John B. White, Ph.D.

Holder of the Harold and Dottie Riley Associate Professor of Practical Theology;
Director of the Sports Chaplaincy/Ministry Program
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Dr. John B. White is a native of the Midwest and in particular, he is a Hoosier where he raced in the legendary cycling race, "The Little 500" at Indiana University, on Team Cutters, which the film Breaking Away dramatizes.

Research Interests: Theological Ethics/Moral Theology, Constructive Theology, Theology of Culture, Christianity and Sports, Sports Ethics and Sports Chaplaincy/Ministry

Playing sports has always been a "school" of sorts for John. The joys of play, challenges of competing well with others, and how to do and celebrate sports unto God are difficult to integrate but they demand serious reflection and practice. Because of such formative experiences, he sensed God's call to sports chaplaincy and ministry. His work included serving and ministering in churches, on various NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3 university campuses, at the Olympic Training Center and in Eastern and Western Europe.

His PhD is from The University of Edinburgh where he studied moral theology with Michael Northcott and his dissertation was on Christianity and Sports- Sport and Christian ethics: Towards a theological ethic for sport. He also completed an M.Div. and an M.A. at T.E.D.S. where he completed his thesis with Kevin Vanhoozer. John’s publications have appeared in Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, Implicit Religion, Studies in Christian Ethics, Practical Theology, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Bible and Ethics, and he recently co-edited books with Routledge Press (2016), Cambridge Scholars and Mercer Press (2017). He also has a book under contract with Baker Academic. He is the Principal Investigator and Faculty Director of the newly established Faith and Sport InstituteRunning the Race Well at Baylor University, which is funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. He is regularly interviewed on the subject matter of Christianity and sports in prominent news media and periodicals such as CBS, Sports Illustrated, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. For more information about the intersection of Christianity and sports, see “The Declaration of Sport and Christian Life” which John is a Founding member of the Sport and Christianity Group (2013-) which developed this manifesto.

If you are interested in studying theology and sports, sports chaplaincy or sports ministry—whether for the church, academy or your local sport contexts as a Christian leader or minister—consider joining John in Truett Seminary’s Sports Ministry Program with students from all over the world who seek to love sports properly so that they are a faithful presence in the culture of sports for the good of community and glory of God.

When not reflecting on theology, ethics or sport as academic disciplines, he relishes time with Cindy and their three adult children (ages 23, 21 and 19), camping, running, cycling, drinking coffee and reading. A recurring image which haunts Dr. White is seeing children simply play for no other reason, because it is fun. He feels that our modern sports world needs to recover the beauty of play over against the instrumental logic that robs children and adults from celebrating and sharing in the many joys available in sports. Winning might be a goal but it is not THE GOAL.

John White Profile Photo
* Curriculum Vitae