Professor Tom Greggs

The Marischal Chair

M.A. (Oxon.), Ph.D. (Cantab.), P.G.C.E. (Dist.), F.H.E.A.

Professor Tom Greggs

Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 272388
Email: t.greggs@abdn.ac.uk
Address: Office: KCF10 (King's College) Postal Address: School of Divinity, History and Philosophy,University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3UB, United Kingdom.
hCard

Biography

Tom Greggs holds the Marischal Chair of Divinity (the oldest separated Divinity chair established in 1616) at the University. He previously held a chair in Historical and Doctrinal Theology, and until 2011, when he joined the Univeristy of Aberdeen, was Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Chester. He has also taught at the University of Cambridge.

Tom's principal publications include: Theology against Religion: Constructive Dialogues with Bonhoeffer and Barth (T&T Clark, 2011);  Barth, Origen, and Universal Salvation: Restoring Particularity (OUP, 2009);  New Perspectives for Evangelical Theology (Routledge, 2010); and The Vocation of Theology Today (Cascade, 2013, with Rachel Muers and Simeon Zahl). He is also the author of over 50 articles and book chapters. His current work focuses on ecclesiology, and he is writing the first volume (Participating in the Priestly Catholicity of the Church) of his 3 volume Protestant Ecclesiology throughout 2017 while on a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. Alongside this, with Maria Dekake and Steven Kepnes, he is writing A Handbook for Scriptural Reasoning, and co-editing a book on the influence of Peter Ochs on theology and philosophy. Tom is the editor of Brill's Companions to Modern Theology Series and co-editor of the Edinburgh University Press Critical History of Theology Series. He is a member of the editorial boards of The Journal for Scriptural Reasoning and Holiness (a newly launched Methodist peer-reviewed journal), as well as being a consultant editor for Stanford University Press's 'Encountering Traditions' series. 

Tom is the former Secretary of Society for the Study of Theology (2010-2013; acting secretary 2008-10); and has served as co-chair of the Scriptural Reasoning Panel at the American Academy of Religion, for which he currently sits on the Book Awards Jury for the History of Religion Section. He was elected a founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland, and is an Honorary Professor of Theology at St Mellitus College, London. He has been a visiting research fellow at St John's College, Durham, and College of Arts and Sciences International Visiting Scholar and Visiting Professor in Religion at the University of Virginia.

Tom serves on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, having been elected in 2015, and on the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church. He is currently involved in a theological review of the Crown Nominations Commission as the only non-Anglican member. He is a Preacher in the British Methodist Connexion, and has given sermons around the world. He regularly leads Continuing Professional Development for clergy, speaks at large church conferences, and appears on the radio. He was the 2014 Fernely Hartley-Lecturer for the Methodist Church, and addressed the doctrine of the Priesthood of All Believers. He also gave the 2014 Conference Lecture for the Methodist Church on the impact of Doctrine on the life and ministry of the church (an honour very rarely bestowed on a non-presbyter to presbyteral session); this paper was used to launch the journal Holiness.

Tom's own theological training took place at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He was awarded an open scholarship at Christ Church, University of Oxford, where he was very influenced by the late Professor John Webster. Tom graduated from Oxford with the highest first class honours in his year in Theology, for which was received the Denyer and Johnson Prize. Following time as a teacher of Religion and Philosophy at the Manchester Grammar School (and a PGCE in Religious Studies, Philosophy and PSHE), Tom took a PhD in Systematic Theology at the University of Cambridge, supervised by Professor David Ford (Regius Professor of Divinity). During his doctorate, he also studied with Dr Thomas Graumann and Professor Dan Hardy.

A Scouser born and bred, Tom remains a foundation guardian at his old school, the Liverpool Blue Coat. Outside of Theology, his interests include politics, crime novels, cooking, wine, theatre and jazz. He is married to Heather and lives in rural Aberdeenshire.

