Singing the Faith

Hands up who likes a rip-roaring Wesley hymn: thundering out ‘O for a thousand tongues to sing’ or ‘And can it be’? (Looking round) Yes, all of you? Good. You’ll enjoy this post.

Today I bring you not one, but two award-winning books on the wonderful hymns of Methodism. ‘A Faith That Sings‘, and ‘Singing the Faith‘, both by Paul W Chilcote of Wesley House, Cambridge. (Slightly biased, this is my college.)

A Faith That Sings

Biblical Themes in the Lyrical Theology of Charles Wesley

“clear and winsome”

In ‘A Faith That Sings’, Paul W Chilcote examines the biblical themes and lyrical theology found in the words of  Charles Wesley, master hymn writer and co-founder of the Methodist movement.

Methodism was born in song, and it is doubtful whether without the hymns of Charles Wesley there could have been a Methodist revival. Charles’s hymns have exerted a monumental influence on Methodist doctrine and Methodist people through the years. They are essentially mosaics of biblical texts and, in singing these hymns, Methodists have sung the grand narrative of redemption and restoration in the biblical witness.

This book explores Wesleyan theology through the lens of “sung doctrine,” demonstrating the world-making and life-shaping effect of hymns, and the way in which they emanate from Charles Wesley’s life of prayer and service.

This volume won the Saddlebag Award for Methodist writing in 2016 and its sister volume (below), won the same award in 2020.

Paperback, Hardback and Kindle

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“Charles Wesley’s hymns are one of the richest resources that have sustained Methodists through the centuries. In his typical clear and winsome style, Paul Chilcote highlights the central emphases of Wesley’s rich hymnic theology. Highly recommended.”

Randy L. Maddox, Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies emeritus, Duke Divinity School.

Singing the Faith

Soundings of Lyrical Theology in the Methodist Tradition

“A sparkling addition”

‘Singing the Faith’ further explores the role of sung theology, ranging from Wesley hymns to the sacred songs of contemporary global Methodists, looking at the deep connections between what we sing and what we believe.

Each chapter explores hymn writers from the Wesleys and Fanny Crosby, via the black gospel heritage, to contemporary expressions of sung theology which communicate the concern for biblical Christianity, the Social Gospel, and evangelical liberalism along with the current emphasis on justice, joy, and journey among Methodists today.

Singing the Faith: Soundings of Lyrical Theology in the Methodist Tradition – winner of the prestigious 2020 Saddlebag Award for the best book on Methodism.


  • Amazon UK
  • Amazon US

“Chilcote makes a sparkling addition to the study of corporate song that lies at the heart of the Methodist tradition. His commitment to both rigorous scholarship and impassioned worship embodies the very nature of what it means for Methodists to sing their lyrical theology for the past four centuries and counting, giving him a unique voice to inspire ongoing participation in the song.”

Constance M. Cherry, Professor of Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Indiana Wesleyan University

Paul W Chilcote is the Director of the Centre for Global Wesleyan Theology at Wesley House, Cambridge.

He is an award-winning author, and retired United Methodist minister and theological educator. He has been involved in theological education on three continents, and was a founding faculty member of Africa University in Zimbabwe. Paul has particular interest in Wesleyan theology and spirituality, Christian discipleship and renewal, and women’s studies. He is past President of The Charles Wesley Society and the Academy for Evangelism. He also enjoys a special relationship with Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon as a Benedictine Oblate.

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