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Baylor > Religion > Faculty  > A. Christian van Gorder

A. Christian van Gorder

Chris van Gorder - 200

Contact Information:
Department of Religion
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97284
Waco, TX 76798-7284

Office: Tidwell B26B

Phone: (254) 710-6339
FAX: (254) 710-3740


Associate Professor


  • Ph.D.; Islam and Christianity, Queen's University of Belfast, Ireland, 1992-1995
  • M.A., World Religions, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY, 1982-1984
  • B.A. Bible; Theater; English Literature, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, OK, 1978-1981


Christian van Gorder was born in Pittsburgh in 1960, the third child of a lawyer-farmer and a schoolteacher from Southern Germany. He finished courses in English Literature and Biblical Studies at Oral Roberts University and World Religions at Asbury Theological Seminary before completing his doctorate in Muslim and Christian Relations at the Queen's University of Belfast, Ireland. Christian has also completed courses at the American Hellenic University in Greece, Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and the National University of Singapore. He is fluent in Chinese and lived in Western China for six years where he taught intercultural studies at the Yunnan University in Kunming. Christian also worked for four years for a Dutch human rights organization serving persecuted Christians based in the Netherlands called Open Doors International. Christian is an ordained Pastor with the American Baptist Churches and served as Associate Pastor in Burton, Michigan and Interim Pastor in Conneaut, Pennsylvania. Christian taught World Religions for seven years at Messiah College in Central Pennsylvania before coming to Baylor in 2004 to focus on Islamic Studies as well as to continue to teach introductory courses in the World's Religions. Christian is married to Vivian and has six healthy children, Patrick, Brendan, Keegan, Sean Michael, Tatijana, and Gretchen.

Academic Interests and Research:

The theology of World Religions, Islam and Christianity

Professional Awards and Activities:

Baylor University, Waco Texas- University Research Grant, Research "The History of Nestorian Christianity in Persia." Mashad and Nishapur, Iran, 4/2008.

Baylor University, Waco, Texas-Summer Sabbatical-2007, Research Focus: Muslim and Christian Relations in Nigeria.

Baylor University, Waco, Texas- University Research Grant, Research "In the Spark I See a Star": Muhammad Iqbal's Relationship with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan, 3/2007

Baylor University, Waco, Texas-Summer Sabbatical-2006, Research Focus: Islam, Peace and Social Justice

College of Holy Cross, Worcester, MA- Lily Fellows Program in Humanities, Conference Participant, September 2005 (also asked to represent Baylor in September 2004 Conference). Participation in both conferences paid by the Baylor University Institute for Faith and Learning

Baylor University, Waco, Texas- Arts and Humanities Faculty Development Program Award, Research Focus: Paulo Freire and Justice Pedagogy for American Christian Higher Education.

Baylor University, Waco, Texas- Summer Teaching Institute- 2005, Research Focus: Islamic Fundamentalism and Social Justice

Parliament of the World's Religions- 2004 (Barcelona), 2000 (Cape Town) conference and travel funded by the office of the Dean Kim Phipps, Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania

Loyola Marymont, Los Angeles 2003, Lily Scholars Seminar: "Islam and Christianity-Peace And Justice in the Bible and in the Qur'an". Directors: Daniel Smith-Christopher; Mustansir Mir.

Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington-2002, Lily Scholars Seminar: "Religion, Atrocity and Genocide"; Directed by James Waller, Whitworth College

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan- Pew Summer Scholars, 2000- "Christianity as A World Religion"; Directed by Lamin Sanneh, Yale University; Joel Carpenter, Calvin College.

Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania- Dorothy Gish Award, 1997- funding-conference Directed by Spencer Perkins and Chris Lee, Education and Racism, Jackson, MS.

American Academy of Religion


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Waco Community Race Relations Council

Thoreau Society

Selected Research Articles:

"Extraversionary Influences in Northern Nigerian Muslim and Pentecostal Interactions." Chapter, Issues in Global Pentecostal Studies, Michael Newheart, editor. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

"Ethnogeriatrics and Comparative Religions Methods for Gerentological Reserch into Topics of Religion and Spirituality." With James W. Ellor, book chapter, pages 197-211, in Methods in Religion, Spirituality, and Aging. James W. Ellor, editor. London: Routledge Press, 2009.

"Armenian Christian and Turkish Muslim Relations: Prospects for Reconciliation through Interfaith Dialogue on the Events of History." Paper Presented at Hazagorian University, Beirut Lebanon, October 2009.

