Category: Faculty Updates

William J. Abraham 1947-2021

Last week many in the theology community gave voice to sorrow at the sudden passing of theologian William J. Abraham. Abraham was a winsome philosophical theologian, Methodist scholar, and philosophical theologian. Among his many publications are books on divine revelation, the Christian canon, evangelism, divine action, and grief. Abraham was one of the editors for the Oxford Handbook of the Epistemology of Theology. This year, the fourth of his four volume set on Divine Agency and Divine Action was released. Comments appeared quickly across social media about how “Billy” Abraham impacted lives as a teacher, scholar, and friend. We have included links to some tributes to Abraham below.

You can read about William Abraham’s legacy at the Eerdman’s blog here.

A United Methodist News article on Abraham’s life and passing can be found here.

A “Tribute to William J. Abraham” can be read on the Wesleyan Covenant Association website here.

Frederick Schmidt’s memories can be read here on Patheos.

Prof Christoph Schwöbel  (1955-2021)

We regret to report that friends of professor Christoph Schwöbel have shared news, online, of his very recent passing away. Professor Schwöbel was the 1643 Chair in Divinity at University of St. Andrews. Some of Professor Schwöbel’s distinguished career includes being professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Tubingen since 2004, teaching at the University of Heidelberg (1999-2004), the University of Kiel (1993-1999), King’s College London (1986-1993) and the University of Marburg (1981-1986). You can access a list of his sixty plus publications online here at the University of St. Andrews website. During a 2019 recording of Logos Summer Institute, here, Schwöbel was introduced as one who enriched the theological community where he worked with a brilliant mind and humble disposition.

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University of York Launches a New MA in Analytic Theology

University of York Department of Philosophy has launched a new MA in Analytic Theology:

Apply the study of philosophy to theology and engage with some of the most complex and historically significant questions that have shaped Western and Middle Eastern civilisation.

Move from studying philosophical and theological problems to investigating them as a researcher in your own right. Focus on Philosophy and the study of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic analytic theology in conversation with each other, informed by analysis of the spiritual practices that these faiths incorporate.

Our department has a strong research profile in analytic theology and we’ll provide support for you to pursue your own research project. 

The department is offering one David Efird Masters Scholarship to the sum of £5,000 (  ). 
Anyone holding an offer for this MA in Analytic Theology by April 30th will be automatically considered for this scholarship.

The department is also also offering funding for MA students to attend Philosophy of Religion / Analytic Theology conferences (once conferences begin to be held in person).

David Fergusson appointed as Regius Professor of Divinity

The faculty of divinity at Cambridge have announced the appointment of a new Regius Professor of Divinity:

After a long search process, we are pleased to announce that Prof David Fergusson (Edinburgh) has accepted the appointment as Regius Professor of Divinity. Prof Fergusson is a leading specialist in Christian Theology, with much experience of academic leadership, supervising PhD students and running grants. He can offer teaching in core areas of the field and will be a wise mentor for all in the Faculty. He will take up the post on April 1st 2021 and is currently planning a move to Cambridge with his wife.

James I. Packer is with the Lord. (1926-2020)

J. I. Packer —”One of the most influential evangelical leaders of our time” (Christianity Today)— passed away yesterday at age 93. Across the web, tributes are pouring in about his life, ministry, and sprawling legacy. Below are links to some of them:

“Remembering J.I. Packer” – Regent College

“J. I. Packer, ‘Knowing God’ Author, Dies at 93” – Christianity Today

In Memoriam: J. I. Packer” – Catholic Herald

“Don Carson Pays Tribute to J. I. Packer” – the Gospel Coalition (see also “J. I. Packer 1926-2020” – Justin Taylor (Gospel Coalition).

“Reformation Theology in the Hands of a Servant” – Desiring God

J. I. Packer, ‘Knowing God’ Author, Dies at 93″ – Christian Post

“Now He Truly Knows” – Sydney Anglicans

“J. I. Packer Goes on to Glory” – Michael Thomson via Ben Witherington (patheos)

William J. Abraham Named Inaugural Director of the Recently Established Wesley House of Studies at Truett Theological Seminary (Baylor University)

June 24, 2020 – “Following extended conversations with and consultation of seminary faculty, alumni and friends, Dean Todd D. Still, Ph.D., announced today, with strong support from university administration, the formation of a Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary. In conjunction, he announced that Dr. William J. Abraham, a theologian, philosopher, author and minister, will serve as the founding director of this strategic initiative. 

