John R. Tyson

Professor of Church History and Director of United Methodist Studies

A life-long United Methodist, John R. Tyson was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. He first became interested in the hymns of Charles Wesley, as child, when he sang them in the yellow-brick Center Avenue United Methodist Church, in Pitcairn, PA. He would subsequently become an internationally known expert in the life and work of Charles Wesley.

While trying his hand at Business Administration as a major, at Grove City College, John experienced a call to ministry and switched to majors to History and Religion. He attended seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary, receiving the M.Div. After pastorates in Cocoa, FL and New Kensington, PA, he pursed doctoral studies at Drew University, in Madison, NJ where he earned the M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies. Desiring to discover his own theological heritage, John wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on “Charles Wesley’s Theology of the Cross.”

Tyson has been teaching the History of Christianity and Historical Theology at CRCDS for more than a decade. He previously taught broadly in the field of religion at the undergraduate level, as well as at two other divinity schools. An ordained Elder, in full connection with the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, John also serves CRCDS as Director of United Methodist Studies.

In addition to teaching and mentoring responsibilities, John R. Tyson has authored more than 80 articles and conference papers and produced more than a dozen books. Among his impactful publications are: Charles Wesley: A Reader, and Invitation to Christian Spirituality, (both by Oxford University Press), Assist Me To Proclaim: The Life and Hymns of Charles Wesley and The Way of the Wesleys (both by Eerdmans), the award-winning In the Midst of Early Methodism: the Life and Letters of Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntingdon (Scarecrow Press), The Great Athanasius (Wipf and Stock), A School of Prophets the Bicentennial History of CRCDS (Judson Press), and Praying with the Wesleys (Abingdon/UMCPH).
After another decade of pastoral service in UMC Churches in rural Western New York, Tyson recently retired from regular pastoral work. He currently does guest preaching, leads retreats, church seminars, and educational events throughout the region. He is a frequent teacher in the UMC Course of Study program, where he teaches a variety of subjects to help equip bi-vocational lay pastors.

In his spare time John enjoys reading, writing, attending live music, swing dancing, biking, and walking the Erie Canal Path, and sports of all sorts. He is an avid Pittsburgh Pirates, Penguins and Steelers fan.