"Pedagogy for the Children of the Oppressors: Liberative Education for Social Justice." Paper Presented at the University of Denver Conference on Pedagogy for Liberation, April, 2009.

Book Reviews: Journal of Church and State, Baylor University, Waco, Teas, 2008-2009.

"Preferring Your Brother: The Writings of al-Ghazali as a Resource to Improve Muslim and Christian Interaction" Paper Presented at the Baylor University Institute for Faith and Learning Conference on Friendship, October, 2007. Paper being revised for publication consideration.

"Pedagogy for the Children of the Oppressor: Paulo Freire's Liberative Education for Social Justice in the Context of North American Faith-Based Higher Education." Published in the Journal of Transformative Education, May 2007. Paper presented at the Spirituality, Pedagogy and Social Justice Conference, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI: September 22, 2005. Second version of paper presented at the Federal University of Bahia, October 19, 2006, Salvador, Bahia

"Interreligious Challenges Facing the Muslims of Central Texas" October 2006, Insight (Journal of Interfaith Studies), London.

"Armenian Christian and Turkish Muslims: Prospects for Reconciliation through Interfaith Dialogue on the Events of History." Published, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, volume 17, no. 2, pages 173-194, April 2006.

"Salaam Aleykum Y'All": Muslim-Christian Relations in Central Texas." Chapter in the book, Religion, Culture, Curriculum, and Diversity in 21st Century America. Edited by Mary Alice Trent and Trevor Grizzle, University Press of America, Lanham, MD., 2007. Paper presented at the Conference on Christianity and Culture in America, Oral Roberts University, November 12, 2005.

"Social Justice Partnerships between Muslims and Christians." Chapter in a book entitled "The Language of Diversity"- Cambridge University Press, November/December 2007.

"Beyond the Rivers of Ethiopia: The Afrocentric Pentecostalism of Mensa Otabil" Pneuma, forthcoming, spring 2008.

Article, "Ethnogeriatrics and Comparative Religions method for Gerentological Research into Topics of Islamic Religion and Spirituality (writer of first report) with James Ellor. Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging, volume 20, numbers 1 and 2. November, 2007. Based on presentation at the Conference on Spirituality and Aging, Dallas, TX, November, 2006.

"The Steppe is Cruel and Heaven is Far: Muslim-Christian Relations in Central Asia." Paper presented at the Conference on Global Christianity, Baylor University, November 10, 2005

Teaching Award: Excellence in Teaching- Certificate of Appreciation, Mortar Board Academic Honor Society, Baylor University Chapter, November 24, 2006.

"Living Jesus' Peace Message Among Muslims: Rethinking the Motives of Contextualization," chapter in Anabaptists Meeting Muslims: A Calling For Presence In the Way of Christ, ed. James R. Krabill, David W. Shenk, Linford Stutzman, Herald Press: Scottsdale, AZ, 2005, 413-427.

Review of "Sacred Fury: Understanding Religious Violence" by Charles Selengut in the Journal of Dialogue and Alliance, New York, Summer 2004, vol.18., no. 1, 85-88.

"Why Not Laugh With The Rose: The Spirituality of Laughter in the Poetry of Jalal al-din Rumi." Art and Soul Conference, Baylor University Institute of Faith and Learning, April, 2005. Submitted (Fall, 2007) for publication with Interreligous Insight.


Violence in God's Name: Christian and Muslim Relations in Nigeria. (Baltimore: African Diaspora Press, 2012).

The Thousand-Petaled Lotus: Buddhist and Christian Discussions. (San Francisco: Jain Publishers, 2012).

Christians in Persia and Muslim and non-Muslim Relations in Iran. (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Press, 2009).

Muslim and Christian Relations in Central Asia. (London: Routledge Press, 2008).

No God but God: A Path to Muslim-Christian Discussions about the Nature of God (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2003).

Three-Fifth's Theology: American Christianity Confronts Racism. With the Rev. Dr. Lewis T. Tait, Jr. (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2002).

Acquisitions Editor Requesting Draft: Islam, Peace and Social Justice: A Christian Perspective(Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books).

Writing: Muslim and Christian Relations in Nigeria (projected completion date, Fall, 2009).

Courses Taught at Baylor:

  • REL 3345 World Religions
  • REL 4343 Topics in Islamic Studies
  • REL 4346 Topics in Asian Religions
  • FAS 1308 Religion


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