Hamilton and Varnell Chair in Wesleyan Studies
Associate Professor of the History of Christianity
Director of the Methodist House of Studies
B.A.,with Honors, Emory & Henry College
M.Div., Emory University
M.A., Vanderbilt University
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Michael Turner joined the Memphis Theological Seminary faculty in Fall 2016. His research interests include the history of religion in North America, Pan-Methodist history, John Wesley’s theology and how it was appropriated in America, the intersection of popular with institutional religion, and the role that religious ideologies and institutions played during the U.S. Civil War era. He is currently working on a book that studies the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and institutional religion during the U.S. Civil War. Dr. Turner presents papers regularly at national conferences and has published numerous encyclopedia articles, book reviews, journal articles, and book chapters.
Dr. Turner is strongly involved in Wesley and Methodist Studies scholarly community. He has participated and presented papers in the Wesley Studies Group at the American Academy of Religion, the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, the Wesleyan Studies Summer Seminar at Asbury Theological Seminary, and the Summer Wesley Studies Seminar at Duke Divinity School. He is also currently on the steering panel for “Future of UMC Theological Education” initiative and teaches part-time in the Course of Study programs offered through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Prior to joining MTS’s faculty, Dr. Turner served as the Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and the Director of United Methodist Studies at Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, North Carolina. In 2015 he was awarded that institution’s first ever “Teaching and Excellence in Serving Award.” He also served as an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania from 2009-2012. He also taught classes at Vanderbilt Divinity School and Volunteer State Community College while finishing graduate school.
Dr. Turner is also very committed to the local church. He has served as a pastor to UMC congregations in Tennessee and Pennsylvania. He is frequently invited to guest preach and teach at congregations throughout the country.
In November 2019, Dr. Turner became the first faculty member ever at Memphis Theological Seminary to hold a fully-endowed chair with the establishment of the Hamilton and Varnell Chair in Wesleyan Studies.