasm" and denied Wesley any participation. The local people, however, were anxious to hear him preach. So, he stood on his father's tomb and preached to a large crowd gathered in the churchyard. Access to the parish pulpit could be denied but not the privilege of speaking from his father's tomb. That tomb became Wesley’s pulpit, the Epworth pulpit.

The Epworth Pulpit is an image that embodies the authority and power of legacy. Our heritage is a gift to us. It doesn't belong to us but it can't be taken away. As Christians in the Wesleyan-holiness tradition we are inheritors of a rich legacy. As we engage the challenges of modernity and post-modernity we want to speak to the future while standing on the heritage of the past. We are part of an extended community and conversation. The Holy Spirit has been at work in the long history of the Church and of our own tradition. Recognizing that reality we are prompted to a spirit of humility. It also opens up possibilities for conversations that extend "backwards" as well as "forwards." This is a long conversation. We didn't start it and we won't finish it, but we want to enter into it.

This is our project, to draw from the rich heritage that is entrusted to us while re-articulating the message in new "vocabularies" and addressing new contexts. In a culture that idolizes the new it is sometime difficult to find a place in the conversation. The Epworth Pulpit gives us a place. Standing on the past - Speaking to the future.