Dr. John Sanders

Professor of Religious Studies John Sanders.2009
(501) 450-3816

Th.D., University of South Africa, 1996
M.A., Wartburg Theological Seminary, 1987
B.A., Trinity College, 1979

Teaching and Research Interests:

  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • History of Christianity and Christian Thought
  • Conceptions of God and Divine Providence
  • Evangelical Understandings of Hell and the Unevangelized

Personal Statement:

I enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of religious studies and my teaching reflects this. My work draws upon the disciplines of history, philosophy, biblical studies, and linguistics. This is an unusual blend of expertise since experts in these disciplines seldom engage those outside their specialty. For me, this is a frui tful mix that helps me pursue various questions of interest. I do a great deal of speaking, so my background in these areas enables me to interact with a wide array of scholars from whom I am eager to learn. Though I have some firm beliefs, I consider myself a pilgrim on the way of truth, willing to learn from others. In the classroom I try to model this attitude as I pose questions which help my students think issues through and defend perspectives with which I disagree. In particular, I enjoy presenting unfamiliar ideas to my students and helping them understand how various beliefs made sense to people in other times and places.

Some of my recent publications address the debates about the nature of hell in North American evangelical Christianity as well as debates about the nature of divine providence. My current research applies the field of cognitive linguistics to biblical, theological, moral, and epistemic topics. Cognitive linguistics is about how humans think about or conceptualize experiences in life. I am deeply interested in the embodied nature of human reasoning and, in particular, conceptual metaphor theory. I am preparing a book manuscript and teaching a new course on the subject.

Projects and Publications:

Authored Books:

  • The God Who Risks: A Theology of Providence, revised edition (IVP, 2007).
  • Does God Have a Future? A Debate on Divine Providence, with Chris Hall (Baker Academic, 2003)
  • No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized (Eerdmans, USA, SPCK in UK, 1992)

Edited Books:

  • Co-editor with J. Aaron Simmons, special issue of Philosophia on “The Virtue of Justice” 41:2 (June 2013).
  • Violence and the Atonement: Is the God of the Cross Violent? (Forthcoming, Abingdon Press, 2006)
  • The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God (IVP, 1994); Now in its twelfth printing.
  • What About Those Who Have Never Heard? Three Views  (IVP, 1995); Now in its seventh printing.