In this role, Abraham will ensure that students attending Truett from Wesleyan traditions are nurtured and networked for the ministries into which they are being called. Additionally, Abraham, who will regularly teach courses at Truett pertaining to Wesleyan thought and practice, will collaborate with individuals, congregations and organizations in the Wesleyan tradition in the recruiting, training and placing of students and in supporting and educating ministers who are already engaged in gospel service.” Read more…

(This post was recopied from an announcement on Baylor Universities website. Click here to read more)

ETS Selects Ken Magnuson as New Executive Director.

On May 4, 2020, the Executive Committee of the Evangelical Theological Society accepted the recommendation of the Executive Director Search Committee and unanimously selected Ken Magnuson as the Society’s second Executive Director.  David S. Dockery, chair of the search committee remarked that the committee reviewed applications and nominations from a large group of qualified individuals. “It soon became clear,” he noted, “to every member of the committee that Ken Magnuson, based on his outstanding education, years and breadth of experience, scholarship, administrative gifts, relational abilities and people skills, as well as his Christian character and commitment, was extremely well suited for this key role in the life of ETS. We are thankful for the fine leadership that Mike Thigpen has provided and are extremely hopeful about Ken Magnuson’s guidance for the Society for the years ahead.”  ETS President, Craig S. Keener, commented, “All of us on the Executive Committee affirm Ken Magnuson and are grateful to the Lord for the prospect of leadership that will continue the wonderful legacy we have already experienced with Mike Thigpen.”
Ken Magnuson has been on the faculty of Southern Seminary since 1999. He has served as Professor of Christian Ethics, Chair of the Department of Worldview and Culture, and as Director of The Commonweal Project on Faith, Work, and Human Flourishing. He serves as a deacon in his church, on the editorial board for Themelios, and as a board member for the American Friends of Tyndale House (Cambridge, UK). Magnuson holds a PhD in Theological Ethics from Cambridge University, and MDiv and BA degrees from Bethel Seminary and Bethel University (MN). He teaches and writes on discipleship and moral issues, including marriage and sexuality, singleness, and infertility and reproductive technology. He has published journal articles and contributed chapters to several books, and has recently completed Invitation to Christian Ethics, published by Kregel (forthcoming in 2020). He serves on the steering committee of the ETS Christian Ethics program unit. Ken and his wife Katherine have four children.

Photo of Ken Magnuson from
Picture taken from Twitter.

Magnuson will begin this new post June 15, 2020.  He succeeds J. Michael Thigpen who has served the Society as Executive Director since 2009.  Thigpen is leaving the position to serve as Executive Vice-President and Provost of Phoenix Seminary.  On hearing the selection, Thigpen noted, “I believe Ken Magnuson is the right person to lead ETS in this next season.  Ken’s temperament, experience, godly character, and outlook on the role of the Society in the church and the academy are a wonderful fit to move us forward.”

This post was repasted entirely from

Ken Magnuson’s photo was used from his Twitter account.

In Memoriam: Keith Yandell

From the Henry Center for Theological Understanding,

Keith Yandell is gone. After a long battle with multiple health problems, on the morning of April 28, 2020 he drew his last breath. He is now “absent from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8).

Keith was the Julius R. Weinberg Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught for nearly four decades. He also taught philosophy of religion and philosophical theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School from 2000-2014. It was in this capacity that I (Tom) knew him; when I joined the Trinity faculty in 2004, Keith immediately welcomed me with two things: his characteristically warm and merry smile, and philosophical arguments. I enjoyed his company immensely, and I learned a lot from him. One of the highlights of my academic ministry was participating in a debate with him in the ATO Chapel in 2008; it was an honor to be there with Keith, and, frankly, it was also just a lot of fun. I’ll never regret the time I spent with him. I only regret that there wasn’t more of it.

For the entire story see, .

In Memoriam: Geoffrey Wainwright

Born in Yorkshire, England, and a cricket player in his youth, Geoffrey Wainwright studied in Cambridge, Geneva, and Rome. He is an ordained minister of the British Methodist Church, and after serving a circuit ministry in Liverpool during the heyday of the Beatles, he went for six years as a missionary pastor and teacher to Cameroon in West Africa. In the mid ’70s he taught Scripture and doctrine at The Queen’s College, Birmingham. In 1979 he moved to the United States, first to Union Theological Seminary, New York, where he held the Roosevelt chair of systematic theology, and then (in 1983) to Duke. He has devoted much of his energy to the wainwrightg20030211bcause of ecumenism, understood as unity in the truth of a gospel that is to be preached to the world. As a member of WCC Faith and Order, he played a leading part in the production of the Lima text on “Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry” (1982); and from 1986-2011 he co-chaired the dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church.

