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:
- History of Christianity and Christian
- Conceptions of God and Divine Providence
Evangelical Understandings of Hell and the Unevangelized
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
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 have a book coming out on this topic in 2016.
Projects and Publications:
Books and Edited Collections:
in the Flesh: How Embodiment and Culture Shape the Way We Think about
Morality, Truth, and God
(Fortress Press, forthcoming 2016).
- 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)
- The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God (IVP, 1994); Now in its twelfth printing.
- No Other Name:
An Investigation into the Destiny of the Unevangelized (Eerdmans, USA, SPCK in UK, 1992)
Articles and Dictionary Entries:
“Christian Approaches to the Salvation of Non-Christians” in
Robert McKim ed., Religious
Perspectives on Religious Diversity (Brill, forthcoming 2016).
“A Goldilocks God: Open Theism as a Feuerbachian Alternative?”
Coauthored with J. Aaron Simmons. Element:
The Journal for Mormon Philosophy and Theology (forthcoming October,
2015).“Open Theism.” Routledge
Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, April, 2015.
- “Raising Hell About Razing Hell:
Evangelical Debates on Universal Salvation” Perspectives
in Religious Studies (40 no. 3, 2013): 267-281.
- “Editorial Introduction to Special
Issue on The Virtue of Justice” with J. Aaaron Simmons. Philosophia 41, Issue 2 (2013): 271-272. DOI 10.1007/s11406-013-9431-8
- “Open Theistic Perspectives—The Freedom
of Creation” in Ernst Conradie ed., Creation
and Salvation Volume 2: A Companion on Recent Theological Movements (LIT Verlag, Berlin, 2012).
- “Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the
Mormon Understanding of God” in Jacob T. Baker ed., Mormonism at the Crossroads of Philosophy
and Theology: Essays in Honor of David. L. Paulsen (Greg Kofford Books, 2012).