Research Interests

There are four main areas of my research, and I would be interested in receiving applicants from post-graduates in each of these areas:

1. My major focus currently is a three volume Protestant ecclesiology: volume 1 - participating in the priestly catholicity of the church; volume 2 - encountering the prophetic apostolicity of the church; and volume 3 - being transformed into the kingly holiness of the church. The three volumes are provisionally entitled A Dogmatic Ecclesiology, and are under contract to be published by Baker Academic over the next ten years. I will be writing up the first volume during 2017 thanks to a grant from the British Academy. I would welcome applicants from students on any area relating to ecclesiology, or to homiletics.

2. I am interested in major doctrinal loci, especially in relation to patristic theology. Methodist / piestist theology, and modern theology. Within this broad area, I am particularly interested in the figures of Origen, Barth and Bonhoeffer; and in the doctrines of God, the Trinity, salvation and the Holy Spirit; however, I am happy to supervise more broadly. Methodologically, I am interested in historical approaches to doctrines and theologians for the sake of constructive theological reflection.

3. A large part of my work concerns how to articulate theology outwith the conditions of Christendom. This involves both theological reflection on the conditions of post-Christendom, and on issues that the conditions of post-Christendom raise. This aspect of my research has included reflection on such issues as how to think theologically about church-state relations, theo-politics, pluralism, secularism/secularity, political liberalism, contemporary evangelicalism, and salvation and the non-Christian. I am particularly interested in the ways in which classical doctrine and public theology relate.

4. Alongside these areas, I am also working, with Steven Kepnes of Colgate University and Rumee Ahmed of University of British Columbia, on an Introduction to Scriptural Reasoning (the inter-faith practice of Muslims, Jews and Christians reading scripture together), and have led a project with Mike Higton (University of Cambridge) on the nature of impact for theology in a post-Christendom Society. I would be interested receiving applications from students who wish to study theologies of the religions and inter-faith work, as well as the nature and impact of doctrine.

Research Grants

AHRC Network Grant (with Professor Mike Higton): Doctrine after Christendom (complete)

British Academy Mid-Career Research Grant (current)

Teaching Responsibilities

In 2016-17, I will be teaching the following courses (first half session):

  • Global Issues / Global Religion (Level 1, Sixth Century Course): course co-ordinator
  • From Jesus to Calvin: The History of Christian Thought (Level 2): course co-ordinator
  • Philosophy of Religion (Level 2)
  • Dissertations

I will be on research leave for the calendar year of 2017, as the recipient of a British Academy Mid-Career Research Award.

External Responsibilities

  • Member of the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Panel
  • Member of the Faith and Order Commission of the Methodist Church
  • Steering Committee Member, Duke University Theology, Modernity and the Arts
  • External Examiner, Theology in History, University of Edinburgh (post-graduate)
  • Member of Methodist Church's Faith and Order Committee
  • Executive Committee Member of TRSUK
  • Book Award Jury Member, American Academy of Religion
  • Member of the Shalom Hartmann Institute Religious Pluralism Consultation
  • Member of Scriptural Reasoning in the University Group (Cambridge)
  • Former External Examiner: University of Aberdeen (undergrad and PGT), University of Cambridge (tripos, MPhil and diploma), Heythrop College (PGT), and University of St Andrews (undergrad and PGT)
  • PhD External Examiner: Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, London (King's College), St Andrews, Edinburgh, Belfast (Queen's), Wales, Chester

Admin Responsibilities

  • Director of Research in Divinity and Religious Studies
  • Impact Lead
  • Recruitment
  • Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Committee
  • Honorary Chaplain

Select Bibliography

Books:

  1. The Vocation of Theology Today: A Festscrift for David Ford, editor with Rachel Muers and Simeon Zahl (Eugene, Or.: Cascade, 2013), xiv + 409pp., ISBN: 978-1-61097-625-1. 
  2. Theology against Religion: constructive dialogues with Bonhoeffer and Barth (London: T&T Clark, 2011), 256pp., ISBN: 9780567104236.
  3. New Perspectives for Evangelical Theology: Engaging God, Scripture and the World, editor (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), xvi + 223pp., ISBN: 978-0-415-47733-8 (paperback); 978-0-415-44356-2 (hardback).
  4. Barth, Origen, and Universal Salvation: Restoring Particularity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), xxiv + 272pp., ISBN: 978-0-199-56048-6.
  5. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Real Theologian (Liverpool: CTT, 2003), ii + 24pp., ISBN:189-7-705-247.

