J. Kenneth Grider

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J. Kenneth Grider (1921 – December 6, 2006[1]) was a Nazarene Christian theologian and former seminary professor primarily associated with the followers of John Wesley who are part of the Holiness movement. A member of the Church of the Nazarene, he graduated from the Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1947 and received his PhD from the University of Glasgow in 1952. His "magnum opus" is the 1994 book A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology (ISBN 0-8341-1512-3). Long active in Wesleyan circles, he taught at the Nazarene Theological Seminary for 38 years and was also one of the translators of the New International Version of the Bible.[2]

In 1999 Grider received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Wesleyan Theological Society.[3]

At the March 5-6, 1999 Wesleyan Theological Society meeting Grider was prepared to present a paper entitled "Wesleyans and Homosexuality." [4] However, he asked not to, "so as not to be an embarrassment to my university, Olivet Nazarene [University], where I am retained as distinguished visiting professor of religion and where they were to inaugurate, less than a month later, an annual Holiness lectureship in my name. Yet because of certain developments, I have initiated its publication in 2000. I am confident that, although some complaints may come in from so conservative a constituency, ONU will in the main greatly benefit from this research" (p. 42). In Grider's 44 page paper he demonstrates a clear bent toward inclusiveness of practicing gays and lesbians into the church community, however, he states "These observations are not conclusions. In them I am raising questions, in the hopes that we Wesleyan scholars might take another look at Scripture, in light of recent DNA findings that homosexuality is genetic" (p.36). Grider states further in his paper "... I realize that I, as one who has an image of leaning toward conservative directions in theology, could suffer professionally because I feel I need to raise questions seriously about whether or not, in the plight of gay men and lesbians today, we should do at least a little to help them, of what we have done especially for slaves, women, the poor, and children... are we still medieval, or Victorian, because of three Old Testament passages and three New Testament references to the same-gender matter--interpreted, still, as negative to gayness, long after we came to disregard the clear teachings opposed to such matters as to receiving money on interest loans, the abolition of slavery, and the ordination of women?" (p. 42)


  1. Joseph Kenneth Grider, obituary. Nazarene Theological Seminary. Accessed January 18, 2010
  2. The NIV Committee on Bible Translation
  3. Paul M. Bassett, Tribute to J. Kenneth Grider. Wesleyan Theological Journal, vol. 34 (1999), no. 2, pp. 281-286
  4. J. Kenneth Grider, Wesleyans and Homosexuality., 2000, pp. 1-44. Accessed December 8, 2013

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