Walls Professor: Dr. Douglas M. Strong

Meet the Dean

Dr. Doug Strong became the Paul T. Walls Professor of Wesleyan Studies and the History of Christianity in 2021. Previously, he was the Dean of the School of Theology at SPU, a position he held for 14 years. He was also the founding Dean of Seattle Pacific Seminary, which opened in 2009. His vision for the seminary included a holistic model of training women and men for ministry in theological education as an academy, abbey, and apostolate.

Doug Strong

Prior to his service at SPU, Dr. Strong was a pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in East Brunswick, N.J. and a professor and Associate Dean at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

A native of the so-called "burned-over district" of western New York State, Dr. Strong received his BA from Houghton College, and his MDiv and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. He wrote his dissertation under the supervision of James H. Moorhead, James M. McPherson, and C. Ronald White, in which he explored the theological basis for political antislavery activism in the 19th century. Through analysis of primary documents including letters, newspaper articles, tracts, sermons, and voting data, he determined that the leading advocates of antislavery political action were Christians influenced by a commitment to, and experience of, sanctification. He published the results of his research in a monograph entitled Perfectionist Politics: Abolitionism and the Religious Tensions of American Democracy (Syracuse University Press, 1999).

Dr. Strong has authored three other books and many journal articles. His field of study is the history of Christianity, particularly 18th and 19th century revivalism, social reform, and the Wesleyan Holiness movement.

Doug Strong stands in front of the School of Theology

Dr. Strong has been President of the Wesleyan Theological Society; co-chair of the 19th and 20th Centuries Working Group of the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies; a member of the Steering Committee of Wesleyan Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion; and a member of the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History. Currently, he is on the editorial board of the academic journal, Methodist History, and on the Board of Trustees of Moscow United Methodist Theological Seminary. He frequently presents papers at academic conferences and has taught or lectured at theological schools in Korea, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the United Kingdom, as well as many universities in the United States.

As an ordained clergyperson in the United Methodist Church, Dr. Strong is especially interested in renewing the Wesleyan practice of small-group accountable discipleship among today's Christians. In that vein, he launched a Wesleyan small group ministry among seminarians, now expanded to undergraduates, and which has grown into SPU's SoulCare program under the auspices of the Center for Biblical and Theological Education. He speaks regularly at congregations, camp meetings, and other venues.