Published on July 2, 2024 by Neal Embry  

Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School is pleased to announce Timothy Tennent as its new Methodist Chair of Divinity.

For the past 15 years, Tennent has been serving as the president of Asbury Theological Seminary. Prior to 2009, he served 11 years as the professor of world missions and Indian studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has also spent extensive time teaching around the world, especially in India. Tennent began his ministry as a Methodist pastor in Georgia.

In April 2024, Tennent served as the guest speaker for Beeson’s World Christianity Focus Week, and also appeared on the Beeson podcast

“I can think of no one better in the world than Tim Tennent to serve as Beeson’s next Methodist Chair of Divinity,” said Dean Douglas A. Sweeney. “He is a world-class scholar in the fields of Christian mission and global Christianity. He is a leading Methodist churchman, beloved by Wesleyans and others worldwide. And his time at the helm of Beeson’s sister school, Asbury, will serve us all well as he leads our Wesleyan program to new heights.”

Tennent will begin teaching classes in January 2025.

Beeson’s Methodist Chair was most recently held by Mike Pasquarello, who retired at the end of the 2023-24 academic year following six years of service to Beeson, during which he began the school’s Wesleyan certificate program and oversaw the Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute.

For Tennent, serving as Asbury’s president for the past 15 years has been a “wonderful chapter in my professional journey,” but he felt a deep desire to return to the classroom and “spend the next stage of my life focused on mentoring the next generation of Christian leaders.”

“I have long admired the grand historic and interdenominational vision of Beeson Divinity School,” Tennent said. “I have loved Beeson’s commitment to mentoring students. So, I am delighted that I can now help strengthen the mission of Beeson.”

Wesleyan students at Beeson are in a position to understand the “wonderful distinctives” of the Methodist movement, which are best seen within the larger context of the “grand ecumenical and historic vision of the church,” Tennent said.

In the wake of the split within the United Methodist Church, which led to the founding of the Global Methodist Church (GMC), Tennent anticipates a growing number of Global Methodist students joining Beeson, which was approved by the GMC to train future denominational ministers in March 2023. The GMC will hold its first global gathering this September in Costa Rica.

“We are stepping into an unparalleled moment in the history of the Wesleyan movement in North America and around the world,” Tennent said. “The emergence of the Global Methodist Church has the opportunity to renew and refresh the Wesleyan movement in many new ways. I am well connected throughout the Wesleyan world, and I hope to use those connections to strengthen the ties of Beeson to the larger Wesleyan world.”

Tennent was called into ministry at a very young age and after beginning his work in the pastorate, served at a theological college in northern India.

“It is there I gained a deep appreciation for the vitality of global Christianity,” Tennent said.

After studying Christian theology and missiology, as well as earning degrees to help him better understand Islam and Hinduism, Tennent spent 11 years leading missions programs at Gordon-Conwell and “fell in love with the power of teaching and mentoring students.”

Tennent has been married to his wife, Julie, for 41 years and together they have two adult children, Jonathan and Bethany. Julie is a seminary graduate and church musician who majored in church organ and has authored various cantatas and worship music for the church.

“We have a special interest in psalm singing and helping the church recover the transformative power of the Psalms in Christian worship,” Tennent said.

Tennent is the author of numerous books and articles, including Building Christianity on Indian Foundations (ISPCK), Christianity at the Religious Roundtable (Baker Academic), Theology in the Context of World Christianity (Zondervan), Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the 21st Century (Kregel Academic) and For the Body: Recovering a Theology of Gender, Sexuality, and the Human Body (Zondervan).

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.