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Associate Professor Glen O'Brien

Research Coordinator / Lecturer

BTh (Kingsley), MA Biblical Studies (Kingsley), MA Theological Studies (Asbury), PhD (La Trobe)

Areas of Expertise 

Wesley Studies
Methodist History
History of Evangelicalism
Eighteenth-century religion and politics
Australian religious history
The Trinity and the doctrine of sanctification

Glen O’Brien has been on the teaching staff at the college since 2009. He is a Uniting Church minister and served as a pastor in the Wesleyan Methodist Church for twenty years. Before coming to the college he had served from 1994 in various roles (Lecturer, Vice Principal, Academic Dean and Head of the School of Theology) at Kingsley College in Melbourne. He is Vice-President of the Religious History Association, serves on the Executive of the Uniting Church Historical Society in NSW, and is a Research Fellow and Secretary of the Australasian Centre for Wesleyan Research (ACWR) and an Honorary Fellow of the Manchester (UK) Wesley Research Centre.   

Glen O’Brien has published widely in academic journals including The Journal of Religious HistoryThe Journal of Ecclesiastical HistoryPacifica, and The Wesleyan Theological Journal. He has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Christian Worship: A Theological and Historical Introduction (Melbourne: Uniting Academic Press, 2013) and editor (with Hilary Carey) of Methodism in Australia: A History (Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VA: Ashgate, 2015). He is editor of Aldersgate Papers, the peer reviewed journal of the ACWR and book review editor for Pacifica, the theological journal of the University of Divinity. He is currently writing a full length monograph on John Wesley’s political writings arising from postgraduate research undertaken at Duke Divinity School, Asbury Theological Seminary, Oxford Brookes University, and the Manchester Wesley Research Centre where he served as a Visiting Fellow in 2015. In 2013 he was invited to be a member of the 13th Oxford Institute for Methodist Theological Studies held at Christ Church College, Oxford. His historical and theological interests include Wesleyan and Methodist history and thought, religion and politics in the eighteenth century, Australian religious history, and Trinitarian discourse in relation to the doctrine of sanctification. 

Media & Publications 

  • (with Hilary Carey), Methodism in Australia: A History (Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VA: Ashgate, 2015).
  • ‘John Wesley, the Uniting Church, and the Authority of Scripture,’ Pacifica 27 (June 2014): 170-83.
  • ‘Methodist Encounters with Other Religious Traditions in the Southern World,’ Australian Journal of Mission Studies 8: 1 (June 2014): 42-53.
  • Christian Worship: A Theological and Historical Introduction (Melbourne: Uniting Academic Press, 2013).
  • ‘Christian Perfection in Australian Methodism,’ in Sean Winter, ed. Immense, Unfathomed, Unconfined: Essays on the Grace of God in Honour of Norman Young. Melbourne: Mosaic Press, 2013.
  • ‘John Wesley and Athanasius on Salvation in the Context of the Debate over Wesley’s Debt to Eastern Orthodoxy,’ Phronema 28:2 (2013): 28-54.  
  • ‘Not Radically a Dissenter: Samuel Leigh in the Colony of New South Wales,’ Wesley and Methodist Studies 4 (2012): 51-69.
  • ‘John Wesley’s Rebuke to the Rebels of British America: Revisiting the “Calm Address,”’ Methodist Review: A Journal of Methodist and Wesleyan Studies 4 (2012): 31-55.
  • ‘The Empire’s Titanic Struggle: Victorian Methodism and the Great War,’ Aldersgate Papers vol. 10 (Sept 2012): 50-70
  • ‘The Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia,’ Uniting Church Studies 17:2 (December 2011): 67-81
  •  ‘Anti-Americanism and Wesleyan-Holiness Churches in Australia,’ Journal of Ecclesiastical History 61:2 (April 2010): 314-343.
  • ‘Methodism in Australia,’ Sunday Nights, ABC Radio, 4 October 2015
  • ‘Fires of Faith and Understanding the Holy Spirit in the Churches,’ Sunday Nights, ABC Radio, 27 May 2012
  • ‘Nature vs Nurture’ dialogue with David Hohne of Moore College on Calvinism and Arminianism, Sunday Nights, ABC Radio, 9 March 2008
  • ‘Irving Benson: Preacher, Writer, Mission Superintendent (1897–1980),’ in William Emilsen and Patricia Curthoys, Australian Methodist Biographies. Adelaide: Mediacom, 2015.

Speaking on Introducing Christian Doctrine

Contact information

e | glen.o'
p | 03 9847 5400