Geoffrey Wainwright has served as president of the international Societas Liturgica (1983-85) as well as of the American Theological Society (1996-97). He was honored by the publication of Ecumenical Theology in Worship, Doctrine, and Life: Essays Presented to Geoffrey Wainwright on his Sixtieth Birthday (Oxford University Press, 1999). He received the 2005 Johannes Quasten Medal from the Catholic University of America for “excellence in scholarship.” (From the faculty bio at Duke Divinity School.)

Wainwright passed away on March 17, 2020.

In Memoriam: James Leo Garrett Jr.

From Christianity Today (Wyman Richardson):

James Leo Garrett Jr. was Distinguished Professor of Theology, Emeritus, at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, until his death several days ago.

He was a graduate of Baylor University (BA in English, 1945), Southwestern Seminary (BD, 1948, and ThD, 1954), Princeton Theological Seminary (ThM, 1949), and Harvard University (PhD, 1966). Dr. Garrett is beloved and revered by countless students and faculty members at the institutions at which he taught—Southwestern Seminary (1949–59, 1979–97), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1959–73), and Baylor University (1973–79)—as well as by many others who benefited from his scholarship and Christian devotion.

Dr. Garrett was a fascinating mixture of Southern Baptist loyalty and ecumenical fervor.

While perhaps few theologians and churchmen have thought, written, and engaged so carefully with the inner-workings and trajectory of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Garrett was equally active in his engagements with the wider Christian world.

He was very involved in the Baptist World Alliance, for instance, and was, from 1968–1975 part of the Study Commission on Cooperative Christianity, a commission for which he served as chair. He also contributed substantial pieces to BWA publications.

In 1965, Dr. Garrett attended the final session of the Second Vatican Council in Rome as a guest of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. Furthermore, he engaged Christians of other traditions in substantial ways, as when, for instance, he presented papers before the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Instanbul, Turkey, in 1994 and 1996.

His voluminous writings include his two-volume Systematic Theology (originally published by Eerdmans and currently published by Wipf & Stock), his monumental Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study (Mercer University Press), and numerous other authored or edited books and articles.

Dr. Garrett was married to his beloved Myrta Ann Latimer Garrett for 67 years before her passing in 2015. He is survived by three sons and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Dr. Garret passed died Feb. 5 in Nacogdoches, Texas. He was 94.

[Image from: Baptist Press ]



Johann Baptist Metz, Theologian of Compassion, Dies at 91

Johann Baptist Metz, one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century and a pioneer of Jewish-Christian dialogue in the aftermath of the Holocaust, died on Dec. 2 in Münster, Germany. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by the University of Münster, where he taught for many years.

Professor Metz, an ordained priest, believed that the church must be aligned with the victims of history, and he devoted his work to building solidarity with the oppressed. He challenged German Catholics to face the reality of Auschwitz when many did not.

For the full obituary see:

In Memoriam: Larry Hurtado and Jaegwon Kim

Larry Hurtado (Emeritus Professor in New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, Edinburgh) and Jaegwon Kim (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Brown) have passed away this week. Although Hurtado’s work was mainly in the field of early Christianity and Kim’s work was mainly in the field of philosophy of mind and metaphysics, and not in systematic theology, both scholars’ contributions made a significant impact on those working on doctrinal theology, specifically in the areas of Christology and theological anthropology.

Hurtado and Kim will be missed.

Larry Hurtado Annoucement

Jaegwon Kim Annoucement


Willard M. Swartley, AMBS Professor Emeritus Remembered for Prolific Scholarship, Faith and Humility, has Passed Away

ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — The Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) community is grieving the sudden loss of a beloved colleague, teacher, mentor and friend. Willard M. Swartley, Ph.D., professor emeritus of New Testament, died of natural causes at age 83 on Nov. 6, 2019, in Goshen, Indiana. He had lived with a heart condition for many years.

Swartley, who retired from the Elkhart, Indiana, seminary in 2004 but continued to be a regular presence on campus, will be remembered for the ways in which he lived out his deeply rooted faith in Jesus — both within and beyond his academic work. Those who knew him speak of his gentle and humble spirit, his pastoral presence and his consistently encouraging nature, in addition to his intellectual curiosity and numerous contributions to biblical and peace scholarship.

