During the period after the Second World War, in which English Protestant non-conformity declined rapidly, a handful of exceptional names stand out, and one of the most remarkable was that of the Methodist minister Leslie Dixon Weatherhead. Both through his ministry at the City Temple, in the heart of London, and more generally through the massive sales of his books, Dr Weatherhead became a dominant figure, with an influence far beyond the British Isles. That the City Temple, a Congregationalist church, was widely seen at the time as the greatest English Free Church pulpit, ensured him a wide audience, while the quality of his preaching, combining emotional and intellectual power, wit and eloquence, won him admirers among all the churches, and led to offers from a number of American and Canadian universities and congregations, as well as numerous honorary degrees from British and American universities. Despite his Congregationalist call, he remained a Methodist minister, and indeed became President of the Methodist Conference. Perhaps even more important was that he was one of the earliest to recognise the value of the applications for the clergy of the insights of Freud and Jung.
His seventy-odd publications, of which The Christian Agnostic and Psychology, Religion and Healing were the most influential, bring out not only the theological liberalism that made him suspect in some circles, but also his understanding of the value of healing and of psychological insights. The result was that his lay theology had a vast following. Although three other books have appeared about Weatherhead since his death, John Travell's explores all aspects of his life and portrays his historical, religious and theological context in greater depth.