Books in preparation / under contract:

  1. A Dogmatic Ecclesiology (Baker Academic): three volumes.
  2. A Handbook to Scriptural Reasoning, with Steve Kepnes.
  3. A Festschrift for Peter Ochs, with Randi Rashkover and Mark James.

Editorships of Series:

  1. Brill Companions to Modern Theology Series.
  2. Edinburgh University Press Critical History of Christian Theology.

Select Academic Articles and Book Chapters:

  1. “Why does the Church need academic theology?” Epworth Review 33, no. 3 (April 2006): 27-37.
  2. “‘Jesus is Victor’: Passing the Impasse of Barth on Universalism.” Scottish Journal of Theology 60, no.2 (May 2007): 196-212.
  3. “Exclusivist or universalist? Origen ‘the wise steward of the word’ (CommRom. V.1.7) and the issue of genre.” International Journal of Systematic Theology 9, no.3 (July 2007): 315-327.
  4. “Religionless Christianity in a Complexly Religious and Secular World: Thinking through and beyond Bonhoeffer” in Ralf K. Wüstenberg & Stephen J. Plant (eds), Religion, Religionlessness and Contemporary Western Culture. International Bonhoeffer Interpretations Vol.1 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2008): 111-125.
  5. “Bringing Barth on religion to the inter-faith table.” The Journal of Religion 88, no.1 (January 2008): 75-94.
  6. “The many names of Christ in Wisdom: reading Scripture with Origen for a diverse world.” in “Spreading Rumours of Wisdom: Essays in honour of David Ford” The Journal for Scriptural Reasoning (January 2008). (4,185 words)
  7. “Religionless Christianity and the Political Implications of Theological Speech: What Bonhoeffer’s Theology yields to a World of Fundamentalisms.” International Journal of Systematic Theology 11, no. 3 (June 2009), 293-308.
  8. “Preaching Inter-faith: finding hints about the religious other from the Good Samaritan.” Epworth Review 36, no.3 (December 2009), 60-70.
  9. “Beyond the binary: Forming evangelical eschatology” in Tom Greggs (ed.), New Perspectives for Evangelical Theology, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), 153-167.
  10. “Introduction - Opening Evangelicalism: Towards a post-critical and formative theology,” in Tom Greggs (ed.), New Perspectives for Evangelical Theology, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), 1-13.
  11. “Editorial.” International Journal of Systematic Theology 12, no. 1, (January 2010) 1-3. (Guest editor of an edition on “Trinitarian Theology”).
  12. “Legitimizing and Necessitating Inter-faith Dialogue: The Dynamics of Inter-faith for Individual Faith Communities.” International Journal of Public Theology 4, no. 2 (2010), 194-211.
  13. “The Eschatological Tension of Theological Method: Some reflections after reading Daniel W. Hardy’s ‘Creation and Eschatology’.” Theology, CXIII, no. 875 (2010), 339-47.
  14. “Inter-faith Pedagogy for Muslims and Christians: Scriptural Reasoning and Christian and Muslim Youth Work.” Discourse 9, no. 2 (2010), 201-26. 
  15. “Pessimistic Universalism: Rethinking the Wider Hope with Bonhoeffer and Barth.” Modern Theology, 26, no. 4 (2010), 495-510.
