Church Historian in Residence and Professor
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 returned to IWU an retired in 2011 as the director of the RNBS
program in nursing for Indiana Wesleyan’s non-residential college.. 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.
Ministerial and Professional Background
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 33 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, and then returned to IWU where he
has taught church history and served in academic administration at IWU.
Dr. Bence retired from full-time employment in 2013 but has continued
teaching courses at Wesley Seminary when he is not involved in overseas
ministry in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
Dr. Bence speaks frequently at summer camps and on college campuses.
In 1999 and again in 2012, 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. In 2011, he was the
first recipient of Indiana Wesleyan’s World-Changing Faculty Award. He
has also been honored by Asbury Theological Seminary as Alumni of the
Year. He was designated an emeritus faculty member of Indiana Wesleyan
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. He has contributed chapters in several books published
by Wesleyan Press and is a frequent contributor to denominational