About the Foundation

What Is A Foundation for Theological Education (AFTE)?

AFTE is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1977 to strengthen the classical Christian witness within the United Methodist Church. Dr. Albert C. Outler, renowned scholar and late professor at Southern Methodist University, joined with the late Dr. Edmund W. Robb, Jr. to found AFTE. Their goal was to help revitalize a supremely important area of the church — theological education. The AFTE founders strongly believed that a greater emphasis on the evangelical Wesleyan tradition in our official seminaries would bring greater spiritual vitality to the entire denomination.

AFTE Affirms These Core Wesleyan Doctrines:

  • The divine inspiration and ultimate authority of the Scriptures in matters of faith and practice;
  • The incarnation of Jesus Christ as fully God and fully human;
  • The necessity of conversion as a result of repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ;
  • The church is of God and is the body of Christ in the world;
  • The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are means of grace.

Results of the Program

Since 1977, grants totaling over $3 million have been awarded. There are currently 141 John Wesley Fellows, many of whom teach in colleges and seminaries of distinction.

John Wesley Fellowship Facts

Ninety-four Fellows have received Ph.D. degrees. Forty-two Fellows are on the faculty at theological seminaries such as Duke, Wesley, Asbury, Princeton, Garrett, and Perkins. Fellows also teach at nineteen colleges and universities here and abroad. Fellows have studied at Duke, Emory, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Durham University, Notre Dame, SMU, and Drew, to name a few.

The History of Renewal in the United Methodist Church – Edmond Robb, Jr.
1975 Address that was delivered July 22, 1975, at the sixth annual Good News Convocation, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. At that time, Dr. Robb was pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Lubbock, Texas, and was second vice-chairman of the Good News board of directors.

A Fund for ‘Evangelical’ Scholars
In this article from The Christian Century, Professor Albert C. Outler describes AFTE’s role in the future of theological education. Outler was co-founder of AFTE.


Total Fellows 164
Currently Funded John Wesley Fellows 15
Currently Funded Harry Denman Fellow 2
Earned Doctorates 137
Pursuing Doctorates 10
Professors/Administrators in Theological Schools 73
Professors/Administrators in Colleges/Universities 16
President/Dean of a Seminary 6
UMC Bishop 1
Pastors 16
Corporate Responsibility Officer 1
Director, Charitable Foundation 1
Campus/Military Chaplains 4
Director, D. Min. Program 1
Director, School of Christian Education 7
Program Director, Lilly Endowment, Inc. 1
Dean of the Upper Room Chapel 1
Assistant Director of Coaching, NSCAA 1
UMC Bioethics Task Force 1
Christian Radio Talk Show Host 1
Editorial Staff, Publisher 1
Retired 4
Deceased 1
news & events
December 7, 2022


At one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the early apostolic church—an inflection point recorded in the book of Acts—we read:

While they were worshiping the Lord …

December 5, 2022

Three of my best friends and I sat on a bench at the back of the chapel after vespers, after an evening of sunset canoeing and the kind of day that …

news & events
July 1, 2022

A Foundation for Theological Education (AFTE) John Wesley Fellowships have been awarded to six doctoral students. The John Wesley Fellows …

July 1, 2022

The 2022 AFTE Christmas Conference will be held in Montgomery, Alabama December 9-11, 2022. We look forward once again to …