  16. “Particularist Universalism in Origen of Alexandria,” in Gregory MacDonald (ed.), “All Shall Be Well”: Explorations in Universal Salvation and Christian Theology from Origen to Moltmann (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2010), 29-46.
  17. “The Lord of All: Rediscovering the Christian Doctrine of Providence for a Pluralist Society,” in Hannah Bacon & Wayne Morris (eds), Theology, Religion and Exclusion: Towards Transformation (London: T&T Clark, 2011), 44-62. 
  18. “Motifs in Pneumatology in the Twenty-first century,” in Jane Williams (ed.), The Holy Spirit and the World Today (London: SPTC Books, 2011), 175-88.
  19. “The Confessions of Stanley: Accounting for a Human Life Lived Before God.” Modern Theology, 28, no. 2 (2012), 315-319.
  20. “Review article of David Kelsey, Eccentric Existence.” Scottish Journal of Theology, 65, no. 4 (2012), 449-463.
  21. “Peoples of the Covenants: Evangelical Theology and the Plurality of the Covenants in Scripture.” Journal for Scriptural Reasoning, 11, no. 1 (2012), online.
  22. “Reading Scripture in a Pluralist Society: A Path to Discovering the Hermeneutics of Agape” in Stanley E. Porter & Matthew Malcolm (eds), Horizons in Hermeneutics: A Festschrift in Honor of Anthony C. Thiselton (Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, 2013), 201-216. 
  23. “Being a wise apprentice to the communion of modern saints: on the need for conversation with a plurality of theological interlocutors,” in The Vocation of Theology Today: A Festschrift for David Ford (Eugene, Or.: Cascade, Jan 2013), 21-24.
  24. “Introduction,” (with Muers and Zahl) in The Vocation of Theology Today (Eugene, Or.: Cascade , 2013), 1-18.
  25. “A strangely warmed heart in a strange and complex world: on assurance and generous hope” in Julie Gittoes, Brutus Green and James Heard (eds), Generous Ecclesiology: Church, World and the Kingdom of God (London: SCM, 2013), 120-39.
  26. “Relational Responsibility in Biblical Hermeneutics: Towards a Protestant Account of the Authority of Creeds for Scriptural Interpretation,” in Stanley E. Porter & Matthew Malcolm (eds), The Future of Biblical Interpretation: Responsible Plurality in Biblical Hermeneutics (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2013), 93-105.
  27. "Speaking and Thinking about God," in The Review vol LXII, 2 Nos 220-21 (2011 & 2012), 349-56.
  28. "Ecclesial Priestly Mediation in the Theology of Bonhoeffer," in Theology Today - Special Bonhoeffer Edition, 71/1, 2014, 81-91.
  29. “The Church and Sacraments” in Kent Eilers & Kyle Strobel (eds), Sanctified by Grace: A Theology of the Christian Life (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 157-170.
  30. “Dialoguing with the Wisdom of the Past: An Interview with Professor Tom Greggs.” The Christian Thought (translated into Korean) (Korea, 2014): 144-153.
  31. “‘If it is teaching, then teach!’ (Rom 12: 7): Ministry, Big Issues, and Grown Up Discipleship.” Holiness vol. 1, no. 1, (Spring 2015); online: 3-20.
  32. “Proportion and Topography in Ecclesiology: A Working Paper on the Dogmatic Location of the Doctrine of the Church,” in  R. David Nelson, Darren Sarisky & Justin Stratis (eds), Theological Theology (London: T&T Clark, 2015), 89-106.
