Theologian Thursday: Mildred Bangs Wynkoop

Today's theologian may not be of great interest to those outside the circle of the Church of the Nazarene, but at the very least you'll get a solid book recommendation out of it.

I love how Mildred Bangs Wynkoop ended up in the Nazarene Church because, just like how I got here, it was just a happy accident--her parents happened to meet Phineas Bresee on their honeymoon, and so became members of his church.

She went to Northwest Nazarene College and then Pasadena College, Western Evangelical Seminary (now George Fox), the University of Oregon, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary.

She was an ordained minister, a professor at Western Evangelical Seminary, and Trevecca Nazarene College, the president of Japan Nazarene Theological Seminary, and theologian-in-residence at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City.

Basically she is a Nazarene rock star.

Wynkoop wrote a bunch of books and articles that were mostly focused on relational theology--how God relates to humanity, and how people relate to God and consequently each other as a result of the imago dei in humanity. She was also an Arminius scholar, and did important work in relating Wesley and Arminius and making them applicable in the Church of the Nazarene.

Also, she makes a damn good bobble head. Someone please buy me one of these.

What you should read:
  • A Theology of Love (for heaven's sake, read this book)
  • Foundations of Wesleyan-Arminian Theology
(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE
Gender Equality:
The Church of the Nazarene is awesome and has been ordaining women from day one. In fact, NTS has a center for women in ministry that bears Wynkoop's name.
Environmental Sensibility:

I think Wynkoop's theology of love certainly extends not only to the relationship of God and humanity and humanity with itself, but also to the relationships of God and humanity with creation as a whole. I imagine she would be completely on board with talking about care for creation as an extension of holiness.
Heretical Tendencies: 
There's really nothing heretical I can find in her writing or teaching, although there are some who chafe at this idea of "relational theology" and theology of "love." But I'd say that's a personal problem.
General Badassery: 
So maybe she didn't fight lions or anything, but Mildred Wynkoop is badass in her own way. She laid the foundation for hundreds of Nazarene women to study, preach, and write, and her influence in the church is still alive and well.

Finally, a short quote:
β€œThe character of holiness is love.”