The Great Reversal

In the 1920s, many evangelical Wesleyans left behind concerns for society and the human condition by turning insular and individualistic, a change church historians call "the great reversal."  The Center desires to explore the possibility of a second reversal, seeking to support a stance broad enough and substantial enough to include the personal world, the social world, and the natural world.

Impetus for Center

PLNU is heir to the liberal arts tradition of cosmopolitan perspective, moral reflection and intellectual coherence. It is also heir to the Wesleyan tradition of plenary inspiration of scripture, of empirical and inductive reasoning, and of moral social reform. From its earliest days under the leadership of Dr. H. Orton Wiley, the University has engaged the broader cultural, theological, philosophical, and scientific ideas of an age. Over the years its faculty has included men and women dedicated to policies and actions of greater social justice.  PLNU takes seriously its responsibility to avoid being an island depository of current knowledge and horticultural beauty. It has a prophetic responsibility to quest anew for the mind of God that brings together the normative and the empirical into a coherent view of the Christian's transformational role in the world of the 21st century. That responsibility goes beyond the classroom. As part of that responsibility, PLNU has created the Wesleyan Center for 21st Century Studies.


Maxine Walker was the first Director of the Center, serving from its inception until 2007.  Mark Mann has served as Director since 2008.