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IBTS Centre announce New Chair in Christian Social Ethics at VU Amsterdam

We are delighted to announce that the collaborative partnership between IBTS Centre and Vrije Universiteit Faculty of Religion and Theology has enabled us to establish an endowed chair in Christian Social Ethics. This is a very significant step for both partners and will open fresh possibilities in terms of doctoral supervision and research.

As the chair-holder, David Gushee will be working closely with the IBTS Centre community to develop research opportunities in Christian social ethics specifically in the context of the European Baptist Federation (EBF) region. The past year has involved a careful process of planning and we are very appreciative of the partnership and shared vision that has grown through this time. Central to the success of the chair has been David’s openness and availability for which we are extremely grateful.

Christian Ethics has been an integral part of the agenda of IBTS Centre for many years and has been connected closely to important figures in the academic world such as James Wm McClendon, Jr, Glen Stassen and Parush Parushev. As a Baptist, a leading scholar in the field and with global recognition David Gushee is a perfect fit with this long tradition, and we anticipate that his involvement will stimulate important research and enable fruitful conversation for those of us in the EBF region and beyond.

On behalf of the board, staff, and community at IBTS Centre we extend a warm welcome to David and look forward to fruitful collaboration in the coming years.

The website of the Vrije Universiteit reports the appointment as follows:

As of March 1 this year, the Executive Board of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) has appointed David Gushee (US) as professor on the new endowed Chair of Christian Social Ethics at the Faculty of Religion and Theology and is established in cooperation with the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTS Centre) in Amsterdam.

David Gushee is a widely respected scholar who has published both at an academic and at a public level on ethical issues with a relevance to contemporary society. The topics he studies are for example genocide, poverty, human dignity, sexuality and gender, war and peace-making, and Christian discipleship.

Contemporary debates

The new chair is part of the Faculty department of Beliefs & Practices and focusses on PhD-student supervision. Besides his work as new professor in Amsterdam, Gushee continues his work for Mercer University, Atlanta (GA). VU professor Gijsbert van den Brink (Head of Beliefs & Practices), is excited about Gushee’s appointment at VU: “Gushee is a leading voice in many societal discussions on sensitive moral issues. His work is widely respected, as is clear from his past presidency of large-scale academic societies as the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Christian Ethics (SCE). His influence extends far beyond the USA. Moreover, the presence of Gushee at the VU is a real asset as it will boost a somewhat neglected field in our Department – a field that is at crossroads of many pivotal contemporary debates.”

VU professor and dean of the faculty Ruard Ganzevoort is also very pleased: “Not only does Gushee’s work display our core values in combining academic excellence, societal relevance, and spiritual commitment, he also embodies our deeply valued partnership with the International Baptist Theological Study Centre.”

Social-ethical challenges

Mike Pears, Director of the IBTS Centre, is grateful for the cooperation with the VU which will be strengthened by Gushee’s appointment. Pears: “We are delighted by Gushee’s appointment to this new chair. Christian ethics has long held a central place in the research agenda of IBTSC and David’s appointment will significantly reinvigorate this work both in the academic and public spheres. I am pleased to say that the appointment exemplifies the creative nature of the collaborative partnership between VU and IBTS Centre”.

Gushee: “It is thrilling to join the highly distinguished Faculty of Religion and Theology at VU, as well as to deepen my engagement with the International Baptist Theological Study Centre. I look forward to the opportunity to nurture talented social-ethics doctoral students from around the world and to participate in important conversations about social-ethical challenges in Europe and beyond.”

About David Gushee

David P. Gushee (1962; PhD, Union Theological Seminary in New York) served as an assistant professor for Christian Ethics at SBTS (Louisville, KT) from 1993-1996, before taking up various consecutive academic posts in moral philosophy at Union University (Jackson, TN). In 2007 he moved to Mercer University in order to serve as its Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics. Gushee has written or edited 26 books and over 150 book chapters, journal articles and reviews, next to many opinion contributions to the popular press. Some of his most notable books are: Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust (1994, based on PhD-thesis), The Sacredness of Human Life (2013), Changing Our Mind (2014, 2017) and After Evangelicalism: The Path to a New Christianity (2020).


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