Professor of Religious Studies
Th.D., University of South Africa, 1996
M.A., Wartburg Theological Seminary, 1987
B.A., Trinity College, 1979
Teaching and Research Interests:
• Relational Theology
• Conceptions of God
• The Nature of Divine Providence
• The Possibility of Salvation Outside the Church
• History of Christian Thought
As a constructive theologian, part of my task is to help Christians develop beliefs that are rationally coherent, consonant with traditions, and adequate for the demands of life. To accomplish this, my teaching and research draw upon the disciplines of history, philosophy and biblical studies. This is an unusual blend of expertise since experts in these disciplines seldom engage those outside their discipline. For me, this is a fruitful 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.
Projects and Publications:
- Does God Have a Future? A Debate on Divine Providence, with Chris Hall (Baker Academic, 2003)
- The God Who Risks: A Theology of Providence (IVP, 1998); Now in its fifth printing. Revised edition forthcoming in 2006.
- No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized (Eerdmans, USA, SPCK in UK, 1992)
- 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.