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Albert Cook Outler (1908-1989) was a 20th century American Methodist theologian and philosopher. Outler is generally considered to be one of the most important John Wesley scholars in the history of the Church as well as the first real United Methodist theologian. He was also a key figure in the 20th century ecumenical movement.


Outler was born and raised in Georgia and was an Holy Orders|ordained Methodist Elder who served as pastor in several appointments. He received his Ph.D. degree from Yale University, teaching at both Yale and Duke University before beginning a long tenure at Southern Methodist University in Texas. He served on the Faith & Order board of the World Council of Churches and was an official observer at the Second Vatican Council.

Studies on Wesley[]

Outler is widely credited with being the first to recognize John Wesley's method for theologizing, via what Outler referred to as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Church Tradition, Reason, and Personal Experience. This understanding of Wesleyan theology is prevalent throughout Methodism, particularly in The United Methodist Church. Using this model, Outler was a key figure in organizing the theological statement put forth by The United Methodist Church after its formation in 1968.

Throughout his career, Outler edited and published Wesley's works, and at the time of his death he was chief editor for what has been called the definitive modern edition. As he encouraged Methodists to return to Wesley, he is often called "the Father of Neo-Wesleyanism".

Influence with Paleo-Orthodoxy[]

With his many references to the early Church, Outler's work has proven very influential to those in the paleo-orthodox movement and contemporary evangelicalism, notably Thomas C. Oden.

Albert Outler wrote and edited a great many works. Many of his writings have been collected in the Albert Outler Library series by Bristol House publishers.


  • Albert Outler: The Churchman (ISBN 1885224028)
  • Albert C. Outler: The Gifted Dilettante by Bob W. Parrott (ISBN 1885224281), a definitive biography
  • Albert Outler: The Historian & Interpreter of the Christian Tradition
  • Albert Outler on the Holy Spirit: The Pneumatology of Albert Cook Outler
  • Albert Outler: The Preacher (ISBN 0687009502), a collection of sermons
  • Albert Outler: The University Professor (ISBN 1885224036)
  • Christology (ISBN 1885224087)
  • The Ecumenical Theologian (ISBN 1885224354)
  • Evangelism
  • Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit (ISBN 0881771511), a synthesis of Wesleyan thought
  • John Wesley (ISBN 0195028104), considered perhaps the finest one volume intoduction to Wesley
  • The Pastoral Psychology of Albert C. Outler (ISBN 1885224117)
  • The Works of John Wesley, an ongoing series for which Outler served as initial editor, presenting what is hoped to be definitive editions of Wesley's writings

Online works[]