  33. “The Priesthood of No Believer: On the Priesthood of Christ and His Church,” International Journal of Systematic Theology, 17:4 (2015): 374-98.
  34. “The Influence of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Karl Barth,” in Matthew Kirkpatrick (ed.), Engaging Bonhoeffer: The Impact and Influence and Impact of Bonhoeffer’s Life and Thought (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2016), 45-64.
  35. “Bearing Sin in the Church: The Ecclesial Harmartiology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” in Michael Mawson & Philip Ziegler (eds), Christ, Church and World: New Studies in Bonhoeffer’s Theology and Ethics (London: T&T Clark, 2016), 77-100.
  36. “Communio Ecclesiology: The Spirit’s Work of Salvation in the Life of the Church,” in Myk Habets (ed.), Third Article Theology: A Pneumatological Dogmatics (Minneapolis: Fortress Press: 2016), 347-66.
  37. “Sola Scriptura, the community of the church and a pluralist age,” in Angus Pattison, Theologians on Scripture (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 79-92.
  38. "The Order and Movement of Eternity: Karl Barth on the Eternity of God and Creaturely Time," in Philip Ziegler (ed.), Eternal God, Eternal Life: Theological Investigations into the Concept of Immortality (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 1-26.
  39. “Karl Barth on Salvation,” in Justin Holcomb, Christian Theologies of Salvation (New York: New York University Press, forthcoming), in press.
  40. "Scripture in the Life of the Church: Sola Scriptura and Ecclesial Interpretation” in Donald Wood (ed.), Scripture, Canon and Interpretation (London: IVP, forthcoming); in press.
  41. “Universalism,” in Adam Johnson (ed.), T&T Clark Companion to the Atonement (London: T&T Clark, forthcoming), in press.
  42. “In gratitude for grace: praise, worship and the sanctified life,” Scottish Journal of Theology, accepted and in press.
  43. “Barthian Universalism,” in David Congdon (ed.), Christian Universalism: A Multi-View Account (working title) (Westmont: IVP, forthcoming), in press, 15,000 words.
  44. “The Nature, Task and Method of Theology: A Very Methodist View,” 10,000 words, in press.
  45. "Christian Universalism," in Adam Johnson (ed.), Five Views of the Extent of the Atonement (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, forthcoming), in press, 9,000 words.
  46. "Karl Barth and the Patristic Era," in Paul Jones & Paul Nimmo (eds), Oxford Handbook to Karl Barth (Oxford: OUP, forthcoming), in press.
  47. "The Glory of God in the People of God: Participating in the Intensity of the Spirit's Life," in Adesola Akala (ed.), Exploring the Glory of God (forthcoming).
  48. "Ecclesiology," in Philip Ziegler and Michael Mawson (eds), Oxford Handbook to Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Oxford: OUP, forthcoming), in press.
  49. "The Catholic Spirit of Protestantism: The Third Article, Visible Unity, and Ecumenism" (written, 10,000 words to be submitted to a journal).
  50. "Never a Liberal to be ‘Post’ It: (Re-)learning to be a Better Kind of Evangelical with Peter Ochs," in Tom Greggs, Mark James and Randi Rashkover (eds), Essays in Honour of Peter Ochs (forthcoming).

