Christian van Gorder, Ph.D.

Christian van Gorder, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
High Res Photo

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. English Literature and Drama, University of Pittsburg; Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, OK, 1978-1981
  • Additional Courses Completed: Greek Drama and Classical Thought (1976)-American Hellenic University; Encounter Ireland - History and Literature (1977), Trinity College, Dublin

Christian van Gorder was born in Pittsburgh in 1960, the third child of a father who grew up on a farm and became a lawyer, and a schoolteacher from Southern Germany. He finished courses in English Literature and Biblical Studies at the University of Pittsburgh and 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 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 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 seven wonderful children, Patrick, Brendan, Keegan, Sean Michael, Tatijana, Gretchen, and Andrew, and, in 2018, the quadruplets – Erik, Tristan, Clare, and Grace.


Jews and Christians Together: An Invitation to Mutual Respect. (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2020).

Islam, Peace, and Social Justice. (London: James Clarke, 2014).

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-Fifths Theology: American Christianity Confronts Racism. With the Rev. Dr. Lewis T. Tait, Jr. (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2002).

Muslim and Christian Relations in Nigeria (2009).

Writing/Research: Muslims in Germany (2019).

Professional Awards and Activities:

Baylor University, Waco Texas- Departmental Research Grant, Research: "Environmentalist Advocacy in Contemporary Saudi Arabia," Dammam Saudi Arabia (in conjunction with University of Notre Dame/Georgetown Grant), 2014.

Baylor University, Waco Texas- Departmental Research Grant, Research: "Jallal al-din al-Rumi and the Religious Others." Mevlana University, Konya, Turkey, 2013.

Baylor University, Waco Texas-Departmental Research Grant, Research: "Muslim and non-Muslim Relations in Fiji," Suvla, and Nandi, Fiji, 2012.

Baylor Univeristy, Waco Texas-Departmental Research Grant, Research: "The Role of Religion in the Bosnian-Serbian War," Srebrenica, Bosnia, 2011.

Baylor University, Waco Texas- Sponsored Lectures "Muslim and Christian Relations in Nigeria," West Africa Theological Seminary, Lagos and Nigerian Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, 2010.

Baylor University, Waco Texas- Departmental Research Grant, Research: "Embracing Atrocity: Memory and Memorial," Yerevan, Aramenia and Dakar, Senegal, 2009.

Baylor University, Waco Texas- University Research Grant, Research: "The History of Nestorian Christianity in Persia." Mashhad 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.

Selected Research Articles and Book Chapters:

"1917-1918: The Genocide of Persia's Assyrian Christian Communities," Eastern Chrisitan Encounters with Islam, Adam DeVille, editor (New York: Routledge, forthcoming, 2014)

"Bubba's Islam: Views of Muslims and Islam from a Waco, Texas Trailer-Park," Southerners and Southern Religion Today, Theresa Booker, editor (forthcoming, 2015)

"There is No Enemy - None is the Other: Promoting Christian and Sikh Mutuality." Interreligious Insight, December 2011.

"Portraits of Islam in Christianity Today In the Six Months Following 9/11" with Heather M. Gorman. Journal of Religious Studies, October 2011

"The Interreligious and Intercultural Challenges facing the Germans of Kazakhstan." Orient, V. Berlin, November 2010.

"Why not Laugh with the Rose: The Spirituality of Laughter in the Poetry of Jalal al-din Rumi." Interreligious Insight: Journal of Dialogue and Engagement , July, 2012.

"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 Gerontological Research 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 Haigazian 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 Gerontological 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 Interreligious Insight.

Courses Taught at Baylor:
  • REL 3345 World Religions
  • REL 4343 Topics in Islamic Studies
  • REL 4346 Topics in Asian Religions
  • REL 4347 Topics in African Religions
View Dr. van Gorder's CV and Books