“Willard was an exceptional and widely respected biblical scholar and a committed teacher,” said Beverly Lapp, Ed.D., acting president and academic dean. “He lived his faith, looking after those who were struggling in life, and he believed in the work of Christ and the church to increase God’s kingdom here and now. He loved AMBS so very much.”

Willard Swartley portrait. Credit: J. Tyler Klassen.From 1978 to 2004, Swartley was a professor of New Testament at AMBS. During his tenure, he also served as academic dean (1979–81; 1995–2000), acting president for half a year (1996), and director of AMBS’s Summer School (1990–93; 1995–2000). Swartley was actively involved in fostering scholarship for the church, serving as director of the Institute of Mennonite Studies (IMS), AMBS’s research agency, for more than a decade (1979–88; acting, 1997–99). At IMS, he was also editor of the Occasional Papers series (1981–88) and co-editor with Ben C. Ollenburger, Ph.D., retired professor of biblical theology, of the Studies in Peace and Scripture series (1990–2006). His final book, Jesus, Deliver Us — published earlier this year — is the 16th volume in the latter series.

Full announcement here:

Renowned Professor, John Mbiti, Dies at 87 Years Old

Kenyan Scholar John Mbiti [theologian, philosopher, poet, expert in African Religions] has passed away.

Kenya is mourning the death of celebrated scholar Prof John Mbiti who breathed his last today, Sunday 06 October 2019.

The acclaimed scholar is known for his outstanding work and contribution in philosophy and religion.

Responding to news about his death, Prof Makau Mutua stated that he had written about the acclaimed scholar and his works in his Sunday Nation column.

Renowned Kenyan scholar Prof John Mbiti dies in Switzerland

Mutua also prayed for peace while condoling with the deceased’s family in a post that read in part that “May his family and friends know peace”.

Until his death, the deceased was an Emeritus Professor at the University of Bern and parish minister to the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland.

See the full report here:

Regent College Appoints Jens Zimmermann to J.I. Packer Chair


The wait is over for those eagerly anticipating the announcement regarding Regent College’s J.I. Packer Chair of Theology. We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Jens Zimmermann will be taking up this key position in the Fall Term 2020.

Born and raised in Germany, Zimmermann joins Regent from Trinity Western University, where he served for twenty years, including the period from 2006–2016 when he held the Canada Research Chair of Interpretation, Religion, and Culture.

Academic Dean Paul Spilsbury expressed his excitement at the appointment and offered a warm welcome.

“I am delighted that Professor Zimmermann will be joining Regent College as the new J.I. Packer Chair. Jens brings a wealth of insight and intellectual engagement to the task of theology, as well as a deep faith in Christ, a personal engagement with the truth of the gospel, and a strong alignment with the mission and ethos of the College. Our faculty, students, and the wider community of Regent will be deeply enriched by his teaching and scholarship, and I am very much looking forward to welcoming him next fall.”

Zimmermann—who describes himself as a theologian first, with a strong interest in philosophy and literature—has in recent years used his variety of academic experience to focus on two particular questions. These are the questions of theological anthropology and epistemology—what it means to be human and how human beings acquire knowledge.

You can see the full announcement here:

Nancy Pineda-Madrid to Loyola Marymount’s Chair in Catholic Theology

BCLA Announces the next T. Marie Chilton Chair of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount University: Prof. Nancy Pineda-Madrid

From the news service at Loyola Marymount Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts:

Since its founding in 1999, the T. Marie Chilton Chair was held by Thomas Rausch, S.J., who retired from the full-time Loyola Marymount University faculty in 2017. After a year as the visiting Chilton Chair, Nancy Pineda-Madrid, associate professor of theological studies, now joins the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts faculty permanently as the T. Marie Chilton Chair of Catholic Theology at LMU.

Prof. Pineda-Madrid comes to LMU from Boston College, where she was associate professor of theology and Latinx/a ministry and taught for the past 14 years.  Prof. Pineda-Madrid is returning to LMU after many years; she received her B.B.A. from LMU, from which her academic career was launched. Nancy then earned a Master of Divinity from Seattle University and a Ph.D. in Systematic and Philosophical Theology from the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, California). With expertise in soteriology and North Amercian Pragmatism and Religious Thought, Prof. Pineda-Madrid is a leading voice in U.S. LatinX theologies, as well as U.S. and global feminist theologies.

