Church Historian in Residence and Professor
Ministerial and Professional Background
In 1999, Bud was given the task of developing and coordinating the teaching of a new course for all 620 first-year students. "Becoming World Changers" is designed to teach students the basics of the Christian faith and assist them in using their university learning to address the challenges of modern society.
Dr. Bence spent his childhood in upstate New York, where his father pastored a Wesleyan Church and served as district superintendent. After studies at Houghton College and Asbury Seminary, he pastored a Wesleyan Church in Rochester, N.Y., where he developed a large youth program and church open to the "Jesus Movement" of the early 1970s. After five years of pastoring, he entered the doctoral program at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where his studies centered on an in-depth analysis of the theology of John Wesley.
For the past 20 years, Dr. Bence has devoted himself to teaching in Wesleyan colleges— first at United Wesleyan College in Allentown, then at Indiana Wesleyan University (since 1982). He spent five years serving as academic dean at Houghton College, but since 1992 he has taught church history and served in academic administration at IWU. Students say that he "makes them think."
Dr. Bence speaks frequently at summer camps and on college campuses. In 1999, he gave the keynote address at the general conference of his denomination, The Wesleyan Church.
Awards and Honors
He has received awards for "excellence in teaching" and has been honored as "professor of the year" by the students.
Dr. Clarence Bence (most of his friends call him "Bud") loves church history and coffee. He usually teaches his courses first thing in the morning, so he needs that coffee to keep awake...and so do his students. His wife, Carol, was a faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan in the nursing division for 12 years. After returning to the hospital setting, she is now the assistant director of the RNBS program in nursing for Indiana Wesleyan’s College of Adult & Professional Studies. The Bences have three grown children. For hobbies, Bud enjoys carpentry and gardening. In 2003, Dr. and Mrs. Bence took a sabbatical leave to Southeast Asia where they taught in a mission school and lectured to pastors and their wives in India, Myanmar and Cambodia.
The Wesleyan Church, 1970, Indiana North
B.A., Philosophy, Houghton College (1966)
M.Div., Church History, Asbury Theological Seminary (1969)
Ph.D., Historical Theology, Emory University (1981)
Research Fellow at the World Institute of Methodist Studies, Oxford (England) University (1982, 1997)
He has authored a commentary on the book of Romans in a multi-volume series produced by Wesley Press, and was also one of the editors for the NIV Study Bible.