Introducing John Vincent: Radical “Mark-sist”

Published 12 October 2019

The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice is pleased to host John Vincent this November 5-8, 2019, for a series of seminars and discussions in the greater NYC region. His visit is a unique opportunity for Christians committed to grassroots social change organizing to learn from his methods and applied theology.

Some theologians stay in their ivory towers of academia. Reverend Doctor John J. Vincent is far from one of these. His life’s work has been to live out his theology in the real world, in the streets and inside and outside the church.

Rev. Vincent’s life-long commitment comes from his radical understanding of the theology of the Gospel of Mark. His Bible-based work has built enormous capacity for contextual urban theology in his home of Sheffield, England and beyond.

John received his doctorate in Discipleship in Mark from Basel University in 1960, after studying with Oscar Cullmann and Karl Barth.

Since 1970 he has worked in Sheffield in the Inner City Ecumenical Mission and the Urban Theology Unit, which he founded in 1969. UTU’s mission is to equip lay and ordained leaders in Liberation Theology; Leadership and Church Organization; Community Organizing for Church Growth; preaching; Mission and Evangelism; Theological Reflection; Ethics; Hermeneutics; Discipleship. Their programs are often developed for the particular interests of those who attend UTU. The Urban Theology Unit continues to have a reputation for radical contextual theology.

John was Director of UTU until 1997, and continues as a part-time tutor. He convenes the annual Summer School at UTU, held each July.

In 2004, he was made an honorary fellow of St. Deiniol’s Library. In 2005, he received a Sheffield University Centenary Award, and in 2006-07 was chaplain to the Lord Mayor of Sheffield.

A Methodist minister, he was President of the Conference in 1989-1990. He co-chaired the Methodist Report The Cities in 1997 and, jointly with Chris Rowland, edits the book series British Liberation Theology.

John is the author of over 30 books, including Methodism Unbound: Christ and Methodism for the 21st Century (2016). A few additional titles are listed below.

  • Mark: Gospel of Action, 2006
  • Gospel from the City, 1997
  • Gospel in the Nineties, 1990
  • Secular Christ, 1968,
  • Hope from the City, 2000