In her new role, Prof. Pineda-Madrid seeks to advance a Catholic theological response to the sharply escalating violence against women in the Americas and around the world. “Our time demands a Catholic theology that unequivocally supports the full humanity of women and denounces all forms of misogyny,” says Prof. Pineda-Madrid. “Theology that fails to call this violence and misogyny into question and falls far short of the best of Catholic theology.” As the T. Marie Chilton Chair of Catholic Theology at LMU, Prof. Pineda-Madrid will teach classes, create public programming, and build community to advance the conversation about violence against women (and others) as one critical contemporary iteration of central theological problems such as evil and salvation. This work involves reflecting intentionally on the theological issues presented by the construct and context of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, of which Los Angeles and Southern California are an important dimension.

John Behr appointed as a Professor in Divinity, Eric Saak takes up a Chair in Ecclesiastical History at University of Aberdeen

The School of Divinity, History and Philosophy has announced the appointment of two world-leading professors.

Professor John Behr has been appointed as a Professor in Divinity, and will be offering specialisation in Patristics and Orthodox Theology.

Professor Behr is Fr Georges Florovsky Distinguished Professor of Patristics and a former dean of St Vladimir’s Seminary, New York, and is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading scholars of early Christianity. A prolific writer, his most recent book is the discipline forming John the Theologian and his Pascal Gospel (OUP), and this book follows a new critical edition and translation of Origen’s On First Principles (also for OUP). He is currently working on a new edition and translation of the complete works of St. Irenaeus of Lyons (again to be published by OUP). Professor Behr is excited to receive applications for students wishing to work on Patristics, Orthodox Theology, and the New Testament.

Professor Eric Saak is one of the foremost Reformation scholars of this age, and will take up a Chair in Ecclesiastical History. A student of Oberman, his work has considered the role of Augustine and Augustinainism in the Reformation. A former Fulbright Fellow, he is the co-editor of and major contributor to The Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine, 3 vols. (OUP), and is working on an ongoing critical edition of the works of Jordan of Quedlinburg (with Brill), the first volume of which has already been published. His most recent book, Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages (CUP) won the 2018 Gerald Strauss Prize. Professor Saak welcomes applications from students working on Augustine and his reception, the Reformation (especially Luther and Calvin), Medieval Theology, and critical editions of Late Medieval and Reformation texts.

The appointments of Professors Behr and Saak comes at an exciting in Divinity which sees the University of Aberdeen become one of the major global centres for Church History and Historical Theology. They join Dr Ehrenschwendtner (who works on Medieval Church History, Women’s Spirituality and Scottish Church History) and Dr Ken Jeffrey (who works on Modern Church History, the History of Evangelicalism and the History of Missions) in the Ecclesiastical History Unit; and will be working alongside Professor Tom Greggs (who works on eighteenth and nineteenth century Methodist and Evangelical History, Pre-Constantinian Theology and Modern German thought), Professor Paul Nimmo (who works on Reformed Theology, Scottish Theology and Church History, and nineteenth and twentieth century German Theology), and Professor Philip Ziegler (who works on Reformed Theology, nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy, and modern German thought) from the Systematic Theology Unit, as well as Professor Brian Brock and Dr Mike Laffin who work in Theological Ethics on Martin Luther as well as Patristic fathers.

The appointments of these world-leading academics come at a time of expansion in Divinity….

You can see the rest of the announcement here:

Anthony Reddie becomes Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture

From Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford:

We are delighted to announce that the new Director of the College’s ‘Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture’ will be Professor Anthony Reddie, currently Extraordinary Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of South Africa.

Professor Reddie is a leading scholar in the field of Black Theology; editor of Black Theology journal, and the author of over 70 essays and articles on Christian Education and Black Theology, and the author or editor of 18 books.  He comes to the Director’s post after working as Europe Secretary for the Council for World Mission.

His latest book – Theologizing Brexit: A Liberationist and Postcolonial Critique (Routledge, 2019)* – will be the subject of a panel discussion at the 2020 conference of the Society for the Study of Theology, and is the first intercultural and postcolonial theological exploration of the Brexit phenomenon.  He is in demand as a conference speaker (booked for Greenbelt 2020) and is also a trustee of the ‘British and Irish Association for Practical Theology’.

After over two decades, the Centre is preparing to move into a new phase with a relaunch this year, and the appointment of Professor Reddie opens up new and exciting research possibilities.  As the Centre seeks to build on a strong tradition of interdisciplinary approaches to religion and culture, Professor Reddie will initiate a new strand of work with his expertise in understanding the growth of religiously inspired nationalism across the world.

Professor Reddie will take up the post of Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture on 1 January 2020.

See the full announcement here: