Born in Northern Ireland in 1947, Abraham is currently teaching at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen and Queen’s University, Belfast, Abraham went on to receive a Master of Divinity Degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky and a doctorate in Philosophy of Religion from the University of Oxford, England. He received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2008.
He has held the post of Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington. From 1985 to 1995 he was the McCreless Professor of Evangelism and Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Perkins School of Theology, S.M.U. In 1995 he was appointed to the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Theology and Wesley Studies at Perkins, working as a philosophical and systematic theologian in the Wesleyan tradition. In the spring of 2000 Professor Abraham was The McDonald visiting professor of Evangelical theology at Harvard Divinity School. In 2003 Professor Abraham was appointed as an Altshuler Distinguished University Teacher at Southern Methodist University; this is a lifetime appointment in the university.
Over several summers he has traveled to Karaganda, Kazakhastan, Romania, and to San Jose in Costa Rica. In 2005 he was visiting lecturer in Singapore, and in 2006 in Katmandu, Nepal, and in Sibu, Malaysia.
Professor Abraham has authored numerous articles in philosophy and theology. In 1991 he wrote a major review article on “The State of Christian Theology in North America” for the Encyclopedia Britannica’s Great Ideas Today. His books include: The Divine Inspiration of Holy Scripture (Oxford, 1981), Divine Revelation and the Limits of Historical Criticism (Oxford, 1992), The Coming Great Revival: Recovering the Full Evangelical Tradition (Harper and Row, 1984), An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (Prentice-Hall, 1985), The Logic of Evangelism (Eerdmans, 1989); The Logic of Renewal [Eerdmans, 2004]; John Wesley for Armchair Theologians (Westminster/John Knox, 2005]; Crossing the Threshold of Divine Revelation (Eerdmans, 2006]. He has also co-edited with Steven W. Holtzer, The Rationality of Religious Belief, Essays in Honour of Basil Mitchell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987). His work on mission is widely recognized as igniting a new era of scholarship devoted to critical reflection on this vital ministry of the church.
In the early 1990’s Professor Abraham received a PEW Evangelical Scholarship Award, a research award of $100,000, to work on two books on canon and authority. One of these is published as Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology: From the Fathers to Feminism (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998). The second book is a spirited, revisionist account of the United Methodist conception of doctrine that was published as Waking From Doctrinal Amnesia in the Fall of 1995 by Abingdon Press. Canon and Criterion is now recognized as signal contribution to the debate about canon in the Christian tradition. In March 2008 Professor Abraham published (along with a group of former graduate students from Southern Methodist University) Canonical Theism: A Proposal for Theology and Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans). This book presses onward from the insights of Canon and Criterion and argues that the way forward for both theology and church lies in a deep immersion in the rich faith and practices of the early Church accompanied by a ready engagement with resent work in epistemology. Currently Professor Abraham is involved in research that focuses on the relation between theology and terrorism (a book on this is ready for press), on the nature and history of Methodism (he has co-edited with Professor James Kirby The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies), on the epistemology of theology (he plans to edit a major volume in this new field), and on the comprehensive content of systematic theology (a book on this is also in the early stages of production).