Select Academic Reviews:

  • "Academic News: X. International Bonhoeffer Congress: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Theology in Today's World: A Way between Fundamentalism and Secularism, 22-27 July, 2008, Agricultural University, Prague, Czech Republic." Sino-Christian Studies: An International Journal of Bible, Theology & Philosophy, vol. 6, December 2008: 199-203.
  • Numerous book reviews in the following journals: Scottish Journal of Theology, Expository Times, Journal of Reformed Theology, Theology, Epworth Review, Modern Theology, Studies in Christian Ethics and Modern Believing.

Popularizing Works:

  • "Irenaeus and Augustine on the Problem of Evil Reconsidered." New Theologian, Spring 2004: 22-4.
  • "The Future of God," Emerging Culture, Summer 2006: 25.
  • "Tolerance isn't enough!" Emerging Culture, Spring 2007: 12-13.
  • "A Giant of Theology," in "Supplement on Calvin," The Methodist Recorder, January 2009 (1,004 words).

Select Media:

Select Public Lectures / Sermon Series:

  • Studies on II Corintians, Easter People, 2005, 5 talks. Filmed and recorded by Reel Life.
  • Studies on II Timothy, Easter People, 2006, 5 talks, with Charles Price. Filmed and Recorded by Reel Life.
  • Reconceiving Repentance, Convocation of the Diaconal Order of the Methodist Church, 2007, 4 lectures.
  • "I desire mercy not sacrifice," sermon at Matins at Canterbury Cathedral, 2008.
  • "Can there be Theology after Darwin? The Dawkins Delusion," Centre for Religion and the Biosciences Public Lecture, University of Chester, 2008.?
  • "Respondent to David Ford, Rowan Williams, Miroslav Volf and Juergen Moltmann," The Holy Spirit and the World Today, St Paul's Theological Centre, London, May 2010.
  • "The Holy Spirit and engaging with other religions," St Paul's Theological Centre, London, May 2010.
  • "Why wisdom is greater than knowledge," The Paton Lecture, Manchester, July 2010.
  • "The Church after Christendom," The Sutcliffe Lecture, The Methodist Church, July 2010.
  • "Church and Theology in the Spirit: Theological Reflections on Acts 2," Holy Trinity Brompton, May 2011.
  • "Thinkers Theological," Faith and Order Lecture, The Methodist Church, September 2012.
  • Reflections on the Cross, Good Friday, Holy Trinity Brompton, March 2013.
  • Studies on Ephesians (5 talks recorded and distributed), April 2015.

Recent Research Students (select)

RECENTLY COMPLETED:

Dr Yacob Godebo (now Dean of Addis Abbaba Lutheran Theological Seminary, Ethiopia):
The Charismatic Movement and Lutheran Theology

Dr Chris Burkett (now Diocesan Director of Ministry):
Homiletics and Collective Memory

Dr James Holt (now Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies Education):
A Latter-Day Saint Theology of the Religions

Dr Joan Evans (retired):
The Mystical Immanence of Matthew Fox

Dr John Tyers (retired):
A history of the Anglican Retreat Movement

Dr Nathan Paylor (University of Chester):
Reformed Theological Hermeneutics

Dr John McCabe (University of Chester):
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Theology of Work

Dr Aaron Edwards (Lecturer in Systematic Theology, Cliff College):
Dialectic and Preaching

Dr Rory MacLoed (DMin):
The contemporary church and pneumatology

Dr Roderick Grahame (DMin):
Does the Round ower Topple?

Dr Petre Maican:
Theology of the Image

Dr Chris Dodson:
Bonhoeffer's Religionless Christianity and the Sacraments 

Dr Matthew Burdette:
Jenson and Cone's Revolutionary Theology

Dr DJ Konz:
Father, child and missio dei (with reference to Barth)

CURRENT STUDENTS:

Jennifer LoPresti:
Mystery in Barth

Jonathan Lynch:
Bonhoeffer on a Theology of Weakness

Sean McGever:
A theology of conversion in Wesley and Whitfield

Troy Onsager:
Karl Barth on the Confessions of the Church

David Emerton:
Ecclesiology in Bonhoeffer

Kenneth Laing:
The Rule of Faith in Irenaeus

Emmanuel Gergis:
Coptic Theology and T F Torrance

Ross Hallbach:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's contribution to Race and Gentrification Discourse

TJ Tims:
Berger's Plausibility Structures as applie to St John's Gospel

Cole Jodon:
Bonhoeffer's Ecumenical Theology

Robert Fortuin:
Nyssa's Doctrine of God in Dialogue with Contemporary Theology Proper

Keir Shreeves:
Bonhoeffer's Homiletics

HuynJoo Kim:
Bonhoeffer's Doctrine of Sin in dialogue with Augustine

Membership of Scholarly Societies

  • Society for the Study of Theology
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Society for Scriptural Reasoning
  • International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society
  • Scriptural Reasoning in the University
  • Karl Barth Society of North America
  • International Bonhoeffer Colloquium

update | about Staff Pages

back